In an exclusive report on the Rachel Maddow show Thursday night, NBC News’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel revealed that a majority of America’s troops either would have no issue at all serving alongside an openly-gay service member, or if there were an issue, they would have no problem bringing the issue directly to the attention of the gay or lesbian service member. This is a critical component to debunking the GOP’s fraudulent comments regarding repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Here’s the transcript, thanks to the excellent work of Igor Volsky at Think Progress‘ “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.
Volsky reminds us that the GOP has consistently said they “listen to the troops,” and wait for the study before making any decisions.
In my opinion, it’s important to remember that the Republicans are fond of claiming to want to follow “the will of the American people.” (Personally, every time I type that phrase I hear John Boehner’s voice in my head. Pity me, please?) Well, as a reminder, seventy-eight percent of Americans want “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be repealed. So, I ask you, what is keeping the GOP from voting for repeal?
It’s also important to remember that, as we begin to hear these drips of details of the survey, the GOP will do everything they possibly can to vote against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” For whatever reason, the GOP will filibuster, will hem and haw, and absolutely do everything they can to stop the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Never mind the fact that a federal judge has already declared “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional. The GOP will march in lockstep to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as official policy.
At what point do we stop allowing them to control the debate, and the rules, and our lives?
Oh. One last point: You’re voting on Tuesday, right?
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