Fighting Forces Fight Policy Change
Last month, President Obama said "we owe" it to the American people to "focus on those issues that affect their jobs." So far, the only jobs he seems concerned about are those of gay service members. Yesterday, the Pentagon’s long-awaited report on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" was finally released, and the hostility to repealing the policy is deeper than even Secretary Robert Gates predicted. In a statement yesterday, the Defense Department boss admitted that the repeal could have a "disruptive" and "potentially dangerous impact." Even if we believed the report is accurate (and FRC has documented plenty of reasons why it isn’t), this survey hints at a freefall in recruitment and retention if liberals lift the ban. Of the men and women in a combat role, only a sliver of service members (11%) think that throwing open the closet to homosexuals is a benefit to the military. Sixty percent of the Army and Marine troops on the front lines agreed that their effectiveness would be negatively affected.
That’s significant, because these aren’t soldiers sitting behind a desk in Washington. They’re the men and women actually fighting our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their reservations alone show the absurdity of forcing this repeal in wartime. Why would the administration intentionally cripple our military’s confidence in a time of conflict? Another part of the report talks about the troops’ concern that open homosexuality would lead to "homosexual promiscuity, harassment, and unwelcome advances within units, invasions of personal privacy, and an overall erosion of standards of conduct, unit cohesion, and morality." Here are some other startling findings:
24% of all service members said repealing the ban would cause them to either leave the military sooner than planned or think about leaving sooner than planned. (Among Marines, the number was much higher: 38%.)
12% of spouses would want their husband or wife to leave the military if "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is overturned. (And the measly 1% or less of gay service members certainly wouldn’t make up the difference if they did!)
62% of our troops predicted at least some negative effects from repeal, while only 38% predicted positive or no effects.
The repeal was more than fives times more likely to have a negative impact on the troops’ "level of morale."
The authors of the report admitted that they didn’t ask whether our service members were for or against repeal, but on page 49 they did acknowledge why. "If the Working Group were to attempt to numerically divide the sentiments we heard expressed in IEFs, online inbox entries, focus groups, and confidential online communications between those who were for or against repeal of the current Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, our sense is that the majority of views expressed were against repeal of the current policy." Repeal is what President Obama wants. But is he willing to lose 12-30% of our fighting forces to get it?
Learn more by tuning into our special military webcast tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. (ET) with distinguished guests Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.); General Carl Mundy, former commandant of the Marine Corps; Brig. Gen. Douglas Lee, Chaplain (U.S. Army-Ret.); Sgt. Brian Fleming, veteran of the war in Afghanistan; Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis, FRC (U.S. Army-Ret.); Cathy Ruse and Peter Sprigg, both of FRC.
** This afternoon, FRC hosted a press conference with members of Congress, the military, and with leaders in the conservative movement to discuss the Pentagon’s report on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" and the Defense Authorization bill, which would turn military bases into abortion clinics. To watch video from the event, click here. **