Welcome Aaron Belkin (PalmCenter.org) and Host, Dan Choi (LtDanChoi.com)

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

How We Won: Inside Stories from the 17-Year Struggle to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Host, Dan Choi:

The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was an all-out battle, at times tougher than combat. Military Veterans and Political Lobbyists, College Professors and Grassroots Organizers pushed the government in such a way that the issue could not be ignored, but that did not mean the coalition or the struggle was an easy one. We all learned many tough lessons about research, messaging, politics, and perseverance. The roller coaster of DADT repeal is brought to life from “the foxhole” perspective of Dr. Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center (formerly known as the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military) who has the deserved distinction and title: The Professor of The Movement.

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Belkin early in my Coming Out journey, through some of his longtime battle buddies in the repeal movement. Hiking near Santa Barbara, California, he walked me through some basic media pitfalls and grilled me with tough questions (His training was so good, we talked our way out of a traffic ticket on the way back home. But that’s a different story altogether…) His research was unparalleled, and served as the backbone for the messaging which proved so successful, pummeling our opposition before they even spoke a word. Still, the thinly veiled bigotry of conservative pundits and anti-gay bullies was not an easy wall to penetrate. Dr. Belkin took to the airwaves with a fierce and agile weaponry, like a samurai with razor sharp swords. Actually, it was more like a charging rhinoceros herd stomping out the crusty, rotten platform upon which the conservatives stood. At every turn of the battle, Dr. Belkin crushed the opposition, even using their own weaponry against them. Many times I felt the opposition wouldn’t dare show their bludgeoned faces in public after the slayings of Dr. Belkin and company. But, like dancing Oompa-Loompa’s, they kept up their menacing charade.

So how the hell DID we win? That is the topic of the book, and the lessons are applicable to the many battle fronts of the Progressive community. Certainly Obama, like any politician, would love to take the full credit of the journey, but this book points out the truth behind Obama’s reticence and spineless wavering. So many lessons indeed: because Obama has wavered on so many political fronts, selling out progressives as if we were rented mules, it is time for us to wake up and apply the lessons of DADT Repeal: (1) Take on the enemy messaging and beat them at their own game, (2) Educate the nation with inscrutable research (3) corner the politicians, especially our “friends” so they take action (4) never give up.

137 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Aaron Belkin, How We Won: Inside Stories from the 17-Year Struggle to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell””

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Aaron, Welcome to the Lake.

Dan, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 1:53 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

It’s a pleasure to be here

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Hello everyone, and welcome to this amazing forum. I look forward to a great discussion!

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

FIRST QUESTION: Dr. Belkin, what do you think was more difficult: fighting anti-gay forces, or working within the internal politics of the gay community?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 1:59 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 4

Hi Dan (and please call me Aaron if you’re comfortable doing so). Fighting anti-gay forces was difficult in the sense that it required a long term strategy that was difficult to implement. But in terms of day to day hostility/tension, that was much higher, at least from my perspective, among the LGBT groups than between our side and anti-gay forces. Sad but true

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Aloha, Aaron and Lt. Choi…!

Once again, I’d like to state that you bring great honor to our tarnished uniform, Sir…! Mahalo for all your excellent service…! *g*

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:07 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 5

You mention Elaine Donnelley of the Center for Military Readiness in your book. She seemed to be the lightning rod for the anti-gay camp, and her media presence was ubiquitous. Do you think she had the same internal conflicts in her efforts to stifle repeal as the gay side had? Or is the common thinking true that conservatives tend to be more lock step with whoever is out front in their activism?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:07 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 6

I agree. Dan brought great honor to the uniform with his bravery

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:08 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 7

That’s a great question about Elaine. I just don’t know the answer because there was no window into the other side’s operation. My gut instinct is that they weren’t fighting w each other, but in part that is because they were mostly dormant for the past 17 years.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:09 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 9

Once they won on DADT, they moved on to other issues. Elaine, from my point of view, was a bit of a lone voice from her community. So, unlike our side, their side wasn’t populated by different groups in pursuit of different strategies

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 8

This old NCO would’ve been proud to serve under him…!

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 6

There are many ways to serve, as Aaron has shown throughout this journey. As we prepare for a post-repeal military, we should keep in mind all the people who helped make this happen: especially the folks on FDL and other communities that never gave up and pushed on despite all the difficulties. It was very much like combat!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:11 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 11

He is a great American

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:11 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 12

It was certainly a team effort that required lobbyists, field organizers, lawyers, veterans, active duty folks, straight people, LGBT people, and all sorts of others

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:12 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 14

That said, from my point of view what was missing all along was the fire-breathing grass roots effort that Dan and GetEqual and CourageCampaign finally brought to the table.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 15

For all these years, we had very good and effective groups organizing protests and organizing veterans and, to the extent possible, active duty folks. But it wasn’t until Dan and GE and CC came along, again, from my own personal point of view, that we had fire-breathers who would really get in the face of politicians and scream

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 5

Welcome Dr. Belkin and Lt. Choi: Can you say more about the divergence/tension within the gay community, please? What accounted for that, and how did you overcome it?

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 2:15 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 12

It was very much like combat!

