Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby Steps - And Big Questions - For General Colin Powell

It could have been a political earthquake that, in the end, was more of a subtle shift on the ground.

Yesterday afternoon, CNN's Situation Room began promoting an interview with General Colin Powell that promised the "strongest statement yet" from the retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the federal law that prohibits lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from serving openly in our armed forces. And while that may have technically been true, it was hardly the ringing endorsement for repeal that Powell's colleague, General John Shalikashvili, offered up more than two years ago in The New York Times.

"We definitely should reevaluate [the law]," Powell told Fareed Zakaria. "It's been 15 years since we put in 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' which was a policy that became a law. I didn't want it to become a law but it became a law. Congress felt that strongly about it. But it's been 15 years and attitudes have changed and so I think it is time for the Congress, since it is their law, to have a full review of it, and I'm quite sure that's what President-elect Obama will want to do."

The step forward for Powell came down to one word: "should."

In other interviews prior to Thursday's sit-down with Zakaria, the General, who is widely regarded as the magic bullet that could considerably speed up repeal efforts on Capitol Hill, went with a different analysis of Congress' role: "could."

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