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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Friday, January 14, 2005

The wing-wang debate continues...

and still those darn columnists/activists don't know the difference between officer and enlisted. Once again it appears that those most in favor of permitting gays into the military are not especially familiar with the life of those affected.

Instapundit begins this farce by linking to a column by Deroy Murdock who whines:
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.
Got that? If you do not agree with gays in the military, read no further. This column is for those who already agree with Deroy that the Pentagon has found yet another way to fail in Iraq.
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.
Right out of the gate Deroy shows off that fact that he knows nothing of military life or the program at DLI besides what he could google from a DOD website.

"40 hour workweeks?" Don't make me laugh. Ask anyone on active duty how many hours he works per week and watch how "40" becomes pitifully low. "Two week vacations?" Every active duty person accrues 30 days paid leave each year, subject to mission priorities.
Just ask former Army Sgt. Ian Finkenbinder. The 22-year-old Eugene, Ore., native spent eight months as an Arabic linguist with the Third Infantry Division in Iraq. As a military intelligence officer, he helped other linguists collect information from captured Iraqis.
An enlisted Sgt is not a "military intelligence officer" unless he is filling the billet of what is usually an officer's position.(In the case for a four-year first term enlistee this is very unlikely.) Deroy confirms his civillian status.
Finkenbinder was honorably discharged last month.
If true, I'm glad his discharge was honorable. However, given Deroy's lack of knowledge on things military, I suspect it was an "administrative" discharge under "honorable conditions," a somewhat less desirable discharge.
Congress should replace "don't ask" with a non-discriminatory policy based on conduct, rather than orientation: Soldiers on duty, gay and straight, must keep their hands to themselves, or face expulsion. Barring such reform, commanders should be allowed to retain soldiers whose value to unit safety and mission outweighs any reservations about their sexuality.
The active duty military environment is not without it's flaws. It is marbled and veined with outmoded and derogatory attitudes towards women, racial minorities and homosexuals. Shady corners of every unit provide homophobes a haven where they feel free to act in ways that would be considered repugnant in other professions.

Our military is simultaneously the best trained, best equipped, most motivated, most successful military in the history of mankind. And during a time of war, you want to change that formula? You want to argue with that success?

By this point, you're probably wondering whether I support openly gay americans in our military. The answer is a resounding yes. But only when the time comes that they will not hinder our success. That time is not yet here.

In the meantime, Deroy, leave the important work of evolving America's military to those who know what the hell they're talking about.

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