WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 02: Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (R) delivers opening remarks during a hearing about the military's don't ask, don't tell policy on Capitol Hill December 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced earlier this week that a comprehensive study found that allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the United States armed forces presents a low risk to the military's effectiveness, even at a time of war, and that 70 percent of service members believe that the impact of repealing the law would be either positive, mixed or of no consequence at all. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – As the commanders of the Army, Air Force and Marines cautioned the U.S. Senate against abruptly repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, critics are also warning that accepting open homosexuality and pro-homosexual “reprogramming” could drive massive numbers of troops out of the service.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., pointed out during the first day of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on Thursday that according to a survey conducted for the Pentagon, repealing DADT could create an “alarming” troop retention problem at a time when the military is already shorthanded.

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Said McCain, “If 12.6 percent of the military left earlier, that translates into 264,600 men and women who would leave the military earlier than they had planned … Do you think that’s a good idea to replace 265,000 troops … in a time of war?”

Military analyst Bob Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, said the real number could exceed half a million.

“Twelve-point-six percent is just the people who said they would leave,” Maginnis told WND. “If you add in the number who said they ‘might’ leave, you get 23.7 percent. That would be 528,000, when you count both active duty and reserves.

“And that’s only if you trust their numbers,” Maginnis continued. “They have a real problem with their numbers. It’s skewed toward noncombatants, and the Air Force had much larger proportional participation than the Army, so the numbers are totally unreliable.

“They spun their questions in a way that’s absolutely bizarre. They literally have distorted the truth, it’s all about repeal, not about what’s good for the service,” he said..

“I don’t think people understand how they have spun these numbers. Not only is the survey biased, the way they combined their percentages is skewed. They say 50 or 55 percent of the troops support repeal, but that’s not true. The big slice of that 55 percent is ‘mixed’, some positive, some negative.” The truth is, it was 30 percent negative, and 15 or 20 percent positive.”

Maginnis said the results of the survey consistently show that two service members oppose DADT repeal for every supporter.

Marine Corps commandant Gen. James Amos acknowledged Friday that a clear majority of combat Marines oppose permitting open homosexuality in the ranks.

“Their message is that the potential exists for disruption of the successful execution of our current combat mission should repeal be implemented at this time,” said Amos.

In addition to compromising combat effectiveness, repealing DADT would also threaten unit cohesion and combat readiness, according to Amos.

“If the law is changed, successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level,” Amos testified. “It will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus of preparing units for combat.”

“[I] would not recommend going forward at this time, given everything the Army has on its plate,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey. “I believe the law should be repealed eventually.”

Casey said DADT could be repealed with “moderate risk to our military effectiveness and the long-term health of the force.”.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz advised delaying any change until 2012, to give the military enough time to implement “training and education programs.”

Only Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead recommended repealing DADT this year, parroting an argument made Wednesday by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that the risks involved in allowing open homosexuality in the ranks could be overcome by “leadership.”

“I believe these concerns can be effectively mitigated through engaged leadership,” said Roughead.

Far from easing the transition to a “gay”-friendly military, the “training and education” recommended by Schwartz could actually amplify recruitment and retention problems, according to Maginnis. “You’ll sit through mandatory classes and someone tells you what you can and cannot do. Criticism of homosexuality will receive zero tolerance. Sex and gender equality will be embedded in every basic officer training course all the way up to the war colleges.”

“‘Re-education,’ that’s a good term … or call it ‘reprogramming,'” said Maginnis. “Ever since George Washington the military has been programmed to believe homosexuals are disruptive to morale and unit cohesiveness, and are a readiness problem. You have to expunge all those negative thoughts you have about homosexuality and replace them with what you’re told by the chain of command about what’s right and wrong.

“If you have strongly held religious beliefs you’ll have cognitive dissonance, and it’ll be very difficult to overcome. The military is ignoring privacy concerns, and you’ll be told you’ll have to room with a homosexual. Your commander will tell you that you will never be propositioned and your roommate will never leer at you, so your deeply held religious beliefs will be of no consequence,” he said.

“You have a disproportionate number of evangelicals in the armed forces today. Retention among that population is going to be hit.

“Recruitment is the big elephant in the living room,” Maginnis added. “The report says enlistment could decline by seven percent. That’s serious. What they don’t tell you is we recruit from the south and the mountain west states, which have the highest Protestant numbers of any of the states. We also find they come from families with a history of service. It’s the fathers or grandfathers who recommend them to join the service. FRC looked at these vets, and they’re decisively against these changes.”

McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a leader of anti-repeal senators, claimed on Friday that enough senators oppose repealing DADT to block a vote on the issue during the current lame duck session. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., leader of the pro-repeal forces, reportedly has said enough senators will support a vote to override a filibuster.

The House has already passed legislation to repeal DADT, and President Obama is vigorously supporting the repeal.

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