On ABC’s This Week today, former Vice President Cheney threw his support behind President Obama’s efforts to change the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, saying that “things have changed significantly” since the discriminatory policy was first put in place. Cheney said that it’s “time to reconsider the policy”:
Karl: And you think that’s a good thing? I mean, is it time to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?
Cheney: Well, I think the society has moved on. I think it’s partly a generational question. I say I’m reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard because they’re the ones who have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability of our, of our units. And that first requirement that you have to look at all the time is whether they’re still capable of achieving their mission and does the policy change i.e. putting gays in the force, affect their ability to perform their mission. When the chiefs come forward and say we think we can do it, then it strikes me that it’s time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen’s said that.
Cheney’s argument that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen’s statement that repealing the policy is “the right thing to do” because it is an expression from the military leadership that they “can do it” puts him in stark contrast with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). After Mullen announced his personal support for repeal, McCain insisted that the opinion of the top uniformed officer in the military’s doesn’t represent “the views of military leaders.” Additionally, Cheney’s endorsement of the policy change isn’t entirely surprising. After the Bush administration left office, Cheney revealed that he supported same-sex marriage on the state level.