No doubt…! And the bullets are still flying…! 8-(

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:16 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 10

Aaron, you point out in the book how you debated Elaine at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, that politeness goes a long way with military officers. Does the same polite imaging work when convincing other communities, for instance NCOs like CTuttle, or TV shows where guests are pitted against each other?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:16 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 17

There are a lot of factors that caused the tension. Part was personality clash. Part was jealousy over who would get credit for what, which in turn was driven by a competition for limited funds. Part was honest differences over strategy. I can’t speak for the other groups but the way Palm got around it was (sadly) (1) work as little as possible with the other groups and try to never depend on them for anything; (2) when possible, give them heads up about our plans so they wouldn’t be blindsided; (3) when possible, solicit their advice and input; (4) remember and constantly remind each other (on the Palm staff) to keep the focus on the mission; (5) when angry, vent to other staff members who would agree to absorb the heat rather than airing the dirty laundry

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 19

That’s a super hard question. On one hand, the way to win a TV debate is not to win on merits or points scored, but to make the audience like you. From that point of view, you need to be polite. On the other hand, Elaine and many others on the other side will steam roll you and never let you get a word in unless you break through and assert yourself. So, you have to be polite but also not get rolled

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 19

I forgot to say that yes, in conversations with military audiences, I learned the hard way that it is always essential to be polite, and that if you come off as pushy or rude, you have already lost the game

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Aaron, for our readers, how did the Palm Center begin, and your research, pushback to the negative messages.

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:21 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 17

SCARECROW! Hey, good to see you here. (We went to jail together protesting the Keystone XL Pipe aka “TARSANDS” and the environmentalist community has so many parallels to the gay community) The issues largely stem from the gay lobby groups based in Washington DC. Not all of them, but I would say 90% live breathe and die for ACCESS to the White House and the inside loop of the Democrats. The Human Rights Campaign is the most well known of these pandering groups, but many others fit the image well. It goes beyond talking points for media appearances, it means the White House in a repudiation of citizen control of government (government of by for the people) will direct the communities to wait after a certain agenda and actively serve to stifle loud criticism. SLDN (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network) dared to criticize Obama for not moving on DADT and was effectively blocked from the inside loop, not getting invited to the cocktail parties or insider meetings for a few months. I’m sure the environmental groups face the same issues in working with this White House.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 24

This is something I discuss in the book. I have had my complaints about HRC to be sure, but I think it is also important to remember that their inside access has been crucial at some points of the struggle to repeal DADT. We needed groups on the inside with access, and we needed groups on the outside pushing. I don’t think there’s any one, correct answer on how to think about access. That said, Palm’s strategy was, when possible, to prioritize voice over access. This means that we always wanted to say whatever it took to move the issue forward, even if this angered the administration of allies in Congress

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 2:24 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 24

From Bill McKibben yesterday:

oh, and give my love to dan choi too. he wore the handcuffs, and it wasn’t even ‘his issue’

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

even using their own weaponry against them

Aaron, can you give an example of that?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to BevW @ 23

I started Palm during about 11 years ago when I was a first-year professor. I had ready Urvashi Vaid’s book in which she said that we needed more LGBT thinktanks to fight the right’s use of phony research. In terms of how to respond to anti-gay forces’ messaging, I think the short answer was to use fact/evidence/research to pound away at their lies, again and again, over a decade, and to use the research as the basis of media campaigns rather than just letting it sit on the shelf

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 16

The lesson about firebreathers seems particularly apt. In another battle, over the Keystone Pipeline, it’s been interesting to watch the evolution of the protest leaders — Bill McKibben — who started with rather polite civil disobedience in front of the White House (Dan and Jane Hamsher joined Bill in getting arrested for that) but is now openly confrontational, with the next event a planned encirclement of the White House designed to liberate (exorcise) Obama from his stunt double, with the threat of working against Obama if he fails on this. Very personal, very focused, and in your face. Maybe that’s Dan’s influence. Can you say more about how important this direct confrontational aspect is to a movement’s success? And just as important, what’s the next step, if that doesn’t work?

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 19

Being a Commo Chief, I’d served in both REMF and Combat Arms units(Airborne Infantry, etc.) and I’d noticed there was a definitive distinction in the biases between the unit’s tolerance/intolerance to teh Gay…! I’m heterosexual myself, but, I’ve seen it firsthand in my 20 yrs…!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:27 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 27

of using their own weaponry against them? Sure. Melissa Wells Petrie, an anti gay pundit, wrote about twenty years ago (when the public opposed allowing gays/lesbians to serve openly) that military policy should follow what the public wants. That line was a great gift that we used once public opnion shifted

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:29 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 29

I think this kind of pressure is crucial for the simple reason that (1) it generates press (usually) and even more importantly (2) on a very personal, intimate level, politicians don’t like getting heckled. Sure, they hate negative media coverage. But they REALLY hate when activists get right in their faces and shout. I can’t give a generalized answer for next steps when grass roots pressure fails, but I would think that in most cases, it is not right to think of grass roots pressure as one step in a sequential chain, but rather as one component embedded in a range of strategies being pursued at the same time (litigation, lobbying, research, etc)

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:30 pm
In response to BevW @ 26

Bill McKibben is a prophet. He is so righteous, and I almost couldn’t believe how quickly he has adopted the principles of non-violent direct action, saying to the Occupy Wall Street crowd: “We need to surround the White House and remove the impostor that says he’s Barack Obama!” He has been a great source of inspiration and learning for me too. I do believe environmental issues are my issue too. If we are to fight for gay equality for future generations, those generations should also be able to breathe!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:30 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 32

I should have added a third reason for the importance of grassroots pressure, which is firing up the base and keeping the base motivated

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

WRT media training, I once had the misfortune to be on Charlie Rose (1992, “discussing” Clinton econ plan during campaign) with Larry Kudlow as the anti-Clinton rep.

