February 14th, 2010
10:31 AM ET
8 years ago

Jones on DADT: 'Times have changed'

Washington (CNN) – One of President Obama’s top national security advisers gave his support Sunday to the eventual repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy governing gay and lesbian service members.

Appearing on State of the Union, Ret. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that he supported the positions laid out recently in congressional testimony by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Earlier this month, Gates informed Congress that the Pentagon is taking the first steps toward repealing the policy and Mullen said it was his personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly was the right thing to do.

“This is a policy that has to evolve with the social norms of what’s acceptable and what’s not. I think times have changed. I think I was very much taken by Adm. Mullen’s view that young men and women who wish to serve their country should not have to lie in order to do that,” Jones told Crowley. The Obama aide also noted that the president has signaled his desire to have the policy changed.

Jones also told Crowley that in his 40 years in the military, he’d seen similar changes in military policy where similar concerns about national security had been raised but proved to be unfounded.

“I’ve served my country in uniform since 1967,” Jones said. “In that period we’ve covered racial questions, racial integration. We’ve covered the integration of women into the armed forces. People suggested that that would be a national security problem if we did both of those things. Turned out be, as a matter of fact, a force multiplier by doing those things. And I grew up in a generation where people said that if you integrate members of the gay community, that will be a national security problem. That will probably prove itself to be false as well.”

“I think,” Jones also said Sunday, “that if I judge the response of the population to this [policy change] this is an idea that we will solve and we will solve responsibly.”

Jones served in the Marines from early 1967 until his retirement from active duty in early 2007.

Only Congress can repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In his first State of the Union address last month, President Obama called on Capitol Hill to get rid of the policy which dates from the Clinton administration in the early 1990’s.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    If you are a republican, you are stuck in the 1950's, and are afraid of change.

    February 14, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. jeff

    Well Mr. President when you upset a certain group of people who helped put you in office one would count on you to promise them something to get them back on your side. Can you say "no tax for middle class" well wait a minute maybe, I am not sure, you never know, it could happen.... give it up and go back to Hawaii.

    February 14, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. GI Joe

    If President Obama AND top military advisors want it, the party of NO NO NO NO NO will still block it any way they can.

    I hope we get some younger moderate republicans voted into office in November and kick out some of the prejudiced old fools that still vote against anything for women and at the same time still vote for the John Birch Society.

    February 14, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    You won't hear Dick Cheney open is mouth in support of gays and lesbian, not when his daughter is lesbian. In fact, when asked he immediately replies "my family is off the table for discussion", that's the cowards way out.

    February 14, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Monster Zero

    February 14th, 2010 10:39 am ET

    If you are a republican, you are stuck in the 1950's, and are afraid of change.
    If you are a "Progressive" Democrat you are stuck in the 1930's with a new name for your National Socialist Party. Change is most often in the wrong direction rather that the right direction. I think we are all living that at this very moment. Everyone blames the right or the left for where we are at, look in the mirror and blame yourselves for not demanding higher education, accountability from government, fiscal responsibility, and enforcement of our laws. 2010 is going to be a politically historic year, the year of the dead Incumbent! I smell the tea brewing!

    February 14, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. phoenix86

    This is where the Obama administration really wants to focus. Gays in the military is a much more pressing issue than Iran's declaration of 20% enriched uranium.

    Democrats are proving to all just how useless they really are.

    February 14, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. T. Pipe

    Does someones ability to state their sexual preference make them a better baker, police officer, bus driver, CEO or Congressman? Can we not all do our jobs without sex involved? Porn stars no, but other than that profession please let me know which ones need sexual preference stated and on a form. I understand the issue of peoples careers being destroyed for not following rules. I have been there but I knew the consequences of my actions. Human beings are able to make choices. If sex cannot be removed from the job, then the person must. This goes for both Hetero and Homosexauls. Look it up.

    February 14, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Flex

    Words: A linguistic form that can meaningfully be spoken in isolation.

    February 14, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Ken in NC

    Well I like the support that critics are giving DADT right now. They are claiming that to repeal DADT will cause gays and straights to start taking showers together and it will cause them to have to sleep in the same quarters. These critics are giving all kinds of reasons why they think we should keep DADT but they fail to realize their reasons are actually reasons of support for ending DADT. They claim gays will be taking showers with straights. They are doing that now. They claim that if DADT is repealed gays and straights will be forced to sleep in the same quarters and they are doing it now.

