I’ve written a lot lately about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and, recently, the McCain family’s differing opinions on the military policy. I’m reluctant to turn into a single-issue blogger, so I’m trying not to go overboard on the subject.
But Sen. John McCain’s contradiction of himself on DADT was too fascinating to resist.
In 2006, Sen. McCain had this to say about the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:
We have to have the most effective and professional military that we can possibly obtain. I listen to people like General Colin Powell, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and literally every military leader that I know. And they testified before Congress that they felt the “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” policy was the most appropriate way to conduct ourselves in the military. A policy that has been effective. It has worked.
Fair enough… General Colin Powell and other military leaders have testified that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is appropriate military policy, so Sen. McCain thinks we should follow their advice. Perfectly understandable, right? And as long as the top brass continue to feel that way, that’s what the military should do.
It’s not Sen. McCain’s personal feelings about gays and lesbians that make him support the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. And in fact, he went on to say that he’d reconsider if the military leadership did:
And I understand the opposition to it, and I‘ve had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.
Perfectly understandable… These officers are the top-ranking military leaders in the country, and if they have an expert opinion on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces, then who was John McCain to argue?
Fast forward to the public statements in recent weeks from former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell (the same Gen. Colin Powell whose expert opinion was cited by Sen. McCain in his statement above), former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili, and current Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, all three of whom emphatically support ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy… Along with the current Secretary of Defense and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
So, isn’t it a little surprising that Sen. John McCain is still resisting an end to DADT?
Here’s a great little video, to drive the point home:
It’s okay if you don’t like gays and lesbians, Sen. McCain. It’s okay if you don’t want them in the Armed Forces because you assume that the rest of the military shares your opinion of them. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, and voters elect you in part because of your stated opinions.
But at least have the courage to stand by your convictions, and express your opinions as your own. Don’t hide behind military leaders as long as their views match yours, and then distance yourself from those same leaders when their stated positions change. I expected more integrity from you.