Watch: Rachel Maddow Gets Early Word on Pentagon DADT Study — Repeal No Big Deal for Majority of Troops


(via Igor Volsky at the wonk room)

On Rachel Maddow's show, NBC News' Richard Engel reports on early word on the Pentagon troop survey, which asked service members a variety of questions regarding serving alongside gay soldiers and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal.

Engel reports that "these studies show a relative if not positive outlook, at least an accepting outlook."

Said Engel: "The findings are that for most soldiers, and this wasn’t the sum total of all soldiers, it wasn’t that big of a deal…The majority — the number one answer, first answer was ‘I don’t care.’ That's significant."

Engel adds: "A key thing this study kept coming back to is that it’s very important about the chain of command. What commanders say. How far commanders act. What tone they set. The marines were the most negative out of the services. They had the most people who were — with negative responses. And the marine corps leadership has taken a stance and has been very vocally against this issue. And the study found that most soldiers and sailors and all different service members follow a chain of command. So if the chain of command accepts this as the law, the data is that so will the soldiers."


UPDATE: Further confirmation from the WaPo.

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  1. We had to delay repeal of this abhorrent law and spend much needed tax dollars to find out what everyone already knew—military service members will follow orders and obey the chain of command. Freaking Brilliant.

    Posted by: Timzilla | Oct 28, 2010 11:30:51 PM

  2. And cue the Republicans to disavow the value of the tilted survey in 5, 4, 3, 2 ...

    Posted by: Zlick | Oct 28, 2010 11:35:39 PM

  3. exactly. doesn't matter how the survey results are viewed, why do i have such a bad feeling that ultimately it'll come down to "well, we had this study and...well...we didn't have any "conclusions", DADT is still the law".

    but one can hope. I have to remain positive about all of this...the more negative thinking I have about it, the more it makes me want to consider leaving the service....which is something I whole-heartedly don't want to do.

    i rolled my eyes at that last little comment on the video about the separate showers. "separate but equal?" anyone?

    Posted by: will | Oct 29, 2010 12:20:42 AM

  4. Exactly. Members of the military are trained professionals who have both a job and a stated duty to serve their country. They do what they're told.

    And I'm positive that if they get around to releasing the study findings broken down by demographics, it will very clearly show that those facing combat and close-knit situations (that is, non-officers) will be younger. As with so much other antigay divisiveness, the main resistance comes from entrenched old jerks who have no idea what the real world is like or how to adapt to change.

    Posted by: Paul R | Oct 29, 2010 12:39:36 AM

  5. A lot of the most vocal folks who post on this issue also despise the military and military personnel. I find this amusing.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 29, 2010 1:40:06 AM

  6. Richard Engel's report is very misleading. The survey is not an election. It won't matter that more soldiers gave answer #1 than any other answer or that, if one adds answers 1 and 2, you get over 50%.

    What we will discover on 12/1 is that the statistic that matters to Congress is the number of soldiers giving answer #4, and beyond that, the number of soldiers who state that repeal of DADT will cause them to resign or to refuse to re-enlist. What if that number is 15 percent or 20 percent or 24 percent? Although these folks would not constitute a majority, their responses would "prove" Sen. McCain's fear that repeal would have a significant impact on recruiting and retention. SU, HRC, and SLDN would be advised to highlight all of the ways in which this survey was biased against repeal.

    Posted by: Seth Golia | Oct 29, 2010 3:10:22 AM

  7. Your 'after the jump' link is being weird.

    Posted by: Sgt.Sausagepants | Oct 29, 2010 9:22:00 AM

  8. Marines were the most negative?

    Every marine I ever had sex with--and there have been quite a few--loved taking it up the ass. And that's all I have to say on the subject.

    Posted by: Danny | Oct 29, 2010 9:25:38 AM

  9. Richard Engel is so fucking dreamy.

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 29, 2010 9:51:26 AM

  10. McCain will now filibuster against the survey....

    Posted by: Wimsy | Oct 29, 2010 10:15:32 AM

  11. We should be ready to produce the results of the racial integration survey that was done before the forces were integrated. YES, there WAS one. It's recently been rediscovered. It showed that the troops were very much against integrating and claimed that they would not reenlist if they had to serve alongside a "negro". However, once the order was made they FOLLOWED ORDERS and there was NO measurable effect on enlistment.

