Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged caution on the part of Congress in making change in the current, “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward gays serving in the armed forces. Gates told Congress, “our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully.” In other words, let’s delay.
I was part of the team in the United States Seventh Army in 1952 that was assigned the task of implementing the integration of white and black soldiers. We did not follow the Gates suggestion. We designed a plan, implemented the plan, encountered some race riots on the part of white soldiers, and refused to budge. Members of the military are NOT asked their advice on issues of human rights. They are expected to obey orders.
If we had asked an officer corps that, most probably, consisted of those from the South, there never would have been integration.
P.S. Branch Rickey never asked Brooklyn Dodger players for their consent to allow Jackie
Robinson to play.