General Wesley Clark, the former NATO supreme allied commander, disagreed with opponents of openly gay service on ABC's This Week.

The debate, moderated by host Christiane Amanpour, included Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis representing the Family Research Council (FRC), a socially conservative group that opposes gay rights and was recently added to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) list of hate groups, and Elaine Donnelly, founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness. Both say they oppose “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that prescribes discharge for gay service members who do not remain celibate or closeted, because gay men and lesbians should not be allowed to serve in the military.

Supporting repeal of the law were Clarke Cooper, an active Army reservist and executive director of the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, which is challenging the law in the courts, and Tammy Schultz, director of national security and joint warfare at the Marine Corps War College.

On the program, Clark pointed to a Pentagon report that supports repeal.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, the report said this was about a 2 in terms of degree of difficulty and degree of disruption,” he said via satellite. “Yes, it does add complexity, but not nearly as much complexity as the continuing uncertainty.”

Clark added that war is an ideal time to implement change, a point made by the military's two top uniformed officers, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General James Cartwright, the vice chairman.

“I do agree with the point that the chairman and the vice chairman made that, if the military's focused on war, this is the ideal time to do it, because we're talking about building teamwork around a common purpose.”

“And what the survey showed is that essentially all of the service members, 92 percent, agree that they could serve – they could serve in a unit in combat, and they could work together effectively, and it wouldn't compromise mission readiness,” he said.

Echoing a complaint first made by Arizona Senator John McCain, Donnelly said the report was flawed because it did not ask service members if the law should be repealed, a question Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called inappropriate.

Maginnis dismissed a video report on repeal of a similar ban in Britain, which resulted in few negative effects.

“The U.S. military is about 18 times larger than the Brits,” Maginnis said. “You know, to compare them to – you know, to us, is like comparing an M1A1 tank to a Roman chariot.”

“Nothing will be good enough for the opponents who do not want to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'” Schultz replied. “It's not about the evidence; it's about the ideology. They're saying, 'Oh, you can't compare the U.S. military to other militaries. We're bigger, we're in war, et cetera, et cetara.' But then they simultaneously want to say we have the most professional forces in the world, which we do.”