Kudlow was well trained & talked & talked & talked. Rose did nothing to ‘moderate.’ Being a woman, I was determined to get a few words in and did but very dissatisfied with my performance. Got some media training afterwards, which boiled down to saying: Larry, or whoever, I didn’t interrupt you when you were talking so I would appreciate the same courtesy. Tried it out in a diff confrontational situation & it didn’t work so well.

Any short versions about how else such situations can be gracefully handled?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:32 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 33

I agree, although here’s one point at which I would say that the lessons of the DADT repeal campaign are particularly apt. Think of it this way. Occupy Wall St. has been tremendous and brave and hopefully they will keep having an impact. But what OWS had followed ten years of messaging in which, every few months, scholars had released more studies (and generated media coverage of those studies) documenting the increasing rich-poor gap, and documenting the ways in which that gap hurts everyone, not just the poor.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 36

That’s why it was so powerful to have Dan doing the direct action work at the same time that had won the argument with the public and with opinion leaders based on a decade of research based messaging.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:35 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 35

I think there is a terrible and powerful gender dynamic here in which, on average, men have more tools at their disposal in such a situation. Why, because if a women comes on too strong, she can be accused of being unfeminine. And if she is too gentle, then she might not be taken seriously. So I think it is much harder for women in such situations. I can’t offer much advice about how to walk that line aside from being assertive but also gracious at the same time (which admittedly often is not enough)

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 2:36 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 33

Dan — it was an important moment of solidarity when you joined Bill on the Keystone protest, and he returned the favor by showing up the first morning of your trial to wish you well. “Not his issue” became “these are all our issues,” an important insight. So my question to you, Dan, and Aaron is what did you do to solicit support from other groups, and whom did you find most helpful?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:38 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 39

We left that piece of the repeal struggle to SLDN and HRC, both of whom did a good job in my opinion of reaching out to all kinds of different groups such as Human Rights Watch, People for the American Way, etc. Palm rounded up about 100 generals and admirals (retired) to call for the lifting of the ban, but that was the extent of our contribution in this area. We tried to reach out to groups that work on gender and race in the military, but from their point of veiw, we were like stones around their necks, and we weren’t able to achieve much cooperation

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 35

I think you have to just loudly interrupt with “what gibberish!” and then the moderator has to let you explain why. But I don’t have very good manners.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 31

Yes, but the opposite numbers are always ready to be ignorant & disavow what they said in the past. “Leftie” blogs are always pointing out the rank hypocrisy of wingnuts, but to little avail in my observation. Once you hoist them on their own petards, they just shift the terms of the controversy. So once public opinion switched, they switched their argument to “group cohesion” or esprit de corps, or some such other BS.

Do you agree? Disagree? How do you keep up with such rapidly shifting terms of public discourse?

BTW, think tanks are a great idea IMO, but they need funding, and it is thru that that they get coopted. How did you avoid that trap?

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 32

One of the major criticisms, including that from Barack Obama’s own mouth, in private and public, was that we should stop ‘hollering’ at those who nominally support our cause, that we should holler at the ones who don’t agree with repeal.

Seated in the car, painfully aware that his boss was angry, was Jim Messina, Obama’s deputy chief of staff, the White House point man on don’t ask, don’t tell, and the target of many activists’ ire. Obama uttered a curse. “Messina, I don’t understand these guys. What is it about what we are doing that they don’t get? If they want to protest, they should go protest someone who was against this.”

So the initial strategy was simple for Get Equal and others who took to the tactics of confrontation: The Democrats were the ones who nominally supported us. Obama made speeches, and he was the one who needed the pressure. Infact, he called for it in a very FDR fashion, at the HRC dinner in 2009:

I said I would never counsel patience; that it wasn’t right to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for others to tell African Americans to be patient in the fight for equal rights a half century ago.

from http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/10/01/president-obama-delivers-remarks-hrcs-annual-national-dinner#transcript

Phoenix Woman October 16th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Hello, gentlemen!

Nothing much to say, other than that:

1) You both rock. Tremendously.

2) You both showed that, when you don’t have money (the power tool of choice in DC), you can’t fight on a playing field that requires it to win. Instead, you found other ways to win, most notably by forcing your targets to see you.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:43 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 42

That’s a very good point. In terms of DADT repeal, the opposition was stuck with a limited number of arguments that had been locked in by Congress, when it spelled out “findings” to support the law in the first place. Here is where you saw the articulation of the unit cohesion and privacy arguments. Because we were shooting at a relatively fixed target, we had a huge advantage in that we could keep pounding away at the same foil. The situation is much different in other policy areas in which bad policy is held in place not by one or two lies, but by dozens of lies. So, in those cases, you use research to win the public conversation about one of the lies, and then the conservatives just shift and emphasize another lie. Think about military budget, for example, and how may lies sustain it.

maa8722 October 16th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

This is already old news, what with overturning DOMA still looming.

