Why ask troops about ‘don’t ask’? The military isn’t a democracy

Several gay activists are furious about the Pentagon’s decision to ask the troops to weigh in on the issue of ending “Don’t Ask,” sending out 400,000 surveys asking everything from “Do you currently serve with a male or female service member you believe to be homosexual?” and “Have you been assigned to share bath facilities with an open bay shower that is also used by a service member you believed to be homosexual?”

This morning in a roundtable with journalists, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) added his own concerns about the survey, saying, “I can understand the resentment in the gay community.” Levin pointed out, as many gay activists have, that the survey is unprecedented.

Harry Truman didn’t poll the military when he decided to integrate the Armed Forces in 1948. Nor was there a survey when the Pentagon put women on battle ships in 1978. The Navy recently made a decision to allow women in the close quarters of submarines — again without surveying the male submariners.

“It would be really, really, really unacceptable for people in the military to believe it’s a democracy,” Levin said, adding, “I have my doubts about the content of the survey.”

The senator, who mostly briefed journalists about his recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, made clear that he hasn’t read the survey yet. He also said that surveys of military personnel could be useful if they are only used to implement a policy already determined by civilian and military leaders.

But according to Time’s Mark Thompson, others have their doubts:

When Harry Truman wanted to integrate blacks into the U.S. military in 1948, he simply ordered it done. When the Navy wanted women on ships beginning in 1978, it commanded its admirals to do so. When the Clinton Pentagon decided women should become fighter pilots, it issued orders telling the military to make it happen. For generations, the military mind-set has been, If we want you to have an opinion, we’ll issue you one. So why is the Pentagon asking troops how they’ll feel if forced to serve alongside openly gay comrades?

“This is a very dangerous precedent,” says Lawrence Korb, who ran the Pentagon’s personnel office during the Reagan Administration. “It gives the troops the feeling that they have a veto over what the top people want.” Not everyone agrees. “What matters is the morale of the force in the field,” says Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer and military scholar. “The survey is an honest attempt to suss out what the effects on morale might be.” (See a brief history of gays in the military.)

But even a top officer acknowledges some unease. “We’ve never done this,” Admiral Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, said in February after Pentagon leaders endorsed ending “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and said they would survey the troops about it. “We’ve never assessed the force because it is not our practice to go within our military and poll our force to determine if they like the laws of the land or not,” he told an activist from the University of California’s Palm Center, which monitors the issue. “I mean, that gets you into [a] very difficult regime.”

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, says the poll is simply a political tool designed to ease a decision that would be better made quickly. Instead, it’s part of a prolonged process that polarizes those involved and hurts both national security and gays. “If we were asking questions about any other identity group — Would your wife mind living on post next to a Chinese family?, Would you take orders from a Baptist officer?, Would you mind serving alongside an African American? — these kinds of questions make those groups second-class citizens,” he says.

Still, gay service members should ignore the advice of activists who have advised them to refuse to fill out the survey in protest. That’s not a good tactic. There voices need to be heard.

211 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

July 13th, 2010
11:00 am

Just more lolly-gaggin’ by Bush. Oops…I meant Obama. I get the 2 confused since neither President is worth a damn. Both spend money like a woman at the mall on black Friday.

Cynthia rocks!

July 13th, 2010
11:03 am

Sheesh! If Israel and our NATO allies have no problem with gays serving in the military then what the hell is our problem? Get it done already!

joan

July 13th, 2010
11:05 am

Well, asking what those who are affected by legislation what they think about it, certainly is not the norm in the country these days. We usually simply get hammered by whatever the idiots in congress feel they want to do.

Tommy Maddox

July 13th, 2010
11:15 am

Carl Levin should spend a little more time in Michigan trying to solve their woes. Anyone besides be been to Detroit lately?

Tommy Maddox

July 13th, 2010
11:16 am

me – not be

cat48

July 13th, 2010
11:20 am

I’m really not shocked by the fact they did a survey. It may be unprecedented, but everything seems to be polled frequently these days and some of the media are obsessed with them. Truman did have a commission though that met privately before he signed the order to plan how it would be done. Hopefully getting rid of DADT won’t take as long. After he ordered it, it was 7 years before the Army was fully integrated. History of it is online at Truman Library website.

