You gotta hand it to the military for having their priorities straight. With a long track record of white supremacist groups stealing military equipment and giving it to their KKK buddies, they still won’t do anything to break up a network of such people operating at military bases around the country – but even while facing a shortage of Arabic translators that endangers our troops and impedes our intelligence gathering, they still find the time to boot a gay Arabic linguist out of the military.
A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified.
Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was “outed” by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
And this is hardly the first time this has happened. In 2002, they booted out 6 Arabic linguists for being gay, even while Pentagon officials admitted that the lack of Arabic speaking soldiers for interrogations, negotiations and communication was putting our soldiers at greater risk in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, the Tribune article notes:
More than 11,000 service members have been dismissed under the policy, including 726 last year — an 11 percent jump from 2004 and the first increase since 2001…
But the GAO also noted that nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic, including Copas, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in California.
Discharging and replacing them has cost the Pentagon nearly $369 million, according to the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Bravo, Pentagon. Keep the racist nutballs with a long history of stealing C-4, M-16s and anti-tank munitions, but discharge the ones who enlisted after 9/11 to help their country because they had crucial language skills that the military sorely need. That’s absolutely brilliant.