The most fervent proponents of lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military worry a new compromise in Congress amounts to a whole lot of hurry up and wait.
But that is precisely the deal's appeal.
The proposal strikes a delicate balance between setting a clear direction for military policy while honoring the Pentagon's need for deliberate implementation. Legislation that gives the military breathing room is more likely to succeed than a summary congressional edict.
The White House and a small group of lawmakers struck the deal Monday. Their suggested compromise would repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy — but the repeal would take effect only once the president and military leaders certified that it would not harm troop readiness, recruiting or retention.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the legislation his endorsement, however grudgingly.
Gates is worried about sending a message to troops that their opinions on the matter don't count. The Pentagon has just begun to survey members of the military about how it to let gays and lesbians serve openly without causing turmoil. Its report is due in December.
Gates' concern is that of a leader who has to introduce and manage a reversal of a long-standing military policy. Change from within is often easier to digest than change from without.
But the end result of the military's study is a foregone conclusion, or should be.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.thenewstribune.com.