I posted this at gay.AMERICAblog.com earlier today, but it really needs amplification. Today’s The Washington Post profiles Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who is about to be discharged because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Fehrenbach didn’t tell. He was outed. And, he trusted that Obama would follow through on his campaign promise to end DADT:
Fehrenbach, who has nine Air Medals, including one for heroism under fire during an enemy ambush near Baghdad in 2003, intended to resign. But he changed his mind last fall with the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency.
As a candidate, Obama promised that the law would be overturned, but the administration has moved cautiously, not wanting to wage a costly political battle on the divisive issue during the president’s first months in office, as President Bill Clinton did.
“Hearing the president’s promises last fall, I thought he would follow through,” Fehrenbach said. “It’s just been disappointing because we’ve seen nothing.”
Hearing the president’s repeated promises, we all thought he would follow through. Barack Obama has failed to take any action to end the policy. As the Palm Center and others have documented, Obama does have the authority to stop discharges under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But, he hasn’t. And, from every bit of info. I can gather, and I’ve asked many people, the White House staffers have done nothing to encourage action on Capitol Hill. We all know that when Team Obama wants something from Congress, Team Obama makes it very clear to people on the Hill. On this issue, nothing. The White House can’t say it’s a congressional issue, then give Congress no indication that it’s a priority for them. Instead, the White House silence sends the signal. (Except to dissuade legislative solutions.)
On the Hill, Rep. Patrick Murphy now has 168 co-sponsors for his legislation to repeal DADT. There isn’t even a Senate bill yet, although we’ve been told there will be hearings on DADT in the fall.
And, note to everyone: During the campaign, Obama promised to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Repeal, not change. Anything short of repeal isn’t change we can believe in.