Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pace off Base Part Deux . . . .

Ain't it just always the way?

Sharp Drop in Gays Discharged From Military Tied to War Need

By Ann Scott Tyson - Washington Post Staff Writer - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The number of homosexuals discharged from the U.S. military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy dropped significantly in 2006, according to Pentagon figures released yesterday -- continuing a sharp decline since the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts began and leading critics to charge that the military is retaining gay men and lesbians because it needs them in a time of war.

According to preliminary Pentagon data, 612 homosexuals were discharged in fiscal 2006, fewer than half the 1,227 discharged in 2001. On average, more than 1,000 service members were discharged each year from 1997 to 2001 -- but in the past five years the average has fallen below 730. The data were provided to The Washington Post in response to a request.

"It is hypocritical that the Pentagon seems to retain gay and lesbian service members when they need them most, and fires them when it believes they are expendable," said Steve E. Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit that opposes the policy.

More than 10,870 military personnel have been discharged under the policy since President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993. The law requires that gay service members keep their sexual orientation private and do not engage in homosexual acts, and it prohibits commanders from asking about sexual orientation.

The dismissed have included Arabic speakers and other linguists, intelligence experts and medical personnel -- all of whom are in short supply. In 2005, for example, 49 medical workers were discharged.

Even though General Pace considers us "immoral", I guess we're good enough for cannon fodder, eh? Perhaps he should listen to what former Republican Senator Alan Simpson has to say on the matter - It could enlighten him.

Get us out of here . . . .

No comments: