McCain: The Day Military Leaders Urge DADT Change, 'We Ought To Seriously Consider Changing It'

One thing that's worth noting is that Arizona Senator John McCain continues to cast a wide shadow over the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" debate -- and while he has been forthright in admitting that there are "many gay individuals who are serving in the military, and serving honorably" under the policy, he nevertheless supports DADT. This past June, in an interview with Ana Marie Cox, he explained his rationale, thusly:

MCCAIN: My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military. The reason why I supported the policy to start with is because General Colin Powell, who was then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the one that strongly recommended we adopt this policy in the Clinton administration. I have not heard General Powell or any of the other military leaders reverse their position, just like when on other issues, that people are expert and knowledgeable of, I rely on their opinion. But this is unique. These military leaders are responsible for the very lives of the men and women under their command, and that's why I am especially guided, to a large degree, by their views.

Over at AmericaBlog, John Aravosis pulls a similar statement from McCain in October 2006:

And I understand the opposition to it, and I've had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.

Very consistent. Also consistent is that part where he says, "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change the policy', then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it." Well, today is that day!

But on this day, McCain greeted the leadership of the military by tossing them a bunch of static:

MCCAIN: I'm deeply disappointed in your statement, Secretary Gates. I was around here in 1993 and was engaged in the debates. And what we did in 1993 is we looked at the issue and we looked at the affect on the military and then we reached a conclusion and then we enacted into law. Your statement is 'question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it.' It would be far more appropriate, I say with great respect, to determine whether repealing this law is appropriate and what effects it would have on the readiness and effectiveness of the military before deciding on whether we should repeal the law or not and fortunately it is an act of Congress and it requires the agreement of Congress in order to repeal it. And so your statement obvious as one that is clearly biased, without the view of Congress being taken into consideration...Again you are embarking on saying it's not whether the military prepares to make the change but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of Congress, without hearing from the members of the Joint Chiefs and, of course, without taking into considerations all the ramifications of this law. Well, I'm happy to say we still have a Congress of the United States that would have to pass a law to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, despite your efforts to repeal it, in many respects, by fiat.

See, I was expecting something more like: "As I have consistently stated over the years, I defer to your judgment and expertise on this issue."


John McCain on DADT in 2006 [AmericaBlog]

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