Clinton says Powell sold him on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Former President Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton says “don’t ask, don’t tell” didn’t work out like he thought it would when Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin  Powell sold him on the idea 16 years ago.

In an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, Clinton said Powell convinced him the policy would be more lax and wold allow gay service members to go to gay bars and march in gay rights parades as long as they didn’t do so in uniform.

Didn’t work out that way.  More than 14,000 members of the U.S. armed forces have been forcibily discharged since 1994 under the policy and enforcement, Clinton said, was far more aggressive than he was led to believe.

“Now, when Colin Powell sold me on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ here’s what it said it would be: Gay service members would never get in trouble for going to bay bars, marching in gay rights parades, as long as they weren’t in uniform. That was what they were promised. That’s a very different ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ than what we got,” Clinton told Couric, adding that he supported the policy to prevent Congress from passing a stringent ban on gays serving in the military.

Clinton said enforcement turned more aggressive after Powell resigned as chairman of the joint chiefs and he now regrets supporting the policy.

Powell also has regrets and now supports repealing the policy and allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

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2 Responses to "Clinton says Powell sold him on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’"

  1. WayneKDolik  September 24, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Mom used to warn me about guys like this. Bill Clinton you are expedient! Yeah throw Powell under the bus just like your partners in crime did, the Republicans.

  2. MerryMarjie  September 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    General Powell seems to have had a lot of influence in Washington, say like when he got up and convinced many people (my husband included) that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and HE knew they were here and there and over there. I remember my husband, a dedicated Republican, saying that he had his doubts about the weapons, but General Powell would not lie and he believed him. If he said they were there, they were there, and my husband then backed the war, the one AMERICA STARTED, to everlasting shame. It’s easy now to say, well, we’re getting out (ask the 50,000+ still there), and it’s over, we shouldn’t look back. The hell we shouldn’t.

    I’m still waiting for the Hague trials. Imagine the addendum to Bush’s book when THAT happens.

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