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In 'Don't ask' debate, too much asking?

The Senate hearing this morning over a long-awaited report that looked into the risk of repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was a study in contrasts. Among supporters of the repeal, mostly on the Left, the senators praised the report for its comprehensiveness, detail and thoroughness in studying the question the military faces. Among opponents, who were mostly on the Right, much of the criticism focused on whether the report surveyed enough service members and accurately reflects the views of enough combat forces.

It is the job of leaders, certainly, to debate, probe and not lose their skepticism about critical matters. But the opponents to repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" now face an exhaustive amount of evidence that doing so poses little risk to the military. Not to mention it has support from the country's top two defense and military leaders, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen. All of which raises an important leadership question: Where's the line between debating and questioning findings on critical matters and ignoring exhaustive research and expertise?

First, let's examine the numbers. Despite the fact that the companies competing to conduct the survey for the Department of Defense advised sending the survey to 70,000 troops, with the expected return of 20-something thousand responses, the Pentagon elected to more than quadruple its target sample to 400,000. The criticized response rate of 115,000, or 28 percent, is roughly similar to the statisticians' advice, and a sample that most pollsters would kill for.

The 103-question survey included face-to-face town hall meetings with some 24,000 service members in 51 different locations and the study's authors received no less than 72,000 emails commenting on the issue. The report, at 343 pages, summarizes the findings of what the Pentagon calls "the largest assessment of military men and women's feelings about any personnel issue ever." Given those facts, it's extremely difficult to argue that the report is not comprehensive enough.

Another criticism favored by opponents of the repeal is that the chiefs of the branches of the armed services are hesitant to support it. (They're less apt to point out that Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen, the country's highest ranking military officer, along with many retired and former generals and military leaders believe the rule should be repealed.) Indeed, Gen. James Amos, the Marines' new commandant, has been most vocal in his hesitation for a repeal, and other service chiefs have expressed concerns--or at least a desire to wait until the study is finished before legislative changes are made. Their worries will surely be on display Friday, when the four service chiefs participate in hearings on the Pentagon report.

But at least some of the service chiefs seem to be distancing themselves from claims, expressed most vocally by Senator John McCain, that the report doesn't accurately sample the views of current troops. Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, said recently that "I think the survey, without question, was the most expansive survey of the American military that's ever been undertaken," according to the National Journal. "I think the work that has been done is extraordinary."

Of course, politics is going to rear its head in any debate over an issue as sensitive and emotionally charged as gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military. It's understandable that leaders want to be deliberate, probing and skeptical of any facts that support such a big change for the military. But at some point, evidence is evidence, and informed, expert opinions from the country's top military leaders are the ones that matter most.

By Jena McGregor

 |  December 2, 2010; 12:50 PM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Culture , Decision-making , Federal government leadership , Government leadership , Military leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The most convincing argument for passing the repeal is from the head of Homeland Security and the head of the military.

Passing it, (i.e., refraining from filibustering it by conservative Republicans) will allow a gradual phasing in of new laws under the control of the head military and Homeland Security leadership.

It's no secret the strong stance the newest Supreme Court Justice hold against DA/DT at Harvard. She dared to refuse military recruitment on that issue. Even though she will not be directly adjudicating the case, everybody knows that she has been socializing with the conservative members of the Supreme Court. Her presence on the bench will have an impact on the constitutionality challenge.

It will be a much bigger burden on the military to bear the immense uncertainty on when and how the Supreme Court will repeal it. We should not impose such burden on the military when we are still fighting for democracy in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Joallen8 | December 12, 2010 6:46 PM

Dennis writes: "I "still" think it's queer, and that it has no point, but to satiate the erogenous appetities, of the diviates involved. It cannot produce any other positive result, for the betterment of mankind."

Dennis, I'd say it's pretty clear you dislike and have no respect for them-there homosexuals. Being the deviates we are, you have counted us out from ever producing any positive effect for humankind. You think that's not about hate? I'd say you're delusional. Stand up for your prejudices. Be a man.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 7, 2010 6:38 AM

The pro gay posts oppose adding a straight soldier's bill of rights to any change in current law.
The pro gay posts want straight soldiers who object disciplined by military courts martial.
So much for the pretense about wanting justice and protecting rights.
Under the proposed change, gays would have all their rights, but objecting straight soldiers would be punished by military tribunals.
The pro gay crowd thinks this can be justified, because "only" 30% of the military is concerned about their privacy rights.
That 30% will jump to 90% the first time a straight soldier is put in jail for not cooperating with the new gay agenda being promoted by the high command.

Posted by: jfv123 | December 4, 2010 11:13 AM
When the discussion degenerates to this level, the Normal People have already conceded, and lost the argument. When we acceded to, and began softening the terminology, to use kinder, gentler, words to describe Homosexuals, and their practices with each other, we gave up the strength, and reason behind our argument.
I think we need a cataclysmic incident, at this point, to bring us out of the den of malovalence, that we've descended into.
Come on, Ahmadinejad, where're the Nukes??

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | December 6, 2010 1:47 AM

"True, the change might not bother even a majority of combat soldiers, however there is no reason to put even a minority under additional stress when they are in combat."

I cannot really believe that people find themselves writing this and understanding what they're really saying-- that a bigoted *minority* trumps fairness for everyone. It's just a smokescreen to continue the current system of second-class citizenship for people they really don't like or respect.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 5, 2010 10:42 AM
It's "not" a matter of disliking, hating, or disrespecting Homosexuals.
I'll have the same level of respect for one who has sex with his horse, dog, Mother, Father, and five year old, daughter, simultaneously, as I will a man, who has sex with another man. I "still" think it's queer, and that it has no point, but to satiate
the erogenous appetities, of the diviates involved. It cannot produce any other positive result, for the betterment of mankind. Why should I want to know? Why would anyone want me to know? If you rape and kill your five year old, I cannot form an opinon, unless you let me know, or make me aware. Why would you want me to know?
I think the solution is to phase out DADT, starting with the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Navy, and Army medical, technical, and support units.
Army combat units and the Marine Corps should be phased in later, but this should not be done suddenly nor in the midst of combat. We rightly or wrongly spend a lot of time and money creating an elite warrior mentality in immature young men of 18 or 19. True, the change might not bother even a majority of combat soldiers, however there is no reason to put even a minority under additional stress when they are in combat. We have enough stress issues to deal with now.

Posted by: robertmann | December 5, 2010 2:31 AM
I think that we're going to end up with a Military that can't defeat a Rwandan Girl Scout Troop, in an all out war.
We need to leave the Military Combat to the Warrior types, and give the Bureaucrats, and Politicians more paperwork, to do.
I forsee, in the next two centuries, the Muslims taking over the Nation.

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | December 6, 2010 1:25 AM

The question I have is homosexuality really a defined "class" or attribute, like race. It seems to be more something like a religion.

You have people who hetro sexual that become homosexual. You have hetro's that become homo. Heck, you have bisexuals, cross dressers, and transvestites.

They looked for the "gay" gene and never found it, or you could be sure we would have heard. It has been scientifically documented that there have been identical twins, with one homosexual and the other not!

Which brings me back to is "homosexuality" an attribute or a behavior, or a set of beliefs, like a religion?

Mature discussion on policy and laws concerning homosexuality should resolve this question. The courts never have. Just like the question of when does life begin. Look at the mess the courts have made of that.

