February 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Cheney supports ‘Don’t Ask’ review, predicts ‘change’ in law

Former Vice President Richard Cheney on Sunday predicted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will “be changed” and expressed support for reconsideration of the law now that top defense officials have come out against it.

“And when the chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me as it’s time to reconsider the policy, and I think Adm. Mullen said that,” Cheney said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen came out in favor of open service earlier this month as both he and Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled for Congress plans for a Pentagon working group that would examine repeal implementation. Gates said the process would be complete by the year’s end.

When asked about the issue on “This Week” by guest host Jonathan Karl, Cheney said the U.S. military supported “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 when the law banning open service was put in place, but said “things have changed, significantly, since then” and predicted the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as it currently stands.

“I see that … Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint of Chiefs of Staff, has indicated his belief that we ought to support change in the policy, so I think that — my guess is the policy will be changed,” Cheney said.

When Karl pressed Cheney further on whether he personally supports repeal, Cheney said said “it’s partly a generational question” and he’s “reluctant to second guess the military” because “they’re the ones that have got to make the judgment on how these policies affect the military capability of our units.”

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, a gay conservative group, commended Cheney for his remarks in favor of reconsideration of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“Few men or women have more credibility or experience than Dick Cheney when it comes to questions of what’s in the best interest of America’s national security,” LaSalvia said. “Vice President Cheney is absolutely right when he says that public opinion, as well as the opinion of military leaders has changed significantly over the last twenty years when it comes to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.”

Cheney has often come under fire from liberals for his handling of the Iraq war and his criticism of how the Obama administration is handling terrorism issues, but the former vice president has offered some support for LGBT issues. Last year, he said during a National Press Club event that he supports the decision of state Legislatures to approve same-sex marriage.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Our fate and the fate of an “altered” DADT policy, probably describing “acceptable” parameters of gay & lesbian patriots’ “behavior” and “free speech”, is now in the hands of a few people at Rand Corp. Believe me, just because they have INC after their name, does not mean they know anything. But they DO know that whatever they recommend will be treated as absolute gospel. So, who ARE these secretive few? More importantly: who’s back pocket are they in? Which lobbyists “own” this? How is the broken corporatocracy in Washington going to influence the “results” and their “interpretation” of it? If we wait (to ask), it’ll be too late.

  • Amazing. Maybe all the exposure of the “prince of Darkness” has embarrassed him, and he realizes that not only have we lost 13000 gay soldiers to DADT – people who would give their life for a country that in soem ways despises them.

    And maybe he also realizes that there are prob 100,000 or more gay people in the military. EG, I know that half the army nurse corp is gay.

    imagine if 50,000 military gay people suddenly demanded release under DADT. This possibility, which we should be talking up – could also be what is driving Cheney.

    or He could just be a liar, doing his dirty work in the back rooms. Just like the churches of hate

  • Listen to the guy: open to backing a “change”, not a repeal. When Clinton first proposed eliminating discrimination in the military, the Pentagon said NO. They would only accept a compromise. All I’m saying is that now, these same voices will do anything to force a new compromise of some kind, instead of a full repeal of their law of choice. Their narrow thinking would consider that another win: giving us 3/5ths of citizenship, instead of 2/5ths.

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