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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pentagon Report Asks for Repeal of DADT

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen discuss the public release of the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) report on Don't Ask, Don't Tell at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on November 30, 2010.   UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

The long-awaited report is out, and it's a good one. Full 267-page PDF report here, which your Head Trucker has read and highly recommends.

David Wood summarizes at Politics Daily:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday urged the Senate to speedily repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' law banning gays from serving openly in the military, as the Pentagon released a year-long internal study that found repeal would cause only ''limited and isolated'' short-term disruptions to military readiness and esprit.

Seventeen years to the day after President Clinton signed into law the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, the Pentagon formally asked that the law be abolished and set out both the rationale and the procedure to implement what would be a broad social change among the nation's 2.5 million active-duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. . . .

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also concurred with the report's findings, and noted that whatever the personal feelings of individual service members about repeal of the law, existing military regulations on personal behavior would continue to govern."We in uniform have an obligation to follow orders,'' he said. "We treat people with dignity and respect in the armed forces -- or we don't last long.''

Gates and Mullen had previously declared themselves in favor of repeal of the gay ban, arguing that it required gay and lesbian service members to lie, violating the military's highest value of honor. The service chiefs, who head the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, have expressed greater doubts about repeal, with Gen. James Amos, Marine commandant, expressing outright opposition.

Nonetheless, about two-thirds of active-duty, reserve and National Guard personnel would be comfortable serving alongside openly gay or lesbian service members or felt indifferent about the change, the study found.

More resistance was found within the largely male Marine Corps and Army combat troops and special operations units, where the Pentagon study found 40 to 60 percent either were opposed to repeal of the gay ban or said it would harm the critical camaraderie of their units.

But across the military services, the study also found that about 69 percent of troops have served with a gay or lesbian service member. Of those, 92 percent said they either favored repeal or did not oppose it.

Even among combat units with the greatest doubt about changing the law, 84 percent of the Marines and 89 percent of Army soldiers who said they had served with gays or lesbians said they did not oppose repeal.

Asked at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday about doubts and reservations among troops about repeal of the law, Gates said, "Part of this is a question of unfamiliarity, part of it is stereotypes, and part of it is just inherent resistance to change when you don't know what's on the other side.''
It's perhaps the largest survey of military personnel ever undertaken, involving direct survey responses from 115,000 active-duty personnel and their spouses, and about that many more responses via other channels.

And when all is said and reviewed - and my Stetson is off to the military, they did it all up good and proper - the bottom line is:  having the gays in the military just ain't no big deal.

So suck it, McCain.

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