Bill Kristol, spinning in circles

Led by Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard is waging an interesting little campaign aimed at convincing the public that the military has nothing to do with the military's ban on openly-gay service members. Here's Kristol on May 10:

[I]t is not the military's policy. It is the policy of the U.S. Government, based on legislation passed in 1993 by (a Democratic) Congress, signed into law and implemented by the Clinton administration, legislation and implementation that are currently continued by a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress. It is intellectually wrong and morally cowardly to call this the “military's policy.”

Weekly Standard writer John McCormack endorsed that argument in his own May 11 post. And Kristol was back at it today, criticizing Elena Kagan for “blaming of the military for a congressional/presidential policy choice.”

The interesting thing about Kristol & Co. insisting that the military itself has nothing to do with the military's anti-gay policies is that they've been insisting for years that civilian policymakers should defer to the military when it comes to adjusting those policies.

Here's Kristol in February:

[T]he repeal is something that Obama campaigned on. He believes in it. But with all due respect to his sincerely held if abstractly formed views on this subject, it would be reckless to require the military to carry out a major sociological change, one contrary to the preferences of a large majority of its members, as it fights two wars.

John McCain's response to Obama's statement was that of a grown-up: “This successful policy has been in effect for over 15 years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels. We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars. At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy.”

John McCormack, also in February:

A couple of interesting nuggets on “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” in that Quinnipiac poll noted earlier: Although 57% of registered voters say they favor repealing the law banning gays openly serving in the military, voters are evenly split when asked, “Do you think heterosexual military personnel should be required to share quarters with gay personnel or not?”

Perhaps more important is the poll's finding that “military households” are evenly split on the question of repealing DADT: 48% oppose repeal, 47% favor repeal. Presumably households include the responses of members of the military as well as their spouses. It would be interesting to poll just active members of the military.

McCormack again:

There have been many reports about the momentum behind DADT repeal, but there's no indication there are 60 votes in the Senate or 218 votes in the House to repeal the law. And the top Marine's stance against repeal should carry a lot of weight with those on the fence.

And another Weekly Standard writer, James Bowman, under the header “Don't Change 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'”:

The left has nothing better to offer than riding roughshod over the opinions of the majority of servicemen--58 percent in the latest Military Times poll--and repealing the law.

Well, you get the point. According to Kristol and his Weekly Standard pals, we must all defer to (what they portray as) the military's preference when it comes to allowing gays to serve -- but, at the same time, we mustn't attribute that policy to the military.

And while they're at it, Kristol et al insist on accusing Kagan of “discriminating against the military.” What they mean by that is that Kagan briefly ended the military's exemption from Harvard's anti-discrimination policy. It's an impressively audacious bit of spin to twist holding the military to the same policy as all other employers into discriminating against the military. Then again, Kristol is an impressively dishonest fellow.