DADT Survey Results Are In: Gays Won’t Mess Up the Army (But John McCain Might)

Much to the surprise of, I guess, John McCain, the wildly expensive Pentagon-commissioned Survey of the Troops has revealed that the average foot soldier spent $400 dollars a year on home electronics and an average of nearly $1,000 on domestic leisure travel. WAIT WRONG SURVEY.

IT’S THE DON’T ASK DON’T TELL SURVEY!

Yes! Our much-anticipated very very important Survey of the Troops. About 115,000 of the 400,000 active duty/reserve troops who received the survey responded to it, along with 42,000 military spouses.

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Some Important Statistics

+ 70 percent of service members believe a DADT repeal would have little or no effect on their units.

+ 69 percent of those responding reported that 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 sources.

+ 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.

+ 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 DADT (roughly the same as it is in America as a whole, according to recent findings from CNN/Opinion Research Corp. and the Pew Forum).

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Some Important Sections of the 267-page report

The people afraid of the homogays are just misinformed! :

In the course of our assessment, it became apparent to us that, aside from the moral and religious objections to homosexuality, much of the concern about “open” service is driven by misperceptions and stereotypes about what it would mean if gay Service members were allowed to be “open” about their sexual orientation. 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 an overall erosion of standards of conduct, unit cohesion, and morality. Based on our review, however, we conclude that these concerns about gay and lesbian Service members who are permitted to be “open” about their sexual orientation are exaggerated, and not consistent with the reported experiences of many Service members.

Another section addressed the fact that most of the troops probably wouldn’t come out anyhow — only 15% of the gay servicemembers surveyed would want everyone in their unit to know their sexual orientation:

In today’s civilian society, where there is no law that requires gay men and lesbians to conceal their sexual orientation in order to keep their job, most gay men and lesbians still tend to be discrete about their personal lives, and guarded about the people with whom they share information about their sexual orientation. We believe that, in the military environment, this would be true even more so.

Oh and they’re being dumb about that bathroom-sharing thing too — firstly, they recommend against requiring separate bathroom and shower facilities for gay men and lesbians:

Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype— that gay men and lesbians will behave as predators in these situations, or that permitting homosexual and heterosexual people of the same sex to shower together is tantamount to allowing men and women to shower together. However, common sense tells us that a situation in which people of different anatomy shower together is different from a situation in which people of the same anatomy but different sexual orientations shower together. The former is uncommon and unacceptable to almost everyone in this country; the latter is a situation most in the military have already experienced.

Furthermore:

The creation of a third and possibly fourth category of bathroom facilities and living quarters, whether at bases or forward deployed areas, would be a logistical nightmare, expensive, and impossible to administer. And, even if it could be achieved and administered, separate facilities would, in our view, stigmatize gay and lesbian Service members in a manner reminiscent of “separate but equal” facilities for blacks prior to the 1960s.

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What Happens Next?

The Department of Defense reports that “[Mullen] recommended repeal of the law during testimony before Congress in February, and he called for research into how best to do this. “For the first time, the [service] chiefs and I have more than just anecdotal evidence and hearsay to inform the advice we give our civilian leader.”

From The Washington Post:

“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.”

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John McCain Wanted Answers, John McCain Got Answers, Unfortunately John McCain CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

John McCain, however, is sticking to his guns. From independent research I’ve gathered that John McCain’s “guns” are the Remington New Army Revolvers he used in the Russo-Turkish War of 1686.

On CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, John McCain made this sort of irrelevant, distracting, Derailing-for-Dummies style comment:

“The system is working. 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.”

John McCain is now claiming that the Survey currently being discussed is “the wrong survey.” Asked about this in  Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chief of Staff Mike Mullen’s press conference today, he said he respected and admired John McCain but “in respect to this, he’s wrong.”

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Also, Lady Gaga

In closing, we’d like to gift you with this lovely video from Lady Gaga. She made it for you yesterday. That’s right, just for you! Lady Gaga says, “We have to end this law because it re-enforces discrimination and it’s setting a bad example.”

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17 Comments

  1. Every now and then I realize that I’ve actually started to look at situations like this as if they have some actual, rational, valid basis. Like, as if it’s totally normal and expected that things like this should be a really big issue that genuinely deserve to have people spend large proportions of their lives/dollars/emotions to keep in place.

    It’s like when I got really obsessed with cutting the crusts off my sandwiches and spent like, 30 minutes and 6 slices of bread trying to get it perfect, and then I stepped back from the situation and realised i’d spent 30 minutes of my life/$1 worth of bread/a lot of patience&OCD hacking away at something I’d managed to convince myself was a problem.

    I don’t understand why this is still a thing when it shouldn’t have even been a thing in the first place. Someone starving to death every 3.6 seconds is a thing, people who happen to like other people with similar body parts does not constitute as a thing. I DON’T GET LIFE SOMETIMES.

  2. I feel like somewhere deep inside himself, John McCain might know that he’s wrong on this. He has, in all likelihood, spoken to Robert Gates and spoken to just about everyone in the Pentagon, and they’ve all told him the same thing.

