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.