McCain reiterated his usual argument that now is not the time to change the policy, with two wars going on, yadda, yadda, yadda.Grandpa Grumpy told the panel, "At this time, we should be inherently cautious about making any changes that would affect our military, and what changes we do make should be the product of careful and deliberate consideration."
Mullen countered, "Repeal of the law will not prove unacceptable risk to military readiness. Unit cohesion will not suffer if our units are well led, and families will not encourage their loved ones to leave the service in droves." He added, "War does not stifle change, it demands it."
Defense Secretary Gates told McCain, "If not now, when? As I look ahead in the world, I don't see the world being a safer, easier place to live in where our troops are necessarily under less stress."
At one point McCain insults Admiral Mullen by pointing out that he is not in a commend position. Mullen did an excellent job of putting the future spokesman for Depends in his place:
"With all due respect, Mr. Chairman and Sen. McCain, it is true that, as chairman, I am not in charge of troops. But I have commanded three ships, a carrier battle group and two fleets. And I was most recently a service chief myself. For more than 40 years I have made decisions that affected and even risked the lives of young men and women.I don't know about you all, but seeing all these old guard military leaders and politicians standing up for us queers kinda gives me the chills. Think Progress posted this video showing how McCain got schooled yesterday on senate and military procedures. Watch as McCain whines about not having enough time for debate and ignores issues that were directly addressed in the troop survey.
"You do not have to agree with me on this issue. But don't think for one moment that I haven't carefully considered the impact of the advice I give on those who will have to live with the decisions that that advice informs. I would not recommend repeal of this law if I did not believe in my soul that it was the right thing to do for our military, for our nation and for our collective honor."
You can watch today's hearing on C-SPAN or at cspan.org.