This evening, during an interview on CNN’s Larry King Live, Gen. Colin Powell reiterated his belief that repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell must “take into account the views of our military leaders,” but cautioned LGBT advocates against urging Congress to lift the ban before the Pentagon publishes its review of the policy.
Asked if he agreed with Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) evolving view on the issue, Powell said, “I share Senator McCain’s view that we ought to let the process unfold and not try to intercept it with court rulings or with people trying to get a vote out of the Congress when the Congress is not ready to vote on it”:
POWELL: My position has been, it has been 17 years since we put that policy in place. Lots of things have happened. Attitudes have changed within our society. But i always believe, as I believed in 1993, that we have to take into account the views of our military leaders who are responsible for the well-being of the armed forces.
KING: So you support the McCain’s view?
POWELL: Yes. But, you know, our military leaders have now spoken. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, there is some, some difference of opinion among the chiefs that will have to be resolved. But I wish that we would just let that study be finished, let it be published and let everybody read it and not leak parts of it. And so I share Senator McCain’s view that we ought to let the process unfold and not try to intercept it with court rulings or with people trying to get a vote out of the Congress when the Congress is not ready to vote on it.
Powell, who helped usher in Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, first announced his support for repeal in February of 2009, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen testified about their support for lifting the ban before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
His comments on King, however, place him to the right of Gates, who has recently called on the Senate to vote on repeal during the lame duck session. Recent leaks from the Pentagon’s study have found that repeal would not disrupt the military during a time of war, leading Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to call on the Pentagon to release the study ahead of the December 1 deadline.