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Published: Tuesday, 2/8/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago

No slow advance

It appears to be forward-march for the U.S. military, now that Congress has repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" law that clumsily and unfairly forbade gay men and women from serving their country openly.

Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Clifford Stanley, an undersecretary of Defense for personnel, announced that military training to carry out the new policy will start this month and move quickly. That development is to be applauded.

But part of their statement gave many Americans pause. They suggested that while there is no intent to delay, they could not guarantee full implementation this year. That contradicts what President Obama said in his State of the Union address.

The goal should be met. The new law is scheduled to take effect 60 days after the President and his senior defense advisers certify that troops' ability to fight won't be compromised. With effective leadership, that process doesn't have to be drawn out.

Delay will only foster uncertainty and resentment. Theoretically, gay servicemen and women still could be dismissed under the old law while the new one is pending. The sooner this is completed, the better for everyone.

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