Colin Powell Hub

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.

Not So Admirable Admiral: Don't Rush on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Admiral Mike Mullen—chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America's top military officer—said on CNN's State of the Union that he favors a "measured" approach if any changes are to be made to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.ALeqM5h0Yn4L7GuXokFm1zlH1hhH-elkKA

"It's very clear what President Obama's intent here is. He intends to see this law change. I've had conversations with him about that. What I've discussed in terms of the future is I think we need to move in a measured way."

With all the talk we've had of the need for the policy to be reviewed, Mullen admitted he hasn't done "any kind of extensive review." His priority is to "give the president my best advice, should this law change, on the impact on our people and their families at these very challenging times."

The last bit heavily implies that allowing LGBT soldiers to serve openly could have some kind of detrimental effect on family values, and that wartime might be an inopportune moment to move on this. Pitting LGBT soliders against "our people and their families" begs the question: What about our people and their families, Admiral?

After the jump, video of Colin Powell's appearance on the same show, calling for DADT to be "reviewed"...

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Colin Powell: "Review" DADT

Powel_93_sm Colin Powell—who helped craft Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 1993 (picture from that year) after thwarting President Bill Clinton in his efforts to open the military to out gay soldiers—said on CNN's State of the Union today that the policy should be reviewed, but would not say it should be repealed.

"The policy and the law that came about in 1993 I think was correct for the time. Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country. And therefore, I think this is a policy and a law that should be reviewed."

He also seemed to dispute the notion (as interpreted from President Obama's recent remarks) that the policy exists only because of a generation gap:

"It is not just a matter of old generals who, you know, are just too high-bound. There are lots of complicated issues with respect to this, and I think all of those issues should be illuminated. And I hope that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders working with the Secretary of Defense will give this the greatest consideration and make their recommendation to the president and to the Congress."

Fmr Military Leaders Powell and Alexander on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Rachel Maddow interviewed former General Colin Powell and Andrea Mitchell interviewed Former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander about repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Alexander called DADT "like having a bowl of bigotry around a curtain of silk. It takes the basic integrity of a person and says you must forget it. It turns people into liars."

Mitchell discusses the Elaine Donnelly letter and Alexander calls it "nonsense."

Watch the clips, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Obama: More Analysis Needed Before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal

While Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a video that "Yes," the President would lift the ban on gays in the military, Obama is signaling that it will be months if not years before enough canvassing of military officials and congressional leadership can be done for him to be comfortable in moving forward:

Dadt"Obama is hoping to avoid the missteps of the Clinton administration when it tried to open the ranks to gays and lesbians, only to be confronted by fierce resistance from lawmakers and commanders...At the Pentagon, officials say they have been told not to expect the administration to seek to lift the ban quickly. One senior officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said staff officers for Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been told it will be several months at the earliest - possibly not even this year - until the top brass will be formally asked to weigh in on a change in policy. And even then, he said, the military has been assured it will have wide latitude to undertake a detailed study of how a change in the policy would affect the military."

Nathaniel Frank, a researcher at a think tank in Santa Barbara, California, says there is "good reason" for Obama to proceed with caution, but points out the issues with moving too slowly: "A delay could let opposition fester and build."

In December, Colin Powell said it was time to re-evaluate the policy. And in November, over 100 retired generals and admirals called for the repeal of the policy.

The NYT: "Mr. Obama’s cultivation of the military has reached the point that it is already causing unease among some members of his liberal base, who say they will hold him to his promise on troop withdrawals and pressure him to move more quickly on'don’t ask, don’t tell.' The nation’s largest gay rights lobbying group has called on the president to develop a plan to end 'don’t ask, don’t tell' within his first 100 days, and another group is asking that Mr. Obama push for repeal by the end of the year. 'I’d be very concerned if they don’t seize this opportunity in 2009,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group that represents gay men and lesbians in the military. “We take the president at his word, and we plan to keep his feet to the fire.'"

Obama seeks assessment on gays in military [boston globe]

Colin Powell:: It's Time to Re-Evaluate 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Colin Powell spoke with Fareed Zakaria on CNN's The Situation Room today and said it was time to re-evaluate 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.

Said Powell: "We definitely should reevaluate it. It's been 15 years since we put in DADT which was a policy that became a law. I didn't want it to become a law but it became a law. Congress felt that strongly about it. But it's been 15 years and attitudes have changed and so I think it is time for the Congress, since it is their law, to have a full review of it, and I'm quite sure that's what President-elect Obama will want to do."

Following Powell's remarks, Wolf Blitzer held a useless interview with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who is running to be the next chairman of the Republican Party and is confident the policy works even though "he doesn't have Powell's experience" in the military.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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