Rep. Alcee Hastings takes the extraordinary step of publicizing his frustrations with the Obama Administration's lack of progress on "Don't Ask Don't Tell", the policy that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military, Roll Call reports.
On Thursday the Florida Democrat wrote a harsh letter to President Barack Obama, saying he is "deeply disappointed" the President hasn’t repealed the ban. Hastings is also upset the President ignored the June letter signed by him and 76 other House Members that asked him "to take immediate action" and stop DADT investigations.
"More than two months later, I have yet to receive an official response,” said Hastings. The Florida Democrat notes that the administration has requested another 17,000 troops for Afghanistan and warns that the military can’t afford to lose more soldiers to the 1993 policy, which he argued results in the loss of two service members per day.
"While I commend Secretary [Robert] Gates and the Pentagon’s general counsel for their continued efforts to identify possible provisional measures, you can take action right now. I sincerely hope that your administration will make ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ a priority and do everything in its power to repeal this ridiculous, bigoted law once and for all."
On July 28, Hastings submitted and then immediately withdrew an amendment that would have de-funded the DADT investigations. Hastings says congressional leadership and the White House "pressured" him to kill the amendment.
The Roll Call report comes on the same day Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate reports the Pentagon "has no particular deadline" on Defense Secretary Robert Gates remarks that the Pentagon is considering easing the policy and "a more humane way to apply the law."
From the "fierce urgency of now" to the fierce urgency of ... whenever. Maybe these really are "second term issues".
Some Background ...
Hastings "Pressured" to Withdraw DADT Amendment [R20]
Hastings and 76 Congressmen Call for End [R20]
Gates: Pentagon "Looking for Flexibility" in DADT [R20]
Gates: Administration Will Delay Change to DADT [R20]
Tauscher Introduces Bill to Repeal "Don't Ask" [R20]
Obama Conference Call on "Don't Ask" [R20]
Obama Talks to "The Advocate" [R20]