Thursday, May 24, 2007

Military Still Canning Gay Arabic Linguists

From the AP:
U.S. military continues to discharge gay Arab linguists, and Congress members seek hearing

WASHINGTON: Lawmakers who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic linguists because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable language specialists go.

Seizing on the latest discharges, involving three specialists, members of the House of Representatives wrote the House Armed Services Committee chairman that the continued loss of such "capable, highly skilled Arabic linguists continues to compromise our national security during time of war."


Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan, who has pushed for repeal of the law, organized the letter sent to Skelton requesting a hearing into the Arab linguist issue.

"At a time when our military is stretched to the limit and our cultural knowledge of the Middle East is dangerously deficient, I just can't believe that kicking out able, competent Arabic linguists is making our country any safer," Meehan said.

The letter, signed by about 40 House members, says that, with the latest firings, 58 Arab linguists have been dismissed from the military under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. It said Congress should decide whether this application of the policy "is serving the nation well."


Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department is enforcing the law.

"The Department of Defense must ensure that the standards for enlistment and appointment of members of the armed forces reflect the policies set forth by Congress," he said, adding that those dismissed can serve their nation by working as contractors or at other federal agencies."

While I could wax about how stupid and antiquated this law is or about how badly the military needs Arab linguists I'll just say this:

Any American citizen that is willing to fight and die for their country and meets the physical and mental standards to qualify for that duty while having no serious criminal record should be allowed to serve their country in the military. Period.