Look to the future at unfinished business.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 42

In terms of how we avoided getting co-opted, that wasn’t really a problem for us because our donors were outstanding and found a way to hold us accountable for results without meddling in our affairs in a counterproductive way.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:45 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 44

Yup, at one level it was all about recognition and visibility. Part of the genius of DADT is that it hid its own costs and consequences. It rendered itself almost impossible to scrutinize. So it took a lot to rip the mask off the injuries it was causing.

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

How important were statements like that from Adm. Mullen (?) or others? And what did folks do behind the scenes to focus and help bring that about?

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:46 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 38

I agree 100% on gender bias. Am now a senior woman, so saw it all and tried a lot of techniques over the years. The most effective for me in more neutral settings was just to be super professional & super composed, something that was easy for me. But that doesn’t work in performance settings. I’m sure there are other techniques (too late for me, but not too late for others), that might work.

Though I am straight, I’m sure your obs on gender bias applies in spades to lesbians who must encounter the gender bias times (name your multiplier).

So, are you saying that (know I’m putting words in your mouth but doing it as a ‘straight man,’) that gay guys are the ones who must lead the way and not lesbians?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:46 pm
In response to maa8722 @ 46

When it comes to DOMA, I would like to see LGBT think tanks commission a new study every few months to ask the question: “does marriage equality harm or help kids” Ask it in 100 different empirical contexts. Use each study to generate media attention. Report all results, both negative and positive. You can’t just do one study and assume that you’ll win the argument in public with that one study

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 49

Mullen’s statement was the beginning of the end for DADT, a huge huge turning point. I have tried like crazy to figure out why he said what he did, but haven’t been able to do so. Historians will have to do the research.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 41

That does absolutely NOT work on Charlie Rose, famously known for his ‘soft’ interviews. LOL.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 47

That’s astounding. Good for you.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:48 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 50

Absolutely am not saying that the movement should be led by men, gay or straight. We need diverse leadership in every way.

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:48 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 39

One thing about the book I find most refreshing is it’s brutal honesty, even in self-criticism. FOr example (and I’ll only list one here!) Aaron points out the “strange bedfellows” made between the Gay Republicans (Log Cabin) and the activists like Palm Center who are by and large progressive in philosophy (although officially non-partisan). The LCR v US case in the 9th circuit, challenging the constitutionality of DADT was in and of itself a worthy effort, but it ultimately served more as a red-hot poker to push the military to get off their asses or get a swift kick in the pants by a worldwide injunction by the courts. Military doe snot like fiats from civilian judges, so they kicked it into high gear. Initially, everyone underestimated the case, and poo-pooed it (to use a technical term) but it really helped the process move, even if the decision was vacated. (I believe the lawyers are still trying to revive the case… which is important if we want a more durable protection against a president coming in and reinstating a form of DADT in the future… which he or she could theoretically do).

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 56

Yup, I really screwed up in opposing the LCR case. I did have reasons for opposing the case (the venue didn’t seem right, and other cases working their way through the courts seemed more compelling). But my reasoning was dead wrong, and I am so glad that LCR ignored me.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 45

bad policy is held in place not by one or two lies, but by dozens of lies.

Very good point.

Which is why OWS is smart, IMO, by not being specific. Doesn’t give the oppos opportunity to switch the terms of the debate.

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Aaron, more hidden DOMA issues. The children of same-sex couples have a hard time with federal regulations too. College Forms.

Have you done any research on this aspect of DOMA?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 58

That’s a fascinating insight. I’m not sure what I think about it, and will have to reflect a bit

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
In response to BevW @ 59

I haven’t done anything on DOMA. Part of that silence was strategic because I thought that work on marriage equality would make Palm’s military scholarship seem less credible

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 52

But, on the other hand you had the Marine Corps JCS General Smith(?) saying the Corps wasn’t ready to implement DADT repeal…! 8-(

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

FOLKS: I’m taking a one minute break to go boil water for tea. Will be right back

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 48

Heh. One of my faves: unseen vs. seen costs. Dog that didn’t bark. (Due credit to the Rummy buried there somewhere.) Used that one a lot. Works in shutting off other side, but somehow (wonder how that could possibly be) doesn’t seem to convince them. Not so sure what influence it has on the public, though. Is a very sophisticated way for humans to ‘think’ in my experience.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 62

Well that’s part of the point. When Generals Amos and Conway made their opposition known, the “military readiness” and “unit cohesion” arguments had been so shattered in public discourse that they had very little credibility, and they didn’t scare off any Democrats who, had we not destroyed the unit cohesion argument, would have been more vulnerable to charges of being weak on defense had they opposed Amos/Conway

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Dan, Have you seen a different approach from the military recruiters, other than the press releases (PR)?

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 55

One thing we noticed about the OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT… it is not led by men. it is not led by women. it is LEADERLESS. in fact, one major point of contention was the strict egalitarian principles of organizing seen in extremis. Occupy Atlanta refused to allow Civil Rights hero John Lewis to speak at general assembly, as there was no consensus on the question of Rep. Lewis speaking. So many times we are afraid to allow the people to speak loudly, saying they would offend the sentiments of the general public. Certainly there is a balance that can be struck between open democratic method and non-egalitarian imaging/messaging to the public. Gathering 100 generals to repeal DADT was significant, as was ADM Mullen’s testimony.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:57 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 64

That’s one of the reasons why Dan and other service members (Victor Fehrenbach, Katie Miller, Mike Almy, Bleu Copas) were so important, because they personified the cost in a way you could see. The brilliance of DADT is that it prevented active duty service members from explaining those costs. Only those who were fired or in process of being fired could explain the costs.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 2:57 pm
In response to BevW @ 66

I have seen a little bit about recruiters who are now going to LGBT community centers and other LGBT venues/spaces to recruit.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 60

Well fine. If that’s the way you want to be.

