Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2009

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • SEND "UNFRIENDLY FIRE" TO CONGRESS
  • OBAMA ADVISOR SUPPORTS GAY BAN
  • NEW REPUBLIC PUBLISHES ARTICLE BY PALM SCHOLAR
  • PALM SCHOLAR LECTURES AT ARMY WAR COLLEGE, WEST POINT
  • OVER 100 RETIRED GENERALS AND ADMIRALS CALL FOR REPEAL
  • OTHER PALM NEWS

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SEND "UNFRIENDLY FIRE" TO CONGRESS

"Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America" (St. Martins, March 3, 2009). This book is the definitive history of "don't ask, don't tell" and includes rich, varied and dramatic stories of America's gay troops, including those on the frontlines of the wars in the Middle East. It hits the shelves March 3, 2009, but you can order yours online in advance. In addition you can help our campaign to send a copy of the book to every member of Congress by donating a copy here.

Drawing on hundreds of exclusive interviews, the book presents the latest research and over a decade of evidence on gay service showing that gays can and do serve openly in the U.S. military without incident, and that the policy itself is weakening the military it was supposed to protect. The book is a lively and compelling narrative that is sure to make the blood boil of any American who cares about national security, the right to speak the truth, or just plain fairness.


OBAMA ADVISOR SUPPORTS GAY BAN

Retired General Merrill McPeak, a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an adviser to Barrack Obama's campaign, has called for the continuation of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Brigadier General Evelyn Foote, also an adviser to the Obama campaign, attended a 1992 Congressional hearing at which McPeak said he would choose a less qualified male over a more qualified female. Foote said that McPeak was not capable of dealing well with diversity issues in the military and that the president-elect deserves better advisers.


NEW REPUBLIC PUBLISHES ARTICLE BY PALM SCHOLAR

The full article from which this passage has been excerpted was published on November 25, 2008 and can also be found on the Palm Center site. The author was Dr. Nathaniel Frank: Though Obama has said he wants to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," he has also stated that he won't be "out front" on the issue and will work cautiously with the military leadership to make the change. . . Still, he may have a far easier time lifting the ban today than Bill Clinton did at the beginning of his presidency: When a united front of generals insists that letting open gays serve in the military would wreck the force, it's a tough line to combat; but when the sheer weight of research on this issue forces even military brass to cast their resistance in terms of personal morality, the front has begun to crumble.

The hurdles in 1993 were enormous. When a federal judge ordered a discharged gay sailor reinstated just days after Clinton won the election, reporters fixated on the issue, forcing the president-elect to deal with his campaign promise on gay service from day one. Clinton underestimated both the extent and nature of opposition to gay service, and failed to assign experienced aides to manage the issue during the transition. Along with gay groups, the new president missed another story--a marriage of the religious right and the military leadership. Today, it's a far different world. Conservative and military resistance to openly gay service is swiftly falling.


PALM SCHOLAR LECTURES AT ARMY WAR COLLEGE, WEST POINT

Dr. Aaron Belkin returned to the Army War College and to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for the sixth time in the last six years to deliver lectures on gays in the military.


OVER 100 RETIRED GENERALS AND ADMIRALS CALL FOR REPEAL

The Palm Center released the names of more than 100 Generals and Admirals calling for an end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. On November 17, 2008 the Associated Press ran a story about the group, and the AP article sparked subsequent media attention throughout the U.S.

Four-star Admiral Charles Larson topped the list. In 1993, Admiral Larson supported "don't ask, don't tell." He thought it was a mistake for Bill Clinton, who was a close acquaintance, to try to lift the ban immediately, and says that Clinton should have worked more closely with the military.

Admiral Larson changed his view after he learned that "there were a lot of witch hunts and a lot of people were turned out on that basis." He found that the policy was not being implemented as he had hoped, and that the military was losing valuable talent. He was also influenced by having a number of people work for him who were gay, and by having a gay daughter with whom he spoke at length about gays in the military.


OTHER PALM NEWS


The Palm Center welcomes Bridget Wilson to our advisory board. Wilson is a shareholder in the firm of Rosenstein, Wilson and Dean, P.L.C. where she practices in civil litigation and military law. She is a graduate of Creighton University and the University Of San Diego School Of Law. A veteran of the enlisted ranks of the U.S. Army Reserve, she also serves as a judge advocate with the California State Military Reserve. She has been a consulting counsel for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network since 1994.

The Palm Center is honored to have received the following major gifts: $5,000 from The Silva Watson Moonwalk Fund, $10,000 from Daniel Renberg, $10,000 from Anna Curren, and $15,000 from The Small Change Foundation.