the don't tell show

LIVE: McCain to Gates: You’re ‘Biased’ About Wanting to Change DADT

A live stream is available here. We apologize in advance for Joe Liberman’s stupid humor.

(Rush transcript. Errors possible.)

JOHN MCCAIN: “It would also present yet another challenge at a time of tremendous stress and strain. … We should not be seeking to overturn DADT. I want to make one thing clear up front: I’m enormously proud of every American who puts on a uniform [and protects our country]. Many gays and lesbians are serving admirably in our armed forces, risking their lives. … Our challenge is how to continue welcoming this service amidst the vast complexities. … Has this policy been ideal? No it has not. But it has been effective.”

ROBERT GATES: “We have received our orders from the Commander in Chief, and we are carrying them out accordingly. … To ensure that the department is prepared should the law be changed, and working in close consultation with Adm. Mullen, I have appointed a high level working group.” [General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Gen. Carter Ham will head the group.]

MIKE MULLEN: “Frankly, there are people on both sides of this debate who say there is no debate. … I expect that we will be more thoughtful than that. … I have said many times before, should the law change, we should move forward in a manner that does not add to that stress. … Our plate is very full, and while i believe this is an important issue, I also believe we need to be mindful of other pressing needs in our military. … What the citizens we defend want to know is that their uniform leadership that absolutely does not place in peril the readiness and effectiveness of their military. … Balance and thoughtfulness is what we need most right now. It’s what the president promised us.”

NEW RULES FOR DISMISSAL INVESTIGATIONS, to be reviewed within 45-day period.

GATES: “We can do the following within the confines of the existing law: We can raise the level of the officer required to make inquiry, conducts inquiry, raise the bar on credible information, raise the bar on what constitutes a reliable person. Overall, we can reduce the instances in which the instances in which a servicemember … is outed by a third party with a motive to harm the servicemember.”

LEVIN ASKS IF GATES WILL SUPPORT MORATORIUM ON DISCHARGES.

GATES: Can’t “answer that question.”

MCCAIN: I’m deeply disappointed in your statement, Mr. Gates. … Your statement is … how we best prepare [for making a change to the law] … before deciding whether we should repeal the law or not. … It requires Congress in order to repeal it. … Your statement is one that is clearly biased.

Missouri’s Sen. Claire McCaskill just became the star of the hearings. Asking very basic questions — Are gays serving? Do we honor their service? — of Mullen, she draws out the simple fact that the U.S. armed forces is happy to have soldiers, but we just won’t “talk about it.” And how, she asks Mullen, will they even hear from gay soldiers affected by DADT? By talking first to those who have been dismissed.

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Live blogging from the Washington Post here.