“If we do it,’’ Mr. Gates told reporters on his plane enroute to Rhode Island, “it’s important that we do it right, and very carefully.’’ Mr. Gates was expanding on his answer to an officer’s question earlier in the day at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., where the Defense secretary was asked about the policy that allows gay men and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual orientation secret. “Everybody in this room knows that this is a complex and difficult problem,’’ Mr. Gates responded. Then he noted that President Harry S. Truman had signed an executive order integrating the armed services in 1948 “and that it was five years before the process was completed.’’ Mr. Gates added: “I’m not saying that’s a model for this, but I’m saying that I believe that this is something that needs to be done very, very carefully.’’
So now we’ve gone from “when” to “IF”.
You may recall that on January 11th, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked if the president planned to repeal DADT. His widely-quoted response: “You don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s ‘Yes.'”