Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Military Placing Homophobia Ahead of National Security

According to a report by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, the United States military discharged 3 times as many Arabic linguists between 1998 and 2004 as was previously reported. The center closely follows the effect of " don't ask, don't tell" policy on the U.S. military, as well as studies other forces/military around the world.
Originally the United States military said that 7 Arabic translaters and students were discharged under the policy, which allows gays and lesbians to serve as long as they do not disclose their sexual orientation.
But new figures from the Department of Defense by the center indicate that 20 linguists specializing in Arabic were discharged in that time frame, as well as 6 who spoke Farsi, the language spoken in Iran. Another 16 students studying Korean were also discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
An additional 4 of the 59 students discharged from the Defense Language Institute were listed with "unknown" specialties and languages.
According to Aaron Belkin, director of the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, " We had a military language problem after 9/11 and we still have a language problem."
Steve Ralls, with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, made a great point saying, " The military is placing homophobia well ahead of national security. It's rather appalling that in the weeks leading up to 9/11 messages were coming in, waiting to be translated...and at the same time they were firing people who could've done that job."
Belkin's research partner said, " It used to be this was seen as a gay rights issue, but now it's clearly a national security issue."

I couldn't agree more. This administration and military have put their homophobia before our country's national security in a critical time. Was it that the Republican controlled goverment/military couldn't deal with the fact that a gay person could have, and would have, saved this country's ass? You know how hard it must be to find an American who speaks Arabic or Farsi, especially in the U.S. military! And to discharge over 26 of them just because their gay is fucking asinine! What a disgrace this goverment has shown, to know that possibly some of those incoming messages overheard in Arabic, before, in, or around the time of 9/11 could have been adequatley translated by one of these gay men or women discharged, is totally horrifying!!!!
It's real nice to know that our goverment would rather take the risk, then let gay men and women Arabic translators do the very difficult job they are so good at. I'm appalled----are you?