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Shalikashvili: Calls for DADT Repeal, But ...

Shalikashvili: Calls for DADT Repeal, But ...


Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, has written an op-ed in Saturday's Washington Post asking Congress to choose a "repeal-only" option with "don't ask, don't tell" -- letting the Pentagon set its own rules regarding gay troops.

DADT is both federal law and Pentagon policy, he explains. Repealing the law but letting the Pentagon decide for itself how to handle policy would be politically expedient and, ultimately if not immediately, would result in the most stable mandate for equal treatment of gay service members, he believes.

Shalikashvili writes, "Current efforts to end 'don't ask, don't tell,' have focused on repealing the law and on replacing it with a policy that requires equal treatment of gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops. This is a tougher sell to moderates in Congress and has the downside of perpetuating congressional meddling in military policy.

"By contrast, the 'repeal-only' option would leave to the Pentagon any questions about the possibility, content, and timing of policy changes, while eliminating the law that straitjackets military leaders' ability to craft the most sensible policy. ...

"It is true that without a mandate from Congress, the Pentagon would have the discretion to leave the current regulations in place as it determines how to best implement repeal. There is, however, little cause to fear the ban would remain indefinitely, and it is highly unlikely that a future administration or Congress would roll back equal treatment once the Pentagon adopts it."

Read Shalikashvili's whole op-ed here.

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