June 14, 2005

Recruiting Woes and Gay Soldiers

Critics of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are gaining new allies because military recruiters are unable to meet enlistment goals.

Yet the White House and Pentagon continue to support an unjust and myopic policy that denies basic rights to one group of Americans and weakens the military in carrying out its mission.

In a new report, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network reports, "many highly trained specialists �including combat engineers and linguists� are being discharged involuntarily while the Pentagon is facing extreme challenges in recruiting and retaining troops.

"The military continues to sacrifice national security and military readiness in favor of simple prejudice," said SLDN Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn.

A West Point professor, Lt. Col. Allen Bishop, in a recent Army Times article, assailed the military policy on gays as contradictory to fundamental American principles and urged Congress to repeal the ban.

"Despite our government's claim of liberty for all, we leave homosexuals out," he wrote. "If the American military sees and is allowed to see itself as the protector of some but not all Americans, democracy fails."

Apparently the public agrees. A Boston Globe poll released in May 2005 shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, and other surveys over the past two years show similar support.

Former soldiers are suing in federal court to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and several Democrats in Congress, joined by a few Republicans, have joined forces to co-sponsor a bill ending the policy.

Further reading...

1 comment:

Kate said...

Yeah, that whole "don't ask, don't tell" policy never really worked. I never understood why it was given such hoopla in the first place, except maybe for cosmetic purposes. Any sane person would realize that the theory was nice, but wouldn't really cut it within the Homophobic Ranks.

I just learned, with much heartbreak on top of all the other shit, that an entire group of friends, good, close friends, have been trashing and gay bashing a former military friend of ours that had been transferred a few years ago with his whole large family, back to finish out his retirement at a base in Alabama, and who just recently came out, last year -- he just found the strength to find himself, to pursue his own happiness -- and he came out, quietly and without much fanfare. I just heard about it myself, a few days ago.

And now, to hear all these people, his friends, my friends, OUR friends, telling jokes and making crude remarks about his sexuality, his bravery, trashing his friendship, acting like they got cooties on them, just for knowing him, acting like they are feeling betrayed by him and his actions ... well, it just turned my stomach.

I don't even want to look at them any more. They make me sick.

If friends like family will treat you like dirt, like that, then what hope would any young man (or woman) have in the military against those strangers' hardened hearts protecting America's Family (christian) Values?

I wish the law suit a happy ending. I hope eventually it will be "okay" for people to be who they are, to be themselves, to live how they want, to worship who they want -- or not -- without constantly being berated and ridiculed, threatened, harassed, tortured, or even put to death ...

just because they are "different" from the status quo.

When will people realize that it is the majority who are different? We are all different, we are all the same.

Too complex a concept for the primal mind yet, I guess.