Oh Good

For a moment there, I thought the decision about Don't Ask Don't Tell wasn't going to be decided by mob rule.
The Pentagon on Wednesday began sending out to troops a survey of more than 100 questions seeking their views on the impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions prohibiting gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.

An administration official confirmed to CNN that the survey is being sent to 200,000 active duty troops and 200,000 reserve troops. The official declined to be identified because the survey has not officially been made public.

The survey, which service members can expect to receive via e-mail, asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian; the need to maintain personal standards of conduct; and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military.

The survey also asks a number of questions aimed at identifying problems that could occur when troops live and work in close quarters in overseas war zones. For example, the questionnaire asks military members how they would react if they had to share a room, bathrooms, and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian.

There also are several questions about reactions to dealing with same-sex partners in social situations.
And—wouldn't ya know it?—the Joint Chiefs "want to see the results of the survey before they offer their final advice on the impact of a repeal" to the President, re: Ye Olde Certification Trigger.

So, just to be clear: The decision about lifting the ban on LGB soldiers serving openly is contingent upon the results of a questionnaire designed to maximize homophobic responses from 400,000 people in one of the most homophobic institutions in the world.

Meanwhile, let us recall that in 2006, 73% of servicemembers polled said they were comfortable around LGB soldiers, 23% said they knew an active duty LGB soldier in their unit, and 55% of those said the presence of LGB peers in their unit is well-known by others. All of which, as the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network pointed out at the time, highlighted "the absurdity of [the] hypothesis [that] openly gay personnel harm military readiness."

It will be very curious indeed if research four years later suddenly finds a different conclusion.

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