Several prominent Democrats are leading the effort to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT), a policy that President Obama vowed to overturn in his State of the Union speech last week. Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA), who is an Iraq veteran, introduced a bill to repeal DADT in the House of Representatives that now has over 180 co-sponsors, including Representative Admiral Joe Sestak ret. (D-PA). This week Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, held a hearing during which Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, both of whom were originally appointed by President George W. Bush, expressed support for ending DADT. Additionally, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) also expressed interest in repealing DADT. However, as Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who is also a decorated former navy officer, pointed out in his recent op-ed for The Huffington Post, Republicans who oppose repealing DADT are attacking Gates and Mullen instead of seriously discussing DADT. Republicans engaging in this sort of baseless ad hominem attack include:
But the most shocking display by Republicans is Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) reversal of his 2006 pledge to support overturning DADT. McCain, who is a former decorated naval officer, is quoted in 2006 as saying:
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 gave the responsibility to.
Clearly, the military’s leadership is saying “we ought to change the policy”; McCain and his GOP colleagues are just not listening. It appears that they would rather play politics than follow Israel’s successful example of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly and proudly in the military.