When word arrived that President Obama selected Dr. Clifford Stanley, a retired Marine general, as his nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, we thought we’d finally have a senior ally on our side of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debate. So why isn’t Stanley meeting our expectations?
Because he wants the U.S. Senate to confirm him without any issues, stupid.
At yesterday’s Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing for Stanley — who, if appointed, would be the Pentagon’s pointman for DADT — it was Sen. John McCain who took a particular interest in the 33-year Marine veteran’s view on the policy. McCain, repeating what we already knew, addressed Stanley: “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a challenge that will probably fall under your purview, and that would be changing the DOD’s homosexual conduct policy. … I would be opposed to any attempt at modifying the existing policy in ways that will harm military readiness, placing upon the shoulders of military leaders an extra burden they simply do not need.” But it was Democrats who actually asked Stanley about his position, reports Kerry Eleveld.
When quizzed by Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado if he would support Obama’s call to lift the ban, Stanley replied, “Senator, I clearly recognize that this is a very sensitive issue, it is an issue that I’m prepared to address if confirmed. … This is a very very challenging subject, but one that I know we can get our arms around. I have to provide, based upon that input, a recommendation to Secretary Gates.”
Clearly, the man has been coached well. He gave the sort of vague, non-answers that Republicans won’t be able to point out to cause controversy, while ably easing the minds of anti-DADT Democrats.
And it’s exactly what was to be expected of him.