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Cheney’s Dose of Reality

Posted on Feb 15, 2010
U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Julianne Showalter

By Eugene Robinson

Do you believe in miracles? I do, and here’s the proof: Dick Cheney said something reasonable.

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I heard it with my own ears. In the latest of his regular Sunday morning fireside chats, when he customarily tries to scare the nation silly with ghost stories and other tall tales, Cheney said it’s time to “reconsider” the ridiculous “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military, and added that he believes the policy will be changed.

Unsurprisingly, that nugget of good sense came amid an avalanche of the usual blather. Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Cheney demonstrated once again that he spends most of his time in some parallel universe. In the real world, the Obama administration inherited an unnecessary and ill-advised war in Iraq whose main geopolitical impact has been to strengthen neighboring Iran and its dangerous regime. But in Bizarro Cheney World, apparently, Obama somehow owes his predecessor “a healthy dose of ‘thank you, George Bush.’ ” 

Cheney also criticized the administration’s anti-terror policies—or rather the Obama team’s “mind-set.” One of his specific gripes was Obama’s ban on torture. “I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” said the former vice president of the United States.

If the Bush-Cheney administration’s White House lawyers could invent a legal justification for torture, can’t somebody come up with a theory that would allow retroactive impeachment?


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But back to the news: Cheney became perhaps the most prominent conservative voice thus far to speak out in support—or, at least, acceptance—of the Obama administration’s decision to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Cheney stopped short of saying flatly that he advocated a change. He based his view that “it’s time to reconsider the policy” on the public statements of Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other military brass in support of ditching “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But Cheney did volunteer that “things have changed significantly” in the two decades since he ran the Pentagon as secretary of defense under George Bush the Elder. “I think the society has moved on,” he said. “I think it’s partly a generational question.”

Last week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 75 percent of Americans favor letting gay people serve openly in the military. This compares with just 44 percent when the poll asked the question in 1993.

Those in favor of tolerance include 64 percent of Republicans—along with bigger majorities of Democrats and independents—and, in what may be the poll’s most significant finding, 81 percent of young adults under 30. In other words, abandoning the policy has overwhelming support among the age group that the nation depends on to enlist in the all-volunteer armed forces.

Four out of five respondents who said they have a gay friend or family member favored allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. It’s relevant to note that one of Cheney’s daughters, Mary, is a lesbian who lives with her longtime partner, Heather Poe, and their two children. It’s also worth mentioning that Cheney has said he has no objection to gay marriage and believes the issue should be left up to the states—a stance that puts him considerably to the left of President Obama, who says he opposes gay marriage. 

“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” Cheney said last June. “As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish.”

What does this tell us? Basically, just that once or twice a year Cheney says something reasonable about gay rights before hastily retreating to his fortress of solitude, where he worries that archvillain Saddam Hussein still plots to use his stockpile of imaginary weapons of mass destruction against the United States, despite the impediment of being deceased. 

But Cheney’s burst of lucidity should help Republicans in Congress understand that there is no longer any reliable constituency for the troglodyte position on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” If a long-overdue policy shift that would allow gay people to serve openly in the armed forces is fine with three-fourths of the American public, the top officers in the Pentagon hierarchy and Dick Cheney, too, then the times aren’t just a-changing. They’ve already changed.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)

© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

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By radson, February 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

It seems that Dick is in the same dilemma that the
Fuhrer had with Hermann.

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By DocReality, February 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

Cheney the operational figure on 911. He and his dual Israeli masters engineered the whole thing and now he walks around free, what kind of a universe are we stuck in?
This is one of the worst excuses for human flesh. How many has he wiped out for his bloodsucking corporate Zionist masters?
F(*K Cheney and F%^K Amerika for letting him get away with what he has. What if it was your family who suffered from the Satanic piece of garbage?
He has helped dig a grave for all of us.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, February 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

RickinSF writes: “We’re getting ready to re-start the draft, aren’t we?”

Yeah, I know what you mean, Rick. I mean, Cheney can see the demographic
changes among young Americans.

