As the military begins to implement the repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, repeal opponents continue to argue that allowing gay service members to serve openly will bring about the collapse of the military. Don Feder of the ultraconservative World Congress of Families spoke to Jerry Newcombe of Coral Ridge Ministries about how the repeal will devastate the military:
Newcombe: And it’s interesting when you were talking earlier about how sometimes the homosexual activists will engage in intimidation process, I think that same thing’s happened in the military. Where now, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy has been rescinded and we have yet to see what’s going to happen, but I know this is not going to be good for chaplains, for example, who believe in conservative, traditional values as found in the Bible.
Feder: Well, it’s not just chaplains. Jerry, if you look at people who’ve made a career of the armed forces, they tend to come from conservative backgrounds. They tend to share our values, not just patriotism but right across the board, including family values. I think what you’re going to see is a very quiet, long-term attrition. People aren’t necessarily going to resign but when they’re reenlistment is up, they’re simply going to choose not to reenlist. In fact, in a number of surveys, people who’ve made a career of the armed forces have said just that. Last fall, before all of this went down they said if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed they’d be far more likely not to reenlist.
However, there is simply no evidence to back up Feder’s assertion. The Defense Department’s own study into the impact of repeal concluded that the “risk of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to the retention of enlisted personnel is LOW, and the risk to retention of officers is higher, in the range of LOW–MODERATE.” The Palm Center similarly found that retention rates will not be affected if gays are allowed to serve openly. Despite such overwhelming evidence, many right-wing activists continue to employ such scare tactics in order to push the Republican campaign to block implementation of the repeal.