Heading off to Australia to discuss whether kangaroos can be turned into hopping robotic armaments, Defense Sec. Robert Gates took a few moments to say he’d really love to see Congress repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during the lame duck session that’s about to kick off, but even he knows there’s a better chance of America “winning” the Afghanistan War than that happening.
“I would like to see the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but I’m not sure what the prospects for that are and we’ll just have to see,” he told a gaggle of reporters eager to transcribe his every word. The remarks are the first time Gates publicly endorsed a pre-January effort to repeal the law, and are more bold than what Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell would say on Thursday: “What Congress decides to do legislatively with regards to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or any issue for that matter is largely their business. They take up things in the order they see fit. …“I think in 26 days time, the secretary will have the work product that he thinks is so necessary for us to be to fully understand full implications of a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and then what additional measures we need to take in preparation for that eventuality.” He also said Gates believes a it’s best to repeal DADT in a “smart [rather] than stupid” way, and finishing the report “is very important to us doing this smartly.”
As we all know, that report isn’t due until December (conveniently timed for after the mid-term elections), which means Gates now supports an attempt to repeal the law before that report is issued.
Which is in staunch contract to new Marine head Gen. James Amos, who says now is not the time to consider repeal. On the job just two weeks since taking over for pro-DADT Gen. James Conway, Amos says, “There’s risk involved. I’m trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”
Isn’t Gates the guy who promised “enormous consequences for our troops” if DADT is repealed hastily? Sure sounds like he’s ready to move up that timeline, all because some Democrats lost their seats.