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

July 13th, 2010
11:20 am

Was this approved by Obama. He is the Commander-in-Chief. If not, can we expect another law suit? That seems to be Obama’s strong suit.

StJ

July 13th, 2010
11:24 am

While polling the military does send the mixed [incorrect] message that the service members actually have a say in the matter, if they were going to do that, they should have done it before changing the policy.
However, comparing gays with service members’ gender or ethnic group is like comparing apples and hamburgers.

Jim in Ga

July 13th, 2010
11:30 am

Well, America is not a democracy either but people get polled all the time asking their opinion on a wide range of topics.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 13th, 2010
11:37 am

Good morning all. As our hostess takes no particular position other than one urging homosexuals to participate in the military effort to gauge the wishes of its field force, I can endorse the argument fully. Heterosexual military personnel should participate in the canvass, and homosexual military personnel should participate in the canvass. Information from the survey – which survey I assume was drafted honestly, with no “push” – will help the military leadership make an intelligent and informed recommendation. Of course an intelligent and informed recommendation would not necessarily fit the political agenda of the overlords, thus the little-girl-like response of the activists.

Mac

July 13th, 2010
11:39 am

Let the chaos begin. Military doesn’t have enough problems right now. It is important to let the politicians make their lives more difficult.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 13th, 2010
11:42 am

In a rational world the results from the survey would be tailored to fit the needs of the discrete sections of the service. For example, if Marines and submariners and SEALs overwhelmingly dislike the idea of integrating homosexuals into their areas, the wish should be honored. If Air Force and Navy surface warriors overwhelmingly see no big deal in brining in homosexuals, that collective view should be respected. Those outcomes happen to be my expectations.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 13th, 2010
11:43 am

Apologies, at 11:42 I intended to use the phrase “bringing in….” It was not my intention to suggest dumping homosexuals into the ocean.

Rut

July 13th, 2010
11:43 am

Of course Cynthia is for ramming down the throat a mandate she supports. Its only things she disagrees with in which the “the people” must be consulted.

Is there anyone on the planet more hypocritical than C Tucker.

By the way, its “THIER voices need to be heard” Sheesh, ebonics. LOL

ty webb

July 13th, 2010
11:44 am

sorry, but shouldn’t it be “their” voices need to be heard.

[...] Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinAJC’s Cynthia Tucker reports that Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) told a roundtable of reports this [...]

Scout

July 13th, 2010
11:49 am

“Themper Fi !” and “Ooo Wah!”

The “Fighting 69th” …………. motto: “Never Leave Your Buddy’s Behind” !

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Dear Scout @ 11:49, you are evil, that is my best laugh of the day.

DannyX

July 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Tommy Maddox, update your talking points. This is what is going on in Detroit….

June 17, 2010…

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. says it will keep most of its U.S. factories open through the normal two-week summer shutdown to meet demand for some of its vehicles.

The automaker says it will keep nine of 11 assembly plants open to make 56,000 more vehicles that are in high demand, such as the Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Chevrolet Traverse large crossover vehicle.

GM said in a statement Thursday that the company is trying to reduce waiting time for dealers and customers to get vehicles.

Scout

July 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Ms. Tucker:

I am in favor of a law that requires recruiters to ask all of these same questions of a prospective recurit BEFORE he/she signs on the dotted line.

OldSnarky

July 13th, 2010
11:54 am

CT, you write about something about which you know nothing. I served proudly in the military many years ago but wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole nowadays. The so called ‘gays’ are going to be the downfall of this nation! People of your ilk can’t seem to see that.. Also, it should be ‘their’ not ‘there’ voices.

Kamchak

July 13th, 2010
11:56 am

Of course Cynthia is for ramming down the throat a mandate she supports.

I’ve found that those that complain most about having something rammed down their throats are the same one’s that will swallow almost anything.

Scout

July 13th, 2010
11:56 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld :

Oh, there’s lots more ……….. I just can’t post it ………….. :o

Military Quote of the Day:

“When I joined the military it was “illegal” to be homosexual and then it
became “optional”. I’m getting out before it becomes “mandatory”.

Author Unknown

DannyX

July 13th, 2010
11:56 am

“Dear Scout @ 11:49, you are evil, that is my best laugh of the day.”

I wouldn’t take that as a compliment Scout. Since you post that tired unoriginal joke about 5 times a day it only proves Ragnar doesn’t read most of your posts.