Jerking your chain. I’m nothing if not provocative.

Just running the flag up the pole to see what salutes result.

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 69

Same here – the real question is: will this next West Point class be the first with “out” LGB personnel?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:00 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 67

I’m not enough of a scholar or tactician of grassroots organizing to weigh in on the balance of leaderless versus highly-organized protest strategies. There is a scholarly literature on this point though I don’t know what it concludes. I will say that Palm was very much a non-democratic organization, and that that had a lot of advantages and disadvantages. We were much more nimble and focused, but we had limited community participation/involvement

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:01 pm
In response to BevW @ 66

One month ago, I went to the army recruiter and noticed the order repealing DADT posted on the desk of one of the sergeants. SInce I am trying to go back as enlisted (not officer) there is no big hurdle I have to jump to get back in. It is difficult to go back as an officer (somewhat) because the commission must technically be approved by politicians. THere is no official Procedure for reinstatement that I know of. Many concerns remain: if an officer discharged for instance, worked security or FBI/CIA work, then wants to go back, will that experience factor into the rank of reinstatement? These are simple questions, that our country has figured out before (especially in recalling officers for war) and they could have easily been resolved int eh “certification period” or even in the 3 years it took to get here. We invaded Iraq, a sovereign state in 40 days! We can figure this out in less time.

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 3:01 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 67

Occupy Atlanta refused to allow Civil Rights hero John Lewis to speak at general assembly, as there was no consensus on the question of Rep. Lewis speaking.

That’s not what happened, Sir…! He was invited to speak to the Atlanta GA, but, they’d voted to have him address them after the GA had finished with their business, but, he had to leave before they’d finished up…!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to BevW @ 71

Well, Sue Fulton, one of the leaders of KnightsOut (LGBT alums and friends of West Point) is now on the Board of Visitors of West Point! (BoV is a kind of advisory board). We’ll see more of that over time

GlenJo October 16th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Aron, Dan, THANK YOU!

Dan, with both your service to your country, and your personal acts of bravery afterwards – all I can say is you are a better man than me. THANK YOU!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 73

Yah, DoD seemed to leave things a bit vague in this area. My understanding is that there is not supposed to be any prejudice against anyone who was discharged under DADT (if there was no misconduct), but neither are they entitled to automatic re-enlistment. But as you point out, that leaves a lot of unanswered questions when you get into the details of a particular case.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 68

Very good point. Personifying the unseen costs. I tried to do that, but only had intellectual arguments on unseen cost, esp reductio ad absurdum, as working on Wall St., didn’t have personal examples. Prolly why I was able to short stop stupid opposition but could never convince anyone of human costs, as I had no human examples. THAT is a takeaway for me.

Dan, you were the personification of the human cost. You are much too good for the U.S. military, IMO.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to GlenJo @ 76

You’re very welcome. Dan was the brave one. I was always safe because my work was in the library and the office.

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
In response to BevW @ 71

“OUT” legally… I know a few who have graduated, and many knew they were gay. What will be interesting to see is a wedding ceremony at the cadet chapel. A recent directive allows it in states (USMA West Point, NY…, USMMA King’s Point, NY, USCGA New London CT) where marriage is legal.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 78

Can you spell out exactly what argument you would like to illustrate in terms of its human costs? Maybe the FDL community can weigh in with suggestions?

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 79

*heh* Remf…! ;-)

Lt. Choi is truly a frontline Leader…! *g*

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 3:08 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 80

Has the ranks of the Knights Out grown, Sir…?

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Appreciate the willingness to be candid about mistakes. Looking back, was there one or a coupla key moments you’d like to have back for a do-over? And more important, was there a generic lesson about tactics/strategey you learned there that others can apply in their own issue movements?

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:10 pm
In response to BevW @ 71

My last tourist visit to West Point, in the neighborhood, was in April. Asked guide (wife of an army sumptin or other) when was the first A-A enrolled/graduated from WP. A long time ago was her ready answer (can’t remember date). If I’d asked a Q about LGBT students, she would have demurred, on the basis that policy switch was underway, so didn’t try to be agente provacateur, knowing what her talking point would be.

Suzanne October 16th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

wow. this is such a fascinating discussion — i don’t have a question but wanted to say thank you to lt. choi and dr belkin for being here today and answering questions about this book and thanks for having how we won available for purchase as an ebook and the first chapter as a pdf. i look forward to reading it.

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 3:12 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 80

Yeah, and the GOP Chair -”Buck”– of the relevant committee in the House said he won’t allow the military appropriations bill out unless that’s changed. It’s like the gopher game at Chucky Cheese — you have to keep hitting it over the head.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:12 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 84

The book actually spells out five lessons for progressives but I think the most important one is lesson #1 in the book: target conservative lies and don’t worry about framing. I intended my book to be a response to George Lakoff’s advice to get more clever about framing. My takeaway is that the reason conservatives have to be so good at framing is that their policies in general are designed to screw the public. For progressives, the trick (I would argue) isn’t framing, but focusing on conservative lies. Sounds easy, but think about this: how often have progressive activists and scholars used data/research to reinforce the point that higher taxes would benefit everyone, and that low taxes are dangerous? Or that excessive military strength is dangerous and undermines our security. I’ll send another post in a second about moments I wish we could redo

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:12 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 86

Thank you!!!

