The American Legion sent a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him “to remove any language relating to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” from the pending 2011 Defense Authorization Act.
“It is clear that this subject is very controversial, and its inclusion in the Defense Authorization could jeopardize passage of this vital legislation,” wrote American Legion National Commander Jimmie Foster. “This year, while our servicemembers are engaged with enemies throughout the world, is not a time to allow politics to hamper their fiscal requirements. Remove the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ provisions and pass the 2011 Defense Authorization before you.”
The letter was also delivered to Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Foster expressed The American Legion’s longstanding concerns that political expediency is forcing the DADT debate to a premature conclusion. He reminded Reid that “important voices” still need to be heard on the matter, including those of combat troops, military clergy and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Foster thanked Reid and his fellow senators for showing restraint over DADT policy and for waiting for the Department of Defense to complete its study on the issue that was released last week.
“Because of the findings in that report, we have a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings of some of our servicemembers, and a hint of the challenges before us should the law be repealed,” Foster wrote. “While The American Legion disagrees on whether ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be repealed, we definitely agree now is not the time to repeal the law.”