Repeal of “Don’t ask don’t tell” amidst Restrepo

Image from the U.S. Army on flickr

I’m visiting with family and comfortably curled up in an armchair, hanging out a few feet away from a vibrant Christmas tree. I am only semi-social, with my head ducked into my laptop because I am annoyed by a disturbing documentary that somebody else put on the tube. It’s a film about soldiers in Afghanistan called “Restrepo” by Sebastian Junger.

It’s hard to watch a gritty war documentary on Afghanistan right now. I want to be in a blissfully ignorant sugar cookie-scented Christmas experience, not listening to bullets fly.

The film reminds me how young soldiers are. They have to be legal age, but some look to be 16 years old. We see them cry remembering their dead commander, and we see his blood. We see a dead Afghani child being held by her dazed father. The American soldiers are about 11 years older than the dead girl, and in my eyes, they are also “kids”. They fight where no invader has ever won.

I get the news that “don’t ask don’t tell” is repealed.

I feel weakly happy. More machine gun fire rattles out of the TV speakers. And I am brought to Afghanistan again.

I am so relieved that gay soldiers will not be denied their rights and “Don’t ask don’t tell” is going to be reduced to a bad memory.

I thank the Senators who gave their “Aye” votes to repeal DADT today, and thank President Barack Obama for giving continued support for repeal.

I support the men and women who serve, straight or gay. Thanks to “Restrepo”, I vow to quit shoving Afghanistan out of my comfortable world.

One last thing: Soldiers are warned that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will still be the law for, at minimum, 60 days. The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must certify that the Defense Department is prepared to implement repeal. For full details and continued updates, see Servicemembers Legal Defense Network information for service members:

Grab bag of blogging, Dec 1: High-speed rail | Republican recipes | NYTimes studies Palin | Die already, DADT | Melee at Isthmus

What’s up with Wisconsin’s rail?: This haunts me. Madison’s Mayor and Common Council President Mark Clear have told the city’s Economic Development Committee to keep its mouth shut and let the mayor diplomatically broach the subject of high-speed rail with Gov-Elect Scott Walker.  And by “diplomatically broach” I mean wait around for Scott Walker to meet with him. I agree with Julie Stone who says: “I think we’re losing a battle of publicity, not politics.”

And what are those Republicans cooking up?: Jack Craver of Isthmus lists 8 actions Wisconsin Republicans will likely implement with their total control. None of which looks capable of creating 250,000 jobs. Representative Jon Richards of Milwaukee went on Public Radio and pledged to keep Republicans to their knitting: ““It’s been a little troubling to hear that one of the first things they’re doing is trying to derail the high speed train project that’s expected to create 5,000 jobs in Wisconsin. That also should be part of the agenda to make sure that project is on track so we keep those jobs in Wisconsin.

Repubs are surely coming in demanding photo I.D. voter registration requirements. I fear eventually they will turn their attentions to the Pro-Life Wisconsin agenda:  opposing abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, halting embryonic stem cell research, and opposing any artificial birth control.

Palin still here?: New York Times figured out Palin just won’t die or go away, so they did an exhaustive 7 pager on her. We learn that Palin is too secretive and controlling for her own good, she’s an organism hated as much by the Republicans as by me, and she’s rented office space in Iowa — prepping for primary action in 2012.

Cut the DADT crap already: President Obama calls on Senate to act ASAP and repeal “Don’t ask don’t tell” so he can sign it into law. From the study: “We have a gay guy. He’s big, he’s mean and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay,”-quoted member of special operations force.

Gentlemen, start your melee!: Bill Leuders, Dave Blaska, and Jack Craver had a spirited discussion at David Blaska is not telling the truth. I see even Emily Mills popped in! Afterward, I hope they had a beer together.