Did Pentagon Distort ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Survey Results?
An actual read-through of the results shows much greater combat troop opposition to repeal than the public statement would have you believe.
December 3, 2010 - 10:19 am
He might want also to read the 267-page Report of the Comprehensive Review. As noted in the latter Report, Question 71 was:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would it affect your immediate unit’s effectiveness at completing its mission … [asked only] of respondents with combat deployment experience since September 11, 2001.
Here are the responses in three different contexts:
In a field environment or out at sea.
11.4% very positive or positive
44.3% very negative or negative
32.9% net negative
When a crisis or negative event happens that affects your immediate unit
12.5% very positive or positive
29.4% very negative or negative
16.9% net negative
In an intense combat situation
12.4% very positive or positive
30.6% very negative or negative
18.2% net negative
Responses from those who had never been deployed or who had not been deployed into a combat environment since September 11, 2001, were substantially less negative than from those who had been so deployed.
Question 73, asked without regard to combat service, was:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would your level of morale be affected?
4.9% — positively or very positively
27.9% — negatively or very negatively
23% — net negative
Question 75b asked:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would it affect your immediate unit’s readiness?
Overall, 31.8% of Marine Corps members responded that the effect would be negative or very negative; 43.5% of the Marine Corps members in combat arms responded that it would be negative or very negative. Other questions providing comparable distinctions between personnel in combat roles and those not so assigned produced similar results. For the military overall, the positive/very positive response was 6.8% and the negative/very negative response was 21.2%.
The Report notes:
The responses of Marines and of Army and Marine combat arms were similarly more negative than the force overall in response to questions about unit cohesion. For example, question 68a asked Service members about the impact of repeal on their unit’s ability to “work together” — an aspect of task cohesion. While slightly under 30% of Service members as a whole predicted repeal would have a negative impact, that number was 43% among the Marine Corps, 48% among Army combat arms, and 58% among Marine combat arms.
The principal function of the military has historically been to kill people and to break things. That is a function of combat troops, and rear echelon, non-combat troops don’t do much of it. President Obama’s recent remarks to the West Point graduating class about his vision of the future of the military, as commented upon in National Review, seemingly disregard this:
Obama outlined for the cadets his vision of a new international order organized around bodies such as the United Nations. In Obama’s future, American military force will give way to American diplomacy joined together with new multilateral partnerships, while “stronger international standards and institutions” will replace unilateral assertion of national interests — including our own. Obama told West Point’s Class of 2010 that he sees them not battling our enemies but “combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth, [and] helping countries feed themselves” even as their citizens achieve their “universal rights.”