Former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff says it's time to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell
I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.
— General John M. Shalikashvili in a NYT op ed
Well you can’t go much higher than this in terms of gravitas in a call to get rid of the brain-dead policy. General John M. Shalikashvili actually supported DADT back when it was enacted during the Clinton administration, in which he served.
He came to the conclusion that it was time to get rid of the policy after meeting with gay and lesbian servicemembers serving in Iraq, and an openly gay sailor who is serving without issue on a nuclear submarine. He also mentions the fact that 24 countries allow servicemembers to serve openly, including Israel, annd Great Britain without a breakdown of morale or recruitment problems. Note that our soldiers are already serving side by side these openly gay members of the military. The problem is in the heads of the Pentagon brass.
The question is how will the Dem Congress, which plans to hold hearings on the matter, move on this recommendation? Shalikashvili advises caution.
As the 110th Congress opens for business, some of its most urgent priorities, like developing a more effective strategy in Iraq, share widespread support that spans political affiliations. Addressing such issues could help heal the divisions that cleave our country. Fighting early in this Congress to lift the ban on openly gay service members is not likely to add to that healing, and it risks alienating people whose support is needed to get this country on the right track.
By taking a measured, prudent approach to change, political and military leaders can focus on solving the nation’s most pressing problems while remaining genuinely open to the eventual and inevitable lifting of the ban. When that day comes, gay men and lesbians will no longer have to conceal who they are, and the military will no longer need to sacrifice those whose service it cannot afford to lose.
Hat tip, PageOneQ.
UPDATE: From Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)’s Frontlines blog: Executive Director Dixon Osburn and former Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall (a plaintiff in SLDN’s court challenge to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) will be on CNN’s Situation Room today at 5pm EST.
They will discuss today’s New York Times op-ed by General John Shalikashvili.
SLDN also has a release on reaction to the op-ed.