LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Obama falls short on campaign promise

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In July 1948, President Harry Truman issued Executive Order No. 9981, "Freedom to Serve," which declared it "the policy of the president that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

This executive order, issued during an election year, eventually ended racial segregation in the military, even though a Gallup Poll conducted that year showed that 63 percent of military personnel opposed desegregation.

This was the action of a commander-in-chief, undaunted by contemporary prejudices, with the courage of his convictions.

Last month, in a country where 78 percent of citizens support ending "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) and after having been reassured by army generals from Britain, Canada, Australia, Holland and Israel that allowing homosexuals to serve openly has no effect on morale or unit cohesiveness, President Obama authorized Defense Secretary Gates, at the cost of $4.5 million, to issue a questionnaire to 400,000 military personnel seeking their opinions on military life "if" DADT is overturned.

Here is one of the 103 questions:

"If DADT is repealed and you are assigned to bathroom facilities with an open bay shower that someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian service member also used, which are you most likely to do?

Take no action.

Use the shower at a different time.

Discuss how we expect each other to behave and conduct ourselves.

Talk to a chaplain, mentor, or leader about how to handle the situation.

Talk to a leader to see if I have other options.

Something else.

Don't know."

This is both hysterical and pathetic. I hope Comedy Central makes good use of it. Imagine the outrage if any other minority were spoken of in this fashion? The survey is rife with insulting, derogatory, homophobic insinuations and assumptions.

What is the purpose of this survey? Will Obama decide not to repeal DADT, if a large number of military personnel object? Will there be separate housing, bathrooms, dining halls, combat units?

Our commanded-in-chief campaigned on a promise to overturn DADT but refused to issue an executive order establishing a moratorium on homosexual conduct discharges while the new policy was discussed. As a result, roughly 1,000 gay and lesbian soldiers have been booted out of the military since he assumed office. It is probably of little consolation to them that he "opposes" DADT.

Patrick Henry
Walla Walla

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