McCain Says ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Not a Civil Rights Issue; Won’t Ask Gay Service Members How They’re Affected

Excerpts from an interview with Senator John McCain about the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy were published in the 'Arizona Daily Star' over the weekend. His answers to questions from the paper were, sadly, as expected.

Mccain  STAR: Well I guess I'm just wondering do you see it as some have put it as a civil rights issue?

McCAIN: No. No, I don't. As Colin Powell said when don't ask, don't tell was first inaugurated, there's a difference between sexual preference and the color of one's skin. That was General Powell's statement.

STAR: That was years ago.

McCAIN: He was in favor of it, and now he's come out … for the repeal. Yeah. I think what he said then still holds true today, that it is a different issue. I think Colin Powell wants to repeal don't ask, don't tell. I don't think he views it now as a civil rights issue, though.

McCain was also asked if he sought out gay service members in order to form his determination that the policy was working.

Replied McCain: "I make that determination by retention and recruitment is at an all-time high, the highest in the history of the all-volunteer force. I get that opinion because I visit with the troops all the time. I go to Iraq, I go to Afghanistan, I run into them everywhere. And of course I don't seek out someone who is gay. Why should I? These are all men and women who are serving. Why should I, that would be nuts. I go up to men and women and I say thanks for serving. I say thank you for serving, you are great Americans, God bless you…"

In related news, here's a great piece from JP Massar at Pam's House Blend regarding getting a repeal amendment into the Defense Authorization Bill.

Writes Massar: "Based on internet searches, Senators' party affiliation, their positions on related matters, and some guessing, I have sorted the 28 SASC members into six categories with respect to their likely stances on repeal. Below I've put together a summary, the individual categorizations, the eleven swing votes I see on the committee, supporting evidence (if any), and explanatory references as to why the SASC is the only game in town and will play both a necessary and critical role in DADT repeal."