19 Mar 2002 @ 10:23 AM 

Gotta love this nonsense. I never understood the weasel approach that Clinton took on the gays in the military issue. If he wanted to make it legal for gays to serve in the military, he could have just said so. This “don’t ask don’t tell” crap had no chance of working.


San Antonio Express-News
March 19, 2002

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy Still Contentious

By Sig Christenson, Express-News Military Writer

Capt. Monica Hill was days away from reporting to Andrews AFB in Maryland when she was told her partner of 14 years had terminal brain cancer.

Hill asked for a delay in reporting to Andrews, more than 1,000 miles away.

But months after the Air Force canceled her orders, it moved to kick Hill, a physician, out of the service under the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy ? intended, ironically, to protect gays in the armed forces.

“Captain Hill’s case illustrates the absurdity of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ? the inhumanity,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “Here is a woman who had dreamed her entire life of becoming a medical officer in the Air Force, and in the wake of losing her lifelong partner of 14 years, the Air Force’s response is to kick her out.”

SLDN, an advocate of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the armed forces, points to Hill’s experience as typical of life in a “homophobic” military that actively discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. The Pentagon, in turn, counters that it is doing its best to implement rules that will protect gays, lesbians and bisexuals now in uniform.

Depending on who’s talking, statistics from the 2001 fiscal year either prove SLDN’s point or buttress the Pentagon’s view that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is working.

The policy allows gays, lesbians and bisexuals to serve as long as they don’t reveal their sexual orientation ? as Hill did ? and as long as they don’t engage in homosexual acts. Commanders are forbidden from asking troops about their sexual orientation.

Last year, 1,250 men and women were kicked out under the policy, devised by President Clinton and enacted into law in 1993. The discharges for the 2001 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, set a new high for the policy and were the most since 1987.

SLDN said the Army had the most expulsions, with 616 soldiers booted last year. Lt. Elaine Kanellas, though, said the 480,000-strong Army likely would have the most discharges because it’s the largest service branch.

At Lackland AFB, where 328 “don’t ask, don’t tell” discharges in the 1998 fiscal year sparked dramatic changes, 23 airmen were ordered out in 2001 for being gay ? a five-year low.

“We believe we are very successfully following the (Department of Defense) guidelines,” said Dave Smith, a spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command, which oversees Lackland and 12 other bases.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” discharges have been rising throughout the military in recent years. In all, 1,212 members of the armed services were discharged under the policy in 2000, a 17 percent increase over 1999.

That year, 1,046 troops were discharged by the services, SLDN stated in “Conduct Unbecoming,” its annual report on “don’t ask, don’t tell” discharges.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Jim Cassella, said discharges have leveled off.

He also disputed SLDN’s claim that defense officials haven’t implemented a 13-point anti-harassment plan issued in 2001 by former Defense Secretary William Cohen. The plan was drafted after the Pentagon inspector general documented anti-gay harassment in the services.

Cassella conceded that even one harassment case is too many, but said the report outlined “a series of incidents that, as egregious as they may be in individual cases,” aren’t representative of the military.

SLDN’s 52-page report, released last Thursday, paints a darker picture. It logged 1,075 cases of “anti-gay harassment” in 2001, up from 871 only the year before.

Former Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon and Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters don’t know what to make of the numbers.

“Since nobody really knows what proportion of people serving in the military are gay, it’s hard to know whether that’s a large number of people leaving or a small number,” Peters said of last year’s 1,250 discharges.

He went on to say that while clusters of troops have left the military because of sexual harassment, others have simply claimed to be gay so they could get out of their service commitment.

That apparently occurred when Lackland’s discharge rate shot up, Bacon said, noting that commanders shied away from disputing recruits who wanted out.

The number of recruits kicked out of boot camp tumbled after Lackland developed a new policy that gave them time to reconsider.
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Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 Mar 2002 @ 10:23 AM

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 19 Mar 2002 @ 7:04 AM 

Well, I now understand why the web app I mentioned previously sucks ass – it uses Microsoft’s .Net framework. This sure doesn’t bode well for their future endeavors. I can’t even load the main application today.
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Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 Mar 2002 @ 07:04 AM

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