Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the Military Service
Twenty-eight Retired Generals and Adminrals Advocate Rescinding the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy
In Wednesday's YouTube debate not one of the GOP candidates endorsed the position advocated by the gay, retired general who asked whether they supported rescinding the 'don't ask, don't tell' compromise policy adopted during the Clinton administration. Each of the candidates declined to support rescinding the policy, echoing Colin Powell's position that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed services would "damage unit cohesion." One of the candidates said he supported that because a large number of servicemen and women come from the South where opposition to homosexuality is strong. The general who posed the YouTube question was in the audience at the debate and made a moving argument that the men and women in the armed services are ready to serve along side openly gay and lesbian servicemen and women. However, he found no support among the GOP contenders.
Meanhwile, 28 retired generals and admirals are submitting a letter today, November 30, advocating that Congress rescind the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Their letter says "We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the righrts of our citizens to believe whatever they wish."
The retired officers offer data showing the 65,000 gay men and lesbians now serve in the American armed forces and that ehere are more than one million gay veterans. "They have served our nation honorably," the letter states.
The generals and admirals' letter echos the position taken last January by for mer Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili advocating that the policy be rescinded. General Shalikashvili took the position that with proper leadership the men and women in the armed services are ready to serve with openly gay and lesbian servicemen and women without impariment of the military's mission.
According to the New York Times article on the retired officers' inititative, "At a debate in June, all of the Democratic candidates said they faovred rescinding the policy.
Meanwhile CNN is under criticism for not discovering before using the YouTube question that the retired general, Keith H. Kerr, is listed as a member of Hillary Clinton's advisory committee. Debate moderator, Anderson Cooper said "It's something we should follow up on, because certainly, I had not heard that" Kerr is an advisor to the Clinton campaign. "If so, that should have been, certainly, disclosed, and we would have disclosed that."
John McCain said that General Kerr's identity should have been made clear. "But I am glad the issue came up. It continutes to be an issue of discussion."
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