Please, not looking for name calling replies. Straight forward logical answers appreciated.

Posted by: mikesfile | December 5, 2010 1:48 PM

"True, the change might not bother even a majority of combat soldiers, however there is no reason to put even a minority under additional stress when they are in combat."

I cannot really believe that people find themselves writing this and understanding what they're really saying-- that a bigoted *minority* trumps fairness for everyone. It's just a smokescreen to continue the current system of second-class citizenship for people they really don't like or respect.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 5, 2010 10:42 AM

I think the solution is to phase out DADT, starting with the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Navy, and Army medical, technical, and support units.

Army combat units and the Marine Corps should be phased in later, but this should not be done suddenly nor in the midst of combat. We rightly or wrongly spend a lot of time and money creating an elite warrior mentality in immature young men of 18 or 19. True, the change might not bother even a majority of combat soldiers, however there is no reason to put even a minority under additional stress when they are in combat. We have enough stress issues to deal with now.

Posted by: robertmann | December 5, 2010 2:31 AM

Homophobia is intolerance which brings no benefit. The intolerant 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' must be repealed in 2011 which is why the Senate is obligated to pass the bill which would advance the repeal of that homophobic law. There's a huge amount of evidence, as supported by the study, that the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' won't be damaging. Sexual orientation and gender identity don't determine military capability and don't determine good character. Homophobia, not insufficient research, is the reason why homophobes don't want 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to be repealed. It's that simple.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | December 4, 2010 11:39 PM

Fairness isn't a matter of majority vote-- And even if it were, we've met the "majority" rule anyway. Apparently to win over the stone-agers, everyone in the military has to agree to ending DADT before it is ended.

That's a really odd standard.

Otherwise, the rights of bigots to express their hatred openly will trump the rights of gay men and lesbians to serve their country without fear. I'll be darned if I can figure out why the rights of the former trump the rights of the latter. And I'll be darned why only gay men and lesbians are thought to have a potential effect on unit cohesion, but the inability of bigots to keep their hate to themselves is not considered a threat to unit cohesion. In fact, that's a "right" we're failing to consider somehow, the rights of bigots to open express themselves by allowing "those gay people" in.

That's nonsense. Open bigotry is a threat to good order and discipline. Do what you're told. Don't insult people. Keep your political opinions to yourself.

Why is that hard? Why is that wrong to expect?

What am I missing?

Posted by: BlondLT | December 4, 2010 1:24 PM

It isn't about gay rights...it's about equal rights.

Posted by: redguns1 | December 4, 2010 1:11 PM

The pro gay posts oppose adding a straight soldier's bill of rights to any change in current law.

The pro gay posts want straight soldiers who object disciplined by military courts martial.

So much for the pretense about wanting justice and protecting rights.

Under the proposed change, gays would have all their rights, but objecting straight soldiers would be punished by military tribunals.

The pro gay crowd thinks this can be justified, because "only" 30% of the military is concerned about their privacy rights.

That 30% will jump to 90% the first time a straight soldier is put in jail for not cooperating with the new gay agenda being promoted by the high command.

Posted by: jfv123 | December 4, 2010 11:13 AM

Harry Truman desegregated the military (see: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/civilrights/freeserv.htm). In the report of the President's Committee, they started with an important statement: "Whereas it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense." Where is this statement in the DADT debate? Have we forgotten that democracy applies to minorities? It is clear that elements of the military were vehemently opposed to desegregation. The country did the right thing, and segregation in the military is a thing of the past.

Posted by: JoelStocker | December 4, 2010 10:26 AM

The issue of gays and lesbians in the military has, unfortunately, become a political football that, regardless of how it turns out, will probably resolve nothing.

Obviously, some gays and lesbians can serve with distinction without causing any problems and others may be prone to causing problems. So the issue is more complex than simply repealing the present ask but don't tell policy. At a minimum, I would think that it should entail a review of the personnel files of those who were discharged for failure to abide by the policy.

Posted by: billeisen1 | December 4, 2010 2:34 AM

Such whining and gnashing of teeth. Get over it, repeal the lame, unevenly administered DA/DT regulations and make it work. I refuse to accept that our highly trained and educated armed forces are incapable of making this simple repeal work without losing their "warrior ethos" or "warfighting" ability. Please tell me that they haven't lost sight of the fact that, even though all volunteer, they are still subject to civilian command and that discipline is still the cornerstone of unit effectiveness. Don't think that it is encumbent on surveys of the enlisted or officer corps to decide which or what regulations/rules should be obeyed. As to doing so while we are engaged in "2 wars"...come on now...we are engaged in 2 occupations...not much of a war. If you can't accept it and deal with it...get out.

Posted by: redguns1 | December 3, 2010 10:39 PM

Its going to be Semper Fi or Whimper Sigh, you cant have both.

Posted by: nuke41 | December 3, 2010 9:32 PM

How many gay men have you showered with, Capi? I cannot think of a more asexual place than a locker room-- or any place where I'm in the presence of other partially dressed or undressed men. Men, regardless of sexual orientation, all are raised and socialized in the *same* society, and we all get the same dose of homophobia. The idea of checking out some other dude in the shower, or being seen to do so, scares the living daylights out of me.

I'd love to hear about all this "sexual" tension ("obvious" sexual tension, at that) while you've been engaging in bowel movements and urinating in the presence of gay men.

I don't believe you. It's a real stretch to justify your ... yes, bigotry. I mean, you're a bigot. That's fine, again, we've dealt with your ... insecurities since forever. Why try to hide who you are?

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 8:23 PM

Better yet..... To avoid obvious sexual tension between the sexes, we should have male gays shower with females... And Lesbians shower with males. It's perfect!! Just to placate the obvious fantasies you're having since you've now made three references to genitalia I know that I have showered with gays and it doesn't really bother me.... But it won't be that way with everybody and since this policy is all about not hurting feelings we have to stamp out all the blatant hypocrisy. So in go the gays with the straight women.... Income the lesbians with the straight males....

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 8:11 PM

But, again Capi, don't worry-- the weakness of straight men in this area (the fear of others seeing their penises) will be dealt with by the greater capacities of the gay brethren to shut up.

It always has been, because we know how handicapped you are.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 8:04 PM

But, again Capi, don't worry-- the weakness of straight men in this area (the fear of others seeing their penises) will be dealt with by the greater capacities of the gay brethren to shut up.

It always has been, because we know how handicapped you are.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 8:04 PM

Oh, Capi, what ridiculousness. You're forgetting that men and women regardless of whom they have sex with have been seeing each other naked forever in the locker room, patting each other's butts on football fields, sharing each other's tents in the boy scouts, etc.

And when your life is on the line, you're worried about who might see your little wee-wee.

That's cute. And more than a little pathetic.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 7:58 PM

OK there BlondLT........want wide open showers? Then let it ALL hang out...... Males, Females, Gays and Lesbians..... Why discriminate? Whats wrong? No modesty..... Sexually irrelevant.... It's all OK and since nobody has natural sexual feelings there just isn't any issue... If you force me to shower with open gays then I demand to shower with women....

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 7:40 PM

And--- It's a "fact" I guess that there are no gay men or lesbians who have ever gone out drinking, sticking up for others in fights, or ... whoring after other women or men (or putting up a front to do so).

Really? Since when??