The stigma of being gay has weakened dramatically. It used to be that the military
could ban gays from service, with no fear that draftees might in significant
numbers claim to be gay, in order to get out of serving.

But if they tried to re-start the draft now, they’d probably see a whole lot of
young guys claiming to be gay. “What, you want me to prove it? No prob! Me and
my friend here made a little video for you, in case you might have any doubts.
Look here, there’s a link to it on my blog.”

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By Miles Gloriosus, February 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cheney supports a repeal of “Don’t-ask-don’t-tell.”

So, what? Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Now, if he’d come out and say that yes the administration lied to get us into an illegal war in Iraq or that he really is a vampire, there’d be something worth writing about. So let’s not give him kudos for speaking in favor repealing a policy everyone knows is wrong.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 17, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment


Perhaps I failed to make myself clear.

Robinson “using that data as—evidence of the “rightness” of his position,—


Nobody can legitimately use polling data as evidence of the “rightness” of their position while, simultaneously, dismissing other similar polling gathering when it does not suite them.

I may and often do disagree with the majority.  I don’t use polls to defend my positions.  I don’t change the meaning or context of polling data to defend my positions.  I don’t choose only the polls that are to my liking.

I will continue to refuse to rely on YES magazine or FOX News polls in determining the mood of the United States.  Those polls tell us only what that particular, narrowly defined, audience feels and thinks about.  They are useless in a global or national context.

Air America polling data was always the exact opposite from Hannity polls.  This is easily understood.


Intended or not you mischaracterized my entire post.  I have never cited from the Heritage Foundation and have never neared labeling the United States as overwhelmingly conservative.

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By DBM, February 17, 2010 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

“Dearth of honor”?  My turn to be taken aback ...

I think you were pointing out how the article’s author picked and chose statistics then interpreted them as he liked.  But then you implied that his inconsistency in not reporting that polled positions are correct positions was poor journalism.  I was making the point that polls do not prove right or wrong.  This is a point I’ve made before.

No personal criticism was intended though I can see that “you love your polls” was ad hominem ... dry wit was the intention but clearly didn’t come through in print.


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By RickinSF, February 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If DADT is eliminated, gays can openly serve their country in the military.
Being gay will no longer be a disqualification for service.

We’re getting ready to re-start the draft, aren’t we?

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By ofersince72, February 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

those are my suspicions to CAPT…
especially with Yeamen coming on and other resourse
wars on the horizen.

I do believe the repeal has much to do with
a posible future draft.

Other than that

GO GETTUM EUGENE…...When you gunna reprt nws???

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By Go Right Young Man, February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

DBM - “I’ve no doubt you have a similar set of poll numbers as posed by The Heritage Foundation or some such as opposed to Yes Magazine which will show that almost all Americans are conservatives.”


You surprise me with your comments today.  Yes I have shared several polls with you in our discussions.  Polls that can illustrate the mood of America regarding various issues we have discussed.  I did fail to include YES Magazine or any other clearly partisan poll.

I recall Pew, Gallup, Rasmussen and RCP.  I have never cited from Heritage and have certainly never claimed anything like a clear majority of conservatives in the U.S..

Your dearth of honer has me taken aback.

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By DBM, February 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Go Right ... you love your polls!  Have a look at Samson, February 16 at 2:50 pm (down below)...

I’ve no doubt you have a similar set of poll numbers as posed by The Heritage Foundation or some such as opposed to Yes Magazine which will show that almost all Americans are conservatives.

So what do poll numbers prove exactly?

The reason why Gay Rights are right is that they are simply morally right.  The reason that Guantanamo should be closed and its inmates given the trials they should have had years ago is that it is also simply morally right.

If only Cheney had had a daughter in Guantanamo it would have happened years ago!

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By Go Right Young Man, February 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Darn it.  Another example of feeling nothing but a waste of my time after reading Mr. Robinson.

Let me see if I have this straight.

The Vice President of the United States has recently stated that one of the greatest achievements of the current administration has been in carrying out the drawn-down of troops, as designed by the previous administration, after the most significant military battle of the last half century, and Mr. Robinson believes the greater issue for his time is whether or not Dick Cheney is sincere enough on the issue of Don’t Ask Don’t tell?


