Pentagon Concedes Openly Gay Servicemembers (Still) Won't Hurt Military

We've been hearing about it for weeks, but act surprised: A Defense Department report shows that getting rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell will cause no tangible harm to the military, even in the middle of two wars. Now what?

There are some interesting nuggets that weren't already leaked, in addition to the bottom line that the vast majority of troops wouldn't object to gays serving openly:

  • Most servicemembers — 69 percent — already believe they've served with gay people, regardless of Don't Ask, Don't tell, and didn't have any problems with it. "92% stated that the unit's "ability to work together" was "very good," "good," or "neither good nor poor."
  • Like their commandant, more members of the Marine Corp oppose open integration of gays and lesbians, and overall combat troops were more likely to be opposed. Still, the overall attitudes were more favorable to integration than other countries that ended up letting gays serve openly without incident.
  • Even though so many servicemembers already believe they've served alongside gays and lesbians, there's still a disconnect between their assumptions and reality: "When asked about serving with the imagined gay Service member who is "open" about his or her sexual orientation, [flamboyance] becomes the predominant if not sole characteristic of the individual, and stereotypes fill in the rest of the picture." The repeal would obviously allow those servicemembers who are unaware of their unit members' sexuality to broaden their minds in that respect. <.
  • The general and Defense Department official who wrote the report are remarkably definitive in their recommendations, writing: "We are both convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war. We do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission."
  • Thankfully, they strongly discourage separate bathrooms or other facilities that would ghettoize openly-service gays and lesbians, mostly because it would be a logistical nightmare. Instead, they rightly place the emphasis on the homophobic attitudes themselves to change, recommending education and training before full integration.

Your move, moderate Republican Senators who will be crucial to any legislative repeal later this week. Kindly ignore the white-haired dude in the corner, clapping his hands over his ears and chanting that he can't hear the Pentagon.

Military Can Safely End Ban On Gays: Study [Reuters]
Pentagon Sees Little Impact if Ban on Gays Is Repealed [Prospect]