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Monday, June 11, 2007

When Homophobia Helps Terrorists Win

I'm sorry. Everyone knows I try to keep politics off this blog. I rarely talk about it because this is supposed to be a more light-hearted, entertaining fare.

But honestly - this is too dumb for words, too scary, too irrational:

Today's New York Times has a an op-ed piece by Stephen Benjamin, a former US Navy Arabic translator, what the military calls a "linguist". He volunteered for the Navy, went to the Defense Language Institute to learn Arabic, and was ready and willing to go to Iraq. He never got there. Why? Because military snooping on IM exchanges between Benjamin and his roommate revealed that they are gay, as a result of which he was discharged from the Navy.

As we have discussed before on a number of occasions, the US military badly needs people with Arabic language skills. Discharging those they have merely because they are gay is stupid. Both the success of other armed forces in incorporating gay soldiers and polls of US forces indicate that it will not lead to the alleged problems of unit cohesion that constitute the only halfway credible argument against allowing openly gay soldiers.

Benjamin's account also reveals that the US is not following its announced policy of "Don't ask, don't tell.". Mr. Benjamin was not open about his gayness. He was exposed by government snooping. Apparently the administration believes that pandering to the distaste of social conservatives for homosexuality is worth the lives of American soldiers. That's a funny way of supporting the troops.
-- Don't Ask, Don't Translate [Language Log]

When your fears over what a man does in private with another man risks the security of a nation - something is wrong.
And if those fears are founded in your religious belief, you've already missed the boat when trying to wage a war against religious fanaticism. Heck, you've missed the whole damn ocean.

Again, apologies for the interruption. I'll try and find a humorous picture of someone in cosplay to amend.

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