data collection

So Now President Harry Truman Did Poll Troops About Ending Troop Segregation?

Much of the furor over the Pentagon’s DADT surveys stems not only from the ridiculous nature of letting anyone, even soldiers, have a say in whether to tolerate discrimination, but also because once upon a time President Harry Truman ended another form of discrimination in the military without a single bubble for troops to fill in. But that’s not so, claim Pentagon historians!

Prior to President Truman’s 1948 executive order integrating the armed forces, our preliminary research shows that branches of the armed forces undertook a number of modestly sized surveys of the attitudes of enlisted and nonenlisted troops concerning racial issues, integration, and morale,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith tells Kerry Eleveld, noting at least eight surveys were issued, although it’s unclear how many people responded.

The supposed revelation comes at the personal request of Gen. Carter Ham and Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson, who are leading the current DADT repeal review.

So, two things: One, if these surveys were conducted, prove it. PICTURES OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. I want to see the questionnaires, the results, and whatever other documents and research materials were used. If these claims are true, the Pentagon must have the documentation to prove it. And second: This doesn’t change a damn thing. Surveying the troops about ending discrimination remains a wholly juvenile concept, insults troop intelligence, and ignores the notion that injustice is not something we get to weigh in on democratically.

I’d also like to know whether Truman’s alleged surveys about racial integration filled in some of the gaps the current sexual orientation survey does not, such as asking about the positive results that could stem from ending segregation.