Friday, April 17, 2009

Gates: Slow Change is Best for "Don't Ask"

Not asking and not telling may work inside the Pentagon, but military students were not willing to follow the same protocol yesterday when Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a stop at the Army War College in Carlisle Pennsylvania. Fielding questions from students, Gates said any change to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy needs to happen slowly. President Obama has voiced support for overturning the military's ban on gay servicemen and women. Gates says he and Mr. Obama have begun a dialogue on that issue, but Gates firmly believes any change would need to be implemented cautiously. He told the students, “From the time President Truman signed the executive order for integration in 1948, it was five years before that process was completed. I'm not saying that's a model for this, but I'm saying that I believe this is something that needs to be done very, very carefully.” Gates says as long as the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is in place, he and other Pentagon officials will uphold it. He acknowledges it's a "complex and difficult problem," and says President Obama is approaching it in a "deliberate, cautious" manner.

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