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:13 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 74

Thanks for the clarification. But the issue of whether marquee spokespersons should be able to bend rules of a community is indeed an unspoken lesson of the DADT movement as well. I readily admit the TV work I ddid offered me privilege and amplification that I would not normally be afforded. In fact, many in the community reviled the “media whore” qualities of my journey. At first I felt guilty about it. All I wanted to do was go back to the army where I was just another one of the Joes (and Janes), who just happened to be gay. Many told me the role I took on was more important. Still, it is important to take a look at the balance between perception of privilege, as the arguments for postponing Rep. Lewis’ speech or bending the rules of egalitarian protocol was really the issue in that situation. It’s a tough call.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:14 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 84

So, in terms of do-over, there was a moment during the endgame when Palm advised OutServe, a group of actively serving troops, to release a statement saying that they would still serve honorably even if DADT repeal language were stripped from the defense budget bill. There were all kinds of reasons for doing this, but the maneuver caused such a shitstorm and such grief within the movement that I wish we hadn’t done it

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Aaron, with the repeal of DADT, have you seen any change in the organization of the ROTC? They must have excluded LGB personnel also.

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 3:15 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 88

Good points. Right wing framing seems to have a few common features: overly simplified; emotionally appealing; highly misleading; takes an essay to refute, and while you’re at it, they’ve repeated it a zillion times.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to BevW @ 92

I see a horrible change in ROTC, which is that campuses are inviting them back because of DADT repeal. The reason to oppose ROTC is/was not just LGBT discrimination, but because American culture has become dangerously militarized.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
In response to BevW @ 92

THe problem (and here is another area where progressives have had a hard time just telling the truth) is that a lot of ROTC opponents framed their opposition to ROTC in terms of LGBT equality when there was much deeper issues that motivated their oppostion (the militarization of the culture). Because it is hard to talk about militarization, many took the safe route of opposing ROTC because ROTC discriminated against gays. Now that DADT is gone, however, that has oppened up a space for ROTC to come back onto campus

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 83

Knights Out has not only grown in membership, but it has made inroads with West Point officials. The key issue was not the size of our group, but our ability to communicate with the “old grads” (many are still “dealing” with integration of races, religions, and women!) But, as you can see from the website the group also serves as a platform and lifeline for many cadets and officers, as well as civilians, who think they, even in the post-repeal world) are the only gay person int heir immediate area. That is the (often subversive) intent of a group like Knights Out. Not the size, but how you use it!

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 81

Can you spell out exactly what argument you would like to illustrate in terms of its human costs? Maybe the FDL community can weigh in with suggestions?

Not really. This is not my issue, so here trying to figure out general tactics that might work/fail.

But one practical one that comes readily to mind on costs (human or nonhuman depending on your POV) is issue of translators. The stories I’ve read suggest that a lot of critical translators were kicked out of jobs on the basis of LGBT discrimination. Have no idea if those allegations are accurate or not.

As for human costs, the treatment of one section of the human race as substandard (Hitler’s subhumans as applied to Jews would seem to be an extreme example) allows for relegation of huge classes of human beings into such categories.

Phoenix Woman October 16th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 58

Yup. Just as the horizontal and truly democratic structure makes it all but impossible to pick out one or two persons as the “key leaders” that need to be corrupted/neutralized in order to bring down the whole affair.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:19 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 93

Yes. If you write a law that dirties the air, of course you should call it the “Clear Skies Initiative.” They frame because their policies are based on greed and paranoia yet they can’t admit that. But that is not progressives’ problem. Our policies, if implemented, would help the public. But we have to say that and show that on the basis of research/data again and again.

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Many told me the role I took on was more important.

I’ll second that notion…!

Rep. Lewis was quoted later to say he was only there to support them and hadn’t planned to address them…! He also said he was proud of them all…!

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:20 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 79

Aaron, GLenJo you are too kind. Please remember the erudite words of one of my heroes, Fannie Lou Hamer who said: “Oh Honey, Courage is just a lack of options.” When your back is up against the wall, you will also display courage, for we have no other choice. When our convictions fuel our daily decisions, we will see that courage is actually not that difficult, for the righteous convictions always compel us in one direction, without compromise or escape route.

CTuttle October 16th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 96

That is outstanding news, Sir…! Hoo-ah…!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 97

Oh yes, when it came to illustrating the costs of DADT repeal, the Arabic linguist story was one of our most potent tools. (There’s a chapter on this in my book. Sorry for all the self promotion). Note, however, that that story illustrates the dishonesty at the heart of the other side’s main argument (that DADT was necessary to promote military effectiveness). The Arabic linguist story was *not* a tool for illustrating DADT’s costs in terms of human suffering/dignity/fairness. My argument is that we actually had to get away from that conversation about integrity/fairness until we won the national security argument (in the public’s mind). Then we could circle back to the integrity/suffering point

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 100

Rep. Lewis is such a hero, I had the chance to meet him at the Bill Signing, and if there is any living example of confrontation that succeeds, it is personified by him. And it really warms my heart to know that he gets it as far as the egalitarian construct, his support of the group is very meaningful indeed. Through that kind of example, we can really learn to trust the principles of consensus decision making and equality, even when it is scary or makes us scratch our heads at first glance.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 88

For progressives, the trick (I would argue) isn’t framing, but focusing on conservative lies. Sounds easy, but think about this: how often have progressive activists and scholars used data/research to reinforce the point that higher taxes would benefit everyone, and that low taxes are dangerous? Or that excessive military strength is dangerous and undermines our security.

