Pres. Obama told Generals to Support DADT Repeal or Resign
Buzzfeed obtained a video of Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp speaking to US Coast Guard Academy cadets on January 8th. In it, he recounts a meeting with President Obama in 2010, in which the President told the “5 service chiefs” to support his plan for repeal of the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — or get out:
Papp revealed that Obama was unwilling to compromise with service leaders over DADT during a meeting in 2010. “We were called into the Oval Office and President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ I cannot divulge everything he said to us, that’s private communications within the Oval Office, but if we didn’t agree with it — if any of us didn’t agree with it — we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things,” he said.
The context of the answer was a question from cadets about
how officers should respond to policies that they disagreed with but were required to enforce.
Admiral Papp gave an interesting answer:
If I disagree morally with [a policy], it’s my obligation to voice that, regardless of the risk it might give my career.
General Peter Pace, the only member of the Joint Chiefs in recent history to “disagree morally” and actively speak against the military acceptance of homosexuality, was long gone by 2010, having not been renominated in 2007 (as is tradition) due to perceived contention to follow in the Senate confirmation hearings.
The Admiral became commandant in May of 2010. In March of that year Adm Mullen, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had already told troops they could “vote with their feet” if they didn’t agree with military leadership decisions.