Saturday, November 02, 2002
Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Translate
In this log entry, Mike Silverman refers to this story at the Gay Financial News that links to this press release from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Here's the entire text of the press release:
Despite a shortage of qualified Arabic linguists in the intelligence and defense fields, the Army has fired a significant number of trained language specialists from the military’s Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California because they are gay.
Ugh number one. This whole "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is stupid and counterproductive. We need translators for Arabic; we train translators of Arabic; we let go translators of Arabic because they're not heterosexual. Is that any way to run a country? An army?
Ugh number two. The whole "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy remains the policy of the US military, and anyone, gay or straight, who enlists ought to understand that. Yes, that simple-minded way of looking at things doesn't take into account young people who discover their sexuality after they enlist. Still, it just strikes me as nuts how some LBG young people enlist, knowing full well what the policy is, then expect not to be thrown out when the fact that they're not straight becomes known somehow.
Ugh number three. The military shouldn't jerk people around. I know, I know: pipe dreams, etc.
Ugh number two doesn't mean that SLDN doesn't deserve some kudos for taking on a rough job: Just because young people screw up regarding military policy and their own sexual orientation doesn't mean they ought to lose their rights as citizens or not have those rights vigorously protected.
Timatollah bottom line: "Don't ask, don't tell" is bad policy and is actually against the national interests and needs to be changed, but don't pretend that ignoring that policy is a demonstration of civil disobedience or personally responsibility.