The Military’s DADT Survey

Perhaps everyone but me knew this, but the military is doing a survey of service-members about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and its (increasingly likely) repeal. The survey is coming in for some pretty sharp criticism. For all the various critiques, see Michael Levy, Adam Amel Rogers, Nate Silver, Clarknt67 (at Pam’s House Blend) and Servicemembers United’s Alexander Nicholson.

The methodological problems are real, but the bigger issue is substantive. As Levy notes, similar surveys were done in 1942 and 1945, with results such as 76% believing whites and blacks should not serve in the same combat crews, and large numbers believing that the PXs should be segregated, and blacks kept out if only one PX was available. Truman ignored the survey, of course, and integrated the armed services in 1948.* Levy’s advice is to forget about the survey and just do what Truman did, “Lead, don’t follow.” I agree. This is a perfect opportunity for Obama to show the boldness that’s been wholly lacking in his presidency to date. While his advisers are, presumably, totting up the pros and cons of how it might affect him politically right now, it’s his opportunity to secure at least one glowing part of his legacy.


*Levy gives extra courage points to Truman for doing it during a tough election campaign. What I have always heard is that he did it to gain black votes. I.e., he was anticipating it would help, rather than hurt, him in the election.


About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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4 Responses to The Military’s DADT Survey

  1. Pinky says:

    When people question Obama’s progress and apparent popularity and his lack of aggressive behavior, I’m reminded of the fact that he went from state office to the U.S. Senate and then to the presidency in such short time. I also remember the criticism of him that he was too passive during his presidential campaign.
    He is sort of a passive/aggressive type, isn’t he?
    Maybe he’s got a rabbit in that hat after all?
    Maybe not.
    But, we will see, won’t we?

  2. Matty says:

    Forgive my ignorance being a furriner, but is DADT a matter of policy controlled by the President or a law passed by Congress, and if the later does Obama have the support to get a repeal through?

  3. James Hanley says:


    Good question. DADT is a law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton. Consequently, President Obama can’t simply repeal it on his own. But as Commander-in-Chief he has considerable authority over the rules by which the military operates, and most commentators in the know believe he has the authority to direct the military to simply stop dismissing homosexuals. At the very least, he could order them to get serious about the “don’t ask” part of the law, which has consistently been violated both in spirit and in the letter of the law.

    Does that clarify, Mr. Furriner? At least you know how to spell that in proper American. And may I ask where you’re from? You may be able to repay the favor sometime, as I often don’t understand things about the places all you furriners are from.

  4. Matty says:

    I’m British, English but living in Wales if you want the details. As for understanding things, if you mean politics you may be out of luck, we have a coalition government, an arrangement that hasn’t been tried since the 1930’s so no one really understands how things are working. On the plus side there are some hints of almost libertarian tendencies.

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