Retired Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell has just joined the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs and another past chairman in calling for repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Powell, by the way, did more than almost anyone else in 1993 to make certain that LGB people could not serve openly in the military.
Honestly, I never thought I'd live to see this day.
The strong pro-gay stances of Powell, current Chairman Mike Mullen and retired Chairman John Shalikashvili give me hope. Listening to Mullen unequivocally state his opposition to the ban -- and watching him do it in front of a Senate committee -- was soul stirring. Mullen stood up for all the gay soldiers he had served with, and he stood up for integrity. (What a concept!)
And yet, my hope only goes so far. Unjust discharges continue under DADT. Under the plan announced yesterday by Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, complete repeal of the policy cannot occur for at least a year, and possibly not for several years.
Gates also plans to take another 45 days to figure out how to modify enforcement of the policy to make it more "fair." While this kind of tinkering will help out some troops, it will do little to end the injustices of this policy. Honorable men and women will continue to be discharged under a policy that is on its way out. In the end, their only crime will have been to be discovered at the wrong time.
Delaying repeal may well be good politics. It may even be the only way to gain the buy-in from the military and the country that is needed to eliminate DADT. But a delaying repeal even a single day is immoral.