    WOW I really like the smarts of these supporters of DADT. They just totally missed the point.

    February 14, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Stallion

    Sounds like the democrats will do anything to get votes........maybe the obama administration should all line up together and march in a huge gay parade.......

    February 14, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Marie MD

    There is something wrong with our military when enlisted folks are terminated because of their sexual orientation while getting rid of the exact same folks who just happened to know a language that most of us don't . . . . Arabic, Farsi, etc., etc.
    I guess whom you love is more important than our national security.
    Go figure.

    February 14, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Marion/Alabama

    Why are they not asking the Troops? Instead of retired old farts? Take it to the front lines let the troops decide,after all they will be untimate test if this is going to work or not. I spent 20 years in the military and we knew who was gay and who was not,it was not a big thing ,As long as we could count on them to do their job,no one really cared.

    February 14, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Chipster

    Monster Zero:

    Have you any idea what Socialism is? I cannot believe how misinformed people can be. Social programs are not Socialism, please read the definitions.

    I do agree with you that we are the ones at fault for the economic situation and division in the country. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by those who use fear and anger against us.

    Americans want services. Services cost money. Americans don't want to pay – oh, please build and maintain our national parks and highways – oh no, don't raise our taxes. Don't you dare end the space programs – no, no, no, don't expect US to pay for that! Don't expect US to pay for PUBLIC healthcare – but don't you dare reduce our Medicare (uh, public healthcare?).

    Maybe it's toxins in the water or something but people have lost all sense of reality. How about the Tea Party? Tell me this: what's their platform? Do they want to dismantle Social Security? Do they want to end Medicare programs? Are they willing to raise taxes to support a trip to the Moon?

    I know they object to teleprompters but, beyond that, what do they plan to do? How would they plan to govern?

    Before you support them, maybe you show know the answers to these and other questions?

    February 14, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Roger

    General Johnes was evasive on most questions with the exception of the policy on gays in the military. If the military believes that it will not have any detrimental affect on its effectiveness, so be it and lets get on with the critical issues that confront our Nation. Thouhgt Chris Wallace was very kind to the General in his interview. General give us your thoughts not what is politically correct. You came across as very weak in your convictions.

    February 14, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Robert

    Marion in Alabama asked why they don't 'take it to the troops' and let them decide.

    Are you out of your mind?

    Since when does the right to equal treatement under the law get decided upon by the troops? That is not leadership.

    There is no need for a 1 year period of review. All that needs to be known about this discriminatory policy is known. They should have just scrapped it immediately.

    THAT is leadership Marion, and that is how the military works. It's not a democracy. And neither are we when it comes to individual rights. We are a constitutional republic and when the constitutional guarantees something like equal treatment then it doesn't matter what 'the troops' or 'the people' think of the matter.

    February 14, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Liberal wing nut

    Is the military going to provide separate showers for everyone now?? This is a joke.

    February 14, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Is Obama afraid of Cheney and why?

    Cheney carries the gay gene,maybe thats why he is an airport bathroom toe wrestler.Im not afraid of gays,im secure in who I am,but some of the posters here arent so sure.

    February 14, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Aunt Bea and Opie

    We think Zero is gay,and afraid to come out.He probably owns a monster truck to makeup for lack of self worth too.hahaha

    February 14, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. The change

    The change we got was the bankrupting of this country by a bunch of inept leaders that cannot grasp the simple concepts of economics, Just read where the massive national debt will be unsustainable without tax increases, get ready to be screwed working people. Thank you barney frank,chris dodd , obama, pelosi, reid, gm, chrysler, aig,uaw, bush and all the others who contributed to this fiasco. While all the goofs were so busy worried about pushing their idiotic healthcare through, they should have been stopping this admin from wasting trillions of dollars on junk programs, They also should have stopped bush from starting the iraq war and his bailouts as well.Hope and change, yea right.

    February 14, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. StopWaste

    The military work force is not the same as the civilian work force Do civilians understand? A VAST MAJORITY of the active duty military do not favor removing DADT according to the latest poll shown in the Military Times. The statistics showed 70% DID NOT FAVOR ALLOWING GAYS TO SERVE OPENLY !! 70% versus 30% who were in favor. This is not an insignificant number for those who operate under DADT policy.

