The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday that Congress shouldn’t wait to repeal the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which forces gay, lesbian and trans-gender members to hide their personal lives or face expulsion from the service.
“The other piece that is out there that is very real is the courts are very active on this, and my concern is that at some point in time the courts could change this law and in that not give us the right amount of time to implement it,” Admiral Mike Mullen told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour. “I think it’s much better done if it’s going to get done, it’s much better done through legislature than it is out of the courts.”
Mullen refused to comment on the leaked results of a Pentagon survey that reportedly says there is widespread support for repealing the policy, and that doing so would cause only “minimal risk” to soldiers.
“We’ll have this report done here and to Secretary Gates in the next couple of weeks by December 1st, and I won’t make any comments on where I think we need to go until that report is done,” he said.
But Mullen made it clear that he supports repeal. “From my personal perspective, absolutely.”
“I think it belies us as an institution. We value integrity as an institution,” Mullen continued. “Asking individuals to come in and lie about who they are every day goes counter to who we are as an institution.”
Mullen expressed concern about the head of the US Marine Corps, who said earlier this month it was the wrong time to overturn the ban on gays serving openly.
“There’s risk involved; I’m trying to determine how to measure that risk,” Gen. James Amos said at the beginning of November. “This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness. That’s what the country pays its Marines to do.”
“What concerned me about his most recent comments, it came at a time where we actually had the draft report in hand, and we had all agreed that we would speak to this privately until we completed the report and made our recommendations up the chain,” Mulled said.
But the Join Chiefs chairman is confident that Amos will comply should the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy be repealed.
“He basically said that if this law changes, we are going to implement it, and we are going to implement it better than anybody else,” Mullen told CNN’s Candy Crowley Sunday.
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Nov. 21, 2010.