Two of the four joint chiefs wrongly think DADT compromise repeals the law immediately; send letters to Congress about the wrong legislation

I’d like to think that you have to be pretty smart to be chosen to run an entire branch of the military. But yesterday, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz brought that assumption into question when they wrote letters to GOP Senator John McCain suggesting that the compromise “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation being debated today before Congress would immediately repeal the anti-gay law, before the Pentagon’s implementation study is completed.

That is utterly false. And a simple read of the rather short amendment, even by a non-lawyer, would clarify this point beyond a doubt.

So why did Generals Casey and Schwartz pen letters to Congress opining about legislation that doesn’t even exist? Here’s Schwartz:

I believe it is important, a matter of keeping faith with those currently serving in the Armed Forces, that the Secretary of Defense commissioned review be completed before there is any legislation to repeal DA/DT.

Ah those troops, they’re so sensitive you know. But putting aside the apparently soft sensibilities of our fighting men and women in uniform, the legislation doesn’t repeal DADT until after the review is done, and then repeal will only happen if Gates and Mullen sign off. So Schwartz in fact, and rather embarrassingly, just wrote a letter in favor of the current compromise.

Then there’s Casey:

I also believe that repealing the law before the completion of the review will be seen by the men and women of the Army as a reversal of our commitment to hear their views before moving forward.

That’s great, General, since the proposed language wouldn’t repeal the law until the completion of the review. So with all due respect, what’s your f’g point general? Other than the fact that you just wrote a letter mistakenly endorsing legislation that you claim to oppose. Do you fight wars this way sir? (Bomb Iraq! Oh, I’m sorry, I meant Iran. Those n’s and q’s are so confusing once you make general.)

It’s possible that both gentlemen don’t pay attention to details, and simply signed letters that McCain’s stuff mistakenly (or intentionally) wrote for them in error. Or it’s possible that the Generals simply can’t handle detail work. Or that they chose to lie to Congress in order to under the desires of their commander in chief.

Either way, it’s extremely disturbing when two of the four service chiefs weigh in on legislation, and then take a position based on something the legislation doesn’t even do.

One hopes they pay more attention to detail when bombing Afghanistan. Because this is simply embarrassing.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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