I have a scar on my nose that says otherwise.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 6:55 PM

Okay so Capi points to these "problem areas"

- Communal showers
- Communal sleeping
- Open bay restrooms
- no privacy in the open field

Now maybe I'm being dumb, but is there a difference between accidentally seeing a straight man's penis and seeing a gay man's penis? Or vice versa? Or do you think that everyone who might "swing" that way is trying to get a glimpse of your sexy butt?

That seems really ... unrealistic, unless they've started the Brad Pitt/Matt Damon look-a-like Corps recently.

Is this honestly what goes on in the dream world of your minds? Vivid sexual imaginations, I'd say. You're making your life into a porn movie.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 6:42 PM

Capi rights: "Our promotion system is becoming a sick, twisted, discriminatory, joke that punishes meritocracy"

It's difficult to believe you're concerned about fighting discrimination. How does that work for you, what with the ... tremendous leap of logic you would have to make to come to that conclusion? It's like saying... I don't want to discriminate against black people, so we shouldn't allow them in.

That's smart thinking. Then there would be no discrimination against African Americans in the armed forces, what with there not being any and all.

I wish I were that smart!

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 6:32 PM

Stevie....didn't know you were addressing me..... My understanding of combat culture comes from 25 years of service, two wars, and all the rest that goes with that privilege... I'll spell out some more concerns I have:

- The military blood bank and that troops have full faith and confidence in it despite the 6 month latency of HIV... Up the percentage of gays and risk goes up

- GEN Carter Ham? Everyone knows he's a marshmallow who will do whatever They tell him to do.. This is the same guy who did the politically correct Ft. hood investigation and didn't mention the word "Islam" once - three guesses how he'd shape this survey!

- The combat Arms culture is steeped in tradition... with toasts to "our ladies" and Army wives groups etc... Should we put in a toast to "our partners" too? What a mockery!

- Building esprit de corps. To a civilian maybe it seems alien, but so much of team bonding involves hitting the bars while off duty.... Drinking... Chasing women.... Sticking up for each other in fights... Etc... I bet this is abhorrent to a lot of "progressives" .... But it DOES work... Imagine if 1/3 of the guys go off in search of gay companionship and hang out at gay bars and 2/3s go to straight bars...right there...fundamental breakdown of unit cohesion.... No amount of unit volleyball games and bar b ques can substitute for an experience where your buddies fight for you. HUGE issue that a do-gooder pri&k like Mullen would ever understand.

- Communal showers
- Communal sleeping
- Open bay restrooms
- no privacy in the open field

We separate men and women presumably due to sexual reasons... So now we admit to it and do a third?

- Promotions. We already have Affirmative Action from Hell. Do we now make yet ANOTHER sub group and carve out a promotion floor for them? The first PO'd gay who doesn't get promoted is going to sue on grounds of discrimination... It will force it... Our promotion system is becoming a sick, twisted, discriminatory, joke that punishes meritocracy. Only a Leftist could love it... Competence is a life and death issue.... We don't promote our most competent all in the name of diversity...

Just a few of the many issues I have with this distorted dangerous idea...

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 6:19 PM

And, seriously Chargersix, could you be anymore, umm, errr, flamboyant? You're cracking me up-- thinking that you're a "real" man much more capable of cutting of the balls of the North Koreans because you're (I guess) attracted to those of the opposite sex.

Straight people, always with your sexual orientation in everyone else's face. Give it a rest.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 6:19 PM

So many of you (bigots) are merely proving my point-- gay men and lesbians know how to make sacrifices *already* for unit cohesion, but (most male) heterosexuals are often unwilling and incapable of doing the same.

Ahh, the fragile, delicate heterosexual man, whose unbalanced ego we all must tip-toe around. An enduring stereotype, which is a terrible, terrible "blow" to morale.

But I guess we'll just have to live with that! Gay men an lesbians are just stronger, I suppose. DA/DT is based on that premise-- that we're able to make the larger sacrifices that straight people cannot. We're able to keep our mouths shut, while the vile "revulsion" of straight men just cannot be kept to themselves.

Sad creatures.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 6:09 PM

Sigh! I was a Naval Aviator when we were in the first few years of Presidential Mandated racial integration.
Didn't hurt us a bit! In fact, my class at OCS, Newport was very fortunate to have a brilliant black navigation instructor, LTJG Fredrick Neves (hope I spelled it right, and hope he is still alive and well).

SO END the ridiculous DADT! Geeze!

Posted by: lufrank1 | December 3, 2010 5:53 PM

Capitalist-1: I encourage you to consider that the stereotype you describe is unlikely to seek out and join the military. Most gay people in the military (yes, they are already there) join for the same reasons anyone else does: financial reasons; wanting a military career; test of courage; family tradition; and pride (but not the one you refer to).

Posted by: judgenot | December 3, 2010 5:51 PM

The survey proves that 70% of the file clerks, supply, cooks and other support in the military can live with repeal, but the people who do most of the shooting don't want it. Support people are important, but most of what they do is similar to what people do in civilian life. It's the full time "pull the trigger" guys who make the military different than a corporation producing a product or service.

Some people say just discipline those straight troops who object. If the people who do the shooting stop volunteering, because they are being disciplined in large numbers, do we still have an effective fighting force?

One problem is that supporters of repeal haven't proposed a law that gives the military authority to require gay troops not to talk about their sexual practices to straight troops or act upon those practices in the presence of straight troops.

That restriction would go a long way to lessening opposition. It's one thing to be aware someone is gay. It's another thing to have to listen to them talk about it or to watch two guys kissing.

Will the gay activists compromise?

Or do will gay activists push for full rights for gays to talk about their lifestyle and act it out and then have straight troops disciplined when they react?

Gay activists don't want to hear that most straight guys who volunteer to fight have a strong revulsion to gay male practices. Congress should not ignore that just because its unpleasant for gays.

It's interesting the survey seems to lump gays into one group, or at least the published reports do. Gay females are more acceptable than gay males to many straight guys. Will the new law require the military to treat both groups the same? Is that fair to gay women, if they can be accomodated without disrupting fighting effectiveness?

Congress should deal with these issues. If handled properly we might be able to balance gays serving their country without creating major problems with fighting effectiveness.

By trying to oush repeal through while ignoring the details, gay activists are seeking to use repeal the same way integrating blacks into the army was used as a vehicle for integrating blacks into civilian life. That's a misguided analogy. Most black people I know don't think being black is the same as being gay. If gay activists hold out for that, then there will be no change in the law, which will mean gay activists will have sacrificed the opportunity to improve military life for some gays so the activists can make a point.

Posted by: jfv123 | December 3, 2010 5:49 PM


I understand combat culture. Care to address my arguments?


Really? You're gonna freak out on the LT because she or he dares to suggest some equivalence between what gays have been asked to do and what people like you will now have to do?

You're gonna insult his or her service as not sufficient, despite actually knowing nothing about it?

How about my time in the sand? Is that sufficient?

And what happened to letting time tell? Whatever happened to "hoping?"

I know you're angry and feel like the world is changing in ways you don't understand and like, but how about more of that trying to understand and less of the yelling?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 5:45 PM

@BlondLT - YOU SHUT UP - Like millions of others I've been quiet about this and had this BS waved in my face for years now and how screwed up we are because I'm not running to embace the "Gay Life Style" and don't have a Rainbow flag on my car. We are sick and tired of hearing about how oppressed you've been because you can't talk about your gay love afair at work.
Typical liberal arguement - calling me a bigot because I disagree with your behavior. Nothing more than a deflection. Bottom line - your "movement" is messing with the security of our nation so all of you have the right to marry blah, blah, blah. Don't even start that this is the same thing as race etc...it isn't. Let me guess you are a Lt in charge of supply in the rear with the gear and call your people "Co-Workers". When the North Korean's come over the hill and you need some real bad SOBs to take them on - you'd have better hoped you haven't cut the balls of your military or your right to marry someone of the same sex won't matter.

