Monday, June 21, 2004

Homophobia Hurting National Defense

BETH FOUHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS - Even with concerns growing about troop strength, 770 people were discharged for homosexuality last year under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a new study shows. The figure, however, is significantly lower than the record 1,227 discharges in 2001 -- just before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Since "don't ask, don't tell" was adopted in 1994, nearly 10,000 military personnel have been discharged, including linguists, nuclear warfare experts and other key specialists...

Hundreds of those discharged held high-level job specialties that required years of training and expertise, including 90 nuclear power engineers, 150 rocket and missile specialists and 49 nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare specialists. Eighty-eight linguists were discharged, including at least seven Arab language specialists.

Brian Muller, an Army bomb squad team leader who had advanced training on weapons of mass destruction and served on a security detail for President Bush, said he was dismissed from duty after deciding to tell his commander he's gay...

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