He goes on to say that he had “…never made a major decision without going around and talking to the enlisted people.”
Well, he certainly served in a different Navy than I did, because in six years no damned officer ever asked me for an opinion on anything, even so trivial as whether or not the food we were being fed was fit to eat. (The answer to that is complicated.) Offering an opinion was, to say the least, inadvisable; the best outcome of doing that was a weird look.
When Robert Gates responded his tone was more polite than his words,
I didn’t spend a career in the military, but I’ve read a lot of history and I can’t think of a single precedent in American history of doing a referendum of the American armed forces on a policy issue. Are you going to ask them if they want fifteen month tours? Are you going to ask them if they want to be part of the surge in Iraq? That’s not the way our civilian-led military has ever worked in our entire history.
Admiral Mullen began by offering the “all due respect” to John McCain by name and admitting that as Chairman “I am not in charge of troops.” One rather suspected at that point that something was coming, and he did not disappoint, listing his background including command of three ships, something McCain never did. The rest of it boiled down to, “Listen, you demented old fart, don’t tell me how to command troops; I’ve held more commands than you’ve crashed airplanes.”
The rest of the YouTube clip is rather entertaining.
Update, Friday 11:40am: Even with all of the support for repeal, with three out of four service chiefs giving them backing I suspect the Senate will defeat repeal of DADT. It gives me some satisfaction that the only service chief supporting repeal is the Navy.
Update, Saturday, 8:30am: Okay, cute: enough with the Navy jokes.