Defense Secretary Bob Gates just called on Congress to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell before the end of the year — while asking that Congress give the military time to implement the change.
Asked by reporters how much time he would need, Gates conceded he didn’t know. But he indicated the the President would keep a close eye on the Pentagon and make sure it didn’t slow roll the implementation.
As expected, the Pentagon’s review of DADT found that repeal of the flawed policy would not have an adverse effect on unit morale or cohesion. But Gates’ unequivocal call for repeal by Congress was perhaps a surprise. The argument he made for repeal cuts particularly sharply for Republicans: if Congress doesn’t repeal DADT in orderly fashion, the federal courts may do it in a haphazard and disruptive way.
Gates message to Republicans in Congress was pick your poison: You can repeal this policy in a way that lets us implement it with minimal disruption or you can fail to act and the courts will act by “judicial fiat” forcing the Pentagon to react with no time to prepare, which Gates said was his “greatest fear.”