Of course they are already serving alongside gay and lesbian soldiers, so the point of this leak is not to surprise anyone. Clearly someone at the Pentagon (or the White House), in planning to push for doing something in the Senate before all hope is lost on DADT repeal, is floating this balloon for all of the Senators who have been hiding behind the fig leaf of “I’m waiting for the study.” This development was reported tonight by NBC’s Richard Engel (via The Wonk Room):
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.
MADDOW: Predominant answer is ‘no big deal.’
ENGEL: Most common, number one. Number two was, ‘I would deal directly with the person involved.’ So when you put the two of those together, it is the majority. Now, there were some people who said, three, they would go to the chain of command and some four, who hated it, hated it. But the answers one and two are considered positive. So these studies show a relative if not positive outlook, at least an accepting outlook.
MADDOW: So the military study is, as you said, the survey of the troops is part of it. It’s an overall study of the feasibility of the issue….this survey of the troops, what you’ve learned is that a majority of troops it’s not going to be a major deal.
ENGEL: Not a deal breaker, that they they’re not going to be running from the army in droves. 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.
Igor Volsky at The Wonk Room has a nice collection of quotes from Republicans who have been waiting for “what the troops have to say.”