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Iraq, Afghanistan Vets ‘Overwhelmingly’ Support ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

The Vet Voice Foundation has commissioned a rare scientific poll to survey military attitudes about the ban on open gay military service. It’s found broad and deep support among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for getting rid of the ban.

An overwhelming majority of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans say it is personally acceptable to them if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military. Seven in ten (73%) say it is acceptable, including 42% who say it would be acceptable and 31% who would find it acceptable even though they would not like it. Only a quarter (25%) would find it unacceptable. Generational differences exist here as well, but they are not as dramatic as conventional wisdom might indicate. Forty-seven percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans under age 35 find it acceptable and would like the policy change and another 30% find it acceptable and do not like it, for a total of 77% who find it personally acceptable if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military. Seventy percent of veterans over age 35 would find it acceptable and only a quarter would find it unacceptable (26%).

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has come out forcefully for repeal. In an odd bit of testimony yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, said the “time has come” to consider a repeal commensurate with the needs of a military fighting two wars, although he did not enter his full statement on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into the Senate record. (He’s in front of the House Armed Services Committee today, but unfortunately I can’t cover his testimony.)

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