by Max Brantley
A new push -- led by a former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and end any limitation to service in the armed forces on account of sexual orientation.
Although the signers of the letter are high-ranking, none are of the stature of Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the policy was adopted and who now argues for its repeal. General Shalikashvili refocused attention on the issue earlier this year when he wrote that conversations with military personnel had prompted him to change his position.
The current generation of Americans entering the armed services have proved to him “that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers,” the general wrote in an Op-Ed article published in The New York Times on Jan. 2.
“I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces,” General Shalikashvili wrote. “Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.”