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