While Congress debated the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council predicted that the military will see an uptick in sexual assault cases and a decline in enlistment, leading to the reinstatement of the draft. Perkins even said that congressional leaders who pushed the policy’s repeal have the “blood of young Marines on their hands.”
However, the FRC’s inflammatory warnings about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell have not been realized.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey on May 10 reported no negative impacts:
The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” – lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the US armed forces – is “going very well” so far, having no impact on troop morale, unit cohesion, or readiness, top Pentagon officials said Thursday.
Those are the findings of a new, as-yet-unreleased Pentagon report that assesses the first months under the new policy, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. He attributed the repeal’s smooth sailing to a roughly year-long study the US military conducted before making the change.
“I have not found any negative effect on good order and discipline,” concurred Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a joint Pentagon briefing with Mr. Panetta.
A Pentagon spokesman called the impact of repeal “negligible, if that”:
After several months, the impact, according to the military, was summed up by Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby: “Impact?” he said. “Negligible, if that.”
Across the military, retention is high. Recruitment is at 100 percent of goals. Military officials say they’re unaware of any discipline issues relating to gays serving openly.
And a survey this month conducted by the Marine Times found that 73% said there was “no impact” of a fellow Marine coming out.
But Perkins said that all of these findings are meaningless, telling Sandy Rios of the American Family Association on Friday that the supposedly destructive impact of the repeal won’t be felt until ten years from now:
Rios: You know just yesterday Colin Powell came out in favor of gay marriage—Colin Powell!—and this whole business of gays in the military I personally feel there was hardly any pushback here in Washington from conservative leaders; it was just almost like a yawn. So what is that state? I’m sure you are talking to military leaders, what is happening in the military as a result of that from your perspective?
Perkins: It’s interesting yesterday I was interviewed by a Voice of America reporter who obviously had a perspective on this that was different than mine and said ‘we heard all of this talk about this was going to be horrible for the military and the military was going to be decimated by this, and here we are 12 months later and we haven’t seen the military fall apart yet,’ and I said, excuse me, but adopting a policy and changing a policy of this nature, you don’t see the total effect of a 12 month period. Now, let’s talk in about, 10 years.