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.