Posted by: chargersix | December 3, 2010 5:37 PM

Insulting people? How about the huge insult it is to the military to now be fully associated with that lifestyle? Everyone is focused on the homosexuals but the main issue is unit cohesion and effectiveness. I dont give a rat DAMN about the homosexuals and their need to express themselves, the only thing that matters is combat effectiveness and maintaining a strong military that is a volunteer military. There will be many who just cant stomach service when their comrades are hopping around gay bath houses...is the military blood bank which mostly comes from service members more or less safe? Everyone knows about the 6 month latency phase of HIV detection. So our great "Leadership" in DC says they will "educate" or that those who disagree should leave... One is condescending beyond belief (do you prefer brainwashing Admiral?)... The other is an emotive lash out from a thin skinned perfumed prince who has no understanding of combat culture.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 5:27 PM

Sixcharger writes: "So like millions of others who have felt that way for hundreds of years, please excuse me if I am still "prejudice" against your behavior and I'm back to "Don't Ask, Don't Answer" "Don't ask me if I like your behavior and I won't tell you I don't"

So, yes, gay men and lesbians are expected to foot the bill and carry the water for bigots like this. And guess what? I don't care what you think. So "shut up." Why is that such a hard rule for straight people to follow? It's not really as bad as the ones I'm expected to carry for straight people-- is to protected their delicated feelings of propriety and very, very delicate manliness that can be tip over by just about anything.

I mean, shut up already. I've had to shut up for a really long time. Could you *start* shutting up too? Try it for a while and see how it feels.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 5:24 PM

And gays in the military aren't going to act like that, Capi, just because they are free to be open about their homosexuality.

Why is it so hard to understand that all gay people are not the caricatures you describe?

Or is this not about debating for you and just about insulting people?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 5:07 PM

Aww, charger, we were having a nice civil discussion.

And then you derail.

Sooo, for you this is really about larger issues/fears of "socialist" programs affecting our military?

Yeah, I don't chose to address that junk on a thread about DADT. That's all it is to me. (Well, actually, I will address it in part: I doubt the Brits are risk averse because they have additional "socialist" programs to accommodate openly gay folks that make up a minuscule portion of their defense budget. But they are risk averse.)

I don't assume anyone feels like me about MC Birthday balls and the like. But I know more, younger Marines feel like me in that - while it'll be weird, honestly - we'll all deal just fine. And the Corps as a whole will be better off for our dealing.

(Not sure what you meant about "liberty chasing women" and all. Was that an insult?)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 5:03 PM

Judgenot.... Again, this will fly no problem with the Navy and Air Force - most all of them don't fight and don't suffer the hardships of being deployed in a hostile fire zone walking the trail every day. That's not to denigrate their service - but its not even comparable. They have private quarters in many cases and even on ship many sit at a computer terminal... Many in the Air Force when "deployed" live at a large air base with all the amenities. The small team cohesion in those two organizations is not a core function. Id love to see how the SEAL units who are part of the Navy differ in opinion on this from the Navy at large. Character? Yea you're right.... I question the character of people who prance around in their underwear waving rainbow flags and wear phallic symbols on their head... And I fully support at right, but the military is no place for that lifestyle..

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 5:02 PM

@BlondLT - lets see for hundreds of years homosexuality hasn't been the norm and you expect everyone in the Armed Forces to openly embrace your behavior overnight. For Hundreds of years the US Armed Forces have been effective and you can't provide one arguement that enhances combat effectiveness except it is my right to marry another dude?. In case you forgot the Military is made up of teams, not individuals. I could care less about your right to date, marry, sleep with etc.etc. another Male or Female Lt. What I do care about is the Combat effectiveness of our Military and our country.
So like millions of others who have felt that way for hundreds of years, please excuse me if I am still "prejudice" against your behavior and I'm back to "Don't Ask, Don't Answer" "Don't ask me if I like your behavior and I won't tell you I don't"

Posted by: chargersix | December 3, 2010 4:57 PM

Jake14 - you say that we can not afford to turn talented people away in a time of war? Get real... I can GUARANTEE you that you're going to drive a lot more highly capable people away from service with repeal of DADT than what we will gain from an open gay policy.... It won't even be close.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 4:47 PM

@stevie_in_gp No there were ineffective because their government has stipped them to the bone to pay for all their socialist programs including domestic partner benefits etc. etc. They are risk adverse and incapable of deploying any large formations much less fighting above the Bn. level.
As far as your brothers that's great. Good for you. I'm sure you had a great time out of liberty chasing women, sharing stories back home or wives and girlfriends... Just because you are happy to see two guys slow dancing at future Marine Corps Balls - don't assume the rest of the Marine Corps will be.

Posted by: chargersix | December 3, 2010 4:46 PM

Gay men and lesbians join the armed forces to fight *for their country,* not their "lovers" (how would that even work?). Any other suggestion to the contrary is not only false, but offensive.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 4:44 PM

Capitalist-1, you really (and mean REALLY) sell our service members short. In the trenches, in battle, when it is all on the line, the last thing people worry about is their comrade’s love life. In some alternate universe, if you and I were stuck in battle together, I don’t care if you’re married. I care about your loyalty, your honesty, your integrity, how hard you’ve trained, if you follow orders, and if you can get the job done. Absolutely none of what I just said is based on sexuality or gender; it says an awful lot about character, though. The disconnect we’re having is that you feel that gay people, irrespective of their actions, don’t have any character. And that, dare I say, says a great deal about you.

Posted by: judgenot | December 3, 2010 4:42 PM




Posted by: ravitchn | December 3, 2010 4:24 PM

All gay segregated units wouls be great. GAYS WOULD FIGHT TO THE DEATH TO PROTECT THEIR LOVERS.

Posted by: ravitchn | December 3, 2010 4:17 PM


Ha! You and I both know the Brits (or others) weren't "ineffective" in Afghanistan because they allow openly gay people in their service.

Yes, time will tell. We both also seem to recognize that the policy will change, perhaps sooner, perhaps later. I, too, am hopeful.

And I have no siblings, so the Marines I served with for over nine years - including combat - are my only brothers.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 4:03 PM

Capitalist-1 brings up a good point-- "people would get killed." That's great. But apparently the resolution to this is to punish the potential victims-- gay men and lesbians-- rather than their oppresors. Is that the kind of people we are? Why should the burden of ridiculous rules not fall on *bigots* rather than on people just trying to serve their country?

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 4:01 PM

Anyone who thinks that having openly gay service members will somehow degrade the military's ability to fight wars has their head in the sand. We can't afford to keep firing talented people because someone heard that someone talked to someone that so and so is gay. Enough with the investigations and firings that actually do harm military effectiveness. End DADT now.

Posted by: jake14 | December 3, 2010 4:00 PM

Ah yes, Chargersix, the specious association of (particularly male) homosexuality with physical weakness and cowardice. Good job! I'm glad to see you're bringing out your baseless prejudices full force for all of us to see what the real problem here is.

