Monday, November 8

Smart START and DADT Distractions

When Congress returns to Washington in the lameduck session, it is expected that the Democrat Senate majority will to try to push through the START agreements. The START treaty, which also awaits ratification in Russia, would lower each country's maximum number of long-range active nuclear warheads and set procedures for them to inspect each other's strategic nuclear bases. With the immediate seatings of Joe Manchin, Mark Kirk, and Chris Coons in the Senate to replace the interim placements, there is the opportunity to close out the year on a high note where nuclear proliferation is concerned.

Also expected to be discussed is the repaeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). This may be a taller order, but, because it is supported by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, as well as Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey Jr., chief of naval operations Adm. Gary Roughead and Air Focre chief of staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, it may help to sway the Senate, particularly if the Suptreme Court review of the repeal is completed soon. At odds are field level military leaders who previously have sent letters not to support it. According to Poliglot, "With preliminary reports about the survey of servicemembers suggesting that opposition to openly gay and lesbian service is not as widespread as some of the service chiefs have suggested, and with questions about the ongoing appeal of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States as the background scene, it is not clear that -- despite the comments from Amos [Marines commandant, Gen. James Amos who said Saturday that combat is "intimate" and that this intimacy makes him uncertain of the impact of repealing DADT on "unit cohesion" and "combat effectiveness.] -- all of the service chiefs would be willing to send a similar letter opposing lame-duck passage of the repeal amendment."

With narrow wins by Senate majority leader Reid, it remains to be seen whether he is willing to go to the wall for the repeal of DADT or will let it play out in the next session. Also up in the air is whether, with a narrower margin in the new year, whether Republican leaders will hold out for a changing of the guard.

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