Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick Rundown of the DADT Hearing

Robert Gates kicks it off

Here more in detail from Washington Post

The conclusions published in Tuesday's report give a boost to President Obama and Congressional Democrats seeking to eliminate the ban before the end of the year and undercut the arguments of social conservatives and lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who believe ending the law would harm the military as it conducts two wars.

"The risk of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to overall military effectiveness is low," said the report's co-authors, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Army Gen. Carter F. Ham. While ending the ban would likely bring about "limited and isolated disruption" to unit cohesion and retention, "we do not believe this disruption will be widespread or long-lasting," they said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who requested the report, echoed their sentiments: "This can be done, and should be done, without posing a serious risk to military readiness."

"Now that we have completed this review, I strongly urge the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the president for signature before the end of this year," Gates said. "I believe this is a matter of some urgency because, as we have seen this past year, the federal courts are increasingly becoming involved in this issue."
According to the results of a survey sent to troops this summer and cited in the report, 69 percent of respondents said they had served with someone in their unit who they believed to be gay or lesbian. Of those who did, 92 percent stated that their unit's ability to work together was very good, good, or neither good nor poor, according to the report.

Combat units reported similar responses, with 89 percent of Army combat units and 84 percent of Marine combat units saying they had good or neutral experiences working with gays and lesbians.
At the same time, the survey found that 30 percent of those surveyed overall -- and between 40 and 60 percent of the Marine Corps -- either expressed concern or predicted a negative reaction if Congress were to repeal the law. 

Those concerns are "driven by misperceptions and stereotypes about what it would mean if gay service members were allowed to be 'open' about their sexual orientation," the report's authors concluded. "Repeatedly, we heard service members express the view that 'open' homosexuality would lead to widespread and overt displays of effeminacy among men, homosexual promiscuity, harassment and unwelcome advances within units, invasions of personal privacy, and a small overall erosion of standards of conduct, unit cohesion and morality."

Such concerns are "exaggerated, and not consistent with the reported experiences of many service members," the report said.

About 115,000 of the 400,000 active duty and reserve troops who received copies of the survey responded to it, according to the report. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.
The Washington Post first reported earlier this month on many of the report's details.
With Tuesday's findings in hand, advocates for ending the ban are planning intense lobbying efforts to ensure Congress passes a defense policy bill that includes language ending the ban before the lame-duck session concludes. The bill's fate remains uncertain despite assurances by Senate Democrats that they will reconsider the measure this month.

Passage rests largely on securing support from about 10 moderate senators of both parties who are waiting to read the report before deciding how to vote. Already Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Susan CollinsOlympia SnoweJohn Ensign (R-Nev.), James Webb (D-Va.) and others could also join repeal efforts after reading the report, according to Congressional aides and other officials familiar with deliberations on the matter. (R-Maine) have said they will vote to end the ban if Democrats permit a fair debate. Sens. (R-Maine),

That's a lot! For another perspective, go here

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Viktor is a small town southern boy living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Twitter, writing about pop culture, politics, and comics. He’s the creator of the graphic novel StrangeLore and currently getting back into screenwriting.