Retired General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark said Sunday that a repeal of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy will happen and that wartime is an ideal moment to move ahead with repeal.
Clark said on ABC's "This Week" that with the military focused on war, "this is the ideal time to do this, because we're talking about building teamwork around a common purpose."
The former Democratic presidential hopeful said military leaders are ready to implement a repeal of the policy now, suggesting the prolonged political debate has become a distraction.
Clark said the message from military leaders is: "If you're going to make the decision, make the decision, get it over with and take us out of the middle of the game and give us six months or so to do the training and education and get ready so the leadership can handle this," he said.
An extensive Pentagon study released last week concluded the repeal of the policy would not have an adverse impact on military readiness and that the risk of repeal is minimal.
Republicans, led by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPoll: Sinema approval higher among Arizona Republicans than Democrats Meghan McCain: COVID-19 battle made me doubt if nation will recover from pandemic Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship MORE (R-Ariz.), have warned that repealing "Don't ask, don't tell" could lead to a serious retention problem and that advocates of repeal are moving too fast.
The Democratic-led effort to repeal the policy is currently stalled in the Senate with the outcome far from certain given partisan bickering over the packed lame duck agenda.
The House has already passed a bill containing a repeal of the policy and Democratic leaders in the Senate say they have the 60 votes needed, but a series of other high profile items are crowding the agenda with time running low.
If the Senate fails to push through a repeal of "Don't Ask, don't tell," before the end of the year, its prospects for passage will likely disappear with a Republican-led House and a much slimmer Democratic majority in the Senate.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told lawmakers last week that the Pentagon’s study concluded that a "strong majority," or “more than two-thirds," of service members do not object to serving alongside openly gay soldiers.
While conceding there could be short-term disruptions, Gates said repealing the law "would not be the wrenching, traumatic change that many have feared and predicted."