This is good. And it’s clear the White House put him up to it, which they should have. I suspect this might be in response to the Pentagon spokesman yet again backing off of DADT repeal the other day.
Now, what has Gates done to help get the DADT compromise passed during lame duck? Has he called any Senators? Remember, up until now, Gates has been sending signals that he doesn’t want anything passed until his precious study is done (due December 1). More from Igor Volsky:
The statements mark the first time Gates publicly endorsed efforts to end the policy before the new Republican House is sworn-in in January, something Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell avoided during his press conference on Thursday. Morrell insisted that Gates wanted “a study to take place in advance of that repeal to educate us how to deal” with repeal. “You know from his discussion of this dating back to last February that [the Secretary] believes that it’s better to do this smart than stupid and that this report is very important to us doing this smartly,” Morell said.
Gates’ criticism of Congressional efforts to repeal the ban ahead of the Pentagon’s comprehensive review has slowed down the repeal process. Although he quietly endorsed the compromise repeal amendment incorporated into the defense authorization bill, in April, “Gates sent House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) a letter telling him that he doesn’t want Congress to take any action at all on DADT this year. “I believe in the strongest possible terms that the Department must, prior to any legislative action, be allowed the opportunity to conduct a thorough, objective, and systematic assessment of the impact of such a policy change,” the letter said. “Therefore, I strongly oppose any legislation that seeks to change this policy prior to the completion of this vital assessment process.” Similarly, after District Court Judge Virginia Phillips issued a short-lived moratorium against the policy, Gates criticized the ruling, warning of “enormous consequences” for the troops if repeal were conducted without “careful preparation, and a lot of training.” Congress may still have time to repeal the ban after the study is released on December 1, but it’s unclear that lawmakers will have time to take-up the question before the end of the session.