I'm back on to the "don't ask, shut up" rule for heterosexuals in the armed forces.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 3:56 PM

Judgenot - I am thoroughly convinced that a repeal WOULD get people killed.... For starters you're going to have murder in the barracks. But more importantly it's going to result in X percent of the hardcore warriors who just won't enlist... Which will put an inferior product onto the battlefield. Mark my words, the Army and Marines are going to start having retention and recruiting issues... The Navy? No. Air Force? No. But those who do the fighting are going to have issues... It weakens us as a nation. Mullen tells those who don't like it to quit? Fine leadership from the perfumed prince who has broadway videos and ballet streaming on the walls of the foyer in his house....he's about as much of a warrior as Michael Jackson

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 3:54 PM

@stevie_in_gp Oh and you mean being as effective as say the Brits in Afghanistan or any of our other allies used to argue for the repeal.
Living in the field in the same hole for weeks at a time fighting and dying with your friends is extremely different than seeing your gay neighbor at the mailbox daily or working in a supply warehouse in the rear. Nobody is telling you to move in with your neighbor for 6-12 months. Share his room etc..I know more about many of the men I served with than my own brother.
Time will tell whether you or I are right. I honestly hope you are, but I'm not holding my breath. If you are right then I'll stand up and admit it. But, if you are wrong and our military decays into some peace time parade force, then we are all in big trouble.

Posted by: chargersix | December 3, 2010 3:43 PM

The readers here and members of the Senate are questioning how the question was asked as because it appears that the decision to repeal DADT was made. It was- last winter at the State of the Union Address by the Commander In Chief. The SECDEF and the JCS Chair, or their desinees, asked the questions in the survey with clear commander's intent. Also, the "can we implement this" approach to the questions, asked of many more stakeholders than is normal for DoD on any of the decisions they make, is an action oriented statement. That is the normal way the military is tasked to respond.

They did not ask the "should it be repealed?" question because that is asking the front line service member to engage in political debates. That debate was resolved by a clear commander's intent which a majority of voters gave President Obama the right to determine on election day 2008.

Every one of the service chiefs, who are subordinate to Obama, Gates, and Mullen agreed on one thing today: if ordered to, they would comply with the repeal. The Marine Commondant even bragged they would make it happen fastest, and best. That is a clear indicator that despite his wanting to lessen the stress on his combat troops, that he has an implementation plan already sitting on his desk.

The military rank and file, their families, their officers, and their leadership have all been brought into a process to determine policy, which should be a rare occurance. This is the Department of Defense, not the Education Department. The overwhelming message was "eh,,, what's one more gay guy/ lesbian woman?". The chiefs spoke about the stress of 2 wars that are impacting their troops and are concerned about unit cohesion. They need to listen to their soldiers who are balancing their need to do their duty and get home alive with the triviality of this argument. If these units have bonded on the basis of their trust for each other, and policy requires you to lie and break that trust, then essentially, policy makers are breaking that trust.

We have many more important issues to deal with, and the Defense Department needs to have a budget approved. The Commander in Chief, and the civilian in charge of all of this has done due diligence. Its time for Congress to repeal the law, for the SECDEF to issue the order, and for the Service Chiefs to snap to attention and put those implementation plans into action.

Posted by: bill_delgrosso | December 3, 2010 3:36 PM

Is it just me, or is calling someone a "homo" offensive? There's a difference being knowing someone who's gay in your unit causing a morale problem, and someone who's a bigot in your unit causing a morale problem. Apprently gay people are supposed to get their mouths shut, but straight folks are free to shout out their hateful vitriol anytime they want. I say, don't ask, and shut up.

Posted by: BlondLT | December 3, 2010 3:35 PM

You’re kidding, right? That is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read all day, almost as silly as segregated bathrooms.

Posted by: judgenot | December 3, 2010 3:17 PM


Men like those you describe are still going to be fighting our wars. As has always been the case, a minority of them will be gay.

That they can be gay openly won't change that.

That's the very point found in the report.

(Many of the points you made in your earlier comment contribute much to the idea that repeal will NOT be a negative factor: Marines will care more about their fellow Marines AS Marines, rather than as gay men [and women]. Perhaps Gates and Mullen understand that better than you?)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 3:12 PM

My dear Ms. McGregor, in defense of your thesis
you cite Gates and McMullen but oh so conven-iently fail to mention that the chiefs of staff of both the Army and the Marine Corps are dead set
again the repeal of the ban. If you weren't a bright person you wouldn't be writing for the Washing- ton Post. And so what do we call this sort of
journalism? Prejudiced? Biassed? Slanted? Dishonest? Anything but "journalism," I would think.

Posted by: hoya72 | December 3, 2010 3:09 PM

Tim Ricks post about Marines in Afghanistan

I, for one, want men like these fighting in the hills of Korea or where ever the next fight is.

Why anyone would want to risk losing the capablity to continue to produce units and men like this is beyond almost all of us who have served with them. The next battlefield is the wrong place to find out you made a mistake by listening to the people in the rear with the gear who wanted to socialize our military and country.

Posted by: chargersix | December 3, 2010 3:05 PM

I'm sorry, I missed something. No one asked service members if we should invade Iraq or Afghanistan. No survey was handed out to see what percentage of the armed forces would like to do multiple tours or how many troops agreed with sending additional troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. While DADT is a personnel issue, the military follows civilian orders, for better or worse. And, I guarantee all of the aforementioned decisions have a much bigger impact on an average service member’s life than who his work colleague has a date with Friday night. Save your anger for politically-driven decisions that actually kill people.

Posted by: judgenot | December 3, 2010 3:04 PM

The solution is to put gay soldiers in all-gay units.

Posted by: ravitchn | December 3, 2010 2:54 PM

Leadership in the Military and specifically the Army and Marine Corps these days is about life and death. Something both Mr Gates and Adm Mullen seem to have forgotten.
What they also fail to realize, or even understand at the most basic level is the Warrior Ethos. They can never possibly understand. Has either served in combat?

I would suggest that they both go take a survey of the resident patients at Walter Reed and Bethesda to really find out what those Soldiers and Marines who are in units paying the price think. Not survey some Airmen in a supply warehouse who works 8 hrs per day and calls her fellow Airmen "Co-Workers". Not a survey of the majority of the Navy, as much as I love our Corpsman, the Navy forgot the meaning of discipline long ago.

The enemy in Afghanistan, our enemy, is cowering in a cave knowing that the Darkhorse 3rd Bn, 5th Marines, and Marines like them are coming to kill them. These same Marines, who risk their lives for each other and our country, are the same Marines who risk their lives making sure that innocent Afghan civilians aren’t harmed.

I sleep well at night because I know what these men are capable of. I served with thousands just like them. Marines refusing to be evacuated for wounds during firefights so as not to let their fellow Marines or the unit down. Marines attempting to escape from field Hospitals in Iraq (missing hands and legs) to return to combat with their fellow Marines. A 3/5 Officer in Iraq was wounded twice in Fallujah II - no time to worry about the hand grenade fragments embedded or the bullet wound in his leg. He stayed and fought with his Marines until the end, then took care of his Marines first. Why do Marines do this? Because we love our fellow Marines and would never do anything to let them down.

What Gates, Mullen and our others in our misguided government will never understand is Warrior Ethos, Unit and Combat Cohesion. The love of one brother Marine or Soldier for another. We get it and are completely against our Government tampering with it in any way.

