As I hope my regular posts on repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t (DADT) have made clear, I believe now is the time to move forward on repeal. Yet, I understand obstacles may emerge. Right now, it appears that with pressure from the president’s base, he is beginning to budge, yet there are signs that he might not be up to the challenge.
Earlier today, Glenn Reynolds linked a post saying that the White House won’t commit to repeal of DADT. At the same time, that prolific blogger also took note of a poll showing that 69% support letting gays serve openly in military — including 62% of Republicans. That poll is consistent with a Gallup poll last year finding that 58% of conservatives thought gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military.
But, we’re hearing some concerns from top military brass:
The top officers of the U.S. Army and Air Force told lawmakers Tuesday that they should go slow in repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service members, parting ways with the nation’s senior uniformed officer who testified earlier that it was “the right thing to do.”
“I do have serious concerns about the impact of repeal of the law on a force that’s fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for 8 1/2 years,” Army Gen. George Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.”
Across Capitol Hill, Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz echoed that sentiment. He told the House Armed Services Committee it was his “strong conviction” that “this is not the time to perturb the force that is at the moment stretched by demand in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Given that some generals have concerns about the plan, we see once again the wisdom of the Administration’s go-slow approach, studying the issue to find a means to implement repeal without impacting military morale or unit cohesion.
Let’s hope this study reassures these generals whose chief concern, after all, is the effectiveness of our armed forces. Their concerns might also be allayed by a a new study showing that the transition to allowing gays to serve openly in the military in 25 countries has been “highly successful” with “no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness.”
Studies show that repealing the ban won’t hurt the effectiveness of our armed forces. The American people support it. All we need now is the will of the Administration to keep moving the ball forward.