IF MCCAIN IS SOLICITING ADVICE…. Air America Radio’s Ana Marie Cox chatted with John McCain about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the Arizona senator had some trouble defending the status quo. Indeed, McCain, a veteran of the Vietnam War, conceded that he “served with people who are gay” during his own military career.
McCain seemed reluctant, though, to state his position clearly on whether the policy should remain in place. When Cox asked him for his specific opinion on the merit of the policy, McCain said:
“My opinion is shaped by the views of the leaders of the military. The reason why I supported the policy to start with is because Gen. Colin Powell, who was then 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 Gen. Powell, or any of the other military leaders reverse their position.”
I’ve never heard a compelling rationale for leaving DADT in place, and McCain’s latest doesn’t work either.
Powell hasn’t “reversed his position”? Actually, he has. In December, Powell told CNN it’s time to reconsider whether the policy still makes sense, saying U.S. officials “should definitely re-evaluate it.”
He’s not alone. Retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when DADT became law, and he believes it’s time to reverse the policy. Sam Nunn was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee when DADT became law, and he also believes “times change” and it is now time to reconsider the ban.
Indeed, while McCain he hasn’t heard “any” military leaders reverse their position, in 2007, 28 retired generals and admirals, many of whom supported the policy 16 years ago, now believe it’s time to repeal the law.
McCain needs to keep up. His defense of the indefensible is debunked after about 30 seconds on Google.