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US Army discharges needed Arabic linguists


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Cunning linguist jokes aside, the US army evidently has 'fired' crucial Arabic and Farsi speaking specialists because of their sexual orientation. As speculated in the 9/11 commission report, the 9/11 attacks could possibly have been prevented by having more Arabic translators in the system when there was an obvious dearth. In one year, (I am not sure which one, but close to the run-up to the attacks) the number of students with an undergraduate in Arabic languages in the USA was six. [source: The 9/11 Commission Report]

How can the US Army justify it's discrimination when so much is at stake? Will they say to the US public, "Well, Bin Laden won, he detonated a nuke in Washington DC, but the good news is, at least we purged the homos in our Army, even though they may have prevented the attacks..." What battle does the US military really intend to fight?

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But THELONIUS, it's a commonly known fact that you can't fire a rifle with a limp wrist :P

And with those snappy salutes that the army has, hell, someone's wrist could totally disconnect from his/her arm, and go flying off and kill someone.

No, they are right to keep gays out of the military. Everyone KNOWS that a gay can't drive a tank.

And besides, those khakis are just so, so, so un-stylish.

(I hope it's very obvious that this is sarcasm. I'd hate to have to turn around and try defend this load of bull)

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Dear PocketRocket,

(I hope it's very obvious that this is sarcasm. I'd hate to have to turn around and try defend this load of bull)
While your take is quite funny, it seems that the US Army still believes it. Are they worried that gays in the military risk 'getting caught with their pants down' in combat situations?

Interpreters, especially Arabic ones, are now, more than ever, crucial to US national security. It seems the US Army is placing it's own 'homophobia' ahead of national security.

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While your take is quite funny, it seems that the US Army still believes it. Are they worried that gays in the military risk 'getting caught with their pants down' in combat situations?

Technically - yes. But I think the majority of the justification for the anti-gay ban is the old "foxhole" cliche. Two men in a foxhole have to live _awfully_ close together, and most young men of the mentality which volunteers for infantry would be very uncomfortable with a gay partner. Likewise they wouldn't be too happy in barracks, where there is no privacy to speak of, in showers or bunks.

The thing is most specialties in the military don't live that close and aren't ever going to be in foxholes clutching a rifle waiting for a night attack - ever. This is particularly so among rear area specialties (pun acknowledged but not intended).

There is also the fear of gay NCOs and officers putting sexual pressure on young soldiers. But with the number of females in the military risen to the level it has I would have thought the non-fraternization and sexual harrassment policies in place would deal with the majority of such situations. The thing about the mixed sex thing, though, is that nudity problems don't arise. You don't see a male NCO or officer strolling through a female barracks or into a female shower to watch the soldiers. I can see young soldiers being uncomfortable with this (to say the least) if the NCO or officer were openly homosexual. In barracks situations, people live very, very close. If anyone in your platoon has a tatoo on his or her ass everyone will know it.

So that remains the basis of the ban on known homosexuals.

With people living in private homes and apartments that wouldn't be a problem. But the military retains the philosophy that everyone, be they cook, computer programmer, or yes, translater, could be ordered to pick up a rifle and get into that foxhole in an emergency. And, of course, this has actually happened on enough famous occasions that this belief is unlikely to fade any time soon.

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Dear Argus,

Two men in a foxhole have to live _awfully_ close together, and most young men of the mentality which volunteers for infantry would be very uncomfortable with a gay partner
I think that this is unfortunately true. No real basis other than homophobia, though. I worked with a few gay men, one of whom I thought may have had a 'crush' on me. We ended up being very good friends, and since I am married, he knew he had no real hope for me. This did not, in any way, influence how either of us did our job, and, if in a foxhole under fire, I'd rather have a gay man pouring shells out at the enemy at my side rather than 'going it alone'.

However, that is just me. I am comfortable with who I am.

I can see young soldiers being uncomfortable with this (to say the least) if the NCO or officer were openly homosexual.
Sadly, I can see it too, but the youngsters should be told to smarten up, rather than have a discriminatory ban on valuable assets. Incidentally, how is job performance (of the gay person) affected by the difference of being openly or 'closeted' gay? It can only be detrimental if the person is still 'in the closet' as their mind will be distracted by fear. The real problems come from the homophobia of others.
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When I was younger, I also had a personal discomfort level in the presence of gays. No good logical reason for it, probably just an offshoot of the old "homo" slurs that I grew up hearing in school.

