Why not follow the Palm study re: DADT?

I’m glad to hear all the positive news about the Obama Administration working to get congress to repeal “DADT” but something keeps sticking in my craw. If President Obama, or his advisors, truly believed in the repeal of “DADT” then why hasn’t he taken advantage of the steps outlined by the study issued by the Palm Center? The study provided a virtual road map for the dismantling of the policy since May 11, 2009.

Prior to the release of Palm’s study, many had argued that only Congress can lift the ban on service by openly gay troops. But according to the study, Congressional approval is not needed. Dr. Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center and a study co-author, said “The administration does not want to move forward on this issue because of conservative opposition from both parties in Congress, and Congress does not want to move forward without a signal from the White House. This study provides a recipe for breaking through the political deadlock, as well as a roadmap for military leaders once the civilians give the green light.”

There are three legal bases to the president’s authority, the report says. First, Congress has already granted to the Commander in Chief the statutory authority to halt military separations under 10 U.S.C. § 12305, a law which Congress titled, “Authority of President to suspend certain laws relating to promotion, retirement, and separation” Under the law “the President may suspend any provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to any member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States” during a “period of national emergency.” The statute specifically defines a “national emergency” as a time when “members of a reserve component are serving involuntarily on active duty.”

The second and third bases of presidential authority are contained within the “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation itself. The law grants to the Defense Department authority to determine the process by which discharges will be carried out, saying they will proceed “under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense… in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulation.” Finally, the law calls for the discharge of service members “if” a finding of homosexuality is made, but it does not require that such a finding ever be made. According to the study, these provisions mean that the Pentagon, not Congress, has the “authority to devise and implement the procedures under which those findings may be made.”

I guess I’m still looking for bold unapologetic progressive leadership and less compromise, triangulation and capitulation to conservatives. Don’t get me wrong. As someone discharged for being gay, I will be the first to cheer the Obama administration when this unfair policy is history. I just don’t understand why the steps outlined in the report haven’t been followed and discharges immediately stopped? If the President had instituted the policies suggested by the study there would already be months of positive results to show how all the “chicken littles” opposing the repeal are wrong. Instead, slow walking this change in policy has given its opponents an overwhelming sense of security that the Obama Administration is soft on the issue.

Also, John had a post back in August about the Palm Center pointing out the inconsistency of Barack Obama’s use of signing statements while claiming he did not have the power to stop military discharges of openly gay servicemen and women.

Obama has the power. Shouldn’t he use it?

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