John McCain is a cantankerous old buzzard
I’m really sorry to be so abrupt and to the point with my blog title today but frankly beating around the bush when it comes to John McCain at the moment is beyond me. Believe me this is as respectful as I get for him now. I actually reigned myself in because my original idea for this blog post was going to be “McCain is an asshole”.
Yesterday the Senate Armed Services committee held a meeting to discuss the subject of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, following the release of a Pentagon study which showed that “69 percent of respondents said they had served with someone in their unit who they believed to be gay or lesbian. Of those who did, 92 percent stated that their unit’s ability to work together was very good, good, or neither good nor poor, according to the report.”
During this hearing many sides of the argument were represented. Included were Robert Gates has thrown his full support behind the repeal and has warned that not passing the repeal during the “lame duck” sessions will mean it ending up in Federal courts, which will cause “far more disruptive and hazardous to battlefield readiness” (NPR).
One of the most admirable voices for the repeal was Admiral Michael Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, who made several impassioned appeals as to why the current policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is doing more damage than good and that it’s removal and subsequent embrace of already serving and future serving gay men and women will be better for cohesiveness.
There are some for whom this debate is all about gray areas. There is no gray area here. We treat each other with respect, or we find another place to work. Period.
But Senator John McCain, the former Presidential candidate, and once advocate of repeal if it were shown the Pentagon agreed, has since losing the presidential race, become a bull-headed opponent of the repeal, and has played a strange, ever-changing the goal posts role as he fights tooth and nail to filibuster any move to repeal. His main argument being that ending the law would harm the military as it conducts two wars. An argument that Admiral Mullen quickly dispelled in his opening statements to the hearing:
“Repeal of the law will not prove an unacceptable risk to military readiness. Unit cohesion will not suffer,” Mullen said. “And families will not encourage their loved ones to leave the service in droves.”
“And I find the argument that war is not the time to change to be antithetical with our own experience since 2001,” he said. “War does not stifle change; it demands it.” (TPM)
Regardless of this, and regardless of the polling that was done with the serving military – an action that should be noted was not taken when it was decided black men and women would be able to serve with their white compatriots – McCain mounted an assault not only on the report itself, which concluded a 70% support, but on the Joint Chief of Staff, the Commander-in-Chief and the Defense Secretary, insisting that they were not capable of answering for the troops.
This was again knocked down, this time by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) who said:
You know, first he said, “Let’s listen to the military leaders.’ Well, the military leaders spoke, and it’s the professional opinion that now is the time to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Then he said, “Well, let’s do a study.” Well, now the study has showcased what advocates for repeal have understood for a long time: that repeal will not harm military readiness. … And it’s now not the time to play political games, which are happening right now in the Senate.
McCain’s conduct throughout the hearing was combative, snarky, belittling and the show of a man who knows he has no damned good arguments left because they have all been dismissed but has pushed his heels so far into the ground that he will not ever give ground. Aubrey Sarvis, a veteran and executive director for the Service members Legal Defense Network, called out McCain’s behavior saying:
John McCain’s demeanor throughout the testimony of Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, General Ham and Mr. Johnson, was entirely dismissive bordering on disrespect…. McCain continues to ignore the findings of the report that showed 92% of troops are fine working with gay service members.
McCain’s behavior was described by The Atlantic as “The Shamelessness of John McCain”. I call it worse than that – he is an angry old man, who acted as the maverick by since loosing to Barack Obama has finally shed off the cloak and revealed his true colors – he is a bigoted, angry, and bitter old man who should have retired a long time ago.
His assertion that the Pentagon study had only solicited 28% of the troops was an other desperate attempt to stale. He stated: “I’m troubled by the fact that this report only represents the input of 28 percent of the force who received the questionnaire, including completely leaving out a numerous members of the military in combat areas. That’s only six percent of the force at large. I find it hard to view that as a fully representative sample set.”
But as report co-author Army Gen. Carter Ham, stated the report was the “largest, most comprehensive review…ever undertaken.”
