Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Don't ask, don't tell stupidity

Here's a poignant piece by Stephen Benjamin, formerly a Navy petty officer, that illustrates rather well the stupidity of the "don't ask don't tell" policy that makes it possible to kick gays out of the U.S. military just for being gay and having the fact discovered. Benjamin was an Arabic translator. According to him, when he was confronted and chose not to lie:

"My supervisors did not want to lose me. Most of my peers knew I was gay, and that didn't bother them. I was always accepted as a member of the team. And my experience was not anomalous: polls of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan show an overwhelming majority are comfortable with gays. Many were aware of at least one gay person in their unit and had no problem with it."

More than 58 Arabic translators have been kicked out since DADK was instituted. How much harm has been done, how many troops have needlessly been put in harm's way because of this stupid policy?

I have trouble understanding why anyone would actively want to be in the military, but those who desire to serve shouldn't be denied the opportunity because of outdated ideas about "unit cohesion" and outright bigotry.

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