Despite saying he would consider repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) if military leaders like Colin Powell believed that “we ought to change the policy”, McCain appeared on Fox News’ Greta van Susteren yesterday to argue that he only wants to hear from leaders that agree with his position.
“I respect the views of Admiral Mullen, who said it was his individual opinion, that we have not heard from the rest of the military leadership. And I’d be very interested in hearing from our military on this issue,” he said:
MCCAIN: So I think, again, when I talk to men and women in the military, they say it’s not broke, it’s not broken, so we don’t need to fix it. … I hope we’re going to get the opinion from our military leadership…If they can show me the evidence that it needs to be changed, obviously, then I would give that serious consideration. That has been my consistent policy. But I do believe that the policy in effect today is working.
McCain dismisses Mullen’s “individual opinion” but says he hopes to hear “the opinion from our military leadership” and suggests that he values the individual opinions of military members who “say it’s not broke, it’s not broken, so we don’t need to fix it.” After all, the overwhelming majority say they are comfortable serving alongside openly gay and lesbian soldiers.
McCain’s reluctance to listen to opposing view points also explains his certainty that DADT “is working.” Since 1994, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has resulted in the discharge of more than 13,000 military personnel across the armed services and cost the nation at least $190.5 million over 10 years. A 2005 General Accounting Office (GAO) report also found that “757 (about 8 percent) of the 9,488 servicemembers discharged for homosexual conduct” from 1994 through fiscal year 2003 held critical occupations” and 209 servicemembers studied an “Important Foreign Language.”