Granny Godzilla

July 13th, 2010
11:57 am

While it’s nice to have the poll and to have an idea of how the new policy will be received…..give the military their orders and wash out those who cannot or will not obey.

IMHO, Homophobes in the service are more dangerous than homosexuals, just as they are in civilian life.

Granny Godzilla

July 13th, 2010
11:58 am

Kamchak

That’s my law # 2…..

The “he who smelt it dealt it” theorum.

DannyX

July 13th, 2010
11:58 am

Cynthia is speaking for 70-75% of the American public, depending on which “poll” you prefer.

Rut

July 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

“I’ve found that those that complain most about having something rammed down their throats are the same one’s that will swallow almost anything.”

OK dearie. Such a profound statement! What does it mean??? LOL

But maybe I am a “sucker”. I didnt borrow more than I could afford on my mortgage, thus I wont be getting bailed out by the govt. I have remained working at my job rather than collecting unemployment for months and months…from the govt. And I believe in the free markets, clearly an outdated concept…according to the govt!!

Gosh I stand corrected “Kamchak” hahahha

andygrd

July 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

As a retired military officer, let me add my perspective. I am a centrist that tends to lean more right than left. As I have gotten older, my views have changed, and what I was once against, I have learned to accept. While I may not like something, I am not a racist, homophobic, etc, etc, etc, I just don’t like or agree with it. I don’t believe in same sex marriage, and I don’t think I ever will. But that is me. I am happy with my better half, and all should be in a loving relationship, so, if a same sex union works, well, then so be it. It is really none of my business.
When in combat, you trust your buddy. You have to have the confidence that you buddy will cover your back. And I think your buddy can be, white, black, man, woman, straight, gay, and all the other politically correct terms. As long as the regulations apply equally to all, then there should not be a problem. A straight couple can’t have sex in a dorm, so for gays or lesbians, same rules apply. If someone makes a sexual advance, same rules apply. Don’t condone it. No special privileges, no special rules, you follow the rules and regulations.
Racism exists more in the non-military world than in the military. Are there pockets of racism, heck yes, on all sides. But for the most part, military people form a bond, because they are away from family, and your buddies are your family.
When I retired, we moved to Chicago. My son came home from school one day, and announced at the dinner table, that the reason there were no blacks in his school, were because blacks are not smart enough to attend the school…. He was maybe 9 or 10…. I said really, and then said, I guess Mr. Bill could not go to your school… and he replied, dad, Mr. Bill was a helicopter pilot, yes he is smart enough. Then I said, well I guess Mr. Frank and Miss Nancy (husband and wife) could not go to your school, his reply was, dad, Mr Frank was the Officer Club Manager and Miss Nancy is a school teacher, they could go to my school.. Then he look at me and said, dad, the kids at my school don’t know what they are talking about. I guess my point is, you judge individuals, not groups.

Rut

July 13th, 2010
12:08 pm

Hey Granny! Havent you learned anything in all your years? Ttheories are for acadmics, philosophers and idealists who have no clue about the real world. Sure must be nice to live in lala land.

Kamchak

July 13th, 2010
12:10 pm

Granny Godzilla

This should be the ‘Zillette’s third tri-mester.

All is well?

Name picked out?

Scout

July 13th, 2010
12:12 pm

DannyX :

………….. and I only post it when Cynthia post her same old tired thread.

Quit being such a spoil sport !

Cynthia is Sexy!!

July 13th, 2010
12:13 pm

Carl Levin…what a joke.

Scout

July 13th, 2010
12:13 pm

andygrd :

Just keep it to yourself !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cynthia is Sexy!!

July 13th, 2010
12:14 pm

I see DannyX is foaming like a rabbid muskrat. Lets allow him to vent as it should be funny.

Granny Godzilla

July 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

RUT

I don’t remember Einstein, Gallileo, Copernicus, Hawking, Pastuer, Curie, Newton, Oppenheimer, Planck, Bohr, Salk, Fermi seeing it that way.

I guess you’d be the Khan of La la Land.

Cynthia is Sexy!!

July 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

“As a retired military officer, let me add my perspective…” and then ya lost me.

Granny Godzilla

July 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

Kamchak

Yep, third trimester, she’s on complete bed rest, so I’m doing twice the household chores but loving every minute of it.

