DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL REPORT RIFE WITH CONTRADICTIONS
NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
December 3, 2010
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the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the
support network and isolate the target from sympathy – Saul
Alinsky – Rules for Radicals.
The release Wednesday of a report by the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group on the issue of open homosexuality in the military has created more questions than it answers.
In a press statement issued Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama urged the Senate to act swiftly so he can sign the repeal of the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" into law before the end of this year, citing the Defense Department's new report as proof that the nation "can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner."
"As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces.
"[A]s Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy," said Obama, who himself never served in the Armed Forces.
"The reality is that there already are gay men and women serving in today's military and most servicemembers recognize this," Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson told reporters at a Pentagon news briefing announcing the report's release.
Last Spring, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates appointed Johnson and Army General Carter F. Ham, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, to lead the comprehensive review. The review team consisted of 49 military members and 19 civilians, and reached out to hundreds of thousands of service members in what officials say was the largest assessment of military men and women's feelings about any personnel issue ever.
"Based on all that we saw and heard, our assessment is that when coupled with the prompt implementation of the recommendations we offer, the risk of repeal to overall military effectiveness is low," Ham said.
Repeal, in the short term, "likely would bring about some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention," Ham said. But, he added, "We do not believe this disruption will be widespread or long-lasting, and can be adequately addressed by the recommendations we offer."
Johnson said that if the law is repealed, the key message to the force is, "Gay and lesbian servicemembers must be treated the same as everyone else."
Their overall plan includes 14 categories of legal, policy and regulatory "action items" the working group recommends for consideration during the implementation stage, from separation for homosexuality to issues of duty assignments, cohabitation, billeting and benefits.
"We recommend that for the time being, all servicemembers not in a federally recognized marriage should be treated as single for the purpose of benefits eligibility," Johnson said. "We also recommend that [Defense Department officials] study ways to reshape additional benefits into the member-designated category, provided it makes sense from a policy, fiscal and feasibility standpoint."
However, while administrative and "political" military personnel favor repealing the ban on gays, between 40 and 60 percent of combat troops surveyed said gays openly serving in combat would be a bad idea. 58 percent of those in combat responding negatively were Marines.
Former Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway has made clear in multiple interviews with the media that he and most Marines are against it and thought that it would harm combat effectiveness and unit cohesion. At one point, Conway even suggested separate quarters for gay service members.
Responding to the survey results, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine combat veteran, accused the Pentagon of creating a survey whose "criteria and lines of questioning" were created to "reach a predetermined outcome."
“If anything, the survey results make a compelling case for keeping current policy in place and avoiding any type of distraction for our nation’s military and its combat mission,” Hunter said.
“When breaking down the specifics, more respondents answered unfavorably or remain uncertain about a policy change than those who favor repeal."
The defense secretary conceded that there are variances in the overall outcome of the survey when broken down to specific groups.
"Within the combat armed specialties and units, there is a higher level of discontent, of discomfort and resistance, to changing the current policy. Those findings and the potential implications for America's fighting forces remain a source of concern to the service chiefs and to me," Gates said.
"So Gates is admitting that the troops who are first to go into harm's way -- special forces units, Marines, etc. -- are the personnel uncomfortable with having openly gay soldiers, sailors and Marines serving in the U.S. military," said former U.S. Marine and police detective Sid Franes.
"But be certain the news media -- the Amen choir for liberal-left policies -- will not report on the large number of military personnel opposed to ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The idea is simple: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Anyone opposed to the gay agenda is subjected to Obama-mentor Saul Alinsky's political tactics," said Franes.
While President Barack Obama and his administration are calling for an end to the Bill Clinton-initiated "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays and lesbians in the U.S. military, most Americans are being told only half the story.
Last month, several senior military leaders came forward to oppose repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military until a one-year study can be completed. This opposition contrasts significantly with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen's expressed "personal belief" that the current policy should be overturned.
Marine Corps Commandant Conway expressed his fear as early as last May that the repeal effort will distract from the military's mission of protecting the nation. He explained, "My concern would be that somehow that central purpose or focus were to become secondary to the discussion."
Army Chief of Staff General George Casey agreed, saying, "I do have serious concerns about the impact of a repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars." He added, "We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness."
Meanwhile, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz argued that now is not the time to repeal. "This is not the time to perturb the force that is, at the moment, stretched by demands in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere without careful deliberation," he said.
"Shortly after the State of the Union Address, President Obama sent Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to Capitol Hill to argue for a repeal of the military's ban on homosexuals. Clearly, this hearing was politically timed in order to suppress opposition within the military to the President's proposed new policy," claims Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
"As a Marine veteran, I fully agree with Army Chief of Staff General George Casey that there are many serious concerns related to overturning this policy. Repealing this policy will only add sexual tension to the many challenges that our troops face every day. This is hardly a way to improve military readiness and boost morale among our troops, who are currently fighting two wars," said the former Marine officer and current political activist.
"Our Armed Forces exist for one fundamental reason: to defend America by fighting and winning wars. Using the military as a tool to further a homosexual agenda does not support the military's central purpose," said Perkins.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, DON'T REPEAL
Marine Corps veteran and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins issued the following statement:
"Congress should hold extensive hearings on this topic, on both the findings and methodological weaknesses of this report, before taking any action to overturn current law. No level of risk should be acceptable merely to advance a radical social agenda.
"Sadly, today's report, and the ten months of work by the Comprehensive Review Working Group, may be of little value to Congress, because they failed to address the central question – whether overturning the current law would enhance our nation's ability to fight and win wars. By beginning with the premise that the law would be overturned, and exploring only how to implement such a change, the conclusion that such a change would be feasible was foreordained.
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"The same concern applies to the surveys conducted of servicemembers and their spouses. Media reports to the effect that a majority of servicemembers 'would not have a problem' with homosexuals in the military overlook the fact that the surveys did not ask whether respondents support repeal of the current law. If most servicemembers say that under a different policy, they would continue to attempt to do their job in a professional manner, that is only what we would expect. This does not mean that a new policy would not undermine the overall effectiveness of the force. And if even a small percentage of our armed forces would choose not to re-enlist, or part of the public would choose not to serve in the first place, the impact on the military would be catastrophic."
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