McCain Questions Pentagon on Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
At one point, Mr. McCain sharply asked Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, whose testimony led off the Pentagon’s position, if he was not concerned that so many combat forces were concerned about repeal of the law. Mr. Gates replied that many of those in combat are in their early 20s, have also never served with women and have a focused, limited experience in the military.
“With time and adequate preparation, we can mitigate their concerns,” Mr. Gates said.
“I couldn’t disagree more,” Mr. McCain shot back. “We send these young people into combat, we think they’re mature enough to fight and die. I think they’re mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with and the impact on their battle effectiveness.” Mr. McCain, a naval aviator in the Vietnam War who was shot down and imprisoned in Hanoi, then added: “Mr. Secretary, I speak from personal experience.”