Marine Commandant Pleased with DADT Repeal Implementation

Commandant of the US Marine Corps General James Amos was the most senior military member to oppose repeal of the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In an AP story last week, Amos indicates he is “very pleased” with how repeal has been implemented, but has no regrets about his initial opposition.

The article, perhaps unintentionally, demonstrates a misunderstanding of the situation as it equates silence with ambivalence:

The apparent absence of angst about gays serving openly in the Marines seemed to confirm Amos’ view that the change has been taken in stride, without hurting the war effort…

Cynthia O. Smith, said implementation of the repeal of the gay ban is proceeding smoothly across the military.

“We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training program…”

In fact, the “apparent absence of angst” — a conclusion drawn by the absence of questions on the subject directed at the Commandant — is more likely the result of both directed silence and resignation.  Military leadership long ago communicated to the rank-and-file that vocalized opposition to repeal was not acceptable.  Likewise, line troops know that asking a General the same question to which he’s already said “no” won’t change policy.

The 56% of combat Marines who felt repeal would negatively impact the force — a statistic cited in the article — didn’t suddenly change their mind because of “training” or epiphanies.  In fact, they may likely feel the same as they did.  It just does no good to express those opinions publicly.

To conclude, then, that US Marines are “embracing [the] gay ban repeal,” as the AP does, is disingenuous.


  • I would argue that your representation of the Marine Corps is equally as disingenuous. The reality is that the repeal has been a non-event. This is the reaction I’ve seen publicly and privately across the board. Can you honestly say that your day to day life has changed one bit in the Air Force? The only thing we do different is tell slightly fewer gay jokes, which is probably a good thing anyway.

    No one is saying that the policy has changed the deep held beliefs servicemembers have about homosexuality. In fact the training I received specifically spelled that out. Our right to keep our own religious beliefs is not affected at all. The only “change” is that we are not allowed to discriminate or harass others about their different beliefs.

    I belive what they are trying to say is that those who felt that the military structure of good order and discipline would colapse as soon as the policy was repealed now have come to realize that it is simply not the case. Life goes on, just like it always does. An idea I happen to agree with.

  • @Jason

    Can you honestly say that your day to day life has changed one bit in the Air Force?

    That’s never been the question. For example, no one here has ever suggested that a homosexual person is any less capable of shooting a gun, steering a boat, or flying a plane.

    But the issue of the culture is valid. For example, despite the Congressional decision to remove the prohibitions on sodomy and bestiality, the UCMJ still prohibits cohabitating and adultery, even among consenting adults.

    The institutional acceptance of a moral position contrary to history will not necessarily spell the immediate downfall of society, but it does change the moral culture (or clarity) of the institution, and generally not for the better.

    That notwithstanding, “the sky didn’t fall” is hardly a sound basis for policy decisions.