Skip to comments.The cost of intolerance
Posted on 12/06/2003 7:20:21 AM PST by Holly_P
The United States intelligence agencies have a shortage of linguists who speak Arabic and other strategically important languages. We've heard that lament numerous times since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
And so it is disconcerting, to say the least, to learn that over the last two years, the Pentagon has discharged 37 linguists because they were gay. More than half of those dismissed from the Defense Language Institute were experts in Arabic, Farsi and Korean, all vital to the nation's geopolitical concerns.
The Pentagon, it appears, feels the need for translators is less critical than the need to enforce the nation's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. That policy, a strange compromise that emerged after the Clinton administration tried to lift the ban on gays in the military, essentially said homosexuals could remain in the service as long as they kept their sexual orientation a secret. Authorities should not ask and individuals should not tell. The rule managed to elevate the useless saying, "What you don't know won't hurt you," to the level of national policy.
That was 10 years ago. Since 1993, the Washington Post reports, the rule has resulted in the dismissal of nearly 10,000 men and women from military service after they revealed their sexual orientation or it was discovered. The same story noted that during the same 10 year period, Great Britain, Israel and nearly all NATO nations eliminated bans on gays serving in the military.
The Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., is the Defense Department's principle school for teaching foreign languages.
For many years, Russian was the main language taught there, but since Sept. 11, 2000, the emphasis has shifted to Arabic. Last year, a report by the Government Accounting Office said the Army was facing what The Washington Post described as "a critical shortage of linguists needed to translate intercepts and interrogate suspects in the war on terrorism."
The Pentagon's practice of dismissing homosexual individuals is counterproductive, as is the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The policy from the outset was an attempt to pacify critics in Congress, but the compromise is built on hypocrisy. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, we note that there is no evidence that an individual's sexual orientation is an impediment to his or her ability to speak and translate a foreign language.
The Pentagon's attitude toward homosexuality is rooted in another era. Many major corporations and government agencies in recent years abandoned policies that discriminated against gays. Openly gay individuals now serve in Congress. The nation has not crumbled.
But this is not good enough for the Army, which sees nothing wrong with shooting itself in the foot by dismissing gay linguists. The Post quoted Army spokesman Harvey Perritt as saying that gay linguists violated the "don't ask, don't tell" rule and therefore are the victims of their own undoing
"We have standards," Perritt told the Post. "We have physical standards; we have academic standards. There's no difference between administering these standards and administering 'don't ask, don't tell.' The rules are the rules."
This is, of course, the rationale of a martinet and should not form the basis of policy that affects the nation's intelligence gathering capability. The country gains nothing by allowing a discriminatory policy to govern military service. On the contrary, based on reports about dismissals of people with critical skills, the policy is clearly detrimental to national interests and should be changed.
That rang a bell.
No, it should not because there HAS to be a standard. With no standard the perverted thinkers would over run morale.
If you can have gays then why not other perversions?
But it IS a potential security compromise situation. No security clearance, no job.
Sorry about your luck, Bruce, but you made your lifestyle choice.
The Pentagon's attitude toward homosexuality is rooted in another era.Yes. The Clinton era. But who cares? This article is flawed on so many levels.
Here's a little homework for the enterprising author of this article.
How many students were released from military service in DLI during the same period for being pregnant? I'll bet you a nickel it was a lot higher than 37. Will the esteemed author be calling for an all male military in his next edition?
I'm sure if you work your way through the attrition data, it'll be clear there are plenty of ways to shore up the numbers. Having been to DLI twice, I would for one suggest that the incompetent and entrenched civilian staff at the Korean school be dismissed in their entirety. Of all the CAT IV languages (Chinese, Arabic, Korean, etc) they consistently produce both the lowest test scores and the weakest proficiency. They also have the highest attrition rate. Figure that one out.
The Farsi school is supposed to be first rate. Same goes for the Chinese school, and apparently the Arabic school has seen great improvement. The author seems to have other plans on his mind besides taking a look at schoolhouse efficiency, though.
Just to recap, Congressmen don't shower together. They aren't forced to be roommates in a barracks room smaller than the space allocated to federal prisoners. They don't have to dig a hole in the ground and lay next to each other for days on end.
I have known some excellent soldiers that were commonly suspected of being gay. Almost to a man they were all female. This may be horribly stereotypical, but in practice male homosexuals don't seem to be very soldier oriented, whereas females do.
In many countries, like Korea or the Arab world, homosexuality is very common. Anyone who has experience working with either for long knows what I'm talking about. It's just bad business.
As far as civilians go, be gay all day long. I couldn't care less, and if that floats your boat, set sail. I would be happy to have a gay Senator, get auto insurance from a lesbian sales agent, and have my burning house saved by a transsexual fireman. I don't care, they're only providing a service. I really don't think it's any of the governments business EXCEPT in how it relates to the military. It really does effect esprit de corps, trust and cohesion, and for those reasons alone it should be banned.