Defense Secretary Gates To Congress:
Don't Make A Vote On DADT
This afternoon Defense Secretary told Congress not to attempt to vote to repeal DADT until the Pentagon has completed its study. The letter was co-signed by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen. Both men have testified in favor of lifting the ban, eventually.
In a sharply worded letter, Gates said he believes the Defense Department must be allowed to review the potential impact of repealing the ban on openly gay service members before Congress acts. "Our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully," Gates wrote in response to an inquiry from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.). Repealing the policy before the military completes its review, "would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence, their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families," Gates said. The letter was co-signed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, who joined Gates in voicing personal opposition to the ban at a February Senate hearing.Most will likely read Gates' letter as an indirect White House attempt to squash the issue before the midterm elections. Moments ago, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) fired out this dissenting press release:
“I respectfully disagree with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen. Congress should not sit on their hands. Now is the time for Congress to show strong leadership and repeal this disastrous policy. ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is wrong for our national security and inconsistent with the moral foundation upon which our country was founded. When we repeal this policy – and we will repeal this policy – we will strengthen America - both militarily and morally.”The Human Rights Campaign and other activists are working to get the Senate Armed Services Committee to add the repeal of DADT to a pending defense authorization bill.