Since keeping its base happy was more important than actually collecting information on terrorists, the Bush administration discharged as many as 37 soldiers who were training to be Arabic translators. And this was just since 2002 – after 9/11!
Why were they discharged? Because they were openly gay. This was strikingly shortsighted behavior two years ago, and it may now be coming back to haunt Americans.
In certain parts of the military, openly gay soldier have not been discharged when their skills were deemed necessary to national security. But what could be more necessary to national security at this time than skilled Arabic translators?
On September 27, 2004, the FBI announced that it was behind in translating Arabic documents and tapes. Not only that, but some tapes were being automatically deleted before they could be examined. Since the FBI typically hires many former military members, they might not be so far behind if not for the institutionalized homophobia of the Bush administration.
The only way we can maintain a civil, modern, safe society is to use the talents of all. I want a president in office who understands this, and that’s why I’m voting for John Kerry.
[[I’ve also submitted this as a Letter to the Editor at the Post-Gazette, and added it as a page to The Facts Do Matter.]]