No surprise: Long-awaited Pentagon review sees little risk from repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”

posted at 5:01 pm on November 30, 2010 by Allahpundit

Believe it or not, there may be greater support for repeal within military families than within the general population. In a Pew poll taken earlier this month, 58 percent of Americans said they support letting gays serve openly. That’s not precisely the same question the Pentagon asked in its survey of troops, but it’s close:

A majority — about 55 percent — of respondents to a survey sent to 400,000 servicemembers in the active and reserve components said allowing gays to serve openly would have either no effect or a balance of positive and negative effects on the military, and between 15 and 20 percent said such a change would have only positive effects.

About 30 percent of respondents said overturning the law would have a mostly negative impact, and those respondents mostly were part of the warfighting specialties, Ham said.

Fully 69 percent of troops surveyed said they’d already served with someone they believed to be gay, and of that number, 92 percent said the experience had been either good or neutral. (Among combat troops, 89 percent of Army soldiers and 84 percent of Marines had good/neutral experiences.) The full report’s available on the DOD’s website along with press releases emphasizing that Gates and Mullen endorse the findings. Although Gates, very shrewdly, added this caveat:

Gates said the military needs time to prepare for such an adjustment, even though he said he didn’t envision any changes to housing or other personnel policies. He said a sudden, court-issued mandate would significantly increase the risk of disruption.

“Given the present circumstances, those that choose not to act legislatively are rolling the dice that this policy will not be abruptly overturned by the courts,” Gates told reporters.

He’s couching that in terms of readiness but I’ve made the same point before in terms of political saleability: Americans don’t like big policy shifts “imposed immediately by judicial fiat,” in Gates’s words, so this transition is likely to be smoother if it gets the official congressional democratic seal of approval. Which it probably will: In the Pew poll linked above, conservative Republicans oppose repeal but practically every other demographic is in favor, including Republicans overall if you include leaners. Reid’s not going to get DeMint voting for this but Lugar, Murkowski, Collins, and a few others? Sure, why not?

The one notable caveat to the findings: Combat troops are decidedly less enthusiastic about this than the rest of the military.

However, the survey said that 48 percent of Army combat troops and 58 percent of Marines in combat units feared the change would affect their ability to fight, though the report said those statistics were contradicted when service members were asked about their actual experience.

“The percentage distinctions between warfighting units and the entire military are almost non-existent when asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with someone believed to be gay,” the report found.

As you’ll see, Gates is vowing to focus first and foremost on minimizing the disruption to combat units if the law is repealed. And according to the results of the survey, it may be that relatively few gay troops will actually take advantage of the new policy to come out. Just 15 percent of those who identified as gay said they’d want everyone in their unit to know.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Logboy there you go with your dishonest tactics.

Please show me the “lots”. We know you made that up. So why do you try to twist the argument into something else? We both know it is because you made the BS up about there being lots of posts :

Lots of civilian arm-chair military experts in this thread.

“They’re easy to spot, they usually say something like “I never served, but I think…”

Also, do you use your service to try to silence others?

CWforFreedom on November 30, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Logboy…also you do know what they say when people like you try to insinuate that others are gay right?

CWforFreedom on November 30, 2010 at 7:58 PM

What you have obviously failed to notice is that this is a carry over from at least 2 other threads from yesterday and today. I guess observation is not one of your finer abilities. You never served in the military, did you. You have provided no evidence as such.

Logboy on November 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

The issue is not about sex, or inappropriate looks or advances either in a squad bay or fighting hole, but the simple fact that if you will only serve as an open homosexual, you are making a statement that your personal agenda is greater than that of the military under which you chose to serve.

This is counter-productive to any military operation that maintains the kind of discipline that is paramount for a combat unit. Putting yourself above your fire team gets your fire team killed and it doesn’t matter if it’s because you’re openly gay or otherwise.

Some people aren’t meant to serve in the armed forces. Just as some people can’t handle the site of blood and shouldn’t be doctors or nurses- if you can’t put your Corps above your self, you aren’t suited for that line of work.

Obama’s looking to better staff AmeriCorps; have at it.

BKeyser on November 30, 2010 at 8:13 PM

What about bisexuals!

And drag queens?

And the transgendered?

Can we have an hermaphrodite Admiral?

Chaos, ho!

profitsbeard on November 30, 2010 at 11:56 PM

The issue is not about sex, or inappropriate looks or advances either in a squad bay or fighting hole, but the simple fact that if you will only serve as an open homosexual, you are making a statement that your personal agenda is greater than that of the military under which you chose to serve.

You speak as though you think they are fighting to have sex in the mess hall on the tables. What they are fighting for is the right not to have to HIDE their partners from being discovered. They can’t even do simple things like go out to the movies or eat with the person they are in a relationship with since if someone saw them they’d be discharged.