    I know people like McCain don't like the issue clouded with the FACTS but we have to keep on and keep on presenting them regardless.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Oct 29, 2010 11:01:29 AM

  12. Some naive quarters are choosing to believe this was leaked from Obama, Inc., to encourage votes for the wrongly-labeled "repeal" amendment in the post midterms session of Congress. They forget that, regardless of what he's SAID, everything Obama's DONE has perpetuated discharges, AND that a so-called “leak” about the results alleging the opposite of this one was reported in the "Los Angeles Times" two weeks ago:

    "The task force found DEEP RESISTANCE to the idea of repealing the law in some elements of the armed services, especially within the combat units, an officer familiar with the findings said. But the surveys also have found segments of the military who were not overly worried about allowing gays and lesbians to serve, the officer said." - "Los Angeles Times," October 13, 2010 [emphasis mine].

    Obviously both reports can’t be true, therefore, obviously there are two forces at work here with competing agendas— the source yesterday who supports ending the ban, and the source two weeks ago who wants to keep it. There are some 26,000 people working at the Pentagon, most of them military, so there are plenty of candidates for both.

    The older “leak” is transparently in line with those who created the “survey.” Recall that one startling section asked respondents to identify:

    "...factors that enable you to fulfill your mission during combat?"

    And among the choices was, emphasis mine:

    "Having ONLY HETEROSEXUAL members in the unit."

    As the central mission of the military is combat readiness, the earlier “leaker” was trying to prove there WOULD BE a problem at the heart of the military, and, therefore, there should either be no open service at all or gays should be segregated.

    It’s reasonable to believe that the older “leak” came from someone close to SEC DEF Robert Gates, who, regardless of what he’s SAID, has done everything short of a military coup to control the subject, to create the belief that open service would be disastrous…first by insisting on a $4 million “study,” then ordering its questions to include the gay segregation combat option and to create a kind of “gay panic” in advance about sharing sleeping quarters, showers, and bathrooms, then, without submitting any proof, telling the Circuit Court that letting Judge Phillips injunction stand would have “enormous consequences” and cause “irreparable harm”…all the while trying to stall a legislative solution to death.

    In fact, he did pull off something of a coup in May.“The Huffington Post,” June 3, 2010:


    “’At the end of the day, extraordinary power was given’ to the Pentagon.” – SLDN Director Aubrey Sarvis, “Politico,” May 26, 2010.

    Thus, too many still don’t understand that Congress is no longer voting to repeal DADT, and, at the same time, ordering discharges to stop. They are only voting on whether to give Obama, Gates, and Chair of the Joint Chiefs Mullen [read: Gates] the OPTION to okay repeal of the law sometime after “The Study” is in. NOTHING in the new amendment REQUIRES that they EVER do that. And, even if they do, NOTHING in the amendment REQUIRES that discharges EVER actually end OR would ban gay segregation OR require that those previously discharged be allowed to reenlist. [The previous amendment Gates killed would have done all of those things.]

    Though it can’t hurt for all of us to promote the more credible “No Problem” leak, remember that, in the end, the only thing that will count is the “official” report and that will come from Gates. It will “say” whatever Gates wants it to. If you don’t believe me, consider that:

    “As a manager of intelligence analysis [at the CIA during the Reagan Reich]...Gates, according to former intelligence officers, demanded that his staff comply and encouraged reporting that some insisted was blatantly slanted....” – “Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA” – John Prados.

    “Harold P. Ford, an honored veteran of the C.I.A. and a reluctant witness, said he felt obligated to testify that Mr. Gates had ‘skewed intelligence’." – “The New York Times,” October 04, 1991, during hearings on whether to confirm Gates as Director of the CIA. The Senate chose to ignore such claims even though, his first nomination, in 1987, was withdrawn after “evasive answers about his role in the Iran-contra affair.”

    But the charges continued after he became Director, and seemed to be up to his old tricks:

    “[Mr. Gates’] withholding information or distorting it is not legitimate advocacy.” – “The New York Times,” April 02, 1992.

    BOTTOM LINE: Despite unofficial reports about “The Study,” and even should the “compromise amendment” pass, because Mr. Obama remains in the pocket of Mr. Gates, discharges will only unequivocally end when the electorate, gay and nongay, demands they do.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Oct 29, 2010 1:23:54 PM

  13. Gee Michael, you just don't like to take "Yes" for an answer, do you? The results of that survey, which hasn't yet been published but which has also been reported on by the Washington Post, are good news.

    But good news doesn't interest you, because if DADT goes away then you no longer have a reason to be pissed off. So, for you, any good news is deeply threatening.

    Posted by: Career | Oct 29, 2010 4:13:14 PM

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