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Pentagon study shows gay service would not harm military

By ANNE FLAHERTY
November 30, 2010

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen speak during a press briefing at the Pentagon (AFP)

The Pentagon study that argues that gay troops could serve openly without hurting the military’s ability to fight is expected to re-ignite debate this month on Capitol Hill over repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Officials familiar with the 10-month study’s results have said a clear majority of respondents don’t care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings hadn’t been released.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who have both said they support repealing the law, were scheduled to discuss the findings with Congress Tuesday morning and with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, have mostly opposed repealing the law because they say efforts to do so are politically driven and dangerous at a time of two wars.

“This was a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for presidency of the United States,” McCain told CNN’s “State of the Union” last weekend.

“The military is at its highest point in recruitment and retention and professionalism and capability, so to somehow allege that this policy has been damaging the military is simply false,” McCain said.

Democrats and gay rights groups counter that the study finally proves what they’ve known anecdotally for years: Most troops would accept an openly gay person in their units.

“It’s what we expected. The atmosphere in the active-duty has changed,” said a gay Air Force officer and co-founder of the advocacy group OutServe. The officer uses the pseudonym “JD Smith” to protect his identity.

The survey is based on responses by some 115,000 troops and 44,200 military spouses to more than a half million questionnaires distributed last summer. The study group, led by Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham, also visited various military bases and held town hall-style meetings with service members.

The findings of troop opinions would reflect the view of the broader population. According to a November survey by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans say they favor allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces while 27 percent oppose.

The House has already voted to overturn the law as part of a broader defense policy bill. But Senate Republicans have blocked the measure because they say not enough time has been allowed for debate on unrelated provisions in the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised a vote on the matter by the end of the year, after hearings can be held this week on the Pentagon study. Still, some gay rights groups have complained that Democratic leadership has done little to push for repeal before the new Congress takes over in January.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the majority leader is “very much committed to doing away with the ban this year” but that it was the GOP’s fault for blocking the bill.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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8 Responses to Pentagon study shows gay service would not harm military

  1. Keith

    November 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    The only people who still seem to have a problem with gays now serving openly in our military are the bigoted “lean, mean,Marine” types.

    As I’ve asked numerous times, if 38 other countries around the world (including such close allies as Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Australia) ALREADY allow gays to openly serve in THEIR military services, what’s so special about ours?

    And the results of this survey should now leave absolutely NO doubt that its mostly the “old school” bigots who remain firmly opposed to this change….senior Colonels, Generals and Admirals (or aging former military officers like Senator John McCain). Clearly, their frantic arguments of maintaining “good order and disipline” are just so much hogwash and have since proven to be nothing more than an attempt to justify their own long-held personal prejudices.

    Maybe its now time for such bigots to retire from their positions of power and go find something else to do besides poking their unwelcome noses into people’s private sex lives.

    • Doc_Holiday

      December 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      I think you first must understand the mindset of a Marine Keith. We are a warrior class that prides itself on good fighting skills and quality marksmenship for all. To allow such a social experiment, which is what this amounts to, in the grip of war is asinine at best. I don’t think you quite understand Keith what it means when those images that are to you nothing more than talking heads sitting before congress discussing “good order and discipline”. Those “talking heads” are the leaders of our respective services and they are doing nothing more than keeping true to their duty in stating their professional opinions about good order and discipline when it comes to having gays serve openly in the military. Good order and discipline is what keeps our men and women alive in combat.

      But I would tend to agree that the use of those terms would be a blanket statement set on most everything that has to do with military service. My thoughts on this subject actually have to do with the time and money that will be needed to kick start the type of equality gay/lesbian activists are yelling for.

      It will take many man/women hours to train the forces to become more accepting of gays/lesbians. We set aside hours now for each section/unit to brief sensitivity training which was brought on by the need to include women into military service. Time as well as military resources would have to be set aside for service men and women to allow for the proper reporting of grievances which will spring up in the wake of this repeal. With that allocation of time and resources, money will be needed to feed all these pursuits. Money, resources, and time could be put to better use in dealing with our current problem set in Afghanistan.

      Commandant Amos if you do recall did not state flat out that he was opposed to gays/lesbians serving openly. He stated that his opposition was in making such changes during a war time in which over 1/3 of the Marine Corps is deployed to hotspots around the world.

      To compare our military to that of other services around the world is a weak argument to make. Below you will see a link to a Center for Military Readiness Analysis on that exact subject.

      “Foreign Nations That Accommodate Homosexuals
      In Their Militaries Are Not an Example for America’s Military”

      http://cmrlink.org/CMRdocuments/CMRPolicyAnalysis-September2009.pdf

      The last thing I want to say is that I am not opposed to Gays/Lesbians in the military. What I believe is in line with my Commandant in that now is not the time to overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military.

      Doc

  2. Siannan

    November 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    McCain’s statements about this proves he’s a bigot considering only three or so years ago, he specifically said that if the leadership of the military stated that it was time to change this policy, he would agree. Now that they have all by and large stated so, McCain is singing a different tune. What an ass.

  3. Mightymo

    December 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I am extremely proud of our military members with their honesty and integrity during this survey.
    Despite political, religious, and peer pressures, along with fulfilling the longstanding “image” of the US military, against all odds and expectations of mine they answered this survey with their true convictions.
    There was a not too distant past when both African Americans and women were segregated in the military. I strongly believe that today the US military is much stronger and better because of their inclusion within our ranks.
    The same will happen with inclusion of Gays and Lesbians who are already proudly and honorably serving their country today. This country holds those that serve in high regard for their service and are considered to be the best that America has to offer. To think that they would suddenly be any different only because their sexual orientation becomes known is ridiculous. It should be obvious that our educated and mature military members don’t seem to think there will be a problem, maybe our conservative representatives should respect that.
    I personally think it is disgusting that conservative, right wing hacks in government are so willing to deceive our military members with their lies of trust and respect to make the right choices in death and war, but are unwilling to accept their decision about who they chose to die alongside in times of battle.
    Conservative hacks such as McCain are an embarrassment, and although they pat themselves on the back for being good representatives of our military, their bigoted attitudes are actually counter to all that they respect of our military.

  4. Sandune

    December 2, 2010 at 11:00 am

    It is not just Senator McCain who is a hypocrite and bigot but most of the Arizona people who share his fear of homosexuals. I have fought the ugliness of Arizona since 2003 and I cannot take another year of the hatred found even in my neighborhood.

    I too am proud of our all voluntary armed forces. But it is the ultimate insult to all Americans to want to weed out what many consider undesirables. How can an entire State in America still feel that people of color and homosexuals are inferior to others?

    Sandy

    • Mightymo

      December 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

      Welcome to one Nation under God!

  5. woody188

    December 2, 2010 at 11:58 am

    FBI got caught in entrapment, WikiLeaks is being exposed as a CIA/Mossad front, but oh look out, gays in the military!

    Masters of distraction.

  6. Sandune

    December 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Woody, I think you may be right. Every 4 years I realize how many of my votes were wasted on the GOP. I was distracted by the religious right. There is no superior platform at this time. I slip more deeply into the LP every election.

    Sandy