Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in favor of dropping the armed forces’ 16-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and for the first time allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the U.S. military.
“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,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said it was his personal and professional belief that “allowing homosexuals to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”
When President Bill Clinton attempted to address this issue early in his first term, the ensuing controversy sidetracked his administration, and resulted in the insulting and unworkable half-measure we have today. But it increasingly looks like President Obama need expend little political capital to fulfill this particular campaign promise.
My what a difference a decade and a half makes.