Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rhetoric, Beliefs and Actions: When What We Need Is Not What The Republicans Want

Even when Clinton was foisting "Don't Ask - Don't Tell" on us, I didn't like it. Discrimination for what a person does in their bedroom really has no place in a tolerant and accepting, open and free society.

Of course, that's not what we have here in America. Even so, when the W, Rove and Co suggest we are locking horns with wide swaths of people in the "decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century," might not we like to utilize all experts to our advantage, no matter their sexual orientation.

Nay, is clearly the answer if you view the actions of the military.
Consider: more than 58 Arabic linguists have been kicked out since “don’t ask, don’t tell” was instituted. How much valuable intelligence could those men and women be providing today to troops in harm’s way?

In addition to those translators, 11,000 other service members have been ousted since the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was passed by Congress in 1993. Many held critical jobs in intelligence, medicine and counterterrorism. An untold number of closeted gay military members don’t re-enlist because of the pressure the law puts on them. This is the real cost of the ban — and, with our military so overcommitted and undermanned, it’s too high to pay.

In response to difficult recruiting prospects, the Army has already taken a number of steps, lengthening soldiers’ deployments to 15 months from 12, enlisting felons and extending the age limit to 42. Why then won’t Congress pass a bill like the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”? The bipartisan bill, by some analysts’ estimates, could add more than 41,000 soldiers — all gay, of course.

As the friends I once served with head off to 15-month deployments, I regret I’m not there to lessen their burden and to serve my country. I’m trained to fight, I speak Arabic and I’m willing to serve. No recruiter needs to make a persuasive argument to sign me up. I’m ready, and I’m waiting.
A modest proposal may seem unreasonable, but could put a wrench in the hate & fear driven policy that is "don't ask - don't tell" was presented by my friend who sent me the link to this article:
A nation that would rather a straight soldier die than accept help from an untouchable? As a first step, like with the Tuskegee Airmen, the Army should create an all gay all the time Arabic Translation Unit. While this solution would satisfy no one, it gets the problem out in the open. Let them refuse its translations who will.
Unfortunately, the rhetoric, beliefs and actions of the W, Rove and Co and the Military are not harmonious. In fact, the fear and hatred for gays in the military, prevent people who want to serve from serving, and in the ultimate irony by their very service may have provided timely translations that save straight troops in the mix of battle who would have them persecuted. So, this is what happens when what we need is what the republicans don't want.

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