Between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers. Bleu Copas, 30, was a decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist who was dismissed from the U.S. Army this July for being gay. But he was closeted and was outed by an unidentified email campaign and it was never proven. According to Andrew Sullivan the number of gay discharged Arab language specialists is now 55.
At this desperate stage you'd think, regardless of the belief that gays somehow can't serve in the military (I've got news for you, the gays I served with acquitted themselves honorably and with distinction), pragmatism might prevail. But no, we stubbornly hold our ground, even when having some of these folks on the ground might help the situation there (or might have if, instead of purging these people from the ranks a few years back, we'd have used their expertise to actually win some hearts and minds).
You know, I was thinking (a first!) last night. Bush was handed such an opportunity in 2001 to use the tragedy of 9/11 to do some good in the world. Remember back then, when 'everybody was an American'? We could have come so far in five years but instead we've fallen so low. It's this closed-minded thinking, not just on the part of the people in charge but of average Americans, that brought us to this point. It's time we grew up.