Thursday, May 24, 2007

Strategically stupid

The irrational pursuit of gays in the military continues to lead to the dismissal of some of our most valuable assets in the war on terror.

Lawmakers who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic linguists because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable language specialists go.

Seizing on the latest discharges, involving three specialists, members of the House of Representatives wrote the House Armed Services Committee chairman that the continued loss of such "capable, highly skilled Arabic linguists continues to compromise our national security during time of war."

One sailor discharged in the latest incident, former Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Benjamin, said his supervisor tried to keep him on the job, urging him to sign a statement denying that he was gay. He said his lawyer advised him not to sign it, because it could be used against him later if other evidence ever surfaced.

There are some inconsistencies in Benjamin's story. First he says he was "always out" since the day he started working there, and it didn't cause problems. Then later he says he was "discreet" and was surprised when the military investigated him. But that could simply be the difference between not hiding his sexual orientation and openly telling the military he was gay (the "tell" portion of "don't ask, don't tell").

But that's pretty much beside the point. This sort of thing is just plain stupid. The need for trained Arabic speakers vastly outweighs the outdated "morals" concerns about gay soldiers. It is pure bureaucratic bloodymindedness to actively hunt these guys down and discharge them.

Stuff like this only further illustrates the asinine nature of the antigay policy. End it now, before we let it further damage our national security.

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