HRC’s inquisitive commemoration of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s 14th anniversary concludes with some words from Hillary Clinton.
In case you guys haven’t been paying attention, the gay non-profit asked the Democratic presidential candidates this simple question: “If you are elected President, what concrete steps would you take to overturn ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?'”
John Edwards answered first – well, sort of. The well-coiffed candidate didn’t tell us what he’d do to repeal Don’t Ask, but he did remind us that it’s wrong. Thanks, John. Chris Dodd took a similarly insufficent stance, while Joe Biden highlighted more progressive nation’s queer inclusion. The Senator from Delaware also called the United State’s policy “irrational”.
Barack Obama provided some clear direction yesterday when he say he’d sign the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. Clinton also provides some answers, saying she’ll work with former military leaders like former Joint Chiefs chairman John M. Shalikashvili and gay activist Eric Alva, the first soldier injured in Iraq. The Senator does not, however, explain any political steps. In fact, her answer seems like just another way for her to remind us that she’s a Washington insider, a common tactic in her campaign.
So, without further ado, here’s what Hillary had to say:
I strongly believe that anyone who has the courage, strength, and valor to serve our country should be able to do so. We are at war and our top generals are warning that America’s military is stretched to the breaking point, yet we have a policy that dismisses good people from our ranks. Even service members with critical skills such as Arabic language skills are being discharged because they are gay. Senior retired military officials who can speak freely say this law does not serve our national security interests. These same military leaders are confident that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell won’t lessen standards of behavior or lower morale.
As President, I will work with high-profile military leaders, such as former Joint Chiefs chairman John M. Shalikashvili and Retired Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the Army, who have called for repeal of the law. I will stand with soldiers like retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first American soldier to be seriously wounded in Iraq, and retired Army Sgt. Jose Zuniga, former Army Soldier of the Year, who are shining examples of why this law no longer makes sense.
Over the last seven years in the Senate, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I have built relationships with members of Congress and senior military officials through my work on the Armed Services Committee. When I am President, I will bring this strength and experience to bear to end this outdated and outmoded policy.