AP060802027585On Monday, we wrote that opponents of ending "don't ask, don't tell" are in a tough spot because the two top military leaders, as well as two-thirds of U.S. troops, appear to have no problem with gays openly serving in the military. In fact, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said there is more risk in congressional inaction, since he fears a federal judge will mandate a "disruptive" and abrupt end to the policy that could endanger troops.
But in an interview with the Daily Beast, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says he is sure that Marine Commandant James Amos will continue to oppose repeal. "I know for a fact the other three service chiefs have serious reservations," McCain added.
The service chiefs are scheduled to testify before Congress on Thursday and Friday, and if they continue to oppose the policy, it will provide excellent political cover for opponents of repeal. McCain also said he considers neither Gates nor President Obama as "a military leader" -- previewing a line that Republicans will probably take if they reject Gates and Chiefs of Staff Chair Adm. Mike Mullen's strongly worded repeal recommendation. (UPDATE: McCain wrongly said Tuesday on NBC News that Gates had never served in the military. His spokeswoman told Talking Points Memo he "simply misspoke.")
A pledge by 42 Senate Republicans to block all legislation until tax cuts and a government spending bill have been passed means there may not even be a debate on the issue in Congress' current lame-duck session.Read More »from McCain says all service chiefs have ‘serious reservations’ on ‘don’t ask’ repeal