Cheney backs repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
'I think society has moved on'
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says it's time to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy referring to gays openly serving in the military.
Cheney, who served as defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush, expressed support for repealing policy Sunday on ABC’s “This Week."
"I think society has moved on," he said.
Cheney cited support for repeal from Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as reason that he believes it’s time to “reconsider” the policy, reports Politico. And he disagreed with some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in saying that he would not question the military’s advice on the matter.
“I’m reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard because they’re the ones that have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability,” Cheney said. “When the Chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then that strikes me that it’s time to reconsider the policy.”
But even with Cheney's backing, the Associated Press reports that the end of the policy could be many months - if not years - away. A "protracted" study would give service members time to adjust to the change, and avoid the politics of of the issue during this fall's mid-term elections, writes Anne Flaherty.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates also advocated a "thorough examination" of the policy.
"An important part of this process is to engage our men and women in uniform and their families over this period since, after all, they will ultimately determine whether or not we make this transition successfully," Gates said in a recent statement.
But Eugene James Carroll Jr., a retired Navy rear admiral, told The Pilot that the policy in place is just fine.
Carroll said he pictured a ship at dock preparing to cast off, with gay men kissing each other like sailors do their wives.
"I guess that would be the thing you would expect ... I am just against it," he said. "It's worked. It's worked quite well. Why change it?"