SANTA BARBARA, CA, – A new CSSMM study published by Parameters, the official journal of the U.S. Army War College, was cited yesterday in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press with General Wesley Clark, who is considering a run for the White House. In the interview, conducted by host Tim Russert, Clark criticized the gay ban and said that he would “absolutely” look at changing it.
The study, titled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Is the Gay Ban Based on Military Necessity” is scheduled to be discussed on the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News next Monday, June 23. It presents lessons from four countries that lifted their gay bans. Click here to view the study.
A partial transcript of the conversation follows:
MR. RUSSERT: So you have no problem having openly gay Americans serve in the military as long as they abided by the same code of conduct that heterosexuals abided by?
GEN. CLARK: Well, the British have a system that-they put this in the British system. They call it- they said, “Don’t ask, don’t misbehave.” I think the leaders in the armed forces will look at that some day. But I have to tell you, also, we have got a lot of other issues on the plate for the United States armed forces, and this is one among many. And the men and women charged with those responsibilities need to look at those issues. But this is only one issue.
MR. RUSSERT: But it’s an important one to many Americans. Parameters, which is a journal published by the U.S. Army War College Quarterly, has an article by Professor Aaron Belkin of the University of California. He says that 24 countries now have gays in the military, most of our NATO partners. Would you allow American troops to serve in joint exercises with NATO partners that had gays in the military?
GEN. CLARK: They already are. And they served together in Kosovo and in Bosnia and so forth.
MR. RUSSERT: That being the point, should the United States not allow openly gay people to serve in the military?
GEN. CLARK: Well, I think we need to charge the men and women responsible for the armed forces to come forward with that answer. I think that has to come from them based on what we need for the armed forces, as well as, you know, their concerns about society as a whole.
MR. RUSSERT: But you’d look at changing the policy?
GEN. CLARK: Absolutely.
Aaron Belkin and Geoffrey Bateman are co-editors of the new book “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Debating the Gay Ban in the U.S. Military” (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003; ISBN: 1-58826-146-8).