Now that both military leaders and Congress have finally begun to realize that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” makes no sense at all, there’s a chance we gay folk will actually be allowed to serve our country without hiding in the closet.
That’s a good thing for everybody, because the military needs people. Lots of people. In addition to Bush’s troop build-up, NPR recently reported that the Pentagon has stepped up its language training program because linguists – especially those who can speak Middle Eastern languages – are in such short supply.
Yet in 2005 an audit by the federal General Accounting Office showed that between 1994 and 2003, 9,488 of us, including 98 with critical language skills, were discharged under DADT. In 2004, 653 soldiers were discharged. And discharges are still taking place (according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund, two per day), although my brief research did not reveal official statistics for 2005 and 2006.
If DADT ever made sense – which it didn’t – it sure doesn’t make sense now.
Still, not everyone has entered the new millennium. Specifically, General Peter Pace doesn’t want us on playing on his team, at least not so he knows we’re there. General Pace is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which, according to Wikipedia (I know, I know), is responsible for ensuring the readiness of the country’s military resources. General Pace is on record as supporting DADT because he believes homosexuality is immoral.
Immoral? Really? Homosexuality is more immoral than invading a country on false pretenses, and then discharging people with essential skills? More immoral than undermining our military resources, which General Pace is supposed to be protecting? Gee. Guess I need to go back to church, ‘cause I got some larnin’ to do.
UPDATE: General Pace issued a statement saying he regrets injecting his personal views into the public discourse. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s had a change of heart. Well, at least he doesn’t deny being a bigot like some people. I’ll give him that.