Friday, Oct 23, 2020
 
search SGN
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
click to go to click to visit advertiser's website


 

 

Speakeasy Speed Test

Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
 
 
click to go to advertisers website
 

It takes a felon to raise an army
by Libby Post - SGN Contributing Writer

The armed forces use "moral waivers" to let convicted felons in while using morality to throw Lesbians and Gays out. Where is the logic in that?

Oh, right, I'm talking about the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines  it's not about logic. It's about men being macho. Queers in their ranks make them go soft. Rapists, child molesters, and murderers, on the other hand, make military men harder, tougher, more able to kill.

Sorry if my sarcasm is getting the better of me, but it just really pisses me off that competent Lesbians and Gay men who actually want to serve their country are being discharged while the door is open to convicted felons.

I'm not alone in my anger. I spoke with Joan Darrah, a retired naval captain, the other day about this. Darrah and I met in 2006. I was working for Outgames in Montreal, and she was a runner whom I helped promote as one of the Games' "poster children."

Darrah retired from the Navy as an Intelligence Community Manager after 29-and-a-half years of service. 9/11 was the reason. She walked out of a meeting at the Pentagon about 10 minutes before one of the hijacked airplanes crashed into it. She lost a number of colleagues that day. Knowing that if she had been killed no one would have known to contact her partner, Darrah decided it was time to retire not only her captain's uniform but the professional closet she was living in. She is now one of the poster children for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

"Well, you know, the Army needs a few good felons," Darrah told me with that edge of sarcasm that I have come to love in Lesbians and Gay men. "Every day I'm happier than ever that I'm not in the military. I'm now really angry and even embarrassed that this country has gone so Neanderthal. John McCain and his cohorts say 'don't ask, don't tell' is working. That's the same group that years ago said that segregating black and whites in the military was working, and that having women doing administrative and not active-duty jobs worked. Racism and sexism were the only explanation then. Homophobia is the only reason now."

The "felons over Gays" controversy erupted recently, when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a longtime LGBT ally, released data that showed the number of Army moral waivers granted to felons increased from 249 in 2006 to 511 in 2007, and that the Marine waivers increased from 208 to 350.

Among those given Army waivers were three soldiers who had been convicted of manslaughter, one convicted of kidnapping, 11 convicted of arson, 142 convicted of burglary, three convicted of indecent acts with children, seven convicted of sexual assault, and three convicted of making terrorist threats. According to a military spokesperson, one of the "terrorist" threats was that of a 14-year-old threatening to blow up his high school.

"This data shines a bright light on the outrageousness and absurdity of 'don't ask, don't tell,'" said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), in a press release issued in response to Waxman's report. "On the one hand, the Pentagon is discharging highly qualified, honest, law-abiding men and women because they are Gay, while on the other hand granting waivers to rapists, killers, kidnappers, and terrorists. Repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' will reduce the need to grant felony waivers."

So while the Army and Marines are welcoming this cadre of guys with questionable morale turpitude with open arms, the Pentagon used "don't ask, don't tell" to discharge approximately 700 Lesbian or Gay service members in 2006. These are law-abiding, love-my-country, want-to-protect-it folks who never committed a felony offense in their life. Their only offense is wanting to wake up with someone the military considers the "wrong" person.

With the end of this senseless war nowhere in site, and the military in a personnel crisis, it just makes sense that keeping felons out and the Gays in is a much better strategy. But since the military has a commander in chief who would rather have a "strategery" than a strategy, it's not surprising that rapists, murderers, and child molesters are more valued than linguists, intelligence officers, and decorated soldiers.

Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached care of this publication or at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog


: http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS?
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2007

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News