February 14th, 2010
10:31 AM ET
13 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. Sue

    If they repeal DADT it is going to DESTROY our military. Enlistments will decrease and it will DESTROY our military.

    For those currently enlisted–The military and the government will end up facing NUMEROUS law suits-–as "straight" men/women in the miltiary begin to file lawsuits demanding that their "rights" be respected/acknowledged.

    For example, "straight" military men/women will file lawsuits demanding that they not be placed in the same rooms as gay people, that they not have to shower with gay people, etc.

    Leave the current system alone, it is working fine. Nobody is preventing gays from joining the military. There is no reason why they have to make it public knowledge that they are gay.

    There are more people who are NOT gay in the military and who join the military–therefore, the laws should remain the same in order to protect the "MAJORITY" in the military.

    February 14, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Zack

    Sue, I disagree with your entire statement. Just because gays are allowed be who they really are won't make less people enlist in the military. And the whole deal with not being next to or showering with them? Really? Gays ARE in the military, and I for one would rather know if my room-mate was gay and able to be who they are than force them to hide. Homosexuals are people, and have morals and a conscience. They aren't going to go around harassing the heterosexuals because they are gay. They have boundaries just like you and I do.

    February 14, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Monster Zero

    Seems to me that the real concern with this issue is that of the damage that open homosexuality and lesbianism relationships within a cohesive military unit could cause. Could this ruling change then lead to open homosexual relationships within a military unit deployed in a combat zone and if so what damage does could that cause to the heterosexuals that may serve with the fellow soldiers that were gay? In this day and age who really cares what others do in the privacy of their own homes, just don't try to force feed it to the rest of the populous. And Chipster, the National Socialist party of the 30's was the Nazis, fascists that Nationalized the private segment of the German Nation, you know, banks, insurance companies, automakers and such....just saying, once you take the plunge over the edge the downhill slide is hard to stop.

    February 14, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Scout


    Most generals are politically correct politicians. That's how they get those stars. Shame on you general.

    February 14, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |

    The repeal of DADT will fall into the same category as Y2K, much ado about nothing. As long as there are very strong anti-nepotism rules in place this uproar soon shall pass.
    It is strange that we are making such a big issue of the change. It was awkward policy in 1993 and everyone knew that it would change in time. While I would not want to be a Bn Cmdr in Hellmand Province right now having to deal with this issue, for the rest of the military the time has come.
    Our military is and must remain a part of American society. It can never be a fringe subculture. As our social morales change so must the military. If not, it becomes no better than some of the lunatic militias in the hinderlands of our country.

    February 14, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Brenda


    You are WRONG!!!

    It is going to destroy our military!!!

    A straight military man/woman sharing a room or showering with someone that they "think" might be gay--–is totally different than someone sharing a room or showering with someone that they "KNOW" is gay.

    Enlistments are going to decrease. Those currently serving, will do whatever they can to get out ASAP. It is going to DESTROY our military.

    Also, those currently serving who are straight will file numerous lawsuits--Rightfully so--–that it is against their "RIGHTS" to be FORCED to bunk and shower with gays.

    The current system is working just fine. There is no reason to change what is working. Gays are NOT prevented from joining the military. There is no reason that they should be able to make it public that they are gay--just to destroy the cohesiveness/structure of our military.

    The MAJORITY in the military are straight--NOT gay. Therefore, the concerns should be for the MAJORITY.

    February 14, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. rob

    It is just a matter of time before DADT will be repealed. This country and the military will be much better off without it.

    February 14, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Only 12,000 people are affected.....

    by DADT but millions are affected by President Obama being against gay marriage............

    Gays can forget about marraige rights as long as the president is fighting against them behind the scenes....

    February 14, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    It's not about "social norms," it IS ALL about equality under the Constitution.
    I'm ALWAYS amused by the "Right wingnuts" who scraem about the Constitution and how we MUST HONOR IT as it applies to the things that they think are important (guns, no taxes, money as speech, stuff like that), but seem perfectly content to ignore the same document when dealing with equal human rights.

    February 14, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. RTB

    Times certainly have changed.

    The rest of the civilized world is already accepting of gays in the military.

    Of course the Republicans are doing their no nothing dance and dilly dallying around a issue that is really past due.

    February 14, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Paul H

    I say leave it up to the generals, and the officers in charge. Leave it up to the ones that have a feel for how the ones that are serving now feel about this issue. Also let it be up to each branch instead of declaring all military as we know it will adhere to this rule.
    Let these people deal with it, and let the President deal with the bigger picture.

    February 14, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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