The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Sestak vs. McCain on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

President Obama called on Congress to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military last night. The path to doing so runs through the Senate Armed

Rian Mcconnell
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jan 28, 2010

President Obama called on Congress to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military last night. The path to doing so runs through the Senate Armed Services Committee, where Defense Secretary Robert Gates — who applauded the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” line in Obama’s State of the Union — is set to testify on Tuesday. And almost immediately after Obama’s call went out, the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), took the surprising step of coming out in favor of DADT, a policy that affects the lives of an estimated 66,000 Americans serving their country — and quite probably deters many others from doing so — at a time of war.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), a retired three-star Navy admiral who’s trying to win the Democratic nomination for Senate from Pennsylvania, has issued a statement checking McCain:

“As the senior ranking military Veteran in Congress, I am compelled to respond to Sen. McCain’s opposition to President Obama’s commitment to allowing all American troops to serve their country openly and honestly. How can a policy that has dismissed more than 13,000 trained, able, and honorable American servicemembers — including upwards of 800 troops with “mission critical” skills, like Arab linguists — be viewed as successful?

“Especially in a time of war, when our military is overstretched and our troops and their families are under unprecedented strain, we cannot afford to lose any more troops that the American people depend on for our national security. I agree with Sen. McCain that our military is the best in the world and the best in our nation’s history. That’s precisely why I have faith in the leadership capabilities of our officer corps and non-commissioned officers, as well as the dedication, professionalism, and integrity of our troops, to handle this transition without detriment to readiness or capability.

“The men and women who wear the cloth of this nation should be entitled to the rights they so heroically defend.”

Rian Mcconnell | Rian is a Villanova University graduate who was born in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia with a medical degree. His residency was at Thomas Jefferson and its associated Wills Eye Hospital, and he finished his education with fellowships in cataract and corneal surgery at the University of Connecticut. He has a vast experience in ophthalmic surgery, with a focus on cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and laser refractive procedures. He serves on the board of Vision Health International, an agency that provides eye care and surgery to indigent patients in Central and South America, in addition to his surgical practice.

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