RANGER AGAINST WAR: As Opposed to Helpful Bigotry... <

Monday, March 19, 2007

As Opposed to Helpful Bigotry...

Here is a link to a very reasoned argument supporting gays in the military, by Alan K. Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997 ("Bigotry That Hurts Our Military," Washington Post.)

A few excerpts:

As a lifelong Republican who served in the Army in Germany, I believe it is critical that we review -- and overturn -- the ban on gay service in the military. I voted for "don't ask, don't tell." But much has changed since 1993

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...
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.

The Army is "about broken," in the words of Colin Powell. The Army's chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told the House Armed Services Committee in December that "the active-duty Army of 507,000 will break unless the force is expanded by 7,000 more soldiers a year."
To fill its needs, the Army is granting a record number of "moral waivers," allowing even felons to enlist. Yet we turn away patriotic gay and lesbian citizens

The Urban Institute estimates that 65,000 gays are serving and that there are 1 million gay veterans. These gay vets include Capt. Cholene Espinoza, a former U-2 pilot who logged more than 200 combat hours over Iraq, and Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who lost his right leg to an Iraqi land mine. Since 2005, more than 800 personnel have been discharged from "critical fields" -- jobs considered essential but difficult in terms of training or retraining, such as linguists, medical personnel and combat engineers.
Aside from allowing us
to recruit and retain more personnel, permitting gays to serve openly would enhance the quality of the armed forces.

In World War II, a British mathematician named Alan Turing led the effort to crack the Nazis' communication code. He mastered the complex German enciphering machine, helping to save the world, and his work laid the basis for modern computer science. Does it matter that Turing was gay?
This week, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that homosexuality is "immoral" and that the ban on open service should therefore not be changed. Would Pace call Turing "immoral"?
. . .


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