    But. At this point, if he changes his mind, he loses face. And if there’s anything politicians hate, it’s losing face. It’s something you just don’t do. So you go down in history as the most vociferous opponent of something, but at the end of the day you’ve stuck to your guns. It’s sad, but the man would rather be a mouthpiece for prejudice than actually admit he was wrong. Sighhh.

    • Somewhere in the back of my brain I kind of feel sorry for John McCain, because not only is he going down in history as a failed presidential candidate, but now he will be the poster child for any future child googling that crazy old law that used to keep gay people out of the military and who would oppose gay people in the military anyways? John McCain, that’s who. So…sometimes I feel sorry for him and then I remember this video of him and think, eh, nevermind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EUBNH6D99I

    • But, like–THIS IS THE PROBLEM. It’s like people have been pointing out since it was 2004 and everyone was making fun of Kerry for flip-flopping. SMART PEOPLE FLIP-FLOP.

      Reasonable people, when faced with evidence that their initial conclusion was wrong, CHANGE THEIR CONCLUSION.

      I mean, I get that we’re talking about politicians, not reasonable people, but it makes me so mad, y’know? Like, it’s okay to be wrong! You can do that!

      **This comment is brought to you by the John McCain Makes Us Fucking Furious Club.**

  3. If only Anderson Cooper would get into an all out A Few Good Men shout down with John McCain and break him down into shouting “I DON’T GET GIVE A DAMN ABOUT MILITARY EFFICIENCY I JUST HATE GAY PEOPLE DAMMIT!” and admitting the truth.

    Best graphics and subject lines ever.

  4. Actually, the House of Representatives, which won’t be held by Dems after the New Year, already passed the repeal back in May. The senate, which will still be held by Democrats after Jan 1st, is the only body that needs to vote. Yes, it will be harder, but it can still be done if they don’t do it this year. I see what you are saying, though…COME ON ALREADY. I’m actually amazed that only about 30% of service members responded to the survey. 70% of people didn’t think it was a big enough issue to even respond to the survey, which makes me wonder how much higher the numbers would be had they actually participated.

  5. I don’t even know what to think about this anymore. Maybe yay? I can’t help but remember that we just spent a ridiculous amount of money to prove something that didn’t need proof and really was just a tactic to stall legislation, so I really just can’t be overjoyed right now, because this whole thing is still bullshit.

  6. Seriously, if they can’t pass this fucking repeal a this point, after this survey, and all the goddamn PEW surveys that display that even a majority of Americans – nay, conservatives even – support gays in the military, then really…
    …we might as well just start burning the text books now, because in 50 years when this shit looks so goddamn stupid an unthinkable, well…yeah, we’re gonna look like assholes.

    Wasn’t Strom Thurmond like 132 years old when he died? Think McCain is gonna be like that?

    I drank tonight, sorry.

  7. W00t. this survey proves….what we’ve been saying all along. Lovely.

    And is it just me, or do people act like the people in the military are just naked pawns in a longgggg shower they call a war?? really?? if i hear the “but would you feel comfortable SHOWERING with a gay person??” argument again….UGH i declare. how about we just focus on training everyone–gay, straight, bi, pokemon trainer, whatever to kick butt until this dang war is done??

    or maybe I’M the naive one.

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  9. Well, it’s probably too obvious to say that the reason McCain is not changing his stance has nothing to do with fears of hijacking his image and portraying him as a flip-flopper. Changing his stance would not lose him face for doing a volte-face, but because the majority of American voters agree with the bigoted views he voices.

    He’s already silenced his own wife to protect himself; I have no idea if in his heart he truly has a strong opinion one way or the other, but there’s no way he’s going to renege on something that keeps his popularity so buoyant.

    Sad truth: when the UK let gays serve openly in the military back in 2000, over 70% of the population thought is was a bad idea.

    Fortunately, we have access to a little thing called the European Human Rights, where a bunch of judges occasionally take time out from their menage-a-trois-filled, war-surrendering, socialist-spreading, gauloise-smoking, louche continental lifestyles to recognise that minorities like, you know, gay people, are pretty much like everyone else, certainly are human, and therefore shouldn’t be denied the stuff that humans generally get to do. And thus they spake, and gays could serve. Does this mean that 70% of the UK population don’t believe in human rights? Not quite.

    Harking back to Prop 8 (about which Rachel’s coverage I would effuse enthusiastically to all my acquaintances as being possibly the best thing written on the internet ever, if only they didn’t give me blank looks, possibly thinking prop 8 is some kind of position in rugby), one of the key arguments was proving that gay people should be a protected minority, that it was up to the courts to address imbalances of rights because the actively discriminatory or merely indifferent majority are always disinclined to vote for them.

    So, it seems to me that the issue with DADT is that the wrong people have got too much influence on the decision. The military themselves can surely best judge their own effectiveness, and they’re saying they mostly agree with scrapping DADT. Surely the longer that politicians continue to hijack the issue for easy votes, the more insulting it is for servicemen and women, gay and straight alike.

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