I am all for gay and lesbian individuals serving openly in the military.  But it remains pure hypocrisy for Mr. Robinson to cite polling data illustrating that roughly 3/4 of the U.S. population agrees with him on this issue, and using that data as evidence of the “rightness” of his position, while the same percentage of the population supports keeping Guantanamo in operation yet, according to Mr. Robinson, the American people are too stupid or ill-informed to understand how wrong keeping Guantanamo is.

This is what passes as journalism nowadays?

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By Ed Harges, February 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

I am disappointed to see Robinson helping to purvey the “dangerous Iran”
propaganda line, a pack of lies that serves only the expansionist, hegemonist
interests of the Israeli apartheid state. It’s disgusting to see Robinson helping to
drag the US into a suicidal and genocidal war for Israel against Iran.

But of course, if Robinson didn’t parrot the party line on the Middle East, he
wouldn’t be considered a respectable, “mainstream” black liberal, and we’d never
see him on TV. Just ask Cynthia McKinney how it works (if you can find her,
languishing somewhere in the black hole to which our Israeli-muzzled corporate
media have disappeared her).

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By FRTothus, February 16, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

I must take issue with the following mis-representation of reality:

“In the real world, the Obama administration inherited an unnecessary and ill-advised war in Iraq whose main geopolitical impact has been to strengthen neighboring Iran and its dangerous regime.”

In the real, “real world” Obama continued and expanded these “unnecessary and ill-advised” wars, and is actively provoking Iran whose regime is nowhere near as dangerous as the singularly belligerant one Obama heads.  It is the lawless US and its world-wide web of proxy mercenary forces that are the real danger.

“And in the general hardening of outlook that set in ... practices which had been long abandoned - imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions ... and the deportation of whole populations - not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.”
(George Orwell, 1984)

“The United States has no tradition of subordinating itself to international treaty-based law, and it has no interest in a world order in which military force becomes operational only as a last resort.”
(Peter Gowan)

“The real threat to U.S. military power is nuclear proliferation, because if every little country has nuclear weapons it becomes very tricky for the United States to engage in military action.”
(Immanuel Wallerstein)

“We live in a nation hated abroad and frightened at home. A place in which we can reasonably refer to the American Republic in the past tense. A country that has moved into a post-constitutional era, no longer a nation of laws but an autotocracy run by law breakers, law evaders and law ignorers. A nation governed by a culture of impunity ... a culture in which corruption is no longer a form of deviance but the norm. We all live in a Mafia neighborhood now.”
(Sam Smith)

“Only the grand scale and technocratic impersonality of the crimes conceived and directed by the [U.S.] ruling elite acting under cover of state authority distinguish them from garden variety killers.”
(Darrell Hamamoto)

“The United States is the greatest threat to world peace, and has been for a long time, and not merely because it is the world’s only superpower. Equally important, the United States is also far more disposed to use its power than any other powerful nation currently is. Though Americans are culturally and emotionally blind to the fact, the mere intrusion of US power is, in and of itself, destabilizing.”
(T.D. Allman)

“The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly.”
(Noam Chomsky)

“For the media owners, allegations of a liberal bias make it easier for them to impose the conservative bias they prefer. For the pseudoliberals who work in the media system, confessing to a liberal bias is far more comfortable than admitting that they’ve sold out their beliefs for a nice salary. It’s only because the mainstream media is so conservative that all these right-wing pundits can make accusations of liberal bias without opposition.”
(John K . Wilson)

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By bozh, February 16, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Samson, with respect! Thanks for the links!
None of the majority in US for an idyllic society? Being obtainable only via representation in WH-congress-judiciary? Which means one must have a political party in order to slate candidates for office.

Polls are of the system. They are allowed only because US is not governed from street or polls.
Movements are also of the system. Generally, they cannot achieve anything that US ruling class doesn’t like or perceives it as not in its best interest.

Why is schooling in US mandatory? I think it is mandatory becaue that’s the best place to manufacture serfs; many for a life time.

