March 14, 2007

Time to Nuke "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Alan Simpson shares his epiphany with the readers of WaPo.

My thinking shifted when I read that the military was firing translators because they are gay. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under "don't ask, don't tell," including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently acknowledged the nation's "foreign language deficit" and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a "straight" way to translate Arabic? Is there a "gay" Farsi? My God, we'd better start talking sense before it is too late. We need every able-bodied, smart patriot to help us win this war.

Via Ramesh Ponnuru, who points out that

At one point [. . .] Simpson seems to suggest that regarding homosexual sex as immoral is "completely out of the mainstream of American thinking," which seems false.

Yeah. On the other hand, I know both evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics with strong feelings about homosexuality being sinful: one Roman Catholic theologian I spoke with said the Church's stance was that a homosexual person was called to celibacy. The evengelicals seem divided on whether homosexuality is intrinsic, but do not seem to regard its expression as worse than any other form of sexual immorality, such as premarital sex. Both groups—the hard-core Catholics and the evangelicals—seem prepared to accept minority status in mainstream society, particularly when it comes of matters of human sexuality.

If the policy of the Armed Forces is going to be that we can't have people serving who are sinners, then our military readiness is about to sustain a very sharp drop.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 14, 2007 10:29 AM | TrackBack

I see the main point being that someone changed the name of the General Accounting Office(GAO) to the Government Accountability Office when we weren't looking. What they couldn't stick in a "People's" somewhere?

You have to take what GAO says with a whole salt lick. Remember when they found no truth to the "rumor" that the Clintonistas had taken all the Ws off the WH keyboards? You probably saw the images with your own eyes on the CBS Nightly News even. GAO based their findings on the fact that no paperwork was filed. Maybe that's because the Bush transition team leader called the local Computer Disc. Warehouse and just bought new keyboards for $15@ after learnng that the official procedure would take months and $100s per keyboard. A few hundred-dollar bills, a half-hour of a staffer's time and problem solved. The GAO investigation cost, what, a few hundred thousand?

It's probably easier to get them dismissed by "Don't ask, Don't tell" then it is to make a case for terrorist ties/sympathies. If you can't trust the translators, you might as well use Babel. Maybe the Dems can ask CAIR to help out?

It reminds me of the Mafia Don that wanted to hide a few $million and chose a deaf mute to bury it that only 'spoke' an obscure sign language--only used in a remote part of Sicily. One of the Don's soldiers learned it caring for his grandfather. When the Don wanted it back, the fellow wouldn't budge, so finally the Don told the translator to tell him that the Don has plenty of other money and if he doesn't tell where he hid it right now , he is prepared to blow his brains all over the wall and just write it off. The man signed frantically telling everything. When the Don asked the soldier what he had said, the soldier replied "He says you don't have the balls to pull the trigger!"

Posted by: Darrell at March 14, 2007 01:40 PM

D, I'm having a hard time believing that those who were dismissed as translators had terrorists ties--that seems like a real stretch.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 14, 2007 02:43 PM

All I care about is how best the military should kill people and destroy things. That's what they're there for. If homosexuals in the ranks doesn't prevent that let them be as open as can be. Hell, if the military would be better if it were 100% homosexual I'd be for that.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at March 14, 2007 06:23 PM

Do you now how hard it is to find people who don't have ties to groups that have aided radical causes? Links to groups in schools. Membership in groups contemporaneous with presence of known radicals/activists/terror suspects. Links to mosques where radicals have preached. Links to charities that send cash, then look the other way when funds are diverted for weapons purchase. You have to be able to trust translators that work in intelligence operations 100%. That is especially true for languages where you can find five experts that give you five different translations and meanings for the same phrase. The person doesn't have to be a radical themselves. They can have sympathies with those that do and decide on heir own to violate rules. Take, for example, that translator at Gitmo that secreted out notes to "family members" that turned out to be coded communications to AQ cell members in Europe. I believe he truly did believe he was doing acts of kindness. You can't have people deciding themselves what is right.

Sexual orientation doesn't matter one bit. I'd go on, but that about covers it.

Posted by: Darrell at March 14, 2007 07:55 PM

I've done a little research and there is more to this story than is being reported. First off the numbers are all over the place. Secondly, they are being reported by advocacy groups to challenge the current policy that must be changed by Congress. Remember? The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual orientation private and do not engage in homosexual acts. Apparently, the people being dismissed are reporting their sexual status to superiors who have no choice under the current policy than to process their discharge. Are this people being sent by advocacy groups to challenge the policy to begin with? Do translators discover their orientation when they get their orders to ship out to Iraq or Afghanistan? Apparently that is a factor in some of the articles on the web. Is there a link between language skills and sexual orientation, one where the percentages seem to be so out-of-step with the norm?

I stick to my answer that sexual orientation doesn't matter, but what do you suggest if the people being dismissed are reporting themselves, rather than being "hunted down" or ferreted out by the military? Change the policy? Well, OK. But tell Congress, not Bush or the military. And a pox on advocacy groups for playing games during a time of war.

Posted by: Darrell at March 14, 2007 09:22 PM


1) I know one prominent right-wing blogger who was forced out of the military when his sexual orientation was discovered. He was, in fact, a translator. The numbers may be affected by people "coming out" voluntarily, but please recall that no one on the far left is likely to be working in military intel in the first place. WE SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRING PEOPLE TO LIE ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL LIVES IN ORDER TO SERVE THIS COUNTRY. Or even cover them up. I'm all for discretion--heterosexual and homosexual--but for people to live in fear of losing their jobs is a bit much.

2) How would you feel if we simply substituted another "wild card" means of firing people? Like "it's Tuesday. Intel services get to fire people randomly on Tuesdays." That way, those with suspected ties to our enemies can be gently let go, without any black marks on their records whatsoever.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 15, 2007 11:53 AM

Fine. Let Congress change the code then. Once you do that, I think you will find that can staff the Castro District Military Recruiting Center with the Maytag Repairman. I hear he's available. And if advocacy groups have been playing games, expect to hear a lot of screaming when you no longer can get out by reporting yourself. I support the change.

Posted by: Darrell at March 15, 2007 12:17 PM

Why not have a policy of only gays in the military then their won't be any problem. You can send them to fight all over the world and not have to worry about them raping any young girls. The number of men or women lost in battle would become a good target figure. If you find any gays in the senete or congress, they would have to join their fellow brothers and sisters in the war on terror. Hey Your society will become clean of these people.

Posted by: Azmat Hussain at March 18, 2007 07:15 PM

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