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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Harming the War on Terror July 27, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in bush administration, lgbt Issues, military.

The Bush administration has made sure the entire world knows the immense threat terrorists and Islamic extremists pose to world peace. Controversial domestic spying programs have been initiated to combat the threat: wire-tapping, scanning financial transactions and purchasing extensive phone records from America’s largest wireless phone providers. Despite concerns over privacy rights, the administration has argued in times of war, drastic steps are often taken to protect the nation.

One of the largest obstacles to fighting the war on terror has been the communications gap between intelligence services in the United States and Islamic extremists abroad. As Newsweek reported recently, it has been difficult for the government to find the Arabic speakers necessary to effectively monitor the thousands of communications between potential terrorists worldwide. The language-barrier has been an on-going challenge for the FBI, CIA and Department of Defense.

Despite the almost desperate need for qualified Arabic-speaking intelligence officers, a 30-year-old decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed by the U.S. Army last January. Sgt. Bleu Copas had served his country for almost four years, saying he joined up because he wanted to fight for America after the horrific events of September 11th. Now, this valuable player in the war on terror is job-hunting with discharge papers in hand.

Sgt. Copas was not dismissed because of harassment, sexual assault or any of the other problems that have plagued our military in recent years. He was dismissed because a fellow servicemember sent an email to his superior that claimed Copas was gay. After confirming the email’s assertion, Copas was honorably discharged from the U.S. military under the government’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was enacted during the Clinton administration as a compromise bill – Clinton wanted gay and lesbian people to be able to serve openly in the military and conservative members of Congress hoped to maintain the ban on gay members. The compromise allowed gay and lesbian people to serve in the military, but forbid them from telling a soul about their sexual orientation.

In the last year, 726 servicemembers were kicked out of the military because they are gay or lesbian. Since the World Trade Center fell, 55 Arabic language specialists have been dismissed under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

At a time when Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are infiltrating the military in record numbers, the U.S. government is dismissing invaluable Arabic-speaking gays and lesbians simply because of their sexual orientation. Aside from disrespecting gay and lesbian people serving the country, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has compromised the Bush administration’s war on terror. The government faces an immense task in controlling Islamic extremists, yet precious resources are being thrown out the door because of a policy that relies on blatant discrimination.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” needs to be repealed because it places our country in greater danger and discriminates against people who fight for a free and fair America. The military has never had to follow civilian laws, including legislation banning discrimination, but that does not mean “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is what’s best for the country. There are many reasons “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed, and only one preventing it from happening: homophobia.

If the Bush administration truly believes the war on terror is a higher priority than pleasing social conservatives, he would immedialtely call for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. His extremist base may hate the idea of gay and lesbian servicemembers being treated as equal, but pleasing his base should not take priority over valuable men and women who are willing to fight the war on terror.

Find out more at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.



1. T.R. - July 27, 2006

The worst part about this whole episode is that the guy never even told fellow soldiers about his sexual orientation. His superior asked him if he was gay or not, a blatant violation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s good to know our country prefers to continue attacking gay soldiers instead of taking the time to think about what is best for protecting our nation.

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