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Shalikashvili says the time is now

Timothy Kincaid

January 27th, 2010

General John Shalikashvili was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997. As such he was largely responsible for implementing the Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell policy.

In January 2007, General Shalikashvili wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he state that he no longer believes that open service from gay men and women would undermine the efficacy of the armed forces and proposed that the policy should be given serious reconsideration. But he was hesitant about the timing.

But if America is ready for a military policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation, the timing of the change should be carefully considered. As the 110th Congress opens for business, some of its most urgent priorities, like developing a more effective strategy in Iraq, share widespread support that spans political affiliations. Addressing such issues could help heal the divisions that cleave our country. Fighting early in this Congress to lift the ban on openly gay service members is not likely to add to that healing, and it risks alienating people whose support is needed to get this country on the right track.

By taking a measured, prudent approach to change, political and military leaders can focus on solving the nation’s most pressing problems while remaining genuinely open to the eventual and inevitable lifting of the ban. When that day comes, gay men and lesbians will no longer have to conceal who they are, and the military will no longer need to sacrifice those whose service it cannot afford to lose.

Last June, he reiterated his belief that the policy should be changed “with proper timing”. (Wathington Post)

While the proper timing of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” remains uncertain, it is evident to me that a policy change is inevitable. More than three-quarters of the public favors the change. Polls show that even a majority of Republicans support allowing openly gay people to serve. Within the military, the climate has changed dramatically since 1993. Conversations I’ve held with service members make clear that, while the military remains a traditional culture, that tradition no longer requires banning open service by gays. There will undoubtedly be some teething pains, but I have no doubt our leadership can handle it.

He stated that the change was inevitable and that officers should begin preparing troops for that eventuality.

Now it seems that General John Shalikashvili has found the right time:

As a nation built on the principal of equality, we should recognize and welcome change that will build a stronger more cohesive military. It is time to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allow our military leaders to create policy that holds our service members to a single standard of conduct and discipline.

Comments

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Matt
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

Apparently Obama’s going to say the same thing tonight in SOTU and call for Congress to repeal DADT.

But he’d better have a VERY clear vision of what he expects DADT repeal to look like and how it will be implemented and communicate that vision to Congress. If he just says “It’s in your hands”, it’ll wind up just like healthcare reform: Dead on arrival.

Burr
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

More than three-quarters of the public favors the change. Polls show that even a majority of Republicans support allowing openly gay people to serve.

These numbers need to be emphasized constantly in the push for change. We can’t let the bigots pretend that there is a false consensus against it.

johnathan
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

Someone just needs to tell @$$h*le Ike Skelton (D-Missouri) to get over his homophobia (as he chairs the relavant House committee) so DADTDP can be put out of its misery.

pantherq
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

I will believe it when they make Choi a general.

Trevor
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

The Obama strategy on DADT has been to push it into endless debate (Congress) to delay having to act on it until it becomes moot (aka: Republicans gain a majority). Then he can say, “well I tried, keep sending money so I can keep trying”.

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

“It is time to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allow our military leaders to create policy that holds our service members to a single standard of conduct and discipline.”

The general absolutely gets it. Good for him.

Now will our elected invertebrates get it?

female vote
August 15th, 2013 | LINK

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