Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Pentagon Report on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

The Pentagon released its long-awaited Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Monday November 30 and we've finally read it. The first 151 pages, that is, everything but the Appendices which have even more details including a breakdown of answers to the survey questions.

Every American who cares about our military should read it. At least some of the right-wing clowns, such as the Washington Times Editorial Board, could have avoided embarrassment with the following:
Perhaps that's why the working group held 51 "information exchange forums" at bases only in the United States, Germany and Japan. Minimizing the views of those serving in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan helped further dilute the potential for a negative response.
Had they bothered to read the Report, they would have seen on p. 34 an explanation:
At the Secretary's direction, Independent Exchange Forums [IEFs] were not conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid interference with the missions there. However, at installations such as Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Camp Lejeune, and elsewhere, the Comprehensive Review Working Group encountered large numbers of Service members who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan one or more times, or were preparing to deploy. These Service members shared their perspectives concerning the impact of repeal in combat situations and deployed environments.

Our military has conducted top-down mandated training in deployed environments, including Suicide Prevention training which my unit leader in Iraq did personally; it took less than 90 minutes and was very well done. If the right-wing has so little confidence in our Department of Defense's civilian and military leadership's ability to do the right thing right, well, we don't see any of them publicly calling on heterosexuals to Be A Man! Enlist!, much less doing so themselves [if eligible], or encouraging their own relatives and friends, their circles of influence, to volunteer to Serve Our Nation in uniform.

To his credit, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown [R] has announced his support for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
“I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes,’’ [Sen. Brown] said in a statement. “When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor.’’

He also said he felt comfortable that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would adopt a repeal only “when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.’’

We agree with The Washington Post's editorial yesterday: Let the Pentagon lead.

Please call your Senators [202-224-3121] to share your support for repeal and to urge the Senate to act without further delay.

Thank you.

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