Tags: dont | ask | dont | tell

Expert: Congress Will Uphold 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Wednesday, 04 Mar 2009 12:10 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, predicted today that efforts by liberals in Congress to repeal the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military would not succeed.

“Members of Congress are starting to take this issue seriously,” she said. “Indications are that repeal of the 1993 law would hurt the ‘Three R’s’ -- recruiting, retention, and overall readiness in the volunteer force.”

On Monday, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., announced that she will soon re-introduce legislation to repeal the 1993 law, Section 654, Title 10, which is commonly called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

In response, Donnelly predicted that an “illusion of momentum” would not be enough to overcome opposition among military people and doubts among members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who support the military.

She added, “The issue here should not be civilian polls, anecdotes, misguided priorities, or fixation on numbers of discharges that were very small compared to separations for pregnancy or weight standard violations. Most separation cases start with voluntary admissions of homosexual conduct, not investigations. Clarify the law, and such losses could be zero. Repeal the law, and personnel losses could be huge.”

Donnelly emphasized that the annual Military Times poll of almost 2,000 active duty subscribers found that 58 percent of respondents supported current law -- for four years in a row. The 2008 survey also found that 10 percent said they would not re-enlist if Congress repeals the 1993 law, and an additional 14 percent said they would consider leaving.

“This survey does not claim precision,” she said, “but when major efforts are underway to increase the Army and Marine Corps, we cannot afford to lose almost a quarter of the volunteer force, including skilled careerists who cannot easily be replaced.

“The issue is eligibility to serve, not ‘sexual orientation’ -- a vague phrase not in the actual law. A future-oriented Congress will support the statute, which the courts have declared constitutional several times. I am confident that they will not allow social engineering to make military life more difficult and more dangerous.”

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