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McCain calls study on gays in military flawed
WASHINGTON (AP) — Directly challenging the Pentagon’s top leadership, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, on Thursday snubbed a military study on gays as flawed and said letting them serve openly would be dangerous in a time of war.
Further dimming chances of a repeal this month was a recent agreement among Senate Republicans not to vote on any bill before addressing tax cuts and government spending.
Advocates of repeal previously hoped that this week’s Pentagon study would lessened GOP resistance to the bill. The study found that the overwhelming majority of troops were not against seeing the policy repealed.
But among those who did care, most were troops performing combat arms duties. Nearly 60 percent of those in the Marine Corps and in Army combat units said they thought repealing the law would hurt their units’ ability to fight on the battlefield.
Mr. McCain seized on this finding to argue that forcing such a substantial personnel policy change in a time of war would be wrong for the military and the country. He also criticized the study for scrutinizing only how the law could be repealed, instead of whether doing so would benefit the military.
“At this time, we should be inherently cautious about making any changes that would affect our military, and what changes we do make should be the product of careful and deliberate consideration,” Mr. McCain said.
“Repeal of the law will not prove unacceptable risk to military readiness,” Adm. Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Unit cohesion will not suffer if our units are well-led. And families will not encourage their loved ones to leave the service in droves.”
Adm. Mullen also said that Congress should act before the courts do and that wartime is an ideal time for repeal.
“War does not stifle change; it demands it,” he said. “It does not make it harder; it facilitates it.”
“For more than 40 years, I have made decisions that affected and even risked the lives of young men and women,” Adm. Mullen said. “You do not have to agree with me on this issue. But don’t think for one moment that I haven’t carefully considered the impact of the advice I give on those who will have to live with the decisions that advice informs.”
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