Whoa! You mean “don’t ask, don’t tell” was useless?

Remember back when there was the big hullabaloo over repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell?”  Remember when the wingers thought so little of our soldiers to say that they could endure sweltering conditions away from their families, with bullets whizzing by their heads and even the trauma of perhaps having to kill another human being, but that that having a gay person get their back would be too much of a distraction for them?

Yeah, turns out our soldiers have more than the modicum of fortitude (and more decency) than the “support the troops” crowd gave them credit for.

The repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011 has not had a negative impact on force readiness, recruitment or retention, contrary to predictions that it would, according to a new study published Monday.


the study by the Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, determined those concerns were unfounded. The research by nine scholars, some professors at military academies, began six months after the policy (known as DADT) ended and wrapped up near the one-year mark..

The scholars said they interviewed opponents and advocates of the repeal, as well as active duty service members who are gay, and conducted on-site field observations of four military units, among other research. They also reached out to 553 of the nearly 1,200 generals and admirals who signed a 2009 letter saying the repeal would undermine the military and eventually got interviews with 13 officers.

“Our conclusion, based on all of the evidence available to us, is that DADT repeal has had no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale,” according to the study. “Although we identified a few downsides that followed from the policy change, we identified upsides as well, and in no case did negative consequences outweigh benefits. If anything, DADT repeal appears to have enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission.

Saw that one coming like a ten-story turtle.  And I’m sure the wingers will be saying “mea culpa” in 3…2…never.

Who knows?  Maybe letting them get married won’t destroy straight marriage either.

Of course, DADT was never about protecting our troops or raising their efficiency.  That was just an excuse.  The real reason for DADT was the influence of Christianity and its inherent dislike of LGBT people, but that reason is intellectually indefensible and legally inadmissible, so they come up with other excuses rather than counting on the truth to carry them.

Had god wanted Christians to tell the truth, he would’ve built the facts in their favor.

It kind of reminds me of something Greta said in one of her blogs; something about how in the real world, results count.  Eventually, people can actually tell if Communism is a wave that floats all boats or if it is an idea that doesn’t work.  With religion, there is no “proof is in the pudding,” because it depends on an afterlife and imaginary beings for which there is no accountability.  This kind of thinking is what will allow the DADT naysayers to go on believing exactly. the. same. way in spite of the absolute proof that eliminating it brought to pass exactly none of their negative claims.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • bbqburrito

    In my experience the immediate effect is that it’s made military members a little more cautious about open homophobia, because there’s an impression that the military will punish anti-gay remarks like they would sexual harassment.
    This in addition to the freedom of gays to live honest lives, of course.

    • John Horstman

      All positive outcomes!

  • doctorburger

    “…Saw that one coming like a ten-story turtle…”

    Your Arkansas is showing.

  • Ibis3

    Well, unless they thought that the US military exists in an alternate dimension, they could have predicted correctly by looking at international examples. In Canada, there’s been no ban against LGBT service in the military since 1992, and since then people could live openly on base with their same-sex partners. There’s even been full on gay military marrying since 2004 and the Canadian Forces has not imploded. Weird, eh?

    • Steve

      That’s exactly what they thought. They always pretended the US military is exceptional and unique because they claimed that no other military does what it does. Which may have been a little believable until Iraq and Afghanistan, but not after. Even then, while on a large scale the US military may have different roles, small units function pretty much the same everywhere. And once you get above a company or a battalion, other units suddenly become “those other guys”.

  • Kevin Butler

    It’s my understanding that when DADT was enacted, it was a compromise between total acceptance and outright banning. Before, you could get dishonorably discharged if word got out you were gay and if an officer asked you, you were obligated to answer. DADT was the ‘halfway’ point–we won’t kick you out for being gay, just don’t let anyone know about it and we won’t ask. Of course, I’m glad that it got repealed, but it served a purpose.

    • Steve

      On paper that’s true, but in practice things got worse in some ways. Yes, DADT discharges were often honorable, but the whole political discussion also brought a huge amount of attention to it. Everyone talked about it, anti-gay harassment was at an all-time high and the large scale witch hunts continued for several years. Discharges rose every year until 2001 and then fell only due to the necessity of the war (just as they always had in previous wars).

      Google “SLDN annual report” for many truly horrific horror stories about the early years of DADT. You’ll see that people were still discharged based on flimsy rumors and without evidence. Or that investigations were started for the sole purpose of turning up evidence, when it was supposed to function the other way around. The law was simply never implemented the way some people thought it would be.

      Also, the “don’t ask” part only refers to a question you had to sign when enlistment. Otherwise, people asked all the time. Either directly or indirectly. Rules and standards about the application of DADT were never widely distributed. There was no proper training for commanders on how to implement it. So its enforcement varied widely from unit to unit. The “Don’t Harass” and “Don’t Persue” parts were never enforced.