Monday, July 12, 2004

Why are we dragging soldiers in from the IRR when we are kicking out gay soldiers?

I've seen reporting in Boston Globe, Time and Newsweek that the Army is still kicking gays out of the military for coming out of the closet. The articles stated that if these soldiers were allowed to stay in the Army, the activition of 5600 IRR soldiers wouldn't be necessary.

"New military statistics show that many soldiers with the same skills as former service members the Pentagon is now recalling to active duty in the war on terror have been discharged from the military over the last five years under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits gays from serving openly.

"The military data show that in some areas where there are critical shortfalls, such as intelligence, military police, and infantry skills, the Clinton-era policy that allows the dismissal of gays whose sexual orientation is disclosed has deprived the military of some of the same skills it is now seeking by returning members of the Individual Ready Reserve to service."

"The military is discharging military-critical talent at the time of a great shortage in precisely the occupational job specialties that they are now recalling involuntarily," said Aaron Belkin, head of the University of California center. "We fired more people than we are recalling."

Now, in a controversial decision that some have called a "back-door draft," the Pentagon has called up more than 5,600 specially trained members of the Individual Ready Reserve, which totals about 118,000 former soldiers who are required to keep in touch with the military for up to four years after leaving service but do not participate in regular training. Officials say that thousands more could be called up in the coming months."

"In some cases the military has discharged well over 10 times as many specialists as it is now bringing back to active duty.

For example, the Pentagon has discharged 340 infantry soldiers in the last five years for being gay, but is now calling up 21 from the Ready Reserve with the same skills. The Army previously discharged 15 foreign language interrogators under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and now says it is short three of them for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eighty-eight linguists have been discharged in the last five years, including seven who spoke Arabic.

At the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., the primary linguistics training school, 73 language specialists alone were discharged for homosexuality between 1998 and 2003.

"These men and women bring unique expertise to critically needed areas of the military," said Meehan, whose staff compiled much of the data.

"For our government to turn them away is senseless and counterproductive," he said. "All federal personnel outside of the military are allowed to be openly gay, including CIA agents. We are fighting a war against terror that will continue for years, yet well-trained, willing volunteers are turned away from service for entirely irrelevant reasons."

"The Army discharged 50 people trained as intelligence operatives, but now needs 33, according to the military statistics."

Why are we shooting ourselves in the foot like this?

When I was in the Army, 'don't ask, don't tell' was just implemented. It was compromise, between President Clinton and the Department of Defense. It was basically, gays can serve, as long as they are way back in the closet where you can't see them. Then, starting in 1999, we had annual training about what constituted the criteria for outing someone. Basically, you had to catch them in the act. Or they had to come out of the closet. I have seen men who would block a grenade with their own bodies, but mention gays in the military and they turn white with fear. What were they afraid of? Sexual harrassment? I know sexual harrassment is about power, but homophobia is a big turn-off for gays. I know, I know, you let gays in the military and the next thing you know they will want to get married!!

What is the big deal about letting gays get married? Will someone please explain to me, how will gay marriage destroy straight marriage? Will straight couples starting divorcing en masse? We already have a 50% divorce rate, in some areas, it's 70%. Will straight couples start shacking up without the benefits of marriage? I have news for you, it's already happening. Homosexuality is forbidden in the Bible, well so's eating pork and meat with dairy. I bet you had a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch too.

So there's my little rant about sex, religion and politics for the day. I promise I will have some fashion soon.

P.S. If you are an IRR soldier being recalled but don't want to go, tell 'em you're gay. ;);)>>


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