Best Defense

Gen. Odierno: Gay soldiers are no biggie, let ‘everyone’ serve if possible

On my flight to Denver yesterday I read the transcript of Gen. Odierno’s news conference at the Pentagon, held Monday. He also declined to fire off any rockets over having openly gay people serve in the military. Q: General, one quick follow-up. Admiral Mullen, of course, offered his personal views on don’t ask, don’t tell. ...

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On my flight to Denver yesterday I read the transcript of Gen. Odierno’s news conference at the Pentagon, held Monday. He also declined to fire off any rockets over having openly gay people serve in the military.

Q: General, one quick follow-up. Admiral Mullen, of course, offered his personal views on don’t ask, don’t tell. What are you own views on whether gays should be allowed to serve openly? 

GEN. ODIERNO: Well, again, I’ll be honest with you, I really haven’t had a lot of time to think through it. What’s interesting to me, the comment I make all the time is, as we’ve gone through this don’t ask, don’t tell, to me it’s become a non-issue as we’ve moved forward. I haven’t seen any issue. That doesn’t mean it’s right. All I’m saying is, as I’ve implemented this war now for seven years, we’ve been able to get forces out there are ready and prepared to conduct operations. 

My opinion is everyone should be allowed to serve, as long as we’re still able to fight our wars . . . .

Tom again: Good for him. We’ve now seen the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and two of our top commanders in our current wars say that they think lifting "don’t ask, don’t tell" is pretty non-controversial. I don’t know how congressional conservatives will be able to outmaneuver this phalanx of seasoned military advice. But then, I am no expert on domestic politics.

I also see that two of the service chiefs, the Army’s Casey and the Air Force’s Schwartz, expressed some reservations in congressional hearings yesterday. They seemed to want to beg off about making major changes during wartime. But the history of women and blacks in the  military tells us that that is the time when such changes are made, like it or not.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola