Colin Powell, Admiral Mullen comment on review of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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Colin Powell on DADTFormer Secretary of State Colin Powell and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday and briefly discussed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Full transcript of each exchange below the video clip.

Colin Powell:

KING: And Secretary Gates is now saying he’s exploring some flexibility in the current policy, waiting for whether Congress passes a law reversing it — some flexibility that, under some circumstances, perhaps some openly gay or some people who have been outed, perhaps, should be allowed to stay and serve. What would you do?

POWELL: Well, the policy and the law that came about in 1993, I think, was correct for the time. Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country, and therefore I think this is a policy and a law that should be reviewed.

I am withholding judgment because the commanders of the armed forces of the United States and the joint chiefs of staff need to study it and make recommendations to the president and have hearings before the Congress before a decision is made.

It is not just a matter of old generals who are, you know, just too hidebound.

There are lots of complicated issues with respect to this, and I think all the issues should be illuminated. And I hope that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders, working with the secretary of defense, will give this the greatest consideration and make their recommendation to the president and to the Congress.

Admiral Mullen:

KING: Two questions, sir. And let me start with the advice you give the president.

Do you still believe the policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should stay, and is that your advice to the president, even though that is contrary to the promise he made in the campaign?

MULLEN: Well, what General Powell talks about is the policy and, in fact, the law. And with respect to that, we clearly are carrying out both that policy and law, and will continue to do that until it changes.

Secretary Sates spoke recently about reviewing the policy to see if — to make sure that we were executing it in the most humane way possible. It’s very clear what president Obama’s intent here is. He intends to see this law change.

And in my advice, you know, I’ve had conversations with him about that. What I’ve discussed in terms of the future is I think we need to move in a measured way.

We’re at a time where we are fighting two conflicts. There’s a great deal of pressure on our forces and their families. And yet, again, the strategic intent is clear.

And if we get — and I am internally discussing that with my staff on how to move forward and what the possible implementation steps could be. I haven’t done any kind of extensive review. And what I feel most obligated about is to make sure I tell the president, you know, my — give the president my best advice, should this law change, on the impact on our people and their families at these very challenging times.

While I’m hesitant to parse words, it’s beginning to sound more and more all the time that all we’re going to get is a “change” in the policy, and not an outright appeal… if anything at all.

Post by ILO on 07/05/09 at 11:38 pm