Pawlenty Doubles Down On Reinstating DADT, Says It Wouldn’t Impact The Military ‘At All’

Dave Weigel has this clip of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) explaining why he supports reinstating the Don’t Ask, Dont’ Tell policy that a bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to repeal last year:

Q: My question was, how would putting it back into place effect our military?

PAWLENTY: I don’t think it would impact it at all because as I understand it they’re going to slowly roll out the program, so if ends up going back in, I don’t know that it would effect it.

Watch it at 1:41:

Putting the program “back in,” as Pawlenty describes it, would not only heighten the very sense of uncertainty that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman sought to avoid by urging Congress to repeal the law during the lame duck session, but it would also leave the military vulnerable to a court decision that would force sudden repeal. Gates described a court injunction of DADT in October as a “wake-up call” that the law could be struck down immediately without giving the military time to prepare for the change. “ Since Congress passed repeal, Gates has also promised to begin repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “as quickly but as responsibly as possible” and has said that the Pentagon was approaching the task with the philosophy of, it’s better to end the policy “sooner rather than later.”


It’s also unclear how reinstating the policy would work operationally. Bringing back the policy would require gay servicemembers who come out after repeal is certified to suddenly go back into the closet or face discharge. Straight soldiers would also have to pretend they did not know about the sexual orientation of formerly-out gay members.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.