Couldn’t agree with you more. I do see that the 99%ers are completely convinced (well, 90% anyhow) by such an approach. People are really pretty smart even if they don’t have the time/energy to investigate.

Trouble is, while centrists (not progressives, which have been unfairly labeled as lefties, while the policies they [we] advance are very much mainstream), the PTB haven’t budged, and have, in fact moved farther & farther right in their actions, despite public opinion.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 101

Fair enough, and I won’t push the point. But (and without criticizing any of the other people discharged under DADT, many of whom fought nobly and bravely for repeal) you were the only one to stick your neck out in a highly radical way. At least the only one I know of.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:26 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 103

You are here to self-promote and we’d like to help you. Plz do as much as you can!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:27 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 105

It is really hard to be a progressive now. Even though the partisan balance in the country includes a lot of independents, and even though most people agree with mainstream Democratic positions like not privatizing social security, look at how the public gave the Republicans six years of screwing things up before punishing them in the 2006 elections, yet the same public gave the Democrats two years before retaliating in the 2010 elections. We’re fighting against a basically conservative public (I would argue) and the filibuster, both of which make it very hard to get anything progressive through Congress.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 107

:)

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:29 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 103

So one takeaway is to emphasize the practical costs.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Also, I would argue that the left is fractured in a way that you don’t see on the right. With the right, you have a coalition in which everyone’s pet policy can be pursued at the same time (anti-gay, pro-military, anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-poor-people) and no one has to compromise. That is why the right can maintain party discipline. But for the left, you have a basic disagreement over the optimal size of the state, with progressives favoring a bigger state, and the Ben Nelson’s of the world favoring less. At heart, I would argue that that is why, even when we had 60 senators, we could almost never put together a winning coalition.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:30 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 110

Well, the main conservative lie sustaining DADT was that discrimination was necessary for preserving national security. So we had to illustrate why that was a lie

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:31 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 112

And we had to do it again and again and again. Iteration was a KEY component of the public education strategy

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

It wasn’t without its points of deep consternation. I would be remiss if i did not acknowledge the painful schism this caused within the hearts of many military folks, who REVILED the use of the uniform in radical protest. But we had to, or nobody would see our point. Going limp in the November protest was also critical in dramatizing the discrimination and piercing the message of our willingness to fight, and never disappear. The visuals served not only as a political prodding, but as a rallying cry to the community on a spiritual and cultural level as well. I know that many military folks have a hard time with activists. We call activists by different names in Iraq, namely: “terrorist.” So the transition from military to activism was not an easy one. Palm Center pushed these soldiers-turned-activists into the fray and with tremendous success. I also attended the “Radical Minds Retreat” at the “Rosa Parks” Highlander Center in January 2010. The whole time asking myself, “What the hell have I gotten myself into now?” But as I think about it more, there is no conflict between activism and military service, at all. Through military experience, I learned discipline and dogmatic perseverance which influenced my activism. Through activism I realized the reason why we serve at all: to protect freedom. So in short: my being a soldier made me abetter activist, and my being an activist made me a better soldier.

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 108

A different perspective, I think it’s very easy to be a genuine progressive in these times. The right wing and neo-libs have jointly screwed up things so royally, that its shooting fish in a barrel to point out how dismally and completely their views have failed the country. Or as Dan might say, the righteous path is pretty obvious and it’s getting easier to show why that’s true when the other side has produced so much damage. I think that’s a big reason why the Occupy movement is resonating so well . . . so far.

Which suggests every movement has a key moment when new things become possible, and change becomes a larger part of the conversation. When did you and Dan first realize that you’d reached that point?

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 108

We’re fighting against a basically conservative public (I would argue)

There I would disagree with you completely.

I’ve been hanging out at FDL for 3-4 years. I have not seen a single policy that FDLers would advance that isn’t supported by a majority of the pop (the survey result sez….) or at least a strong plurality.

Pols are completely out of step with constituents. Had that discussion today wrt a confrontation I had with Hinchey (mid-Hudson), a ‘good guy’ bef O got elected & Hinchey got corralled into the veal pen. It was prolly summer 10, and I went to a meetup of about 25 local Ds, with Hinchey to confront him on vote on health care & funding war in VN um, Afpak, sorry. He told me I was wrong & he was right. I told him the opposite. He yelled back at me. Person I was relating this confrontation to said, yes, well that’s part of their problem isn’t it. They’re supposed to represent their constituents.

Simple when you state it that way.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 114

Yeah, as Dan got more vocal I heard from a lot of allies inside the military and also folks in our own movement that they were worried about antagonizing Pentagon leadership, and doing things that were inconsistent with the tradition of loyal, selfless (=quiet) service. I could see the logic of what they were saying, but I have always found that our insider, straight military allies knew exactly what was going on, and they were willing to tolerate some pushing from our community because they knew that that was what it was going to take to get rid of DADT

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 113

And we had to do it again and again and again.

Another takeaway.

