and its opponents in Congress and the military.The 18-year process of repealing DADT suggests that policy termination can be a lengthy process. Should policies be inherently difficult to terminate, especially those rooted in public attitudes?
A new poll finds a large majority of Americans back repeal
of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
According to a CBS News poll released Friday, sixty-nine
percent of those surveyed believe gay men and lesbians should be able to serve
openly in the military. That’s a jump of seven points since October.
Twenty-three percent of Americans oppose open gay service.
Fifteen percent strongly oppose repeal of the law. Another eight percent are
opposed to change, but not strongly. The survey’s results arrive as the Senate
concludes two days’ worth of hearings on a Pentagon report that endorses repeal
of the law. Marine and Army leaders testified against repeal on Friday, while
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the military’s top uniformed officer,
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed ending
the policy on Thursday. Repeal depends mostly on whether Democrats can sway a
sufficient number of Republicans to join the cause. Republicans in September
united to block passage of the measure. However, several GOP senators have said
they could vote for repeal, the latest being Scott Brown of Massachusetts on
Friday. A Pentagon study revealed that most service members don’t care if the
DADT policy is repealed or not. Partial findings of the report indicated that a
majority of active duty military personnel thought repealing DADT would have no
effect. Most polls have indicated most Americans are for repealing the policy.
A study begun by the Pentagon several months ago, at the
behest of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, has revealed that most service
personnel don’t think about the controversial “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy,
according to ABC. The finding from the study was leaked some time ago by the
Washington Post, much to the consternation of Gates, though it seems the
government has been having a problem with leaked documents lately. The leaked
portion of the study included the finding that 70 percent of respondents did
not believe that DADT repeal would actually have any effect on anything in the
military. The survey was sent to 400,000 service members and 150,000 spouses of
military personnel. Of those, less than 30 percent responded.
Polls and surveys from the last few years have been
indicating that more Americans are for the repeal of the DADT policy. A CNN
poll indicated that more than 70 percent of Americans embrace repealing DADT,
and a recently released Pew Research poll said 58 percent of Americans were for
repealing DADT policy according to CNN. Surveys, polls and statistics only
ultimately indicate something about the subjects of the surveys and polls that
actually respond, and the country’s true opinion may be different. However, it
does appear that more people are for getting rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”