'This Week' Transcript: Tim Kaine

SHELTON: And those were my observations. I've had the opportunity to work for a number of secretaries of defense while I was in Pentagon. And, for example, Secretary Bill Cohen, great team-builders, tremendous leader, (INAUDIBLE), made you want to do things because they were the right things to do and because we all pulled together to get it done.

But the leadership that Secretary Rumsfeld brought was totally different.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about "Don't Ask/Don't Tell," and I want to put up what a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs told THIS WEEK, this program several months ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today we've changed. The country has changed. I am personally of the view now that attitudes have changed. And I think it is perfectly acceptable to get rid of the law and the policy.


AMANPOUR: Is it time, General Shelton, to get rid of that policy?

SHELTON: Christiane, I think it's time to let's see what the men and women that are at the basic combat unit, particularly men in the Marines and the Army have to say when the survey comes in on the first of December.

AMANPOUR: Will you support it if the Pentagon review says that it's time to get rid of it?

SHELTON: If the men and women in uniform at the fighting level, particularly, Marines and Army, say, you know, it doesn't make any different to us, and therefore it won't break the readiness of our great armed forces, then I think that's...


AMANPOUR: Why do you it would? I mean, look, some of the great allies of the United States have -- whether it's Canada, whether it's Britain, France, Australian, even Israel allows openly gay men and women to serve in the military. And they have great armies, great militaries.

SHELTON: They have great militaries, great armies. But if you check the historical records, Christiane, as you know, we've never lost to any of them. We are the top of the pile. We are the best in the world. And we want to stay that way.

And if this policy is related to combat readiness -- see, these guys -- these individuals don't go home at night. It's not the corporate world. You and I can go home at night, we live our own lives, et cetera. These individuals are intense. They're in barracks. They fight for one another. Who's on the left, who's on the right.

I think it's extremely important that we find out from them whether or not this is going to change why they fight. If it does, we've got a problem. If it doesn't, then we will proceed.

AMANPOUR: On that note, this is obviously a current issue that is being debated...


AMANPOUR: ... and it will be finalized, we think, in a couple of months at least. General Shelton, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

And when we come back, "In Memoriam," and later, a "Reporter's Notebook" from Iran.

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