Wash. Post: ‘If they awarded decorations for congressional testimony, Mullen would have himself a Medal of Honor.’

Further evidence of how impactful Admiral Mullen’s stunning testimony was at the DADT hearing comes one of the most cynical of the cynical Inside-the-Beltway pundits, Dana Milbank. He wrote an excellent column that captured the import and the significance of the event:

Mike Mullen’s 42 years in the military earned him a chest full of ribbons, but never did he do something braver than what he did on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

In a packed committee room, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff looked hostile Republican senators in the eye and told them unwelcome news: He thinks gays should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces he commands.

“Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” the nation’s top military officer told the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

People in the audience looked at one another. At the press tables, computer keys started clicking. Reporters consulted the time on their digital recorders.

If opponents prevail in their effort to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which bars gays from serving openly in the military, they will doubtless point to those strong words — until now heresy for a top military officer — as a turning point. Supporters of the policy evidently grasped that, too, for they turned against the admiral with caustic words.

Milbank’s column, which is devoid of his usual snark, concludes:

If they awarded decorations for congressional testimony, Mullen would have himself a Medal of Honor.

Yesterday’s testimony should be the turning point. We can’t miss this opportunity. The President needs to stand firm and stay committed. Congress needs to pass the repeal this year. Not a moratorium. A full repeal. Give Mullen and Gates the time to complete their “year-long” review.

Unfortunately, Democrats have a tendency to compromise with themselves and delay action. That only works to the benefit of those who oppose us.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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