Petraeus Hints At Support For DADT Repeal
by Nathan Empsall, Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 08:34:24 PM EDT
What a headline from The Hill: “Petraeus offers first public support for change to 'Don't ask'":
Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, said Tuesday that the time has come to consider changing the controversial law barring openly gay from people serving in the U.S. military.
It was the general’s most direct answer to date on the issue. A few weeks ago on NBC's "Meet the Press," Petraeus did not answer a question about his position on the repeal, but said he would provide his opinion on Capitol Hill if asked. Petraeus said on the program that he supported the review process and that he had served in combat situations with gays and lesbians.
While Petraeus’ answer to Carl Levin’s question is hardly fully-throttled support, it’s also hardly the visceral opposition General Colin Powell (also now a DADT opponent) showed in 1993. This is huge news, and takes away a major conservative argument. When Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced support for a review of DADT, Repubs abandoned that position, and some no claim they’ll support a repeal once the brass does to they’d support a repeal once the brass “in the field” does. Well flash forward two months and guess what.
It’ll be interesting to see if Petraeus’ statement gives newly elected Repub Sen. Scott Brown pause. Brown said in January: “I’d like to hear from the generals in the field — in the field — the people that actually work with these soldiers to make sure that, you know, the social change is not going to disrupt our ability to finish the job and complete the wars.” Well, sir, his appearance before Congress this week may not have caused the stir it did last year, but Petraeus, that folk hero to so many Repubs, certainly counts as “in the field.” What say you now?
Brown’s new enough that there’s still hope he could wind up in the Collins-Snowe wing. Not much hope, but still some. It’ll also be interesting to see what rhetorical slight-of-hand the rest of his party comes up with now that the military has pulled the rug out from under them a second time on this issue.