Colin Powell ‘Fully Supports’ ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

The last we heard from Colin Powell, on CNN's State of the Union in July of last year, was that he supported "review" of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Following yesterday's hearings by the Joint Chief Chair Mullen and Defense Secretary Gates, Powell now says he supports it.

Powell General Powell released a statement to the NYT: “In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation
was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. I fully support the
new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week
by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

The paper notes: "When Mr. Clinton tried to end the ban on gay soldiers, General
Powell was the Joint Chiefs chairman and opposed the move on the
grounds that it would undermine discipline and order in the military
but he supported the 'don’t ask' compromise. In his statement on
Wednesday, General Powell said 'the principal issue has always been the
effectiveness of the Armed Forces and order and discipline in the
ranks.' He noted that he has said for the past two years that it was “time
for the law to be reviewed,” but his new statement of unequivocal
support for the effort by Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen could be an
important factor as the debate moves forward this year."

Advocate has Powell's full statement.


  1. patrick nyc says

    While I for one will never forget Powell’s hand in DADT or the WMD lies, the truth is his voice will sway more support. The ending of DADT will be looked back on as a turning point for us.

    Truman’s ending segregation in the forces happened years before the ending of laws against mixed marriage and the 60’s civil rights.

  2. says

    Not so fast. I know that this is the INTERPRETATION that most everybody is giving to his statment, but he did NOT specifically, unequivocally say he supported “repeal.”

    Revisit his exact words: “I fully support the new approach….”

    Well, despite Gates and Mullen’s “personal” opposition to DADT, that “new” approach is nothing but the “old approach” of “delay through ‘study’.”

    That “approach” centers around that fact that gays will continue to be discharged today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and for a MINIMUM of the next year, some say two, and possibly longer.

    For a careful reading of Gates’ statement shows it loaded with lots of so-called “issues” that he absurdly insists need to be studied YET AGAIN which COULD result in a report…..just like that from the six-month “working group” that Clinton
    tasked with coming up with an “implementation plan”…which claims they can’t OFFICIALLY say, “end DADT.” See Mullen’s blog post today in which he’s curiously chosen to rewrap his anti DADT statement yesterday in a thick layer of Gates’ excuses.

    Gates consciously resurrected questions that the Rand study ordered by the Pentagon put to rest in 1993. He repeatedly worked the “engaged in two wars” excuse, hinted ominously about potential damage to “military famiies” [read STRAIGHT military families], imagined totally unnecessary changes to the UCMJ, absurdly, AS IF the military is a democracy, called for a poll of troops to ask what THEY want [Nunn played that angle like a pipe organ virtuoso to turn the ban into DADT], and inexplicably invited members of Congress to contribute to what is supposed to be a DOD report TO Congress.

    We may eventually discover that Harold Ford has genuniely changed his homophobic spots but the reptilian Powell’s much longer yet evergreen record of duplicity, including an attempt to totally rewrite history by telling Rachel Maddow last year that Clinton never asked him to change the ban policy, gives ample reason to believe that this is just another carefully worded play by him to clean up his place in history that includes selling the lie to the UN that Iraq had WMD thus leading to the deaths of, at minimumn, tens of thousands INCLUDING many gay servicemembers.

    Sure, EXPLOIT his remarks, but don’t believe them and taking up a collection to build Powell a statue.

  3. TampaZeke says

    Submitted without comment:

    June 2009

    John McCain

    “My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military. The reason why I supported the policy to start with is because General Colin Powell, who was then the 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 General Powell or any of the other military leaders reverse their position, just like when on other issues, that people are expert and knowledgeable of, I rely on their opinion. But this is unique. These military leaders are responsible for the very lives of the men and women under their command, and that’s why I am especially guided, to a large degree, by their views.”

  4. BreckRoy says

    Thank you, TampaZeke. This is why Colin Powell’s vocal and public support now is important. It undermines the efforts of those who use HIS own words and actions from 1993 to undermine repealing DADT. He is using his credibilty to shift the power balance a little bit and take that little bit of power away from the opposition. I, for one, don’t care if he came late to the party. Many of our own parents and grandparents (many in Colin Powell’s generation) have come late to the party (and many we wish will). What’s important is that we have his support NOW, and frankly, there’s nothing in it for him. Many of his personal friends and fellow Republicans will further turn against him and he’ll endure more cr*p over this, but there’s freedom in being retired, freedom in being an “elder” statesman, and he’s free now to say and feel whatever he d*mn well pleases. It’s another voice in our camp and another credible voice to help push the ball down the field toward our end zone. Given all that this has the potential to do in advancing our cause, I’m not sure virulent criticism is the right reaction we should be giving. It only makes others who might change their position and support us think twice about supporting us.

  5. BreckRoy says

    One more thing re: “what’s in it for him?” I don’t give a flying fig if politicians support specific causes or legislation because of personal or political gain, or change their minds late in life, or only after they discover they have a gay child, or only after they have a scandal. I care about VOTES. I work for the military here in D.C. and watch how things get done in this town. If you don’t have the VOTES you lose. Short of doing something unethical or illegal to get votes, there is NOTHING wrong with appealing to a politician’s personal and political interests, or for a politician to vote as such. You can be right and indignant and scream the loudest and still not have the votes. If you don’t then you LOSE. I don’t want to lose this one.

  6. Trasker says

    Powell tries to muscle in on The Admiral’s place in civil rights history. Powell will forever be the guy who put the policy in place and Admiral Mullen will be the guy who said “tear down that wall.”

  7. says

    Sure extra hands to do the heavy lifting are to be welcomed…….but wouldn’t he be more welcome if he said he was wrong, that gays should never have had to lie about their sexuality, that those gays in the military, currently,(and those discharged under DADT) have served their country with distinction and should never have been forced into a bigot-driven charade ?
    Not exactly a profile in courage, are you Mr. Powell ? Not quite a leader of men….sheep maybe.

  8. says

    Colin Powellmake Harold Ford look like Harvey Milk.

    What’s in this for HIM is trying to clean up his place in history books where he will rightfully be recorded as a serial liar [Class, can you say “My Lai”?] with oceans of blood on this hands.

    As I said, I have no problem with our exploiting his attempt to AGAIN exploit us but let’s keep one hand on sanity, shall we? At least one gay writer today is saying his cautious statement means he’s now “pro gay.”


  9. says

    He was my #1 hero at one time. Then DADT and his being complicit in the deaths of millions of people in a war that has wrecked our country economically, well, the hero took a fall.

    While it is true that you need the votes and he does give some lilly livered sapsuckers cover to vote in our favor, I will always lament the man he could’ve been.

  10. Chris says

    @ GrabbinNewscum I usually don’t agree with your right wing antics. But I love this…By the way I don’t it’s Leland Frances isn’t she Michael Bedwell, or are they the same girl?

  11. DaveB says

    Colin Powell is a flat-out liar who gets a free pass time after time because he’s black. WMDs aside, in 1993 Powell was invited to give a speech at Harvard’s commencement ceremony where, faced with hostile protesters, he clearly said that he supported openly gay soldiers serving in the armed forces. All the while, he was the prime mover behind the scenes to make sure that policy didn’t happen. The man is a creep.

  12. bnjmn3 says

    Colin Powell shoved this policy down Clinton’s throat. Powell is not big American hero at all–just a shell of wasted potential. What’s in it for him? He’s old, knows he wasted much his life on the wrong side of history, and is grasping at anything to satisfy his vanity. I guess we could say the same for most of the carcasses we behold haunting the power circles in this country.

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