WASHINGTON -- Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo tried and failed. Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and Ho Chi Minh couldn't do it. But commander in chief Barack Obama may well succeed where others could not. If he has his way, he will demolish the finest force for good in the history of mankind -- the U.S. armed forces. And he wants to make it all happen before the end of the year.
On Nov. 30, Defense Secretary Robert Gates released the much-leaked "Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" Only the Pentagon could come up with a title like that.
The "report" -- 266 pages long -- purports to provide military and civilian leaders in Washington with "a comprehensive assessment" and "recommendations" on changes in Defense Department regulations if Section 654 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code is repealed. The 17-year-old law states: "The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." Importantly, the phrase "don't ask, don't tell" appears nowhere in the law.
Supposedly, the "conclusions" and "recommendations" proffered in the "report" are based on a "survey" of currently serving soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines. Though nearly 400,000 questionnaires on changing the law were circulated, only 115,052 responded. Of those who did reply, 27 percent indicated that allowing open homosexuals into the ranks would adversely affect unit cohesion. Thirty-five percent of service members in deployed combat units said such a change would have a negative impact on combat effectiveness. Sixty-seven percent of Marines and more than 57 percent of soldiers in U.S. Army combat units believe changing the law would hurt combat efficiency, unit cohesion, readiness and retention. Notably, military chaplains -- from all denominations -- overwhelmingly oppose changing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In a statement, Obama argued that for the first time, "both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have publicly endorsed ending this policy." Yet the stunning numbers cited in the report substantiate the "military capability" clause in the current law and directly refute his claim that the law can be changed in the midst of a war "in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and national security."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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