December 29, 1999
One would think that the next President's plans to address the
dramatic falloff in military recruitment, and the decline in military
morale and readiness due to controversial personnel policies, would be
important topics for the televised presidential debates to cover. But
somehow, these matters haven't made it onto the media's agenda.
To fill this gap in public knowledge, the Center for Military
Readiness (CMR), an independent public policy organization specializing
in military personnel issues, sent questions on eight issues to the
presidential candidates. All responded except Republican frontrunner
George W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, and Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
It's easy to see why Gore and Bradley ducked the survey because
all the questions strike directly at Administration policies. They
could have taken this opportunity to distance themselves from the
Clinton policies by coming out for rebuilding the military that Clinton
said he "loathed," but they didn't.
CMR president Elaine Donnelly said she was encouraged that all the
responding candidates said they oppose Clinton-era social engineering
that has hurt military readiness, recruiting and morale. That was a
no-brainer; it's the specific questions that get to the nub of the
"If you are opposed to coed basic training, will you act to
terminate it in the Army, Navy and Air Force, with or without a mandate
from Congress?" Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan and
Howard Phillips all said yes; John McCain said no, but he would ask
Congress to reevaluate this issue.
"If you are opposed [to permitting open homosexuality in the
military], will you exercise the option to restore the question
regarding homosexuality that used to be on recruiting forms, an option
that is fully authorized under the 1993 statute that continues to ban
homosexuals from the military?" Forbes, Bauer, Keyes and Phillips said
yes, McCain said no, and Buchanan didn't answer.
The responses were the same to the follow-up question: "If
opposed, will you replace Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell regulation
with Defense Department instructions that faithfully reflect the
exclusion law passed by Congress in 1993?" Contrary to popular belief,
the 1993 exclusion law, which was passed by bipartisan majorities,
remains the law of the land and Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy
was never enacted by Congress.
"Will you order the assignment of women to currently-closed
positions that operate in close coordination with land combat units and
involve direct engagement with the enemy with a high risk of capture;
i.e., multiple launch rocket (field artillery) systems (MLRS) and
special operations helicopters?" All responding candidates said no.
Part B of this question refined the issue: "In view of negative
consequences already observed from the recent assignment of women in or
near previously closed combat units on land, sea and in the air, will
you act to restore women's combat exemptions to improve military
efficiency and readiness?" Forbes, Bauer, Keyes, Buchanan and Phillips
said yes; McCain said no.
"Do you support the New Strategic Concept as adopted and affirmed
by the previously-defensive NATO alliance, which was cited as
authorization to bomb Serbia without congressional approval and to
conduct the air war under the direction of a NATO committee of 19
nations?" Forbes, Bauer, Keyes, Buchanan and Phillips said no; McCain
ducked a direct answer.
McCain said he supports "a vital role" for NATO in maintaining
European peace and stability. He favors shifting more of the burdens
for European security to our allies.
"Do you agree with recent statements made by UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan to the effect that sovereign borders should not be a barrier
to the deployment of peacemaking troops between warring factions and
that a standing UN force should be established for this purpose?" All
respondents said no.
"Will you disband the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the
Services (DACOWITS) and similar tax-funded advisory committees that
continue to promote a feminist agenda for the military such as
affirmative action quotas, gender norming and careerism for women as a
higher priority than military efficiency and readiness?" Forbes,
Bauer, Keyes, Buchanan and Phillips said yes.
McCain said no, defending DACOWITS as having made "significant
contributions" and as having had "a positive impact on military
policy." Veterans and members of the armed services should be shocked
by McCain's willingness to continue tax subsidies for this little-known
but powerful special-interest group that aggressively supports the
radical feminist agenda for the military.
All the responding candidates answered no to the question "Will
you order the assignment of female sailors to submarines?" All
answered no to the question "Will you support or order the registration
of women for Selective Service military obligations on an equal basis
All the responding candidates opposed relaxing enforcement
procedures and penalties for adultery and sexual misconduct in the
The voters are not going to be satisfied with George W. Bush
declining to say what he would do about Clinton's social engineering in