Earlier this year, presidential explorer and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) said he would support reinstating the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and cutting funding off to implement the repeal. Now, his potential rival Mike Huckabee is following suit. Speaking to the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Huckabee said that he too would support re-imposing the ban against open service by gays and lesbians:
“I would — because that’s really what the military wants,” says Huckabee. “There’s been some talk that the military is fine with having same-sex orientation people. But if you really surveyed the combat troops, that is not at all the case.”
According to Huckabee, currently a political analyst for Fox News, politicians should back out of the picture. “…I don’t think that these are decisions that politicians should make. These are decisions that soldiers should make,” he says emphatically. “And when the soldiers in the foxholes make the decisions, they choose something different — and we should listen to them.”
A majority of servicemembers who participated in the Pentagon’s survey — upwards of 70% — didn’t believe that gay troops would undermine unit morale or cohesion and the study’s co-chairs argued that combat units expressed a more negative view about open service (40–60% in the Marine Corps and in various combat arms specialties) because of inexperience with gay servicemembers.
“One of the factors that causes a difference in the Army and the Marine Corps combat arms responses when compared to the overall responses is that we find in those two communities, Army and Marine Corps combat arms, — and this is probably unsurprising — that those communities have lower rates of actual experience of having served alongside a gay or lesbian servicemember,” the study co-chair Army Gen. Carter F. Ham explained last year. “We did find in the survey that there is a difference between servicemembers who have and those who have not served with gay and lesbian servicemembers. And I think this may be one of the significant contributors to the differences between combat arms responses and the force overall,” he added.
Ham also rebuffed Huckabee’s suggestion that combat troops should decide the policy outcome. “I can’t think of a good outcome that comes out of that,” he said, adding, “We don’t poll the force about potential military operations. We didn’t poll the army that says, you know, do you agree with 12 or 15 month-long combat tours.”
Finally, it’s unclear how reinstating the policy would work operationally. Reimposing DADT would require gay servicemembers who come out after repeal is certified to suddenly go back into the closet or face discharge. Straight soldiers would also have to pretend they did not know about the sexual orientation of formerly-out gay members. (H/T: JoeMyGod)