Our Marines, these Marines, get paid to do one thing and they are doing it extremely well now. WIN IN COMBAT. In many cases that means killing and these days it means being 10 times badder than the most evil MF you ever heard of. The 9/11 high jackers look like girl scouts compared to some of these sxxxheads. In 20 years I want my kids to sleep just as well knowing that such men still exist and are capable of the doing the same harm to anybody who would harm our country, them or you.
If we, as a nation, destroy that Warrior Ethos we greatly risk ending up like the British and our other allies. They just spent 5 years in Afghanistan and accomplished less than the Marines accomplished in just over a month (see Ricks post on at ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/11/24/
Life & death the battlefield and the battlefield should never be trumped by some individual right. No place for individuals in combat

Posted by: chargersix | December 3, 2010 2:51 PM

In 1948 the military and congressional leadership thought blacks would disrupt the small units and pleaded with President Truman not to desegregate the military......Today the Army is 23% black...

Posted by: TBONE86 | December 3, 2010 2:46 PM

This "survey" is flawed beyond belief... It failed to ask the most basic question - "Do you agree with a repeal of DADT?". Instead, the choice has been made - by Gates and Mullen - as a petty dictat to please the administration. The biggest case of sycophancy Ive ever seen which is saying something. And the conclusion also uses a false premise. The most basic of which would be how wiould this policy change impact combat effectiveness? Or how about retention? Or how about recruiting? I find it alarming that the combat troops have major reservations.. That should alarm everybody! A career REMF like the sycophant Mullen does grave disservice to gloss over that. Gays in the Navy openly serving are no problem... FAR different in a rifle platoon. I will be laughing my as8 off if the rural southern and Midwest kids who make up 75% of our fighting troops start to opt out, refuse to serve, and force the country to do a DRAFT - then all the children of the Progressives might actually have to pull their weight for once and high minded mommy and daddy can feel good about their stand on open homosexuality in the military.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 2:26 PM

Ransr01 wrote:
"I guess the only question I have now is why do boys who like boys and girls who like girls have to push it in everyone's face?"

Most of the people who have been discharged under DADT did not try to push anything in anyone's face, but rather were ratted out by someone else in their unit or by someone finding something on line.

Heterosexuals push their sexuality in our face all the time with public hugs, kisses, talking about their spouse and children, without fear of losing their job. If a gay man raising a kid with his husband ever talked about that he would be kicked out of the service.

Small talk comes up. Years ago, I was on an overseas business trip and was asked if I was buying a present for anyone. Being a civilian, I was able to say yes that I was getting something for my boyfriend. I didn't have to decide between being honest or keeping my job. It was a relief to be able to be honest. I also felt reasonably comfortable that my colleagues at that time wouldn't have a problem with my being gay.

If DADT is repealed, I don't think you will see a lot of coming out parties in the military. I think most gays will stick with DADT for some time to come, but at least not have to worry about being discharged if they are found out.

Posted by: BootmanDC | December 3, 2010 1:55 PM

I frisking KNOW what homosexuality is you perfumed prince dip wads! And I hate it.

Posted by: Capitalist-1

People like this should not be making policy. They are too irrational to make a coherent argument.
Look, military personnel who are doing their jobs well should not be fired, especially in a time of war when we need as many talented people as possible. It's that simple.

Posted by: jake14 | December 3, 2010 12:58 PM

Here's a lucid article on how repealing DADT will weaken the US military:

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | December 3, 2010 12:33 PM

This article displays cluelessness on both the military and on leadership in several ways. The real question here is how much command influence was exerted to get the
"desired results". Read the report - there is a stark divide between the quantitative results and the qualitative feedback. The survey questions were crafted in a way that put opponents of repealing DADT on the defensive. One interpretation of the responses is that service members did not want to cast their unit in an unfavorable light. Of course they could work through this. But the qualitative responses published in the report - which admittedly represent the extremes - tell a different story. Those comments reveal that there is a real issue here, and that service members - both heterosexual and homosexual - are justly concerned about how it will impact them, and also what it implies existentially for the character of their military service. Different services have different command cultures - the Army and the Marines being much more decentralized than the Navy and the Air Force, and when the officers call for detailed guidance and "top-down" solutions, it really means that they don't feel empowered to deal with these matters according to their professional judgement. Even more so when you have officers saying in their comments, in essence, "Put up with it or get out." Looking at the comments of female heterosexual service members, it would actually appear that there is more of a danger of abuse against an already vulnerable group within the military, than against male heterosexuals, whose culture makes resistance to such advances a matter of honor. Good leaders will get involved and not look the other way if bad things are happening. The legal ramifications do not have to make sexual behavior in the military more permissive, which is what many are worried about...one thing nobody is talking about is whether and how to raise the legal consequences for sexual harassment and fraternization, to even things out here. Even if the UMCJ 125 and the Army Chapter 15 discharge goes away, Chapters 13 and 14 will remain on the books and should be used appropriately to deal with problematic cases.

Posted by: billr54619 | December 3, 2010 12:30 PM

Why now? WHY NOW?! The economy is in shambles, tens of millions of people out of work, and families losing their homes, and our so-called representatives choose this perilous time to focus on a relatively unimportant issue!

In the midst of two wars, front-line troops have expressed their very negative view on repealing DA/DT, yet Congress continues to pander to this small constituency.

Cheap, unadulterated political theatre.

Posted by: r_loveland | December 3, 2010 12:04 PM

Not once does this article mention combat troops - convenient. I am deeply offended by liberals who once yet again are forcing their lifestyle choices onto an institution that I hold in high regard. I am being forced to accept a lifestyle that I find to be offensive and repugnant. DoD says that through "education" that they will make this work? Anyone realize how condescending that is? I frisking KNOW what homosexuality is you perfumed prince dip wads! And I hate it.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | December 3, 2010 11:58 AM

Gays have populated and serve our countries armed services since inception. Those active duty personnel who would find it hard to continue serving, because they know who is gay and who is not, is plain and simple prejudice. you do not have to be a genius to figure that out. Plus one of the most powerful armed forces in history was full of gays, The Spartans.

Posted by: ptown31 | December 3, 2010 11:54 AM

I hope and pray that in my lifetime (I am 56) that this country of "Equal Rights" will finally give equal rights to homosexuals.
Stop the fear, lies, bigotry and hatred. We are all human and the LGBT community deserve equal rights status under the US Constitution. Religious "moral values" have no place in the Constitution or the Military, nor should their hate and judgment of others be shoved down every American's throats.


Posted by: Gary12 | December 3, 2010 11:43 AM

I'm straight, and I find it immoral that people like you believe gays should be discriminated against because it offends your sensibilities. I find you offensive. As for gays in the military, so what? They are American enough to serve their country, they deserve my love and respect. And they have it 100%

Posted by: dougw3 | December 3, 2010 11:41 AM


From one Marine who knows a lot of gay folks to another who probably doesn't, I just want to point out that the caricature of gay people you may have in your mind (see @Slowflight's comment for an example) is not accurate.

Gay people in the military on the whole do not and will not (after the repeal of DADT) seem over-the-top effeminate, "flaming," etc. They are like you and me in almost every case, in terms of bearing, behavior, and dedication to the mission.

I strongly doubt that sexuality will be pushed in anyone's face.

