February 23, 2010
Meet the Press: Final segment David Gregory asks Commander, US Central Command Gen Petreaus about DADT.
Gen mentions gays are allowed in the FBI and CIA. Never considered it. Are they allowed to be completely out?
Gregory tries to get him to commit – Gen sidesteps saying he’ll be testifying and will answer “if asked at that time.” He “doesn’t think it has gotten enough prominence” and (similar to Gen Casey) he wants to wait till the process has been completed so he can be fully informed. I get a sense he doesn’t think it will be repealed as in “if it does come to that”.
Do the troops care? He’s “not sure that they do.” He’s served with gays/lesbians and was only concerned with their effectiveness as a soldier (he mentions the guy shooting and the woman thinking) “but we’ll see.”
MR GREGORY: General, with the, the military engaged in two wars, with a country fighting terrorism in other forms as well, is this an appropriate time for the military to revisit the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?
GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, there’s a process at work here now, David, and I, and I think that it is a very sound and good process. The secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs announced, when they were testifying, the creation of a review be headed by General Carter Hamm, U.S. Army four-star, and DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson.
I don’t think this has gotten enough prominence frankly. It is very important to this overall process. It will provide a rigorous analysis of the views of the force on the possible change. It will suggest the policies that could be used to implement a change if it, if it does come to that, so that it could be as uneventful as it was, say, in the U.K. or the Israeli militaries or, indeed, in our own CIA and FBI. And then it will assess the effects, the possible effects on readiness, recruiting and retention.
MR. GREGORY: What do you say?
GEN. PETRAEUS: Very important for that process to move forward. We’ll hear from the chiefs, the Joint Chiefs on this I think, probably their personal assessments and personal views in the course of the next week or so…
MR. GREGORY: But…
GEN. PETRAEUS: …when they’re on Capitol Hill. And then the geographic combatant commanders, the other combatant commanders and I, will have our turn on Capitol Hill in a few weeks.
MR. GREGORY: But what, but what, what do you say, General? Should gays and lesbians be able to serve openly in the military?
GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I’ll provide that, again, on Capitol Hill if, if asked at that time. I, I know you’d like to make some news here this morning. I support what our secretary and, and chairman have embarked on here. I will–I’m fully participating in that process. And I think it’s very important, again, that these issues be handled and discussed and addressed by this review that will be so important in informing decisions as we move forward.
MR. GREGORY: Do you think soldiers on the ground in the field care one way or the other if their comrades in arms are gay or lesbian?
GEN. PETRAEUS: I’m not sure that they do. We’ll see. Again, that’s why this review panel. You know, all we have are, are personal soundings to go on, and I’ve certainly done some of that myself. I mean, you’ve heard General Powell, who was the chairman when the policy was implemented, had a big hand in that, who said that, yes indeed, the earth has revolved around the sun a number of times since that period 15 months (sic: years) ago. And you’ve heard a variety of anecdotal input.
We have experienced, certainly, in the CIA and the FBI, I know. I served in fact in combat with individuals who were gay and who were lesbian in combat situations and, frankly, you know, over time you said, “Hey, how’s, how’s this guy’s shooting?” Or “How is her analysis,” or what have you. So–but we’ll see.
Again, that’s the importance of this review that will be conducted by General Hamm and also by the DOD general counsel. I think it is hugely important that we have the answers from the questions that they’ll be asking in a very methodical way, something we’ve not done before because of the emotion and the sensitivity of this issue.