Elaine Donnelly, a woman with no military training and little understanding of the military, runs the Center for Military Readiness, a “think-tank” devoted to opposing the open inclusion of LGBT citizens (and women) in the military. According to her missives, the United States Military just isn’t as strong as the rest of the militaries around the world (like Israel, the United Kingdom, etc.), in which open gays and lesbians serve alongside straight servicemembers. In short, Elaine Donnelly is a know-nothing demagogue who has far more of a voice than her merit deserves.
And now, via Think Progress, Elaine has given an interview to Secure Freedom Radio’s Frank Gaffney, in which she claims that the true culprit in the Abu Ghraib scandal was women serving alongside men in the military:
DONNELLY: Ok, now how are we going to deal with four different sexual groups, say in Special Operations summaries. How’ that going to work? Or are we going to have the kind of military ‚Äî and he clearly suggests this ‚Äî he says yes, we have women in the military. We all support women in the military. However, he says that everything has been going on just fine without incident. Umm, what was that Abu Ghraib scandal all about? It started out as misconduct between men and women and then it steadily deteriorated into abuse of prisoners. The common denominator is lack of discipline. Once you break down discipline, good order and discipline and morale, everything that’ required for unit cohesion, you undermine the culture and the strength of the armed forces. This man obviously doesn’t get that.
Again, she’s a know-nothing demagogue. She seems to be unaware that there are multitudes of decorated female servicemembers, as well as LGBT servicemembers, and it’s done nothing to damage discipline. And, Think Progress also points out that Ms. Donnelly doesn’t seem to have a clue what the Abu Ghraib scandal was all about in the first place, as it’s part of a revealed pattern of torture techniques in Iraq and Afghanistan that started at the very top, with Rumsfeld’s Defense Department. Perhaps Ms. Donnelly doesn’t watch the news very much (and I wouldn’t expect a demagogue of her kind to stay informed about much of anything), but we’ve been discussing the incidence of U.S.-sanctioned torture in these conflicts in our national discourse for several years now. Abu Ghraib was merely the first glimpse of the problem. Torture has happened at CIA black sites, at Guant?°namo, and a recent report in Harper’s exposes* a previously unknown black site at Guant?°namo referred to as Camp “No,” run either by the CIA or by J-SOC, in which Americans may have tortured detainees who had never been charged with a crime, quite literally, to death.
So no, Ms. Donnelly, you’re simply making things up again, in service of your bigotry. It’s important to remember that our foes who fight against the LGBT community tend to also be fierce misogynists. The fact that a few of them have two X chromosomes is irrelevant. They have simply bought into the ideology that states that all human beings should be subservient to straight, white, Christian men. Donnelly believes that women who serve simply don’t “know their place.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Donnelly repeats her tired claims that the repeal of DADT is part of some monolithic “Gay Agenda” which seeks to undermine the military. Same old, same old, like a broken record.
Meanwhile in the real world, General John Shalikashvili, who implemented the policy in the first place, stated this week that it’s time to repeal the DADT policy. Ever the tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist, Pam Spaulding reported that in 2007, when Shalikashvili first came out against the policy, Ms. Donnelly claimed that the general had been coerced into changing his mind by Big Gay Activists, due to the fact that he had recently had a stroke.
What say you now, Elaine? No, just kidding. No one cares what you think.
If you’re interested in what other know-nothings on the Religious Right have to say about the repeal of DADT, Kyle at Right Wing Watch has posted a round-up of their reactions.
Last night, President Obama called for the policy to be repealed this year. We shall see if he follows through, but John Aravosis looked at the language he used and found reasons to be encouraged, and indeed White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett stated that the process for repeal will start right away.
I’m cautiously optimistic.
*If you haven’t read that Harper’s piece, please find thirty minutes to do so. It’s extremely important.