BY Kerry Eleveld
March 29 2010 1:05 PM ET
No sooner did Larry Korb, a senior fellow at Center for American Progress and former assistant secretary of defense, tell us last week that he thought the Department of Defense was “dragging their feet” on repeal than we found out exactly what kind of consequences delay can have.
On Friday, audio was released of the head of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Conway, saying that the corps, which currently houses soldiers in double bunks, would have to build single BEQs (bachelor enlisted quarters) if “don’t ask, don’t tell” were repealed.
“Right now, we billets by twos, we’re the only service that billets by twos,” Conway told Military.com. “We like that, we want to continue doing that. But I would not ask our Marines to live with someone that’s homosexual if we can possibly avoid it. And to me that means that we’ve got to build BEQs that have single rooms.”
When asked why he didn’t want to house straights and gays together, he responded, “I would in this case want to preserve the right of a Marine who thinks he or she wouldn’t want to do that and again, that’s the overwhelming number of people that say that they wouldn’t like to do so.”
Conway added that the reason they house troops together is because they believe it’s good for unit cohesion.
“If we believe it’s going to be adverse to unit cohesion,” he added, “then why wouldn’t we join every other services standard and say that under the previous regulations it was conducive, under the current regulations it’s got the potential to cause friction and so we’re going to demand the same standards as everybody else.”
Conway is a well-known detractor of repeal and has agitated more loudly against it inside the Pentagon than any other service chief. During his testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said his “best military advice” would be “to keep the law such as it is.”