One notable event in my life changed that outlook.

Long story short, after playing a gig in a bar, I got in a fight with this goof who was giving a waitress a hard time.

I didn't do badly, and the cops took the jerk away, but I did end up with a rather bad cut on my cheek.

While everyone else was milling around being typical bar morons and yapping about the fight, it was the gay short-order-chef who came out with a clean, damp cloth and a first-aid kit to tend my no-so-serious wound.

Until that moment, I had held him in low esteem. After that day, we became friends, and through several discussions my opinions about gays changed.

I have since become friends with several gays of both sexes, and find them to be some of the easiest people to talk to and be around. No tension, no competition, no pressure.

I would have no problem sharing a foxhole or a barracks with gays. Anyone who would simply needs to be educated. After all, it's easy to hate a segregated group from afar, but it's hard to hate someone who's sitting in front of you having a reasonable coversation with you.

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I would have no problem sharing a foxhole or a barracks with gays. Anyone who would simply needs to be educated. After all, it's easy to hate a segregated group from afar, but it's hard to hate someone who's sitting in front of you having a reasonable coversation with you.

It's not a matter of hate. People use that term indiscriminately with anyone uncomfortable with homosexuality, and it's wildly inaccurate. Standing together in a hole is one thing, changing your underwear, going to the bathroom and giving yourself a sponge bath with someone there whose sexuality causes them to be physically attractive to you is the problem for both sexes. It is why women and men are segregated, even in the military. Why don't women want to undress around men? Surely they just need to be educated! B)

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Dear Hugo,

going to the bathroom and giving yourself a sponge bath with someone there whose sexuality causes them to be physically attractive to you is the problem
I think you may have meant 'attracted'.

This is another fallacy, where heterosexuals, especially 'homophobic ones', think that a gay person must find them attractive, based solely on the fact that they are both the same sex.

It is why women and men are segregated, even in the military.
Perhaps, by this logic, we should extend that segregation to the workplace, and re-instate segregated schools.
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I have since become friends with several gays of both sexes, and find them to be some of the easiest people to talk to and be around. No tension, no competition, no pressure.

Sexuality does not determine whether or not a person is "easy to talk to". This is standard "look at me I am so enlightened" rhetoric. Personality, upbringing, circumstances, common areas of interest, sense of humor - all these may contribute to someone being easy to talk to, but I can't figure out how sexual orientation is a contributing factor.

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Dear shackwacky,

circumstances, common areas of interest, sense of humor - all these may contribute to someone being easy to talk to, but I can't figure out how sexual orientation is a contributing factor.
A while ago I noted to a friend of mine, (he is gay) that the majority of gay men I have met seem to have a tremendous sense of humour, while the majority of gay women seem to be a bit standoffish, and sometimes, angry and bitter. Interestingly, a lot of gay women I have met had been previously married or in 'committed' heterosexual relationships. A lot of them had books on 'dealing with rape' in their libraries, too.

Sexual orientation is 'a circumstance', as you above note, as well as the factor of living with sometimes secret homosexuality, in a society that is often homophobic, and sometimes overtly anti-gay.

Don't seem to know why you are confused.

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A while ago I noted to a friend of mine, (he is gay) that the majority of gay men I have met seem to have a tremendous sense of humour,

Maybe you met them because they are outgoing and have a sense of humor. Maybe, thinking outside the box here, they would be outgoing and have a sense of humour regardless of sexual orientation. Maybe the humorous outgoing thing is why you were attracted to them in the first place. What are the statistics regarding your straight friends? How many are happy/outgoing/easy to talk to as opposed to how many are grumpy, introverted and sullen?

while the majority of gay women seem to be a bit standoffish, and sometimes, angry and bitter.

Maybe its you. Have you kept records on the number of straight women in your life are bitter and angry?

It's like saying all gay men are good with fabric.

