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The Pentagon has just released a major review of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which bans openly gay members from serving in the military.
According to CNN, the study found repealing the 17-year-old ban would have a limited effect on unit cohesion outside of a few isolated disruptions. It also believes those events would not last long nor be widespread. It suggests the ban could be repealed, even during war.
Despite those findings, critics are convinced the ban is working and support keeping it in place. Listen to what Senator John McCain told Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union.
“The military is at its highest point in recruitment, in retention, in professionalism, in capability. So to somehow allege that this policy has been damaging the military is simply false."
Senator Claire McCaskill shot back at McCain on Fox News - saying it’s time to end the ban now.
"I think that we should move forward to make sure that any person who stands up and says, 'I'm willing to die for our country' can do so with honor."
The strongest resistance to overturning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell comes from the Marine Corps. But when you take into account all branches of the military -- around 70 percent of military respondents said they have no strong objections to lifting the ban or serving with openly gay members. Just 40 percent of Marines felt the same way. Marine Corps Commandant James Amos has been vocal about his concerns-- saying he thinks dropping DADT would hurt unit cohesion.
“There is nothing more intimate than combat and I want to make that point crystal clear...we’re talking our young men laying out, sleeping alongside of one another, and sharing death and fear and the loss of their brothers.”
But Cynthia Tucker says in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution it’s time for the Marines -- and Amos -- to fall in line. She says the same argument was made about integration during the Korean War.
“When President Truman ordered that the military be integrated...there were dire predictions about military readiness. Now, black soldiers, sailors and airmen are among the most respected officers in the service."
But an analyst on MSNBC explains why he thinks Marines are more resistant about a repeal.
“You have a unit that’s traditionally much closer and listen much more to its commanders. So when you have commanders publicly raising concerns and being a little more skeptical about doing this it’s understandable you would have more Marines expressing concern.”
Despite the study findings, some are attacking the results. In the Wall Street Journal, California Representative Buck McKeon says, he’d like to know who the 70 percent of respondents were.
“The release of the Pentagon's report are the first steps in what should be a comprehensive process to study whether implementing these recommendations would undermine military readiness or negatively impact the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
But, a writer for Washington Monthly says, with this study, the time for excuses are over.
“We now know a majority of U.S. troops, a majority of U.S. civilians, a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate, the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs are all ready to see DADT repeal move forward. If John McCain and other anti-gay senators hoped to gain some leverage, those hopes were in vain.”
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