Pentagon Report Supports Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Will Congress follow suit?

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The Pentagon has published its long-awaited, formal study of potential affects of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The Obama administration has made a priority of rolling back the Clinton-era ban by the end of the year. The report, hosted here by the Washington Post, concludes that repealing the policy presents low risk and meets with the approval of most of the U.S. military. Here's what people are saying about this report and its ramifications for ending the ban on gay servicemembers.

  • Reports Says Repeal OK  The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe and Craig Whitlock summarize, "The Pentagon's long-awaited report on gays in the military concludes that repealing the 17-year-old 'don't ask, don't tell' law would present only a low risk to the armed forces' ability to carry out their missions and that 70 percent of service members believe it would have little or no effect on their units. ... 'The risk of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to overall military effectiveness is low,' said the report's co-authors, ... While ending the ban would likely bring about 'limited and isolated disruption' to unit cohesion and retention, 'we do not believe this disruption will be widespread or long-lasting,' they said."
  • Gates: This is Urgent, but Hurdles Remain  The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller writes that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates "said that there were higher levels of 'discomfort' about repealing the law among those in the combat branches of the military, and that 'those findings remain a source of concern to the service chiefs and to me.' He said the concerns were not insurmountable, but that implementing any repeal should be done carefully and with more preparation of the military’s combat forces. At the same time, Mr. Gates said it was a 'matter of urgency' that the lame-duck Senate vote in the next weeks to repeal the law. If not, he said there would be a fight in the courts and the possibility that the repeal would be 'imposed immediately by judicial fiat.'"
  • Can Congress Approve a Repeal?  National Journal's Sara Sorcher writes, "Earlier this month, Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., said he is 'confident' there are 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a GOP filibuster that has blocked action on the defense authorization bill with the repeal language within it. Efforts to end the military ban on gays and lesbians are far from dead, he said at a news conference alongside 12 Senate Democrats who favor repeal. The House has already passed its version of the authorization bill, containing an amendment added during floor debate identical to the Senate Armed Services Committee's repeal language."
  • Senators McCain and Graham Oppose  Republican Senator John McCain told CNN, "It wasn’t a problem because you didn’t have. It’s called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Okay? If you don’t ask somebody and they don’t tell and it’s an all volunteer force. ... The fact is, this was a political promise made by an inexperienced President or candidate for Presidency of the United States. ... This system is working and I believe we need to assess the effect on the morale and battle effectiveness of those people, those young Marines and Army people I met." Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News, "There is no groundswell of opposition to Don't Ask, Don't Tell coming from our military. This is all politics. I don't believe there is anywhere near the votes to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. On the Republican side, I think we will be united in the lame duck."
  • Gates 'Warning' McCain on DADT Opposition  The San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead writes, "Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has just issued a thinly veiled warning to GOP opponents, led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., of repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on gays in the military: if you don't repeal the law now, the courts inevitably will, causing much more disruption in the force."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.