Letter Published in Washington Post
Monday, March 20, 2006; Page A14
I commend the March 7 editorial "Now Repeal the Ban," which assailed the Pentagon's policy of barring openly gay and lesbian citizens from military service. The editorial correctly attributed the ban to "bigotry and inertia."
The front-page article the same day about the Supreme Court decision upholding the right of the military to recruit on the campuses of law schools that accept federal funding quoted one of the staunchest supporters of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), as saying, "This decision will ensure that the military will continue to be comprised of our nation's finest -- men and women who know how to defend our country in a manner consistent with our values and principles."
The values and principles Mr. Cornyn heralds are being compromised more by the Pentagon's lowering of standards to allow convicted felons and drug addicts into the armed forces to meet enlistment quotas than by gays and lesbians who refuse to deny or hide their true selves.
For example, Pentagon records indicate that at least 88 gay and lesbian language specialists were discharged between 1998 and 2004, of whom 20 were proficient in Arabic. These linguists would have been useful in gathering intelligence in the war on terrorism.
The rationale for discharging gays and lesbians from the military is that their acknowledged sexual orientation would hurt the morale of the troops. Does the recruitment of criminals boost troop morale?