McCain’s DADT Flop

K.D. Perry - Gays in the military Pic 2 1

Michael D Shear delivers the kind of no-nonsense reporting that we too rarely see from newspapers:

“The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it,” McCain said in October 2006 to an audience of Iowa State University students.

That day arrived Tuesday, with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen testifying to senators after President Obama’s announcement that he would seek a congressional repeal of the 15-year-old policy.

Mullen called repealing the policy, which bans openly gay men and lesbians from serving, “the right thing to do” and said he was personally troubled by effectively forcing service members to “lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Gates told the Armed Services Committee, “I fully support the president’s decision.”

In response, McCain declared himself “disappointed” in the testimony. “At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” he said bluntly, before describing it as “imperfect but effective.”

A number of people, myself included, were disappointed last year by how slowly the Obama administration was moving on this issue. But it appears that they put the time to good use in terms of getting the top military brass on board for the switch. That, in turn, is going to leave the remaining DADT defenders looking increasingly isolated, as McCain does here.