It’s been a year and a half since Democrats cleared the way for eliminating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and nearly nine months since the policy was scrapped altogether. All the while, conservative Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), warned of horrible consequences if gay and lesbian soldiers were permitted to serve openly.
We all heard the arguments: ending DADT would hurt recruitment, undermine morale, weaken unit cohesion, and undercut readiness at a time of war. Disregarding the judgment of the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs, Republicans said – some even continue to say – President Obama’s policy was too big a risk.
How are those predictions holding up? Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, citing a new Defense Department analysis, explained yesterday that DADT repeal hasn’t run into any snags at all.
The secretary said he received the report on repeal implementation [Wednesday], and it shows repeal is going “very well” and according to the department’s plans.
“It’s not impacting on morale. It’s not impacting on unit cohesion. It is not impacting on readiness,” he said.
Panetta said he credits military leaders for effective repeal planning. “Very frankly, my view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it,” he said. “It’s become part and parcel of what they’ve accepted within the military.”
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared at the same press conference, and told reporters he hasn’t seen “any negative effect on good order and discipline” resulting from the repeal.
The Pentagon’s report comes about a month after McClatchy published a report that found DADT’s repeal hasn’t affected military retention or recruitment, and military officials can’t identify any discipline issues relating to gays serving openly.
McClatchy sought comment from John McCain, who apparently did something very unusual for the senator: he turned down a chance to talk to the media.
The way our political discourse works, we’ll probably never hear any regrets from the Republicans who fought tooth and nail to stop Obama from ending the discriminatory policy, and they’ll never explain how or why they were so very wrong.
But whether they want to talk about it or not, the evidence is clear that those opposed to DADT repeal made all kinds of predictions, none of which turned out to be true.