Only hours before the Senate will begin voting on the process to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Obama Administration's nominee to lead the Marine Corps claims a Pentagon survey shows Marines are "predominantly" opposed to lifting the ban. General James Amos made the remarks this morning to the Senate Armed Services Committee as it considered his nomination to be Commandant of the Marine Corps, reports AFP.
As part of the administration's plans to end the ban, the Pentagon has carried out an elaborate survey of marines and other service members at military bases and online, but the results have yet to be released. "I've heard at the Marine bases and the Marine input for the online survey has been predominantly negative," Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee. But Amos added he had heard about the results second-hand and had not seen the survey responses.
In written testimony to the committee, Amos also said he opposed changing the law, which he described as a "reasonable" compromise. He said he was worried that repealing the ban could be disruptive at a time when nearly 20,000 marines are engaged in major combat in Afghanistan. "I'm concerned that a change now will serve as a distraction to Marines who are tightly focused at this point on combat operations in Afghanistan," Amos wrote. Amos, however, said he was confident that if the law is repealed, the Marines would enforce the new rule without hesitation. "We obey orders," he said.
In other news ...
The promise to repeal the ban faces a seemingly imminent filibuster. Senate Democrats are apparently one or two votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and advance the legislation. Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, the only Republican to support repealing the law and "widely seen as the crucial 60th vote, announced Tuesday that she would not support advancing the bill because Democrats wouldn't allow the Republicans sufficient leeway to offer amendments."
Fellow moderate Maine Republican Olympia Snowe has not said that she would oppose lifting the ban ... but now says the Pentagon review should be completed before the law is repealed.