HRC Blog

Cheney, National Security Adviser Gen. Jones join growing chorus calling for Repeal of DADT

During a pair of interviews this morning on the Sunday Washington political talk show circuit, former Vice President Dick Cheney, defense secretary in the first Bush administration, and retired Marine General James Jones, President Obama's national security adviser, both indicated their support for repealing the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law passed by Congress in 1993.  Cheney and Jones join what continues to be an ever-growing consensus between military officials, political leaders and the American public siding in favor of allowing openly gay and lesbian Americans the ability to serve their country honorably and openly.  This morning on ABC's "This Week", guest host Jonathan Karl, asked former Vice President Cheney his views on repealing the law.  Cheney threw his support behind the repeal effort stating, "when the chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me as it’s time to reconsider the policy, and I think Adm. Mullen said that."  Cheney was referring to congressional testimony given a few weeks ago by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen where he became the first Joint Chiefs' chairman in history to throw his support behind repealing the law.  During the same congressional hearing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates also voiced his support for repeal.  The Center for American Progress' "Think Progress" blog has the video and transcript of the entire exchange this morning up on their site.  The former Vice President wasn't the only one this morning to vocalize his support for ending DADT.  President Obama's national security adviser, retired Marine General James Jones, during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union", also put his weight behind the repeal effort.  Jones' stated that the policy, "has to evolve with the social norms.  I think times have changed... [T]he young men and women who wish to serve their country should not have to lie in order to do that." Today's developments are the latest in what could only be characterized as an historic few weeks in the campaign to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".  Since President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last month, where he called for ending the ban on openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military, we have been reporting here at HRC's Backstory blog on a nearly unanimous and diverse group also speaking out in support of doing away with the law.  Some of those include:

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs' of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates during their congressional testimony before a Senate Armed Services Committee. 
  • General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs' of Staff, states, "I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”
  • A New York Times/CBS News national poll conducted on February 5th - 10th, 2010 shows yet again that a majority of Americans support repeal.
  • On Thursday, the largest organization of retired U.S. military reserve officers in the nation, voted to end its decades long position of excluding gays and lesbians from the U.S. military. The association, founded in 1922 and chartered by Congress in 1950, also rejected the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law.

These historic developments undoubtedly strengthen the effort to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".  However, the fight is far from over.  

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