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Don't ask, don't tell: Reaction to leaked report

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 2:12 p.m. ET
A Pentagon study group concludes that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts.

The long, detailed and nuanced report will almost certainly be used by opponents and supporters of repeal legislation to bolster their positions in what is likely to be a heated and partisan congressional debate.

And the spinning is underway. Here is reaction to the report, in the sequential order it arrived in The Federal Eye's inbox. (New responses will be shared as they arrive. Share your thoughts in the comments section below):

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center at the University of California Santa Barbara:
"The Pentagon's findings overwhelmingly favor openly gay service in the military. These findings end the 50-year debate on gays in the military and move the United States a step closer to our allies in Britain, Israel and Australia.

"The Pentagon has reportedly found what more than twenty other studies already found: that openly gay service does not harm military readiness," said Dr. Nathaniel Frank, author of 'Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America,' and a former researcher at the Palm Center. "With the unit cohesion debate settled, the question now is political: Will lawmakers who were waiting for these findings keep their word and proceed to an up or down vote on whether to end discrimination in our armed forces?"

Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the Board of GOProud:
"The findings of the Pentagon Working Group will confirm that now is the time to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' These findings should be dispositive for anyone who honestly wants a policy that reflects what's in the best interest of our military and our national security. Those who continue to oppose repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will do so in the face of overwhelming and compelling evidence to the contrary from the Pentagon's Working Group.

"We urge Republicans in the Senate to follow the recommendations of the Pentagon and join with the growing chorus of conservative foreign policy leaders like former Vice President Dick Cheney, potential 2012 Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Liz Cheney of Keep America Safe, and Fox News' Charles Krauthammer in supporting repeal of this failed policy."

Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United:
"These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along. The men and women of America's armed forces are professionals who are capable of handling this policy change. In light of these findings, as well as the Secretary of Defense's recent call for Senate action on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' during the lame duck session, there is no longer any excuse for failing to bring the defense authorization bill back up during the first week of the post-election legislative session."

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council:
"It's laughable to argue that people who anonymously leak one-sided information to a reporter are less likely to 'mischaracterize the findings' of a ten-month study than are people who wait to read that 370-page study in full.

"We have criticized this study from the outset because the [Comprehensive Review Working Group] was forbidden to explore the central question before the country -- not how to implement a repeal of the current law, but whether doing so is in the best interest of the armed forces. The surveys of service members and their spouses which were conducted as part of this process shared the same flaw, since they never asked, 'Do you believe the current law should be overturned?'

"Despite this critical flaw, Secretary Gates had at least pledged that the effort would be 'carried out in a professional, thorough, and dispassionate manner.' That effort is gravely undermined by leaks to the media which are unprofessional, selective, and blatantly biased.

"I urge Secretary Gates to have the DOD Inspector General to launch an immediate investigation into the source of these leaks, which have seriously damaged the credibility of the CRWG process.

"This is one more reason why Congress will need to have extensive hearings after the scheduled delivery of the CRWG report on December 1, to thoroughly examine both the substance of its findings and the process by which they were arrived at."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 11, 2010; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  Military  
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Next: ACLU suing Pentagon over separation pay for gays

Comments

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council:
"It's laughable to argue that people who anonymously leak one-sided information to a reporter are less likely to 'mischaracterize the findings' of a ten-month study than are people who wait to read that 370-page study in full.

What's always laughable, is any time perkins opens his rotten trap to spew his garbage.

Posted by: mtravali | November 11, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This leak is a joke. I could easily conclude that 90% of troops polled have either "opposed" or "strongly opposed" or "mixed" opinions about repeal, because your "mixed feelings" category means nothing. 5% could be positive, 5% could be nonexistent, 60% could be mixed (that totals your 70%) and the rest could be 25% strongly opposed and 5% opposed (totaling 100%). You work for the Washington Post, for God's sake, don't publish leftist propaganda based on dubious and selective reporting of "combined" numbers. Shame on you Ed O'Keefe. Have some journalistic standards.

Posted by: chaplaingate | November 11, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

There is no longer any excuse for failing to bring the defense authorization bill back up during the first week of the post-election legislative session.
http://www.cheapballmills.com

Posted by: ballmill | November 11, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along.
http://www.cheapballmills.com

Posted by: ballmill | November 11, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along.
http://www.cheapballmills.com

Posted by: ballmill | November 11, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

While I have never been in the military and have no personal interest in the issue, I can make some observations.
If you need trust to function in an organization, how can you trust a person who must lie? If the policy is "Don't Ask,Don't Tell", am I to presume ignorance is preferable to information? If the same subject has been studied twenty times, how often must one study whether water boils at 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C?
The unstated elephant in the room is that the military is the one constant, stable source of employment in the nation, and the most integrated. Perhaps one might do well to study this?

Posted by: renodbpd | November 12, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

What's laughable is people actually believe in some all supreme ghost that controls everything. And a book that hasn't been updated in 2000+ years.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | November 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Navy Officer, my fiancee is a Marine Officer. Neither of us care if DADT is overturned. The arguments against the repeal were also made when women were allowed to fly fighter jets and when blacks were integrated. Armchair Generals everywhere had a heart attack, while the military just carried on doing their jobs. If DADT is repealed, the miltiary will continue to do their job and do it well. But if anyone is asking what we'd like, shorter deployments, more JDAMs, and more MRAPS would be nice.

Posted by: em71 | November 12, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the entire report will adhere to these "leaked" excerpts. While I understand what chaplaingate is suggesting, renodbpd is more to the point: For any report to address the fundamental issue (whether or not gays in fact do disrupt group cohesion) there must be a "greater than random" occurrence of actual disciplinary hearings or Courts Marshall of gay soldiers convicted of treasonous offenses under the Military Code of Justice. To a man, our military is the last best hope we have of safeguarding our freedoms and our right to be who we are without fear of reprisal for peaceably walking down the street holding hands with any friend under any circumstances.

Posted by: drbillboston | November 12, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

As an Army Officer one of the things I wish both sides of this debate realized was how adaptable our military is. It does not matter whether the DADT policy is over turned or not, service men and women will continue to do their jobs and make the necessary adjustments to do so professionally. As much as it might pain some people to hear this, the military has been a significant proponent of social justice and equality for many, many years. To add sexual orientation into the mix does not change things that much.

I love the Army and its ability to integrate so many different people from so many different backgrounds. Adding sexual orientation as another way to diversify our ranks will probably not affect things as negatively as people think. More importantly, it may just allow a few more people to serve their nation in a time when fewer and fewer people are qualified and willing to make that sacrifice. If for no other reason...I say we should welcome them with open arms.

MAJ Jeff Kaldahl
(These are my own opinions and do not represent those of the Army or DoD)

Posted by: JKaldahl | November 13, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

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