Tabling the real issue

Though her desire for a more prudent atmosphere in the Senate is understandable, Lauren Noble ’11 misses the mark in her guest column (“Ask first, then tell,” Sept. 21) by failing to acknowledge several important political realities.

First, she makes it seem that the Senate is rushing to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” before the results of the Pentagon study are released as part of a “politically calculated stunt” to appeal to gay-rights-minded voters. The Senate, however, was more prudent than Noble portrays and specified in the bill that even if it were to pass, “don’t ask, don’t tell” would not be repealed if it were concluded that repeal would harm “military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, [and] recruiting” in the military. Republicans, who have often stated that the matter of “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be left to the Pentagon, are voting to deny the Pentagon management of its own policies.

Further, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is no ordinary provision. On Sept. 9, a group of gay Republicans won a ruling in federal court that declared “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional. Not only are they acting against the Pentagon, but senatorial Republicans are now arguing against the Constitution.

Finally, in asking for further deliberation, Noble ignores an important political reality; namely, that November through January will be a lame-duck session of Congress, which historically has produced little substantive legislation. There lame-duck session hasn’t even been called for the past five years. After the impending lame-duck session, by all predictions, Republicans will hold even more power in Congress — and gay rights will be tabled once more.

Jack Newsham

Sept. 22

The writer is a freshman in Morse College.