The Pentagon is planning to release its study on the effects of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell today.
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.
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.
Several prominent Republican opponents to the repeal, including John McCain, have already said they’re not moved by the results of the study, which have been leaking out for the last month, because it is not giving them the results that they wanted. Mr. McCain is going so far as to indicate he wants a study of the study.
What it comes down to is that the people who are opposed to gays and lesbians serving openly in the military are aligning themselves with the worst elements of prejudice and intolerance in our society; the likes of Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and, to a lesser degree, the whack jobs like Fred Phelps. No, I don’t think that John McCain would stand outside a soldier’s funeral carrying a sign reading GOD HATES FAGS, but his moving of the goalposts for the repeal of DADT indicate that he was never serious about discussing the matter anyway. When it looked like it was a permanent policy back in 2004, he got all mavericky and said that when the generals told him that the policy could be repealed, he’d go along with them. So when they told him that last winter, he changed his position to “let’s study it and see what the troops say,” betting on the mistaken and bigoted idea that the soldiers, those red-blooded testosterone-bearing strapping young men, would never allow faeries in the barracks. Now that the study shows that the troops don’t care, Mr. McCain is trying to move the target yet again.
There’s a lot to despise about people like Tony Perkins and Fred Phelps, but the one thing you can say about them is that at least they are predictable in their bigotry and hatred of an entire community. They are, to quote the Bard, as constant as the Northern Star. John McCain and people like him are far more dangerous because you never know from one day to the next where they are or what they will do.