It's just a scare tactic to imagine the military will look like a gay pride parade, filled with drag queens. (Not that there is anything wrong with that . . . outside the military!) That won't happen.

Appreciate your willingness to acknowledge that times have changed, even if you don't care for the changes. I believe most of us younger Devil Dogs can accept this change for what (I believe) it is: an ethically and morally correct step.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 11:36 AM

Give a little credit to our troops; they already know who's who

Posted by: chuckhinva | December 3, 2010 11:12 AM

I'm reminded of an article in The Military Times (I was wrong: Ban on gays in uniform should be lifted) that related this:

More than 30 years ago, Tech. Sgt. Leonard “Lenny” Matlovitch didn’t keep his secret. At Langley Air Force Base, Va., in 1975, Matlovitch came out of the closet with a letter confirming his homosexuality. He made the cover of Time magazine and was popular with the public, but the Air Force drummed him out anyway.

When Matlovitch died of complications from AIDS in 1988, many remembered he had volunteered for three tours in Vietnam and had been awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. On his grave is this inscription: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one.”

Posted by: FauxReal | December 3, 2010 10:46 AM

You know most countries have open service for gays and lesbians. Are we less capable?

From a NY Times article about the British experience:

"Since it began allowing gays to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of the British military's fears - about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness - has come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services, and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue."

If those against open service believe open service is detrimental to effectiveness, they should reject assistance from those countries that allow open service. They should begin with the British.

Posted by: FauxReal | December 3, 2010 10:43 AM

SCREWJOB22 is a typical conservative -- citing statistics without perspective. Fact is, the USMC has about 203,000 personnel compared with the total force of 1,445,000 - or 15% of the total force.
SCREWJOB22 is -- therefore -- being disingenuous (another word for liar) in the way he is using his statistics. Please tell us SCREWJOB -- what the number are for the other 85% of the military!!! MORON!

Posted by: Freethotlib | December 3, 2010 10:22 AM

It's not a majority rule thing.

A majority of people in Texas want abortion outlawed.

A majority of people in Georgia want prayer in public school.

A majority of people in New York City want all guns to be illegal.

Any of these things gonna happen?

The right of a person at work to sleep,
bathe, and dress in areas away from anyone who could develop a sexual or romantic interest in him or her is not subject to a majority rule decision.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 3, 2010 10:20 AM

It's not a majority rule thing.

A majority of people in Texas want abortion outlawed.

A majority of people in Georgia want prayer in public school.

A majority of people in New York City want all guns to be illegal.

Any of these things gonna happen?

The right of a person at work to sleep, bathe, and dress in areas where anyone who could develop a sexual or romantic interest in him or her is not subject to a majority rule decision.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 3, 2010 10:17 AM

You know, I don't give a, (choose your word), about the numbers or this lousy report that is supposed to provide political cover for political cowards who face political clowns like John McCain.

We have a constitution that provides RIGHTS to all American citizens. How much longer are we going to deny those rights to people who are just different? They're born here, they live here, they are Americans, they want to serve, they do serve, they just can't be who they are. Stupid and unconstitutional. It is that simple. I f we love our country and we love and tout the constitution, then there can be no argument here. Back in the day, Harry Truman, a man who was not a coward, desegregated the military by executive order. I know congress passed a law but the president is the commander in chief and he SHOULD do as Truman did and just do it. However, waiting for LEADERSHIP from this president seems to be like waiting for Godot. I'm a life long Democrat.

Posted by: robertmerry | December 3, 2010 10:16 AM

Um, can we get back to jobs, the economy, and Todd Palin going on DWS?

Jeez Congress and Sen. John "I was for the repeal before I was against it" McPain do something that really matters and that helps all Americans!

Posted by: CapHillDC | December 3, 2010 10:10 AM

If your aren't man enough to work with a gay person, then you're not man enough to fight in the Army. We don't need a bunch of scaredy-cats in our armed forces.

Posted by: steve1231 | December 3, 2010 10:05 AM

Sunnie2: You're.
Now, my point: I respect that you value family, country, and our armed forces. But, do you value honesty? The only change would be giving people the opportunity to be honest and upfront about a situation that already exists. Isn't that better? The irony is that American troops already are serving alongside openly gay individuals. None of our principal allies in Afghanistan – the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, and Australia – share this policy of discrimination. To think that DADT segregates openly gay individuals from interacting with American troops is simply naïve.

Posted by: judgenot | December 3, 2010 10:01 AM

There is no doubt that there have been gays serving in the armed forces, the problem becomes when and if they can come out of the closet what happens then? Do we want a bunch of soldiers, sailors and airmen that sound like something out of a NYC or San Fran fashion show?

If they keep THEIR sexuality to themselves that is fine and it is their right, it becomes an issue when they try, and they will, to force their sexual orientation on the rest of us. It is exactly what has happened in our society and the military will be no different.

Posted by: slowflight | December 3, 2010 9:07 AM

In an all volunteer military 30% saying they have a problem serving with homosexuals is significant since it represents several hundred thousand service members. What the report fails to discuss is the key issue; readiness. Do they estimate that the policy change will result in a net decrease, increase or no change in the number of young people willing to serve their nation? The military is our nation’s life insurance policy, not a social experiment. Make sure any change benefits military readiness and isn’t simple pandering to a very small minority for political reasons.

Posted by: nuke41 | December 3, 2010 9:02 AM

Hankbear: It's sad that you read all that into my comment. I never meant to demean you or people like you. I simply observed that in the United States Marine Corps in the Korean and Viet Nam era (50s/60s primarily) being openly gay in the Marine Corps (i.e. 6th Marine Regiment) would not be advisable. I seriously believe that the generational attitudes of the combat infantry men at that time would not have looked kindly upon you and your peers. I know personally of one instance where an "outed" gay person went sleep walking in his mattress cover one night. He then fell down a flight of stairs! Like it or not that was the world at that time. If you were able to serve in a better environment good for you. However, to deny that such attitudes were prevalent then is foolish. And, as I said if things are different now so be it. In my 75 years I have seen dramatic change. Especially in male/female relationships. I have seen marriage virtually destroyed and I have come to become the great grandparent of children I have never seen because their parents didn't marry and went their separate ways. Such changes are impossible for my generation to accept without sincere regret. As for your community I really could care less. I accept a live and let live arrangement. Just stay out of my face!

Posted by: ransr01 | December 3, 2010 8:58 AM

To the person who called himself an "old gent" who said that no one in their right mind would admit to being gay in a combat zone.
I'm 62 years old, a decorated veteran of the Viet Nam War. My fellow soldiers knew I was gay and didn't give a rat's toenail.
I'm just as brave, American, patriotic, and a creation of God as you are. I fought for your rights and well as mine. I'm entitled to have the same rights and privileges that you have.
You are not superior to me in anyway. God did not empower you , no American President or Congress should empower you to deny me the full benefits of American citizenship.
I don't care if you like me. But times will change, and more of your kind will learn to respect me.

Posted by: hankbear | December 3, 2010 8:33 AM

I really get tired of the gay crowd pushing their agenda. If you don't agree with me then your a "bigot". Yes, that is what I said.
This is what is said to those who do not agree with repealing the DADT policy of the military. This is an immoral issue that straight people (who are the majority) are being forced to politically accept. It want ever happen. Homosexuallity is wrong and will always be wrong.

Posted by: sunnie2 | December 3, 2010 8:28 AM

Would you trust 'lovers' to look out for your back vs. their lover?

