Earlier today, the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen announced the results of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group Review of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The 10-month study led by US Army General Carter Ham and DOD General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson concluded that the repeal of the 1993 ban on gays serving openly in the military might have some short-term, isolated disruptions; but there would be no long term or negative impacts on the military.
So why does the media, particularly MSNBC, continue to ask Elaine Donnelly for her opinion on issues affecting the US Military?
Elaine has never served in uniform. She has never led soldiers. She has never been in harm’s way. The only person she has led is herself as the founder of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), a non-profit group she runs from her kitchen in Michigan. Elaine is never asked for nor offers any data or empirical evidence. All she spouts and has proffered for the last decade are specious opinions of discrimination and prejudice, and calls for further reviews. The only remaining reason for not repealing DADT is prejudice.
Time for Studying is Over
With this Pentagon examination, the total number of wide-ranging studies concluding the repeal of DADT will not hurt military readiness stands at 23 according to Dr. Aaron Belkin, PhD, the director of the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The time for studying is over. It is time to end the ban on gays serving openly in the US military. Yet Elaine Donnelly is pushing for another one. Why is anyone, I mean anyone interviewing and listening to her?
Perhaps, the next study should be on the organizational effectiveness. CMR operates on an annual budget of less than $200,000, Donnelly draws a salary accounting for more than 25% of the groups contributions.
Input across the military
This particular study, #23, is the most comprehensive to date. Input came from 115,000 service members and 44,000 military spouses who responded to surveys. Another 72,000 service members commented through a website set up by DOD and the Pentagon held meetings at 51 US military bases around the world where 24,000 more troops discussed the issue. The purpose of service member input was as Sec. Gates said to engage the troops and gain an understanding of attitudes should the law be changed. It was not to vote on the issue. Voting in the military is antithetical to its very nature.
Gates said, “The concerns of combat troops as expressed in the survey do not present an insurmountable barrier to successful repeal of DADT. This can and should be done without posing a serious risk to military readiness.”
The Greatest Risk is Not Acting
Gates emphasized that the greatest risk would be not to act on this and on our own terms before forced to do so by the federal courts. He recommended the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the president for signature before the end of this year. He said,
“It is only a matter of time before the federal courts are drawn once more into the fray, with the very real possibility that this change would be imposed immediately by judicial fiat – by far the most disruptive and damaging scenario I can imagine, and the one most hazardous to military morale, readiness and battlefield performance.” He continued by saying that as with anything in the military, training, education and above all strong and principled leadership is required for successful implementation.
Supporting the results of this comprehensive review, Admiral Mike Mullen, said “It used to be personal opinion that we get rid of this. It is now professional opinion we get rid of this.”
It is believed that more than 65,000 gays serve in the Armed Forces. To date more than 12,500 service members have been forced out of the military because of DADT.
Earlier this year, the House as part of a broader defense bill voted to repeal DADT.
Soon this will be on the floor on the Senate. What will our elected Senators do? Ask for yet another study or vote to repeal the ban on DADT.
Results of the Pentagon Review
A summary of the results of the survey sent to 400,000 service members as outlined by the two chairmen:
– 70% of Service members said they would be able to “work together to get the job done” with a gay service member in their immediate units.
– 69% said they worked in a unit with a co-worker that they believed to be homosexual.
– 92% stated that their unit’s “ability to work together,” with a gay person was “very good, “good” or “neither good nor poor.” (89% for those in Army combat arms units, 84% for those in Marine combat arms units.)
– 74% of spouses of military service-members say repeal of DADT would have no impact on their view of whether their husbands or wives should continue to serve.
– 30% overall (and 40–60% in the Marine Corps and in various combat arms specialties) expressed negative views or concerns about the impact of a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Summary from the report (via http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/).
We don’t need a 24th study (or anymore from Elaine Donnelly)
We don’t need another committee or group analyzing this issue. Clearly, this is no longer a matter of personal opinion and debate. From a professional standpoint, the right thing to do is to repeal DADT. Gay and lesbian services members should have the right to serve their country without concern and without having to hide in fear of retribution.
Any senator waiting on this comprehensive review from the military to decide how to vote, the review is now available. Does the Senate care what the military thinks?