Repetition I noticed on the right, is key. Lefties don’t understand that so much.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:39 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 115

I always knew we would win but I didn’t know when. When Obama was elected, I thought from the beginning that he was going to have to defer our issue because he had too many other crises to deal with.

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Aaron, can you talk a little bit about the “Faustian” dilemma (final paragraphs of Chapter 10 “Limitations of the Strategy”) posed by the gay movement adopting military service as a platform for our movement? It is clear that many in the community have lamented the militarization of our goals and message. What do you think about ROTC on campus? (Both in terms of the militarization aspect and the current Transgender exclusion in the US military.)

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 116

I think you have a good point. Much of the public does agree with our policies. But just think about how long the public was willing to tolerate mischief and incompentence and lies on/from the right after 2000, and compare that to how much leeway the public gave the Dems after 2008. Also notice how hard Clinton and then Obama had to push for even the most tepid change, while Repubs were give a blank check to destroy issue-area after issue-area.

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 114

Gotcher back on that one in a small way. Troll here one day typing you got what you deserved bc the rules say you’re not supposed to do political activity in uniform.

I typed back that why then was it OK for generals in uniform to go on TV to propagandize USG POV.

Troll was not heard from thereafter.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:45 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 120

This is a tough question. In order to win on DADT, we had to play into the most extreme form of the politics of respectability, portraying LGB troops again and again as loyal and selfless and portraying the military as a noble institution. Sure, there’s a lot of truth to those depictions. But they also crush/flatten out alternative modes of expression (not just transgender, but all kinds of gender and sexual non-normativity). And it’s not just that we were making arguments along these lines. But we were also organizing our mainstream LGBT organizations around the politics of respectability. I believe that in one sense this was the right choice, because this was the only way to win on DADT. But there was a huge cost (which I explore in my next book, out in December, called “Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Facade of American Empire”

Now in terms of ROTS, I’m all for scholarships. I’m all for having a thoughtful,educated officer corps. But I’m against ROTC, because American society has become overly militarized, and we’re not having that conversation. Once we confront militarization as a culture, then I’ll be more OK with having ROTC on campus

eCAHNomics October 16th, 2011 at 3:45 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 121

Don’t get me started on that one.

I have to hop off, but have very much enjoyed the discussion. Much success on your book & future endeavors.

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:46 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 122

damn right. Also, my colleauge Diane Mazur has written a BRILLIANT law review article demonstrating that the military stole the 2000 election for Bush by sending in many, many ballots after voting had closed in Florida, and after it was clear that the outcome would be close

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:47 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 124

Thank you!

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 119

Timing is seemingly critical in retrospect, but without the push from the outset, no “tipping point” would ever happen. This is a big mistake for activists who wait until the perfect storm to get involved. Riding it out until something better comes along is the anthesis of activism, although it is a skill well manipulated by politicians. When our activism strategy is only relegated to whip counts, political pollster-ing and cocktail parties, we lose the grassroots edge. That’s not grassroots, that’s astroturf at best. In order to survive, a movement needs tactics employed continually as well as strategic “tipping points.” As Sun Tzu said about tactics/strategy: “Strategy without Tactics is the longest route to victory; Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat.” But the Strategic “tipping point” comes about because of tactics, and I believe one can be both a tactician and a strategist. One can be both, and insider and outsider. The true danger is when either kind of activist relegates themselves to the one identity.

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Aaron Belkin @ 125

Do you have the link to this article?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to BevW @ 128

It is hard for most of public to access law review articles unless they have borrowing rights at a university library, but folks can start with her recent book, which also includes the story: “A More Perfect Military
How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger” Oxford University Press

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:51 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 127

I second that point, very eloquently expressed

BevW October 16th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon,

Aaron, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and the Palm Center’s leadership in the repeal of DADT.

Dan, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon, and for being one of the loud voices speaking out for repeal of DADT.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Aaron’s website and book.

Dan’s website

Thanks all, have a great week.

Next week:
Saturday – Peter Van Buren / We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People

Sunday – Joseph McCartin / Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:52 pm
In response to Dan Choi @ 127

Although on second thought, I would ask you: what if you had been discharged from the military in 2002 or 2003. Could you have sustained the same intensity over 8, 9, 10 years?

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 3:53 pm
In response to BevW @ 131

Thanks from me too. Your readers have great questions.

Scarecrow October 16th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

What’s next for the two of you?

DWBartoo October 16th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Aaron and Dan,I confess to lurking
this evening, having to do several things which have taken me away from the keyboard. This has been an exceptional book salon and I thank you both for yourwisdom, courage and insights. (A measure of this Salon’s worth, incidentally, is that eCAHN is still here, and finding things to “take away” as,most certainly, do I.)

Aaron it has been a pleasure to “meet” you and hear your views.

Dan, you know, I hope, how much you are respected here, and appreciated for all the many things you do that benefit everyone.

DW

Dan Choi October 16th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Aaron, as we approach the end of our time here on the Book Salon, I want to thank you for your service to our country, and your fighting spirit, which clearly lives on! Thank you, FDL!

Aaron Belkin October 16th, 2011 at 4:00 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 135

That’s very kind. I’ll sign off in a minute but also wanted to respond to the “what’s next” question. The answer is that I’m not sure. With DADT ending and my other book coming out (that took a bunch of years to right), I have some open space in my life, and I’m not sure what will fill it aside from my daily dance classes and walking my dog.

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