AngusMc on December 1, 2010 at 12:46 AM

Now or never for repeal? I’ll take never, thanks. Can we possibly still block this? I’ll swear an oath of fealty to (shudder) McCain if he can pull it off. C’mon John.

DaMav on December 1, 2010 at 3:04 AM

They can’t even do simple things like go out to the movies or eat with the person they are in a relationship with since if someone saw them they’d be discharged.

As a heterosexual male I had no idea that watching a movie or having a meal with another male identified me to the world as a homosexual. When I think of the scandal those business lunches must be causing!

DaMav on December 1, 2010 at 3:09 AM

The survey is BS. The level of respondent self-identification is off the chart. It appears 256,000 out of 400,000 soldiers and spouses refused to answer the poll … gee, I wonder why they didn’t respond?

David in ATL on November 30, 2010 at 5:59 PM

If that is true the report conclusions are criminally misleading and officials involved in it should be forcefully removed from their positions. I should have known anything that comes from Obama is a lie.

scotash on December 1, 2010 at 3:22 AM

AngusMc on December 1, 2010 at 12:46 AM

No, I’m not arguing that gays want to have sex or put forth unwanted advances, I’m saying that that is precisely not the problem with allowing gays to serve openly, which is evidenced by my statement -which you quoted and which reads in part:

“The issue is not about sex, or inappropriate looks or advances either in a squad bay or fighting hole…”

[emphasis mine]

The issue is that gays that will only serve openly are putting their personal platform above the needs of the US Military. The Marine Corps (which I speak about because I am a USMC Veteran)does not need nor does it want Marines who must be able to tell everyone whom they chose to date or where they chose to eat or see a movie. They want and need strong-minded and physically fit men and women who are willing to lay their life on the line to defend this great country, WITHOUT CONDITION. “I’ll only serve if…” is reason for disqualification at worse and a low entrance priority at best.

I would make the same exact argument for any group driven by an agenda that is not cohesive with the good order and discipline required by the armed forces. Those who are willing to serve under those conditions can’t trust a guy who’s serving along side them only if his personal needs are met first.

BKeyser on December 1, 2010 at 6:43 AM

Thanks, Obama! We owe it all to you that we will now have a military just like the Netherlands! What stalwarts they are! The Russians and Chinese will be quaking in their boots worrying about the “improvements” you’ve made to our military.

olesparkie on December 1, 2010 at 7:35 AM

Ap, as a Marine Corps Veteran, I can tell you that you have no clue what you’re talking about. Your best bet is to simply say “I have no clue why, but I just think gays should be allowed to serve openly.” That would be far closer to the truth then the spun results of a push poll that surveyed only 115,000 service members.

You can be assured that the poll is heavily weighted toward officers who wouldn’t be subjected to the same conditions as enlisted, and I’d be very surprised to learn that it sampled more than 15% Marines. This poll got the results it was seeking.

No repeal. Ever.

BKeyser on November 30, 2010 at 5:14 PM

+1000

Mr. Grump on December 1, 2010 at 7:50 AM

Given the caveats at the beginning of the online survey, I’m surprised that so many actually said they were against it. The message stated that we should strive to be anonymous because there was no guarantee that whatever we’d said wouldn’t get out into the open. The men with whom I’ve discussed this issue at work aren’t very excited about it, but they weren’t willing to say as much on the online survey for fear of reprisal in the form of future “EO” complaints. As C.S. Lewis stated, we’re breeding “men without chests” now, which isn’t s good thing for a society or its military.

Send_Me on December 1, 2010 at 8:39 AM

Someone in the military recently used the phrase “forced cohabitation with homosexual men” to describe a military without DADT or any other restriction on gays. I had no thought of it exactly that way before, and it reminded me of my college days.

Then, I was about to move into a 2-person dorm room with a sort of raucously gay guy, and I was not aware of his lifestyle choices. Another friend whom I knew to be gay held a sort of intervention and very strongly suggested that living with this guy was not a good idea/a very bad idea for me. Again — he is gay, too.

I respect that there are homosexual men who wish to honor their country and enter the military. I wish those on the side of repealing DADT would respect the fact that an enormous number of honorable soldiers already in the military feel that they will be unreasonably forced to cohabitate with homosexual men.

Jaibones on December 1, 2010 at 8:58 AM

PS Gates and Mullen continue to give me the impression that they are career generals who have nothing in common with soldiers and no common sense at all, other than that required to curry favor with effeminate politicians who have never served in the military or worked an honest job for a single day in their lives.

Say, for example, our pansy socialist President.

Jaibones on December 1, 2010 at 9:01 AM

This poll got the results it was seeking.

BKeyser on November 30, 2010 at 5:14 PM

I think there can be no arguing with this point. Our pansy socialist President wants gays in the military, has no clue what our military even does, and has sorted through the Washington/Pentagon generals corps to find the sort of ambitious careerist schmucks that he needed to get his social engineering wishes accomplished.

Jaibones on December 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM

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