When the Pentagon’s survey was released over the weekend, Servicemembers United’s Executive Director Alex Nicholson issued a statement, but promised a more thorough analysis today. That analysis has arrived in the form of a briefing memo titled, Assessment of the 2010 DoD Comprehensive Review Survey of Service Member Spouses, which can be found here as a pdf. The actual survey is embedded in this post.
Here’s the statement from Alex, which accompanied the release of the briefing memo:
“While it is wise to solicit and consider military spouse input on policy changes that will have a major impact on military families, it is extremely unwise to do so for issues that have minimal impact on spouses while also using poorly designed, biased and derogatory survey instruments,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “The Pentagon should be concerned with real family readiness issues like excessive deployments, inadequate mental health screenings and support, low troop pay, reductions in housing subsidies for military families, and inadequate spousal employment support instead of spending .4 million on a politically-motivated and unnecessary survey about gays and lesbians.”
And, here’s an excerpt from the memo:
14) Question 29: “Assume Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and your spouse is deployed. Would the presence of a partner of a gay or lesbian Service member affect how often you attend deployment-support activities?” (and one similar question – question 35)
This has to be the single most insensitive, disrespectful, selfish, and just plain cruel question in the entire spouse survey. The partners of gay and lesbian troops who are deployed hurt, worry, cry, stress, and suffer just as much – if not more, because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – than the partners and spouses of straight troops. To even entertain the idea, much less suggest it, that fleeting discomfort of straight partners and spouses should lead to denial of support for the agonizing partners of gay and lesbian troops is simply horrendous, cruel, and inhumane. Keep in mind that even the girlfriends and boyfriends of straight troops get some support during their partners’ deployments. So a straight one- night-stand is given a higher priority under current military policy – and this question – than a devoted partner of 20 years.
I stand by what I wrote on Saturday in my first post about the spouse’s survey:
You have to wonder how the hell the Pentagon came up with these questions. Makes me think Elaine Donnelly had a hand in writing the survey. And, we’ve been told repeatedly, the Pentagon study is about “how” to implement repeal, not “if.” But, everything we see from the Pentagon seems to be a lesson in how not to implement repeal.