Change: Colin Powell now opposes "don't ask, don't tell"

You know I’m posting this just for the inevitable 300 angry “RINO!” comments, right?

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office. He added: “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers on Tuesday that they supported President Obama’s proposal to repeal the 1993 law forbidding gay men and lesbians to be open about their sexuality while serving in uniform…

When Mr. Clinton tried to end the ban on gay soldiers, General Powell was the Joint Chiefs chairman and opposed the move on the grounds that it would undermine discipline and order in the military but he supported the “don’t ask” compromise. In his statement on Wednesday, General Powell said “the principal issue has always been the effectiveness of the Armed Forces and order and discipline in the ranks.”

Gates, Mullen, Powell, Shalikashvili: Have any top Pentagon brass, current or retired, come out strongly against repeal in the past few weeks as this debate picked up steam? I know that Peter Pace was against repeal as recently as three years ago but he’s been quiet lately. I’m surprised some enterprising lefty reporter hasn’t dialed up Papa Cheney and asked him for his views on the subject. He’s actually to the left of The One on gay marriage (publicly, at least) so presumably he’d be good for a useful “if it’s okay with the generals, it’s okay with me” soundbite. Chop chop, Politico!

Meanwhile, Arizona Republicans ponder the eternal question: WWMD?

McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan pointed out that Mullen repeatedly emphasized that he was speaking for himself and not on behalf of the military leadership during Tuesday’s hearing. She said McCain’s stance remains unchanged and that until the Pentagon team finishes its policy review there will be no official recommendation from military leadership.

“Sen. McCain believes that DADT works. But if the military leadership decided that it would be beneficial to repeal DADT, he would obviously listen to leadership,” Buchanan said. “He respects Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates, but would like to withhold judgment on the repeal by waiting for the conclusion from policy review.”…

If the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell review finds that repealing the policy would be advantageous to the military, Buchanan said McCain would consider it. But first the military must address a host of concerns through the upcoming series of hearings and discussions.

Exit question: With Hayworth looming over his shoulder, is Maverick really going to sign off on repealing DADT? And if he does, what’s Sarahcuda going to say when she’s inevitably asked about it?

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