The defense secretary and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff presented the Defense Department’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell study Tuesday that found repealing it will have a minimal effect. Pentagon reporter Andrew Tilghman breaks down the study here.
However, most of the talking points had been said before Tuesday afternoon’s Pentagon briefing and most of the study’s results had already been leaked. What hadn’t been heard prior to Tuesday, though, was Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ personal stance on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Sure, he has stated his support for President Obama’s position to repeal it and he should considering he’s a political appointee. Gates has also expressed his concern about rushing the implementation of the repeal.
But until Tuesday afternoon he had never gone on the record with his personal views of the policy. Until he was asked quite bluntly in the second to last question of the day. Here was the secretary’s response.
“I think that in my view one of the things that is most important to me is personal integrity. And a policy or a law that in effect requires people to lie gives me, gives me a problem. And so I think it’s, I mean, we spend a lot of time in the military talking about integrity and honor and values.
Telling the truth is a pretty important value in that scale. It’s a very important value. And so for me, and I thought the admiral was — that Admiral Mullen was eloquent on this last February — a policy that requires people to lie about themselves somehow seems to me fundamentally flawed.”