But much of the Left in US doesn’t seem to want to make their schools our schools; their congress our congress; their cia-fbi-army echelons ours, as well.

Even nader doesn’t talk ab what i have just posited.
This means, patching the old pants wld have to do! tnx

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By moni, February 16, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” Cheney said last June. “As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish.”

Wow! What a broad-minded person he exemplifies!  Cheney believes that people ought to be free to enter any kind of union they wish.  Is his great moral and deep authoritarian voice the future of the Republican party?  Once- upon- a- time people were tortured for being homosexuals.  No doubt even water boarding was considered appropriate torment by some. 

It’s utterly amazing what a clear intellect he possesses; Dr. Frankencheyney reserves water-boarding for would-be terrorists only.  If this guy defines the nuances of true moral integrity, then real honor must not exist in American society. Apparently his heart and mind are not ticking in unison.

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By Samson, February 16, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

If you want some clarification about who’s the left in America, then read this.

Source ... Progressive Review ...  (an excellent article all should read).  His article quotes the poll results from this original Yes magazine article ...

“A year ago, Sarah van Gelder of Yes Magazine gave us a clue as to what an independent progressive movement might look like - based on polls - of “an agenda that the majority of Americans support, whether they vote red, blue, green or something else.”

  * 67% favor public works projects to create jobs.
  * 55% favor expanding unemployment benefits.
  * 76% support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.
  * 80% support increasing the federal minimum wage.
  * 59% favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.
  * 75% want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.
  * 58% believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.
  * 59% would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.
  * 79% favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.
  * 90% favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.
  * 75% favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.
  * 72% support more funding for mass transit.
  * 64% believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.
  * 55% favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.
  * 81% oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.
  * 76% say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.
  * 79% say the U.N. should be strengthened.
  * 63% want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.
  * 47% favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.
  * 67% believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.
  * 86% say big companies have too much power in politics
  * 65% believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.
  * 87% support rehabilitation rather than a punishment-only system.
  * 81% say job training is very important for reintegrating people leaving prison.
  * 79% say drug treatment is very important.
  * 56% believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.
  * 64% believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country. “

We are the majority.  Don’t forget it.  We need to start acting like we are the majority.

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By amex, February 16, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

I have an idea - why don’t a few guys hold back his praetorian guard while I meet him in the playground after school and beat the living shit out him!!!  I can then drive him to another country and drop him off at the police where they might, just might put him on trial for crimes against mankind, you know - the kind of things he is bragging about and admitting to now!!  The kind of things that our new fearless leader lectured to us about how no one was above the law before winning this farcical presidency!

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By jay1953, February 16, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

I guess when your kid is gay it hits close to home.

If that wasn’t the case I’m sure Cheney would be out there with the rest of the bible thumpers ranting against gays.

Cheney is a major league hypocrite.

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By bozh, February 16, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

May i please digress from eugene’s gossip?

I need some clarification of who are the people on the Left in US.
I’d like to know what they stand for and how wld they achieve necessary changes or carry out what the want to do.

An elucidation appears in order ab meaning of “necessary changes”:this means transforming over time [decades, centuries, yrs?]an asocialistic society into an idyllic one.

As i see it, we have only two structures of society available: asocialistic [fascist, if it doesn’t rub u the wrong way] and socialistic and latter eventually becoming idyllyc [not, of course, utopian]

We wld then have removed the root cause of all ills that befell us on interpersonal level over the last 10-15k yrs: division of people into less- and more -valued.

Money, being a great tool cannot, in principle, be an evil; certainly no more than a spade. More cld be said. tnx

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By Ed Harges, February 16, 2010 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

re:By Inherit The Wind, February 16 at 8:52 am:

Yeah, Cheney’s just like Colin Powell, another Republican whose sense of fairness
doesn’t extend beyond what immediately concerns him personally.

Colin Powell has always rigidly defended antigay discrimination in the military,
even though the case for it is nearly perfectly analogous to the old arguments
against allowing blacks to serve alongside whites in the military.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 16, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

Oh, Come ON, Gene!  Cheney is a hypocrite like most of the right wing (and much of the left). The ONLY reason he has been open on Gay rights for the last 10 years is that he has an openly Lesbian daughter.  He hasn’t changed on this.

