Wouldn’t it have been so nice if Gen. Powell had this much guts and conviction when he was actually in office. But better late than never I suppose. The NY Times reports that Powell issued a statement today:
In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office. He added: “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.
Powell’s new found integrity comes at a much-needed time, since just yesterday, the aforementioned Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was time to repeal the discriminatory policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Admiral Mullen’s language was forceful and unequivocal and sincere. The Times reported yesterday:
“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” [said] Adm. Mike Mullen. As a murmur swept through a hearing room packed with gay rights leaders, Admiral Mullen said it was his personal belief that “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”
Except this seems to have put Republicans in a bit of a bind, especially one Sen. John McCain. McCain, who once said he would support a repeal of DADT if other top military officials recommended such a change, appeared firmly opposed to lifting the ban yesterday. Apparently, his constant deferral to military officials’ opinions (which included Colin Powell, during Clinton’s presidency) was only meant to last as long as those military officials’ views aligned with his own. Too bad he’s got nowhere to hide now. Rachel Maddow dissects McCain’s hypocrisy quite well:
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So what next? Why, a year-long Pentagon review process, of course, to study implementation and impacts. And then, maybe then, Congress will vote on the darn thing already.