Monday, July 28, 2008

DADT "Expert" Embarasses Self Before Congress

The House Armed Services Personnel Committee held the first hearing in 15 years on the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. The committee invited veterans as well as Elaine Donnelly to testify. For some background, Donnelly is neither a veteran nor does she have any particular training or expertise in the area of military readiness. It just so happens, however, that she runs the Center for Military Readiness which opposes gays in the military and, rather than conducting original research of its own, merely writes various opinions about issues like women and gays in the military.

I'm sorry, but writing op-eds about military stuff doesn't make one a military expert. In fact, a Duke University law review is publishing a critique of Donnelly's "expertise" because her testimonies are "riddled with errors" due to her ignorance and misunderstanding of research methods.

How. Surprising.

According to Washington Post writer Dana Milbank, here's a sampling of what Donnelly opined before Congress:

"She warned of 'transgenders in the military.' She warned that lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower. She spoke ominously of gays spreading 'HIV positivity' through the ranks.....Her written statement added warnings about 'inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,' the prospects of 'forcible sodomy' and 'exotic forms of sexual expression,' and the case of 'a group of black lesbians who decided to gang-assault' a fellow soldier."

What a confused woman. Not surprisingly, her "arguments" resemble those of so many other anti-gays who foam at the mouth at the thought of two guys or girls getting it on. Perhaps it's the mere thought of gay men and lesbians that so flusters this woman that renders her incapable of making anything other than laughable irrational statements. I mean, why the alleged behavior of gays and lesbians constantly has to be an issue with these people when the behavior of heterosexuals is not similarly challenged demonstrates that some people really do just dislike and/or fear gay people. "Exotic" sexual behavior? Pretty sure heteros engage in that too. "Passive/aggressive" behavior? Pretty sure heteros can be that as well.

Oh, and while we're at it, let's do talk about "forcible" sex. Is forcible sex only wrong in Donnelly's eyes when it's forcible man-on-man sodomy?

See, some have observed that Donnelly's "real concern is forwarding a traditional values agenda that has nothing to do with military readiness."

Indeed. For someone who supposedly cares so very very much about the rape or sexual assault of all those poor heterosexuals in the military, one would think she would devote at least as much time, energy, and effort into asking Congress to do something about the much, much higher rates of women in the military who are sexually assaulted by heterosexual men. But no, she chooses to testify before Congress about a rare incident from 1974 in which a woman was allegedly assaulted by a group of lesbians. Break out your microfiche, ladies and gents, it's time to find obscure incidences of homasexul assault to use for political purposes!

To wrap up here, it's a joke that Donnelly fancies herself to be in any way a credible speaker or any sort of expert on the topic of military readiness. Unfortunately for the anti-gay movement, what passes for "expertise" is usually nothing more than a mere shared desire to advance a "traditional values" agenda. You see this attitude in various conservative "institutes" and "group blogs" in which the writers carry no expertise in anything relevant to political or legal thought but who nonetheless mistakenly believe that their good ol' conservative "common sense" renders them subject matter experts on anything having to do with politics, marriage, family, society, law, policy, morality, and ... well...pretty much everything.

Anyway, it was refreshing to see that members of Congress refused to take Donnelly seriously. There were actual guffaws at some of her statements:

"Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) labeled her statement 'just bonkers' and 'dumb,' and he called her claims about an HIV menace 'inappropriate'.... Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), a veteran of the war in Iraq, called Donnelly's words 'an insult to me and many of the soldiers' by saying they 'aren't professional enough to serve openly with gay troops while successfully completing their military mission....Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) said she was 'embarrassed.' Shays said it was 'scurrilous' of Donnelly to talk about the menace of homosexual misconduct, because it would be punished the same way the military punishes heterosexual misconduct."

If Donnelly presents the "best" that the anti-gays-in-the-military side has to offer, I hope she keeps on talking. Everytime she opens her mouth, it seems that she discredits her side a little bit more.

God bless America.

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