Most Troops Think Ending Gay Ban Would Be No Big Deal

Leaked Pentagon report shows troops are ready to end Don't Ask Don't Tell

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Ending the ban on gays in the military would have little impact on the war effort, and most likely would result in only a few isolated negative incidents, according to a Pentagon study group report. The group surveyed soldiers and found more than 70 percent thought the effect of ending Don't Ask Don't Tell would be "positive, mixed or nonexistent," Ed O'Keefe and Greg Jaffe report in The Washington Post. Further, once troops begin serving among openly gay soldiers, their objections to them will slip away, the report concludes.

Those with the strongest objections to repealing DADT were the Marines, 40 percent of whom were concerned about changing the current policy. Marine Corps commandant Gen. James Amos has been very vocal about wanting to hold on to DADT, saying war was a very "intimate" experience and allowing gay troops to serve could hurt unit cohesion.

The report does not recommend labeling gays as a special class when it comes to equal-opportunity rules, a conclusion based on input from anonymous gay troops and their partners. The authors do not expect a large "coming out" by gay troops if the ban is repealed.

  • Pentagon Preparing for an Eventuality Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis. "It seems fairly apparent that this pattern of leaks is part of a public relations campaign designed to lay the groundwork for a run at DADT repeal during the upcoming lame duck session," Mataconis writes. However, it doesn't look like a repeal could make it though the Senate this year, and definitely not next year. The report could "give some Senators — like Susan Collins and Scott Brown — the political cover they need to support repeal. However, based on the vote in September, Democrats would need to pick up at least three votes in order to invoke cloture. ... Whether it does or not, the Pentagon clearly seems to be preparing for the day when DADT will be phased out, whether legislatively or as a result of Court action."
  • 'Spin and Selective Leaking!' Spencer Ackerman writes at Attackerman. "Carter Ham and Jeh Johnson’s year-long study of how repealing the ban on open gay military service isn’t due until December 1. " Why act now? Because it's gotta happen during this Congress. "President Obama could decide not to appeal a judge’s order striking down the existing DADT law, but he’s shown no inclination for reversing course on that one… even as he says he wants the law overturned. (I have no real insight on whether repeal would be acrimonious if it came ordered from the bench, but it certainly would be more durable if it came from an explicit act of Congress.)"
  • Conservatives Made a Bad Bet, Steve Benen argues at Washington Monthly. "When Senate Republicans blocked a vote on repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' several weeks ago, it's likely they were stalling for time. Conservatives, led by John McCain, said Congress couldn't possibly tackle this issue before first reading the results of the Pentagon's poll of 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops, as well as 150,000 family members... But if anti-gay Republicans thought the survey would help derail repeal, they apparently had it backwards." These leaks "from the Obama administration may be intended to signal to Democrats that they shouldn't cave beforehand."
  • If Truman Could Do It, Cynthia Tucker writes at the Atlanta Journal Constitution "Marines are no doubt taking a cue from their homophobic chief, Marine Corps Commandant James Amos, who has openly defied orders by publicly criticizing the effort to end DADT. If he cannot follow orders, he should be cashiered. ... When President Truman ordered that the military be integrated (during a raging war in Korea) there were dire predictions about military readiness. Now, black soldiers, sailors and airmen are among the most respected officers in the service. The same will be true of gay troops when DADT ends. "
  • Amos Shows a Stubborn Disregard of Facts Jason Sigger argues at Armchair Generalist "Someone needs to show Gen. Amos this 1993 RAND report that suggested that the presence of homosexuals in police and firefighter organizations within the United States, as well as in foreign militaries, did not in fact cause any losses of unit cohesion or trust. These points are probably irrelevant to him and others who continue to stubbornly refuse to listen to the majority of the United States citizens who believe that it's time to repeal this act." If Democrats can't get the rule repealed during the lame-duck session, it shows they "can't see the opportunity that's been handed to them: to demonstrate how out of touch the Republican leadership really is."
  • Mitch McConnell's Skill on Display Matt Yglesias observes. "Filibustering defense appropriations bills is politically risky. And to do it in order to support a hugely unpopular position on a related issue is a giant risk. It’d be one thing if 60% of the public was on the Republicans’ side about DADT. But it’s not. Instead this is a 70-30 issue that cuts against them. But not only are they getting away with the filibuster, they’re turning their obstruction into a political winner by forcing the progressive community into circular firing squad mode."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.