Military dismisses needed linguists for being gay
In the past two years, the Department of Defense has discharged 37 linguists from the Defense Language Institute for being gay. Many studied Arabic. At a time of heightened need for intelligence specialists, 37 linguists were rendered useless because of their homosexuality.
Historically, military leaders have argued that allowing gays to serve would hurt unit cohesion and recruiting efforts, and infringe on the privacy rights of heterosexuals. (emphasis TeeAhr's) In 1993, at the urging of President Bill Clinton, Congress agreed to "soften" (quotes also TeeAhr's) the outright ban on gays in the militarywith a policy that came to be known as "don't ask, don't tell," which allowed them to serve as long as they kept their sexual orientation secret.
On its 10th anniversary, "don't ask, don't tell" exists in a vastly changed nation. In 1993, there was no "Will & Grace," no gay Jack on "Dawson's Cree"k," no gay-themed Miller Lite commercials. In 1993, fewer than a dozen Fortune 500 companies offered health benefits to domestic partners. Today, nearly 200 do.
The Army said the discharged linguists were casualties of their own failur to meet a known policy. "We have standards,"said Harvey Perritt, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, VA. "We have physical standards, academic standards. There's no difference between administering these standards and administering 'don't ask, don't tell.' The rules are the rules." -Washington Post