Politics

McCain won’t reconsider ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ until military releases report, despite Mullen’s ‘personal belief’ on repeal of policy

John McCain said in 2006 that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards gays in the military should be changed if leaders of the armed forces say it should be — but now that some of those leaders are for repealing the policy, McCain is still not necessarily for it, instead saying the military should be  “very careful as to how we move forward” on the issue.

McCain, on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, was reminded by moderator David Gregory of his 2006 quote when he said, “The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.”

Even though General David Petraeus said last week that he’s not sure if soldiers on the ground care one way or the other if their comrade in arms are gay or lesbian, and Admiral Mike Mullen said it is his “personal belief” that allowing gays and lesbians “to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” McCain is not persuaded.

“Because, as I said back then, that we need to have a careful examination, and Admiral Mullen was, as quote, ‘speaking personally.’ Just this week, commandant of the Marine Corps said that he did not want ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repealed. There are many in the military who do not want to,” McCain said Sunday.

McCain said there is a “yearlong study that will hopefully also have the feelings of the men and women who are serving,” and if that yields the conclusion that the policy should be repealed, he’d consider supporting it.

“If the result of that study is, is one that I can trust and believe in and is supported by our military leaders, obviously, I would have that — give that the most serious consideration,” McCain said.