U.S. troops comfortable with DADT repeal

U.S. TROOPS COMFORTABLE WITH DADT REPEAL…. It’s a little anti-climactic, since previous leaks to the media had hinted at the survey results, but the AP reports this morning that the new report from the Defense Department will show American servicemen and women comfortable with the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The Pentagon study that argues that gay troops could serve openly without hurting the military’s ability to fight is expected to re-ignite debate this month on Capitol Hill over repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Officials familiar with the 10-month study’s results have said a clear majority of respondents don’t care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings hadn’t been released.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who have both said they support repealing the law, were scheduled to discuss the findings with Congress Tuesday morning and with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Of course, this is just a top-line summary of the report, and the details, which will be fleshed out during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings later this week, will make all the difference.

Still, a variety of Senate Republicans insisted for months they couldn’t even allow a vote on this until they heard from U.S. troops that they’re comfortable with ending the existing policy. As of this morning, this final GOP excuse appears to have been eliminated.

Democrats only need two Republicans — literally, just two — to break ranks. These GOP senators, if they exist, don’t even have to vote for the spending bill that includes the DADT provision; they just need to let the Senate vote up or own.

If they were waiting for the Pentagon’s report, the wait is over. Whether there are two decent Senate Republicans willing to let the chamber vote remains to be seen, but as of today, they no longer have any excuses.