Wilkerson says DADT ‘should be repealed’ immediately.

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"Wilkerson says DADT ‘should be repealed’ immediately."

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (ret.), former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, appeared on the XM/Sirius radio show “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick” today and stated forcefully that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring gay men and women from serving openly in the military “should be repealed”:

DOMINICK: You’re a 31 year veteran of the military, Army, like I’ve said, you served in Vietnam. What’s your opinion of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy currently in place? Should it be repealed or should it remain in place?

WILKERSON: Let me say just right off the bat, it should be repealed. Gays should be able to serve – gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the American armed forces just like anyone else does. […]

DOMINICK: It should be repealed immediately.

WILKERSON: Yep.

Listen here:

At a meeting commemorating the 40th anniversary of the gay rights movement at the White House today with more than 250 leaders of the gay community, President Obama defended his administration’s lack of action thus far in his presidency in repealing the policy. But according to the Boston Globe, Obama added the delay “does not diminish his pledge to eventually overturn it.” Read the Center for American Progress’s report on how Obama can repeal the ban here.

Transcript:

DOMINICK: You’re a 31-year veteran of the military, Army, like I’ve said, you served in Vietnam. What’s your opinion of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy currently in place? Should it be repealed or should it remain in place?

WILKERSON: Let me say just right off the bat, it should be repealed. Gays should be able to serve – gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the American armed forces just like anyone else does. And let me say that the way that policy came about, was we still need someone to write the book or the article or whatever because the real cruncher there was the Congress of the United States. It wasn’t the military, it wasn’t the joint staff, it certainly wasn’t Colin Powell. I was there; I was in the middle of it. It was the Congress of the United States. The Congress turned and members of the Congress of Clinton’s own party said to him, “Over our dead bodies.” And Clinton turned to Powell and said, “Oh work me out a compromise.” And Powell worked out the compromise, well the joint staff and the chairman and the chiefs worked out a compromise and it was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I’m not sure any of them liked it very much but that’s what we’ve got. But I gave you a direct answer.

DOMINICK: It should be repealed immediately.

WILKERSON: Yep.

Update

Obama also offered these statements in his remarks:

I want to say a word about “don’t ask, don’t tell.” As I said before — I’ll say it again — I believe “don’t ask, don’t tell” doesn’t contribute to our national security. (Applause.) In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. (Applause.)

Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we’ll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.

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