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Dear shackwacky,

Maybe you met them because they are outgoing and have a sense of humor.
Not, I met him because we worked together, and we were the only two employees. I also met several gay people as 'friends of friends', and some as fellow members of a volunteer organization. Others I met through my current place of work.
What are the statistics regarding your straight friends? How many are happy/outgoing/easy to talk to as opposed to how many are grumpy, introverted and sullen?
That is difficult to say, there are so many of both. 'Extroverted' is not the basis for being 'likable', as many extroverts can be obnoxious and rude.
Maybe its you. Have you kept records on the number of straight women in your life are bitter and angry?
At times, they all seem to be. At other times, they are all wonderful. Just like my wife.
It's like saying all gay men are good with fabric.
Nothing of the sort.
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Sexual orientation is 'a circumstance', as you above note, as well as the factor of living with sometimes secret homosexuality, in a society that is often homophobic, and sometimes overtly anti-gay

If this is true, then why are all the gay guys you meet so happy go lucky and easy to talk to. If these are the circumstances, I am afraid chatting with a hetero and haveing a good time may not be on the agenda. If they were still in the closet and afraid of homophobic anti-gays, they would probably not be "tremendously funny" or "easy to get along with". You might stress them out a bit.

Not, I met him because we worked together, and we were the only two employees. I also met several gay people as 'friends of friends', and some as fellow members of a volunteer organization. Others I met through my current place of work.
That is not what I meant. I meant to say that perhaps you feel the majority of gay men are humorous and easy to talk to because obviously it will be the humourous and easy to talk to people who will be open to friendship. Thus the majority of your gay friends should fall into that description. But if that is the case then the defining term "gay" can be left out of the equation completely. As it does not lead anywhichway to that particular person being more charming or a better speaker.

Or better with fabric. lol

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Dear shackwacky,

If this is true, then why are all the gay guys you meet so happy go lucky and easy to talk to.
Not all, I said 'the majority'.
I meant to say that perhaps you feel the majority of gay men are humorous and easy to talk to because obviously it will be the humourous and easy to talk to people who will be open to friendship.
Indeed, I cannot say too much of the introverted, bitter shut-ins, because I haven't met many. Perhaps these types are actually the majority.
But if that is the case then the defining term "gay" can be left out of the equation completely. As it does not lead anywhichway to that particular person being more charming or a better speaker.
Indeed, yet the thread was begun because of the US Army will not leave 'gay' out of the equation, and has chosen to discriminate against them even though the desperately need the 'services rendered' by some gay people.
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Indeed, yet the thread was begun because of the US Army will not leave 'gay' out of the equation, and has chosen to discriminate against them even though the desperately need the 'services rendered' by some gay people.

Oops, yes I knew that. Just dragging this one off topic, sorry its one of my soapboxes.

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Y'know, it never occured to me before this, but I'm really quite surprised that more people don't use this as a loophole to avoid service, and or combat.

Think about it; those guys that refused to go to Iraq, and bailed in one way or another, all they would have had to do was "come out of the closet" a few weeks before being sent over. Something simple, like making a blatantly obvious pass at your commanding officer.

Bing-badda-bing.

Out of the frying pan, and scott-free.

Worst case scenario.....honorable discharge.

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Something simple, like making a blatantly obvious pass at your commanding officer.

Heck, even "The Simpsons" touched on this years ago!

Principal Skinner: Er, one question remains: how do I get out of the army?

Bart: No problemo.  Just make a pass at your commanding officer!

Skinner: Done and done.  And I mean done!

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Please note that the grounds for discharge of members of the Armed Forces of the USA are established by Law, by the US Congress and the military must follow the Law.

Under President Clinton the "Don't ask, don't tell" doctrine was devised and passed into Law by Act of Congress and the discharge of homosexuals is required by the provisions of that Law. Unless and until the Congress takes action to amend that Law, such discharges are mandated. The military is unable to waive the provisions of the Law. Note the best case scenario is a General or Medical discharge which are not the same as an Honorable Discharge.

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Dear FastNed,

Please note that the grounds for discharge of members of the Armed Forces of the USA are established by Law, by the US Congress and the military must follow the Law.
Please also note, that the term "in the interests of National Security..." has been used many times to supercede existing domestic and international laws.
The military is unable to waive the provisions of the Law. Note the best case scenario is a General or Medical discharge which are not the same as an Honorable Discharge.
While the military cannot waive the provisions of the law, they can choose to ignore it, and keep it's decisions and actions secret, "in the interests of National Security".
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