Dick Cheney appears to be a bit confused about when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell started, but he thinks it should end now. In an interview on This Week, Cheney told Jonathan Karl that if Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thinks that DADT should go away, he’s reluctant to second-guess him.
CHENEY: Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of “don’t ask/don’t tell,” when I was secretary of defense. I think things have changed significantly since then. I see that Don Mullen — or Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated his belief that we ought to support a change in the policy. So I think — my guess is the policy will be changed.
KARL: And do you think that’s a good thing? I mean, is it time to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?
CHENEY: I think the society has moved on. I think it’s partly a generational question. I say, I’m reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard, because they’re the ones that have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability of our — of our units, and that first requirement that you have to look at all the time is whether or not they’re still capable of achieving their mission, and does the policy change, i.e., putting gays in the force, affect their ability to perform their mission?
When the chiefs come forward and say, “We think we can do it,” then it strikes me that it’s — it’s time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen said that.
Presumably the policy Cheney remembers the military being strong advocates of was not allowing service members to be openly gay, because DADT wasn’t passed until after he left office.
The Joint Chiefs under the Bush administration were big fans of the closet.