Quick, Before Hagel!

by Stephen H. Miller on February 11, 2013

Two headlines: Same-Sex Military Couples to Receive New Benefits, Pentagon Says and Hagel confirmation votes to be held this week.

In the words of outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Penetta: “It is a matter of fundamental equality that we provide similar benefits to all those men and women in uniform who serve their country.”

It’s good that gay couples are receiving more benefits despite the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. But it also seems clear that this is being pushed through just before the Hagel confirmation. Could be that words of support for equality would sound false coming from Hagel, if he could even bring himself to voice them. Otherwise, why not wait a week or two and let Hagel make the announcement, which would have sent a strong message that the drive toward equal treatment for gay service members would continue under the Pentagon’s new leadership, despite Hagel’s anti-gay history.

{ 11 comments }

Doug February 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm

My guess is that Stephen wanted Hagel to make the announcement of more benefits for gay and lesbian service members so that he could trumpet how the GOP is now changing. Instead he must make do with a Democrat making the announcement and whining about about it.

Mike in Houston February 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

The perpetual victimhood Miller oozes into his posts is getting beyond tiresome and the conspiracy theories are equally so.

To wit:

The Obama administration (Panetta) pushed this through because Hagel is anti-gay and it would sound hollow coming from him. (Too much Adelson-bought&paid-for Log Cabin koolaid?)

or

They moved it up because implementing these modest equality measures would have let Hagel score LGBT equality points for the GOP and the LGBT-Democratic establishment couldn’t allow that. (Really surprised there wasn’t a dig in there about HRC.)

or

As Tom points out in his post from yesterday, this has been in the works since DADT repeal – so to posit that the timing has anything to do with the Hagel nomination is clearly nonsense. I suspect that Hagel will do just fine on LGBT equality within the military — precisely because his past actions & words leave him no margin to do otherwise.

another steve February 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

Everything in his personal history related to gay issues indicates that Hagel is supremely uncomfortable taking any action in favor of greater equality for gay people.

Tom Scharbach February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm

The level of benefits that the military can (under DOMA) and should (consistent with military readiness and objectives) has been under study and development for at least 18 months. The decision came after a long study, buy-in from the services and legal analysis. The work and the decision were made on Panetta’s watch.

Why delay implementation of the policy, once a decision has been made, just for the sake of making Hagel look good?

Hagel will have his chance (assuming that Lindsay Graham drops the hold) to expand the policy after DOMA is repealed.

Houndentenor February 12, 2013 at 11:03 am

Hagel and Obama talked for quite some time about various issues before he offered Hagel the job and Hagel accepted (pending approval by the Senate, natch). This had to have come up at some point. A cabinet member has to follow the lead of the administration. If Hagel was uncomfortable with that, he wouldn’t have accepted the job. Whether he likes gays or supports gay marriage, he’s going to have to implement Obama’s policies.

I don’t see a problem here. I find it odd that people are talking about Hagel’s personal views. I don’t see how that’s relevant. He might not like gay people serving in the military but so long as he enforces the DADT repeal, his personal feelings are irrelevant. This is the mess we are in with all this PC crap. People’s feelings and choice of words now count for more than what they do. That is completely backwards, in my not so humble opinion. I care what he will do, not what he said 20 years ago or what he “feels in his heart” or whatever other PC bullshit things people say to make themselves sound better to low information voters. I respect Hagel and always have in spite of disagreeing with him on a great many issues (even gay rights). I think he’s going to do a good job and think it’s odd that he’s about to become the first Sec of Defense who actually served in combat. Ever. That’s so weird and long overdue.

Tom Scharbach February 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

… the first Sec of Defense who actually served in combat …

That’s not right, Houndentenor. Two others, at least, served in combat.

Elliot Richardson was a combat medic who landed on Utah beach. Richardson was awarded a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf clusters.

Melvin Laird served in combat on the USS Maddox in WWII and was awarded the Purple Heart.

I think that what distinguishes Hagel is that he will be the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as SOD, assuming that he is confirmed.

Houndentenor February 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Oh. I misunderstood what I read. You are right. Enlisted. Duh.

Correction duly noted.

Gus February 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

How about let Penetta make the announcement then take the heat and not give Senators more stuff to bitch about?

tomjeffersonIII February 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

Maybe its easier for folks who actually may apply for said benefits to not have to wait a few more weeks for a photo op moment. Maybe, doing the right thing trumps the photo op.

or maybe it was to try and get it done on or around Valentines Day….

another steve February 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

Or maybe because everything in his personal history related to gay issues indicates that Hagel is supremely uncomfortable taking any action in favor of greater equality for gay people?

Jimmy February 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Everything in his personal history indicates he is capable of independent thought. He was also a damn good soldier who will take his marching orders from his boss and serve honorably, as his personal history reveals he has never failed to do.

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