First, here’s Jim Webb’s statement on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen have laid out a specific and responsible plan to examine the current ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in a manner that includes a comprehensive survey of those wearing the uniform. The White House and Secretary Gates both said today that, ideally, the Defense Department should complete this review before legislative action is taken. There is no question that a review of the policy is necessary and important. I see no reason for the political process to pre-empt it.
Now, here’s my response to Sen. Webb.
First, this policy has been an abject failure almost any way you want to look at it. In a military that’s overstretched as it is, the concept that we would discharge highly-trained (at high cost to taxpayers), highly-qualified people, such as experts in the Arabic language, makes absolutely no sense.
Second, most other countries in the western world already allow gays to serve openly in the military, and they seem to be doing just fine. That includes the Israeli armed forces, not exactly known as a pushover as a military force.
Third, we don’t need any more “study” about whether to end DADT; we already know it makes no sense and serves no useful purpose. The only question is exactly how to end it, which the military should figure out in the next few months. Other than that, there’s zero reason to keep DADT on the books for another minute.
Fourth, not that we should base public policy on opinion polls, but according to a new CNN poll, the American people overwhelmingly (nearly 8 in 10) support ending DADT.
Finally, DADT should be repealed because it is deeply unjust and fundamentally unfair. Just as you opened more operational billets to women than any other Navy Secretary, today it’s time for you to support opening the military to gays and lesbians who want to serve their country.