I have been embroidering his initials on his layette….

ctucker

July 13th, 2010
12:22 pm

andygrd, Thanks for your adding your civil and thoughtful remarks. I agree that the military has done an excellent job at real integration.

ctucker

July 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

OldSnarky, You’re right. People of my “ilk” don’t see that gays are going to be the downfall of the nation.

Gator Joe

July 13th, 2010
12:26 pm

Cynthia,
While I agee not completing the survey isn’t the best course of action, I would also question the motives behind the survey. Fortunately, as junior officers or enlisted personnel, we don’t have a choice of which lawful orders to obey.
I see no difference in establishing this policy [of gays and lesbians openly serving] and the no discrimination policy regarding women and blacks. Decisively change the policy banning gay and lesbian discrimination and move on.

Rut

July 13th, 2010
12:28 pm

Oh my goodness Granny, your modesty knows no bounds does it!!? Why not compare yourself to Superman/woman next? LOL

FYI, those folks actually had mathematical, physics or astronomical backing to their theories. And/or they actually created something, ie., Pasteur/Cuire, etc.

You, my sad little delusional Granny, have created nothing. And you have no “proof” other than your mad mad Granny world, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. Boohoo

Del

July 13th, 2010
12:29 pm

There isn’t any corollary between racial integration in the military and allowing open homosexuality. Many on the far-left attempt to make that bogus argument. Carefully examining how repealing DADT might affect morale is an important consideration. How else can that determination be made without seeking input from each level within the chain of command. The military is there to defend and ensure this nation’s security, it’s not there for social engineering experiments or to serve vote pandering politicians like Carl Levin.

JKL2

July 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

Scout-

Just assign them to the 421d CSH in the OB/GYN or Proctology sections.

Swede Atlanta

July 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

Ragnar

As the article points out, the military is not a democracy.

Had service members been polled prior to racial integration there is no doubt the results would have shown a strong bias against integration. The military leadership in conjunction with Congress and the Executive Branch need to do what is in the best interests of the nation.

Dismissing highly qualified and distinguished service members simply because they are homosexual does not serve the nation’s interests. At a time when we need Arabic linguists and other skilled service personnel we are dismissing them based on sexual orientation.

The sole criteria for the military should be the ability of the service member to do his or her job. Their conduct will always be subject to the military code. Any gay service member “hitting” on a straight service member should be subject to the same punishment as a man or woman hitting on a member of the opposite sex.

Granny Godzilla

July 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

RUT

Did I compare myself to those brilliant people?

Ah, no.

You however, suggested theories are the province LA LA land.

Perhaps you did not get my point.

Those men and women were not residents of LA LA land.

Sad, sometimes, delusional, never and I just created a crocheted layette and several casseroles for the freezer.

Boo who?

Peadawg

July 13th, 2010
12:38 pm

” so I’m doing twice the household chores”

They let you out of the nursing home for that?

Bawney Fwank

July 13th, 2010
12:41 pm

As a US Army Veteran, I believe the surveys is a great idea to gather data to see what the effect of such a change would have on our currently “volunteer” armed forces. I served during the draft and Vietnam police action and just experienced serving with one suspected “gay fellow” during advanced military school training at USASCS at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. Pvt. Travis pretty much resembled Peewee Herman and kept a stash of “manny” magazines under his mattress in lieu of “girly” magazines so we just ragged-his-ass with catcalls and such until we graduated and shipped out to Vietnam and he went back to his NY National Guard.

Granny Godzilla

July 13th, 2010
12:42 pm

Peadawg

You know you are one of my favorites?

Actually, I’m normally the one who does the nursing. We are taking in one of Mr. G’s oldest and dearest sometime next week after surgery….he has no family left so we’ll be doing the nursing required
in our home for as long as that dear old coot needs it.

That help any punkin?

JB

July 13th, 2010
12:45 pm

Off topic but looking for a platform to say this…… ABC poll say’s today that Obama has lost the confidence of 6 of 10 in Us…..If you figure that probably 2 of 10 would support him if he killed their mother and declared martial law, that means most folks in the country don’t have any faith in him.
The birthers are going to explode new info in the next few day’s about the guy. We are in a period of time like we have never seen in this country…..The man can not do this job, and he’s patting himself on the back by the ‘misery index” in this country…….November will be unreal. Dems in trouble.