WASHINGTON (BP)--More than 250,000 U.S. troops may leave the military earlier than they had planned if the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is reversed, Sen. John McCain said Thursday, basing his data on a new Pentagon report.
"Do you think that's a good idea to replace 265,000 troops across the force in a time of war?"
-- Sen. John McCain
"The numbers are alarming," he said.
The Pentagon report on the issue, released Nov. 30, found that 12.6 percent of military members who were surveyed said they would leave sooner than they had planned if Congress overturns the policy and homosexuals are allowed to serve openly. An additional 11.1 percent said they would consider leaving sooner.
McCain, R.-Ariz., made his comments during a Dec. 2 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen testified.
"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," McCain said before asking Gates, "Do you think that's a good idea to replace 265,000 troops across the force in a time of war, that we should be undertaking that challenge at this time?"
McCain supports Don't Ask, Don't Tell, while Gates opposes it.
"The experience of the British, the Canadians and some of the other [countries]," Gates said, "has been that in their surveys ... there were substantial numbers who said they would leave" if homosexuals were to serve openly, but far fewer ended up doing so.... Read More