March 13th, 2009 20:17 EST
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Leads to 11 More Discharged
As a throw over from the Clinton administration, eleven soldiers were discharged from the Army in January for disobeying the U.S. Military`s guideline that states homosexual servicemen and women must keep their sexual orientation private. The information was divulged, not from Army officials, but from a Democratic Representative from Virginia.
Jim Moran, the whistle-blower, has been an outspoken opponent for the outmoded and unconstitutional policy for many years. He routinely asks for monthly reports from the Pentagon on how the policy has negatively affected service members. He admits he will be checking the status of the ill-conceived ethic until it is finally repealed.
In his statement revealed Thursday, the representative said the list of discharged members included a military police officer, a health care worker, four infantry personnel, a motor-transport technician, a water-treatment specialist and an intelligence collector.
These nine of the eleven service members are the latest victims of the sixteen-year-old policy. The Pentagon incepted the "don`t ask, don`t tell" policy after President Bill Clinton futilely attempted to raise the ban against gay members in the Armed Forces in 1993. The ethic entails that military authorities never inquire cadets and enlistees about their sexual orientation. On the flip side, enlistees must not admit they are gay or bisexual; participating in any activity construed as homosexual and/or pursuing a same sex marriage.
In a ten-year span from 1997 to 2007, the U.S. military fired close to 10,000 Armed Force enlistees for violating the policy. But from 2001 on, the discharge figures progressively decreased every year after U.S. forces began invading Afghanistan, and later in Iraq. As new recruitment rates dropped and the conflicts escalated, the Pentagon lifted enforcement of the policy just to keep uniforms filled. Putting this into perspective, over 1,200 openly "outed" members were discharged in 2000 with about the same number of individuals dismissed the following year; in 2007 however, 627, about half that number, were dismissed from service. The Pentagon hasn`t yet released the 2008 gay dismissal figures.
President Barack Obama has been actively vetting Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen on how to eventually repeal the policy. In concert with much of the intrinsic logistics of their proposals, the Obama administration hasn`t made a clear statement on setting a timetable for rectifying the issue. Some Democratic Congressional leaders have brought up the question of when Obama plans to convene with military officials over the policy and if a panel of experts will be consulted to analyze the policy in greater detail.
For the most part, Republicans in Congress are against amending the policy. Democrats in both houses mostly support doing away with the obsolete code of conduct, but since they have more crucial problems to deal with at hand, they`re not expecting to address repealing it any time soon.