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General Paul Eaton Comes Out For Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Joining a long list of military leaders and commanders calling for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, retired Major Gen. Paul Eaton — commander of operations to train Iraqi troops between 2003 and 2004 and currently a Senior Adviser to the National Security Network — told Mic Check radio last week that he too believed that it was time to end the policy. “Discrimination based on sexual orientation is inappropriate in our society,” Eaton said. “It is inappropriate to ask somebody to lie if he wants to keep his job as a solider, air man, seaman or marine.”

“The issue of sexuality is so complex, it’s not binary. And the older I get the more I learn about it and we’ve gone to a considerable level of openness in our society to discussing this,” he added, noting that attitudes towards sexuality have changed since the policy was first enacted. “There is a considerable amount of growth we’ve seen and when it comes down to the issue of gays serving in the military, the real issue is discipline”:

EATON: I expect people to serve in the military where sexuality is not a topic of discussion. It is not a topic of recognition. Simply, you don’t display affection….It’s not an issue. It’ just a discipline issue.

Listen to highlights of the interview:

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Eaton acknowledged that now is the time to repeal the ban, but he didn’t call on the military to expedite its year-long review of the policy. “I believe that now is the time to repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and as far as the timeline for implementing that decision, I defer to the United States Armed Forces to figure that out,” he said. “From the perspective of the Pentagon review, it gets really complicated when you get into the bureaucracy of implementation”:

EATON: There is the issue of preparing the force and preparing the services for the repeal so that we don’t run into unpleasant second-order effect events….Just like integration of women creates some challenges, and enduring challenges, discipline issues, so it will be that we’re going to have to be careful in our implementation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Eaton also praised the leaders of the Pentagon review, General Carter Ham and Jeh Johnson and expressed confidence in that process.