The government took a survey and then twisted the survey to justify an action it already wanted to take ("Mixed" does not constitute a yes).

The question now becomes whether the "leaders" who twist results should even be trusted to lead !

Posted by: donx65 | December 3, 2010 8:22 AM

There's something odd about the idea of basing a major change in military policy on polling data from the troops. The military is not a democracy. Soldiers don't elect their officers. They don't determine policy. If you think they should, then how about polling the soldiers over which wars to fight? If they vote against war in Afghanistan, then we would pull out. Or what if soldiers had been polled before Truman ordered the military to desegregate and the polling data had shown overwhelming opposition from whites to serving alongside blacks? Should Truman then have backed down? The views of soldiers about gays serving openly in the military provide a set of data points, but their views should not be considered determinative. No one really knows what changes may come about from gays serving openly in the U.S. military, how that new policy might change the culture of our armed forces, what equal protection issues might arise, or how the change could affect combat readiness and force cohesion. We are guessing here. Polling results tell us how people feel now about a potential change in the future. They don't tell us how that future will play out. The policy change could turn out well, but it might create more problems than anyone currently anticipates.

Posted by: michaellame | December 3, 2010 7:59 AM

I'm an old gent (75) who spent 26 years in the Corps. A retired Mustang if you will. In my era no one in their right mind would admit to being gay. Especially in a combat environment surrounded by guys with loaded weapons. On the other hand, I do understand that times have changed and so have attitudes. I guess the only question I have now is why do boys who like boys and girls who like girls have to push it in everyone's face? Boys who like girls and girls who like boys don't do it so why do the other kind (I will not use the word gay except as originally intended to mean a happy person) have to shove it in everyone's face? I can think of nothing more personnal then sexuality. Nor can I think of any rational reason why it should be pushed as a topic of conversation.

Posted by: ransr01 | December 3, 2010 7:35 AM

I only weigh-in at about 180 pounds, but the issue was, is, and will remain a no-brainer for anyone honest enough to face the obvious. LGTB people have served honorably in the military since time immemorial. They will do so with or without official legal sanction. In an all-volunteer army, how can we afford to discriminate against ANY patriotic American who is willing to serve? No wonder America is well on the road to becoming a third world nation!

Posted by: bloommarko4 | December 3, 2010 6:10 AM

Unfortunately, John McCain lost his moral authority and any personal credibility long ago - must be political TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) from a prodigious record of flip flops over the years. What say we agree to just ignore any thing he has to say on the matter at hand.

The question comes down to this: why would we want our military command to continue to tolerate a policy which requires our uniform forces to lie about who they are and what they know - contrary to everything that wearing the uniform and protecting the Constitution of the United States is professed to be about.

It's time to demand that our recalcitrant, do-nothing Senate start getting down to the business of the people, lame-duck or not. Striking down DADT is a no-brainer.

Isn't it time to stop perpetuating a lie and let Americans continue to serve with integrity, regardless of who they are?

Posted by: hardrain | December 3, 2010 2:44 AM

As a former active duty army officer I was aware of several officers who were gay. They usually managed to keep this invisible with little or no negative effects on their effectiveness. In one sad case a medical officer who was fearful of exposure of his sexual orientation and, on one occasion was unable to respond to cross examination in a courtroom situation. His performance in
that situation was completely ineffective.
I suspected that he was afraid he would be
asked about his sexual orientation.

Posted by: philhicks28 | December 3, 2010 2:01 AM

Grampy McSame and his trope of BIGOTS need to take a walk together on Grampy's farm....out in the desert.....

It's hard to imagine to rational folks how someone that's this BIGOTED can be allowed to continue to speak for anyone.. The folks in the Military have done everything Grampy wants and he still makes up lies to cover his previous lies...

The courts will step in and slam his A**HOLE shut !!

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | December 3, 2010 1:23 AM

There's a pretty simple reason the individual service chiefs are dragging their feet, they have to pay for any changes. New accommodations, new policies regarding dependents and their benefits and any other presently unspecified program that will need to be created to facilitate the repeal will cost the services cash that ADM Mullen doesn't necessarily worry about. Like anything else this is a bottom line business and a major policy change such as this will cost the individual services money. Each service chief's greatest influence is their Title 10 authority and this will take away from something else. But all the excuses certain politicians are making are just that, excuses.

Posted by: kilgore_nobiz | December 3, 2010 1:18 AM

Screwjob22: I certainly hope you aren't/weren't a Marine. I'd hate to think Marines don't know there's an Army, Navy, and Air Force, especially since their own hymn names two of the three.

Leftists and the WaPo did not lie: They simply recognized that 70 percent of ALL branches of the armed forces saw no problems with eliminating DADT.

You, on the other hand, lied by omission, mentioning only one. So much for keeping your honor clean.

I'd also hate to think Marines are as myopic as you. Seems to me that, in a combat zone, they'd need to be able to draw conclusions from all the information they receive...not just the bits of it that please them.

However, since you seem to think only Marines count for anything, perhaps you can answer this question from a bewildered old lady: Why on earth do Marines, of all people, fear they can't cope with a few gays?

Posted by: mamapanda | December 3, 2010 12:56 AM

This whole process turns the concept of leadership on its head. On what other question has the military EVER asked the opinions of its members? Did they ask "Do you favor going to war against Germany" or "How do you feel about fighting in Korea"? No, they exercised LEADERSHIP and just gave the orders. Imagine if they had put integration of African Americans into the military through such a popularity contest. If they had, blacks would still be serving in segregated units or as cooks and orderlies and Jim Crow would probably still be the law of much of the land. The Joint Chiefs are paid to lead, not conduct opinion polls. So is congress, for that matter.

Posted by: fickstdu | December 3, 2010 12:56 AM

SCREWJOB22, you skipped right to the end of the posting, just to make a politically motivated comment, didn't you. The first word you uttered was "leftists", thereby rendering the entire remainder of your comment unreadable and, frankly, ignorant of the very column on which you were attempting to comment. I know it's hard to put aside politics to really look at an issue from a pragmatic point of view, but the least you could've done was tried.

Posted by: crzytwnman | December 3, 2010 12:35 AM

How does cherry-picking both the Marine Corps numbers and specific questions prove the Post lied, Screwy?

All the 68 and 69 questions show "Neg" and "V. Neg" right around 30% for the "Overall" (that's the military as a whole) category. That's 70% "no problem" (your words - not the report's) by my count.

Your beloved 68c is 33.1%/66.9%.

I'm pretty partial to my Corps as well, but if you're gonna come, come correct.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 3, 2010 12:31 AM

Leftists including and especially WaPo which leaked the report, wildly lied about its contents before it was published. They claimed that 70 percent of the military had no problem with open homos in the service. Nothing could be further from the truth when you read the actual report.

According to the report 56.1% of Marines say that just having a known/suspected homo in their unit negatively affects the unit's ability to work together.

Only 39.9 percent of Marines said that having homosexuals in their unit affects morale "not at all".

47.3 percent of Marines, nearly half, reported that repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell would impact their trust of open homosexuals in their unit "negatively" or "very negatively".

According to the report 56.1% of Marines say that just having a known/suspected homo in their unit negatively affects the unit's ability to work together:

See questions 40, 43, 50 and 68c

Posted by: screwjob22 | December 2, 2010 4:06 PM

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