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Collin Powell: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should be reviewed
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Collin Powell: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should be reviewed

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Colin Powell, retired Army General and former Secretary of State says it's time to review 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

Powell appeared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday to talk about the U.S. military policy that discharges any Gay or Lesbian who serves openly. When the policy was put into place early in the Bill Clinton presidency, Powell was serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the time, Powell was strongly in favor of DADT.

Sunday, Powell said that American attitudes have changed regarding Gays and Lesbians serving in the military, therefore the policy should be "reviewed."

"The policy and the law that came about in 1993, I think, was correct for the time," Powell said. "Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country."

Gay activists who are asking for a repeal of DADT are applauding Powell's statement because he crafted the actual policy. Within the military, Powell is widely viewed as a hero and remains popular with servicemembers. By coming forward and admitting DADT is no longer needed, the retired four-star General is telling current commanders the policy is outdated.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national legal service dedicated to aiding those affected by DADT, describes it as "the only law that punishes Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals for coming out."

The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, also appeared on the show and said that he will continue to carry out the law as it applies to DADT, but says that it is clear that President Barack Obama feels that, at least for now, the policy needs to be carried out in "the most humane way possible."

The Obama administration is facing demands from the LGBT community to end the ban on Gays in the military - something he promised he would do when running for office. However, since Obama was sworn in, 284 servicemembers have been discharged under his watch.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon is looking into ways to apply the law in a "more humane way" - the same term Admiral Mullen used on Sunday. Gates appeared to disagree with discharges in cases where Servicemembers were maliciously outed.

"If someone is outed by a third party & does that force us to take action?" he asked.

The recent change in attitude towards DADT by such high-ranking officials shows a political shift.

"It is very clear what President Obama's intent here is: he intends to see this law changed, and my advice & is that I think we need to move in a measured way," Mullen said.

"At a time when we're fighting two conflicts, there is a great deal of pressure on our forces and their families," he added.

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