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Three quarters of military could not care less about repealing DADT

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2010

It is becoming increasingly evident that the most significant disturbance that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could have on the morale of the troops may well be the annoyance of having to fill out a survey. Because they certainly don’t seem to be in any rush to inform the Pentagon of their concerns, if they have any.

A few weeks ago, the military brass had to come out and make statements encouraging soldiers to fill out their surveys. It was very important so that they could “understand possible impacts associated by repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law.” And at that time, they only had a 10% response rate.

Well, the deadline has passed and not many responded to the DOD’s appeal. (Wendy City Times)

Department of Defense spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told CNN that just two days before the Aug. 15 deadline about 104,000 of the 400,000 100-question surveys had been returned.

This is about the expected response rate for a long survey. But this survey was special; it was the opportunity for military personnel to weigh in on a matter which was before Congress and which some Senators are convinced is of great importance to them.

And they really just couldn’t care less. Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said,

“From what we are hearing, troops have little interest in this survey and simply just don’t care about this policy change,” he said. “While the Department of Defense and Westat [ the research firm behind the survey ] are spinning the low response rate to the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ survey as expected and sufficient, neither are disclosing the fact that the military leaders have had to put significant pressure on troops on multiple occasions to even get this level of response.”

Nicholson added, “Some commanders and senior leaders have even told subordinates that participation is mandatory. These occurrences further degrade the credibility of this survey’s methodology and violate ethical standards that prevent researchers from compelling respondents to participate in survey research.”

Although Congress is fretting over the horrible possibility of troop morale being decimated, the men and women of the military have looked at this whole conflict and answered. With a collective yawn.

Comments

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Grant
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy – excellent article as always, and very interesting to note that the “boots on the ground” really don’t give DADT much importance in their lives. I wonder though if the ones who did respond are those most vehemently opposed to overturning DADT? I hope not.

Just a teeny nit to pick though – I think you mean troop “morale” rather than “moral”? ;)

Timothy Kincaid
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

Grant,

Thanks. Yep, I meant morale. Sigh, my spelling is just dreadful sometimes.

Lucrece
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

You should be more worried than concerned.

It’s obvious why so little surveys were turned in, and it’s not apathy.

Those surveys had 100+ questions. Anyone with a brain and knowledge on survey conduction knows that a vast amount of people will simply not bother with a 100 question survey, and the sample becomes tainted by those who do fill the survey.

The turned in surveys will be from people who feel invested in the process; and if history is to be revisited, you should know that those who support us tend to be quite bland and fickle in making efforts, whereas those against us are well organized by their churches.

Furthermore, just think how much influence homophobic army chaplains had on convincing their flock to turn in the polls, while the more apathetic youth that is usually on our side would rather make youtube videos or foll around.

Lynn David
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

75% might not care about DADT, but they didn’t vote for us by completing their questionaire. The 25+% who did fill it out will be have the say.

daftpunkydavid
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

another teeny nit to pick… did you mean to say that they COULD care less (as opposed to couldn’t care less)? it seems the former fits your argument better. ok, done nitpicking.

Timothy Kincaid
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

DPdavid,

hmmm…

Well if you COULD care less, then it means you are now caring more than is absolutely necessary.

And if you COULDN’T care less, that means you don’t care even a little bit. You care the very least possible.

So I think “could not care less” is probably better.

daftpunkydavid
August 19th, 2010 | LINK

tim,

you’re absolutely right! in my own convoluted way, i had come to believe that if i could care less, then i really had other priorities, and therefore could shift attention to other matters. so the thing i could care less about was really something that did not have much importance.

but it turns out that there’s much more to that phrase than i had thought…

from dictionary.com:

Which is correct: I could care less or I couldn’t care less?

The expression I could not care less originally meant ‘it would be impossible for me to care less than I do because I do not care at all’. It was originally a British saying and came to the US in the 1950s. It is senseless to transform it into the now-common I could care less. If you could care less, that means you care at least a little. The original is quite sarcastic and the other form is clearly nonsense. The inverted form I could care less was coined in the US and is found only here, recorded in print by 1966. The question is, something caused the negative to vanish even while the original form of the expression was still very much in vogue and available for comparison – so what was it? There are other American English expressions that have a similar sarcastic inversion of an apparent sense, such as Tell me about it!, which usually means ‘Don’t tell me about it, because I know all about it already’. The Yiddish I should be so lucky!, in which the real sense is often ‘I have no hope of being so lucky’, has a similar stress pattern with the same sarcastic inversion of meaning as does I could care less.

anyway, thanks for helping me improve my english!

MIhangel apYrs
August 19th, 2010 | LINK

speaking as a Brit:
“I couldn’t care less” is what we use, and the alternative would appear meaningless to us UNLESS the intonation is correct “I could care leSS?”

anyway a bit of a detour there….

As regards the polling: it will only inform decision-making if it validates the decision they want to make!

justsearching
August 19th, 2010 | LINK

The troops should never have been asked to begin with. Also, it’s probable the ones most bothered by the possibility of overturning DADT are the ones that will fill out this ridiculous survey. The results don’t matter much either because the right-wingers will either highlight or ignore what the troops said to suit their own agendas.

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