City Lights links to an op-ed piece about the military's don't ask, don't tell policy, which has cost us 58 Arabic linguists and essentially left the American military speechless in Iraq.
Like the op-ed writer, I attended the Defense Language Institute but in an era when the draft was on, and the policy was don't tell and don't let anybody find out. So I had two thoughts about this piece:
1. What in the heck was going on in those Arabic language barracks?
2. In those days, public calumny of gays was so strong that lots of gays allowed themselves to be conscripted rather than admit their sexual orientation. So it was sort of just taken for granted that the homosexual composition of the military was roughly equal to the homosexual composition of America as a whole. No soldier I knew ever admitted to being gay, and maybe nobody was, but there were always stories. In fact, one guy about whom the most stories probably swirled turned out to cash in on most G.I.s' California dreaming: He fell in love with a Monterey girl.
In short, anxiety about gays in the Army was roughly equivalent to anxiety about gays in real life, and no big deal anyway you looked at it. So how did it become a principle worth compromising our military capability over?