Recalling Justice Powell’s famous recantation of his vote in Bowers v. Hardwick, former chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs under President Clinton John M. Shalikashvili has changed his position on gays and lesbians in the military. He now says that the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy should be abandoned and gays and lesbians should be able to serve freely.
I find recantations like Shalikashvili’s and Powell’s entirely bittersweet. Yes, it’s great that someone of public import speaks out on such an important topic in a now-enlightened way, but it doesn’t take away the sting of the damage they did when they actually were in positions of power.
- David S. Cohen