Let’s break it down this way (HuffPost):
- Solicited the views of 300,000 service members — active, national guard and reserve — which elicited over 115,000 responses.
- Solicited the views of 150,000 spouses of active and reserve component service members, receiving over 44,000 replies.
- Received over 72,000 comments from service members and their families in their online inbox.
- Conducted 95 face-to-face meetings at 51 different bases around the world, interacting with over 24,000 service members.
- Held 140 demographically selected focus groups.
- Engaged the service academies’ staff, faculties, cadets and midshipmen.
- Met with a large number of veterans groups, service organizations and groups both for and against DADT repeal.
- Reached out to gay and lesbian service members.
Robert Gates was much more to the point stating that to allow servicemen’s personal views to dictate military policy would be dangerous.
Are you going to ask them if they want 15-month tours? Are you going to ask them if they want to be part of the surge in Iraq? That’s not the way our civilian-led military has ever worked in our entire history.
No one is trying to rush through repeal. In fact every time McCain has asked for more to be done to determine the support for repeal it has been done.
- He asked for a report by the Pentagon to show how this would be supported by the troops – done.
- He led the filibuster of the DREAM act because he was waiting for the report – report done, so why filibuster more?
- He asked for more hearings after the report came out and he has those, done, done and done!
And yet still he changes the goalposts.
Lets not forget he also silenced his wife Cindy McCain who had been a strong celebrity voice for repeal. Just one day after a video she appeared in for the NOH8 campaign was released, she tweeted:
I fully support the NOH8 campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband’s stance on DADT.
And this was after stating in the video: “Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future … They can’t serve our country openly … Our government treats the LGBT community like second-class citizens, why shouldn’t [the bullies]?”
I guess she sided with the biggest bully of them all – her husband.
Gawker put it well in their own article on the repeal and McCain’s attitude:
He’s just being snide and insulting people. That’s all he’s got left: Calling top-ranking officials — the same ones in whom he giddily entrusted soldiers’ lives when they launched dangerous troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan — inexperienced phony fake-soldier hacks who know nothing about the military. It’s rude and childish.
One hopes that DADT will be passed during the lame duck season, even though the Republicans have threatened to filibuster everything that the Democrats want to bring in until the Bush Tax cuts are extended, and one hopes that McCain has put the final nail in the coffin of his political career and slinks off quietly into the background.
As Admiral Mullen stated on his twitter page:
There is no justifiable reason to keep Don’t Ask Don’t Tell going – it doesn’t work, it is being exploited and the military has lost over 13,000 good men and women because someone doesn’t think gay people should serve. That’s soldiers, translators, men and women who put their lives on the line despite what some people think of them.
Remember Lady Gaga saying that DADT is backwards? Well it is – as long as it is in place, it will serve the homophobes, it will continue to treat gay people as second class citizens and it will continue to damage cohesiveness in the military.
American’s allies have welcomed gay personnel and the sky has not fallen in, the troops have dealt with it – it’s what they do.
As someone said to me:
“If someone is ready to die for their country, die for me, who the hell do I care who they sleep with. It doesn’t matter.”
And it’s time we stopped pandering to John McCain. He has had his fun, he is just on a time-wasting game now. He hopes to stop this before it can be voted on by wasting time with more reports, more hearings and for what?
Well to me, he is only proving himself to be the sorest of losers with a mighty mean streak.
Maybe I should have stuck with my original title – John McCain is an asshole – at least that’s the way he is acting.
- John McCain’s Sad, Permanent Crusade Against Gays in the Military [Polidicks] (gawker.com)
- The Shamelessness Of John McCain (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- McCain flays military gays study, wants ban upheld – Houston Chronicle (news.google.com)
- Senator McCain, You are dismissed (nowpublic.com)
- McCain Says Repealing Military Gay Ban Is ‘Premature’ (businessweek.com)
- Senator McCain Continues To Cling To Irrational Rationales For Opposing DADT Repeal (lezgetreal.com)
- John McCain Calls Study on Gays in Military Flawed (politics.usnews.com)
- McCain: Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask” Study Flawed (cbsnews.com)