Powell Pushes for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Review

Dec 14, 2008 3:25pm

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports: Colin Powell wants President-elect Obama to ask Congress for a full review of the controversial "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy concerning gays in the military.

Arguing that the times have changed since he crafted and President Clinton approved "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell", Powell wants military commanders and Congress to reevaluate the 1993 policy which later became law. The fundamental ideas of the policy were seen as a compromise 15 years ago, but Democratic Party leaders and others now believe "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" should be repealed and gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

"We definitely should reevaluate it," Powell, a Republican, told Fareed Zakaria in an interview for the CNN program GPS.

"It’s been 15 years since we put in ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which was a policy that became a law. I didn’t want it to become a law but it became a law; Congress felt that strongly about it. But it’s been 15 years and attitudes have changed. And so I think it is time for the Congress since it is their law to have a full review of it. And I’m quite sure that’s what President-elect Obama will want to do."

Powell is not yet ready to take a position on whether the law should be repealed, saying he first would like to hear from military commanders and the Defense Secretary.

During the presidential campaign, candidate Obama said he could end "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" as a policy for gays in the military, but would first like to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and appointees at the Pentagon before presenting legislation to Congress. Back in April, to the chagrin of some gay rights activists, Obama told the gay and lesbian news site The Advocate he will not make the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" a criteria for serving on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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