    Keep the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. I retired from the military a few years ago and felt the policy works. I've worked with people who were suspected gays but there was little problem because their sexual orientation was not blatantly exhibited under DADT policy. That's all the policy really involves, gays keep their orientation quiet for the good of unit cohesiveness. Realize, the MILITARY environment is not a civilian environment. MILITARY IS NOT THE SAME AS THE CIVILIAN WORLD. There is a unique judicial system, unique work environment, and unique organizational structure. People forget the close quarter situations that stress the relationships between fighting personnel. Mixed sexes are sometimes difficult enough; even now the military has gone to Plan B for emergency contraception pills in recognition of the sexual behavior of troops versus the mission. Why add open homosexuality into the environment?

    American military prides itself on tradition, honor, morality, and other characteristics standardized for disciplined behaviors. This strictness can often be typified as conservative because there is a narrow form of conduct acceptable for the military to function and perform that wouldn't be accepted by civilians. The public tends to forget we are at war, with people fighting and dying as we read this article. In such an environment, do we want to experiment and dally with their lives? Don't forget that there are millions of heterosexuals, and some homosexuals, who have worked within the rules of this policy and continue to fight well. Around 13,000 homosexual personnel have been released from the military but over 3,000,000 service members have or currently serving during that time. Statistically, those discharged were statistically small.

    Understandably the top officers will say they are for abolishing the policy; to get to the top ranks they have to play politics. Advancing one's career demands that “political correctness” must be followed if one want to be promoted, protect a work project, keep the current jobs, want a future political career, etc. In other words, CYA.

    Why change the policy except to keep political promises made to political action groups on the campaign trail and the persistent pressure from lobbyists and liberal media? Do we want to “change” the military because it is broken and their lives must adhere to being politically correct? Will removing the DADT keep them safe? Keep the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy and direct the efforts toward subjects that have immediate importance to our nation that has been overlooked such as Energy policies, the economy, JOBS, etc.

    February 14, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Monster Zero

    Chipster- I fully understand what socialism is, what fascism is and what communism is, do you? Americans are like all people, stratified in what they know and what they want. It would seem to me that the tea baggers are a composite of totally disillusioned tax payers such as myself that have lost all faith in how our government is currently functioning. Where did you see anything in my post against social programs? The problem with the social programs is that our government has become so cumbersome and politically corrupt that they couldn't manage to beat their meat without getting a black eye and this is evident in what they have done to social security and medicare. Change is coming my friend because one way or the other we are on a non-sustainable collision course with an economic melt down!

    February 14, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. chris

    stop waste i think you should stop using poll numbers from the 80s and use the most resent one in a nov 2008 poll only 51% oppose.

    stop trying to scew poll numbers to spread your hate.

    February 14, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I served in the military for 22 years. While I know there were homosexuals serving also we didn't have to acknowledge them as such and they knew that they shouldn't make a big issue of it. DADT seems to be the best deal, and one that works in the civilian workforce. I see no reason to change it.

    February 14, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Truth Squad

    It should not be missed, although never mentioned in any news stories, that Obama is the Boss, the Head Honcho of the Military.

    So, if Obama says it's time to repeal it, even the Generals have to agree with him. So, just like when Bush was President, you need to question why these guys are all of a sudden coming out in favor of something that the majority of soldiers oppose.

    It always amazes me how the press just gets stupid and trusting when a Democrat is in office, yet when a Republican is in office they ask, dig, question and don't trust a word.

    February 14, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Texas Jack

    This ideal is as crazy as all the politicians and the media saying that the Gvoernment is picking up the tab on Social Security and Medicare.. Citizens of America have been paying for Social Security since day one that it was implemented. Someone needs to inform these young fools that the congress years back passed a bill to dip into the people's funds for retirement and use it for other things. Now they say it is in trouble and a burden to the government. BULL...P!. I am a thirty year veteran and I say if your wanting to destroy the military internally then to do away with, 'don't ask don't tell' will do so. But then this is Obama's the MUSLIM's plan. CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE. Yes help with the destruction of the U.S.

    February 14, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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