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Don't ask!

The policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell" was supposed to end the prohibition on gay and lesbian service in the military, but in reality the number of people discharged for being "gay" (or for saying they were) actually climbed for most of the decade after its adoption in 1994. All that changed after 9/11/2001, for the simple reason that the U.S. military could no longer afford to lose talented soldiers as it embarked upon one, then two, foreign wars. From a high of 1,273 in 2001, the number discharged dropped to 906 in 2002 and to 787 last year, reports the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The paradox here is that the rationale for kicking gay people out is that they detract from military effectiveness (unit cohesion, etc.), yet it's precisely when the military is on a war footing, when effectiveness is the order of the day, that it sees fit to retain more gay people in its ranks. The ineluctable conclusion is that the desire to eliminate gay people from the military has nothing to do with their ability to serve effectively, after all.
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Title Annotation:BTW; gays and the military
Publication:The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:Election 2004: this time, the stakes are real.
Next Article:Hippocratic hypocrisy.

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