Remembering Bill Clinton running into this wall brings back horrific political
memories. But this 2008. It’s time and there are a
lot of flag ranked officers who agree.
More than 100 retired generals and admirals called Monday for repeal of the
military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays so they can serve
openly, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press.
The move by the military veterans confronts the incoming administration of
President-elect Barack Obama with a thorny political and cultural issue that
dogged former President Bill Clinton early in his administration.
“As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow
gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who
are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender,
religion, and sexuality,” the officers wrote. […]
On another front, the U.S. military recently barred
Iraqi translators from wearing masks. When I first read it I gasped. Seems
like a good way to get your head blown off.
Many interpreters employed by the U.S. government and Western companies in
Iraq do everything they can to avoid being recognized on the job because extremists
have tortured and killed Iraqis accused of collaborating with the enemy.
Going over to Vet Voice to see what was being said over there about the new
policy, I wasn’t surprised to be greeted by a post from Brandon Friedman outlining
a growing backlash against it. George
Packer unloaded on Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stover, a military spokesman,
who wrote an e-mail to the Post about the change in policy: “He
expressed appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the interpreters but
said those dissatisfied with the new policy Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcan seek alternative employment.'”
Packer’s response in part:
I’m sorry, LTC Stover, but this is stupidity and callousness posing
as rectitude. For years, Iraqis working with American units were allowed to
hide their faces so that they could keep their heads on their necks. The new
order has already led to firings and a significant number of resignations,
as well as desperate measuresÃ¢â‚¬”one interpreter smearing his face with
mascara, another hoping that a new beard will keep his identity secret. This
is the kind of order that headquarters dreams up and combat troops detest.
Arsenal has more.
There is no reason to add to the “nearly 300 interpreters” slain
since 2003 in Iraq. The truth is that despite the improving security situation
the country remains a very violent place to live and work, and it will remain
so for years to come even after the current withdrawal deadline of 2011.
Idiocy. Plain and simple.