Webb ‘Disappointed’ by Moves to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask’

Posted May 30, 2010 at 10:32am

Sen. Jim Webb on Sunday said he was “disappointed” in Congress’ apparent rush to repeal a federal law that bans openly gay individuals from serving in the military, days after the House adopted a proposal that would overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“I was really disappointed in the way that this process was accelerated,” the Virginia Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He later added: “I think we still should go through this process of listening through the input of the military. We need to get out and bring the military into the process and then make a decision.”

Webb is one of a few Democrats who are urging Congress not to act on the repeal until the Pentagon completes a review of the policy and a survey of its troops. But in a tally of 234-194 on Thursday, the House approved an amendment to the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill that would repeal the long-standing military policy.

On Sunday, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also seemed hesitant — but he pointed to the fact that the legislation would delay implementation until the review is complete and would require presidential and military certification.

“Ideally, I would certainly have preferred legislation had not been brought forward” until the review was complete, he said on “State of the Union.” But, he added, the “Congressional clock is pretty hard to predict.”

Gen. Colin Powell, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also weighed in on the issue on ABC’s “This Week.” The Pentagon review, he said, would help give an idea of how the repeal should be implemented in a way “that strengthens the force.”

Powell supported the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy when it was implemented in the early 1990s. But the world, he said, is different 17 years later.

“I think at the end of the day the law will change,” he said, “and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will go away.”