While the White House looks to Connecticut’s Sen. Joe Lieberman as its pointman on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Colorado’s Sen. Mark Udall is also among those expected to take a leading role in killing the policy. How come? Because he’s a Democrat sitting on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and in previous hearings he’s made clear that he wants movement from the Pentagon. And in a letter addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he’s making clear he wants movement from Obama, too. But just how much oopmh is behind the letterhead?
Dated yesterday, Sen. Udall’s letter to Obama (read it below) calls on the president to hurry up and get the Pentagon to submit recommendations on how to end the policy. Timeline? 30 days.
It’s a specific demand, which we like. But the letter — written, obviously, to be made public — is hardly the forthright “it’s this or else” demand many LGBTs would like to see.
But it’s a step in the right direction, and all the more necessary because, while Obama is reportedly leaning on Lieberman to lead the DADT repeal, the senator isn’t saying he’s going to do so: “That hasn’t been decided, but we’re all working together in a very collegial way.” But Leiberman did note this: The Pentagon must be involved in any sort of repeal.
Lieberman’s aside echoes Udall’s own sentiments in his letter to Obama, as well as those of Sen. Carl Levin, that folks like Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen must be part of the repeal effort.
We tend to agree. We’re big fans of a civilian-led military, but you’d be foolish not to think senior military officials should be involved in revoking a policy that’s generating so much controversy. But when push comes to shove, repealing DADT must be done, and Obama must give the order. Even if Gates, McMullen, and other top brass drag their feet the entire way.