It all comes down to whose ox is being gored—and when it’s his, Cheney’s positions change.  Like the man who took 5 Viet Nam deferments who was SO willing to send other people’s sons and daughters to die in a meaningless war.

Ok, so Dick Cheney is a human and he loves his daughters and therefore on ONE idiotic policy he’s willing to call it out—to protect his own.

He’s still a dangerous hypocrite.

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By EJH, February 16, 2010 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

DBM - Excellent comment.

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By DBM, February 16, 2010 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

So Cheney has no problem with supporting Gay Rights because he has a lesbian daughter.  What a shame that he doesn’t also have a poor daughter, a muslim daughter, a Mexican daughter, a daughter who lost everything when the banks schemes led to economic collapse and daughter who has had her neighborhood destroyed by mountain top removal mining.

What a selfish A-hole.

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By abdo, February 16, 2010 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

I like to know how Dick,shoot you in the face, Chenney, supported water boarding, did he hold the prisoners heads or was he the one who poured water? Mr. Chenney you have followers;


the war comes home
Army Sergeant Accused of Water-boarding Four-Year-Old Daughter

TACOMA, Wash. (CBS/AP) Iraq war veteran Joshua Tabor is accused of water-boarding his 4-year-old daughter because she would not recite the alphabet.

Thurston County prosecutors filed a child-assault charge Tuesday against the 27-year-old Army Sergeant.

According to a police report obtained by CNN, Tabor’s girlfriend called police to their home in Yelm Sunday because Tabor had dunked his daughter’s head in the kitchen sink. Yelm is about 65 miles south of Seattle.

According to the police report, Tabor admitted to holding his daughter in the sink because she was afraid of water, CNN

Here in this country, an Army sergeant who served in Iraq has been accused of water-boarding his four-year-old daughter because she refused to recite her ABCs. Twenty-seven-year-old Joshua Tabor was arrested last week and charged with assaulting a child. Police in Washington state said the Iraq war veteran would sit his daughter on the edge of the bathroom sink and hold her head down until it was nearly submerged in water, dunking her if she refused to recite the alphabet. Police said they began an investigation of Tabor after receiving reports that he was walking around his neighborhood holding a Kevlar helmet and threatening to bust out windows.

indeed the war was a peice of cack

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By CaptRon, February 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

I do believe that the military draft must be a strong consideration in order to have Cheney agree to repeal DADT. I say this because when the past draft was in force people were leaving for Canada or whatever they could do to disqualify themself. Well, seems if you were to admit being gay your draft status would change and you could go back to life as you know it. Without DADT gays would be drafted and put to the front lines, right up Cheney’s mindset. This country seems to have ever increasing disrespect for it’s people unless those people pay them well. Ever since foreigners landed on these shores and started the political process with the Native Americans (for you TAO if your on)pushing them west and to near extinction. I don’t like it, but I won’t leave it. I would rather fix it hopefully through the change of political process. OK, I just might be a dreamer.

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By Samson, February 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

Funny how he dances all around what was the big leading headline on other sites.

Cheney announced his total and complete support for Obama’s Afghan war policy.

The fact that Obama is giving us an Afghan war policy that make Dick Cheney all warm and fuzzy was the headline that most people got from this interview.  Of course, the Dem propaganda brigade at the WaPo completely forgets to tell you about it.

I know don’t ask don’t tell is important to some people, but this is classic Dem propaganda.  They want the left to get all excited about this little bit of policy difference between Cheney and Obama, but to completely ignore the fact that the same war escalations and expansions that were Cheney’s dreams while he was in power are now Obama’s policy.

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss. (on all the big stuff).

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By EJH, February 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

I have a better idea than allowing gays and lesbians to
opening join the military.  Let’s support equality and
fairness by not letting anyone, regardless of sexual
orientation, join the military.  A side benefit to my
plan would be, of course, that the most dangerous
military force in the world would cease to exist and
the US would no longer be able to go around the world
murdering, raping, and plundering.

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