FUXX0RED Priorities

I have bitched about this before, but it needs to be discussed again and again and again:

Name the greater risk to national security: patriotic military translators who happen to be homosexual or anti-American Islamofascist terrorists who happen to be homicidal. If you picked the latter, thanks for putting U.S. safety first. Alas, the Pentagon disagrees.

According to new Defense Department data, between fiscal years 1998 and 2003, 20 Arabic- and six Farsi-language experts were booted from the military under President Bill Clinton’s 1993 “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy. These GIs trained at the elite Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. Had they graduated _ assuming 40-hour workweeks and two-week vacations _ they could have dedicated 52,000 man-hours annually to interrogate Arab-speaking bomb builders, interpret intercepted enemy communications or transmit reassuring words to bewildered Baghdad residents.

Preparation for these vital activities ends when a dedicated warrior is found to be gay. Under “don’t ask,” if that GI’s homosexuality becomes evident, he must stop conjugating verbs and head home.

I was in the army for ten years, and was against homosexuals in the military for the first five years or so. I was young, bigoted, and wrong. The Joint Chiefs and higher military brass don’t have youth as an excuse.

(via Instapundit)

4 replies
  1. 1
    KorLing says:

    I’m a graduate of the DLI-FLC (Korean). I was there in the mid-80’s.

    This is much less an issue than it seems to be. The training that DLI-FLC gives is prepatory for the military aspect of the job. Basically, the linguists in question would have gone on to technical training and ultimately been responsible for Arabic/Farsci ‘communications of interest’ which is synomymous with military activities.

    The depth of knowledge needed to translate civillian communications (greetings, converstation, small talk) is far different from understanding whether Achmed is being told (in Arabic) to drive the tank or park it. Back when this story was new, I thought it wasn’t particulary applicable to the War on Terror.

    The training needed to understand those communications or read those papers falls outside what these soldiers would have gone through. You’re looking for native speakers, not guys who can understand comms checks between air defense resources.

    My class had a wash-out rate of over 85%, so, in a sense, I would call the training ‘elite’, but the notion that these guys were the pointy tip in the war on terror is a bit off.

    KorLing –

    who has no problem with gays in the military, except for Andrew Sullivan – him I have some concern about.

  2. 2
    Alec Rawls says:

    Whether homosexuals should be in the military is by no means obvious and has nothing to do with bigotry. By placing young men in an all-male environment, the military is forced to deal with a sexually unnatural situation. It is perfectly plausible that allowing homosexuals, or out-homosexuals, would be ruinous for morale. Anyone who thinks of this as catering to the bigotry of heterosexual enlisted men is being a bigot themselves. Being denied the normal expression of one’s heterosexuality is bad enough without being surrounded by abnormal sexuality. Only a bigot is unwilling to account the real costs to heterosexuals of such a situation.

    On the other side of the equation is the loss of homosexual talent. Which is more important is for the military to decide. There is no issue of rights here. Homosexuals don’t have a right to be in the military any more than women or flatfoots. Anyone can be properly discriminated against for cause. That is why racial discrimination is properly barred. It is not a meaningful difference, while homosexuality obviously is. The Clinton administration decided to split hairs and say that homosexual behavior matters while homosexuality itself does not, which is fine, though the broader discrimination is also perfectly tenable, just as with women in the military, if the military judges that it makes a difference.

    The loss of the translators is indeed important, but the blame should not be placed all on the military’s restrictions on homosexuals. If the homosexuals involved had honored their contracts, the training would not have been wasted. They should either have honored “don’t ask, don’t tell,” or they should never have joined the military in the first place. The loss of talent is an unavoidable cost of restricting homosexuals in the military, but the loss of training was purely due to the failure of the homosexuals involved to meet their contractual obligations.

  3. 3

    A military member’s sexual orientation need not and should not be an issue one way or another. The services shouldn’t be in the business of trying to ferret out homosexuals, and homosexuals/lesbians shouldn’t engage in behavior that would reveal their orientation. Nor should heterosexuals.

    Fact check: Military folks get 30 days of paid leave a year, not two weeks.

    The point about losing people with needed, useful skills and talents because of something that shouldn’t be a consideration is well taken.

  4. 4
    russ says:

    Thanks Anderson for your Kerry’s Cambodia like grasp of the real world… Quite entertaining…

    I not overly suprised that Reynolds, the B.J. blogger, and others are quick to apply their moral relativism towards behavior that most people find reprehensibl at best…

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