okay, here's a little followup on the "sensitive subject" post. This article from a gay-targetted publication in the UK points out the following facts regarding the Arabic linguist recently dismissed under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
In August 2005, an anonymous individual emailed Copas’s unit, alleging there was an online profile of a unit member identifying them as gay.
Despite clear instructions that investigations into sexual orientation are only to be commenced when a service member’s command has “credible evidence” indicating the service member is gay, Copas’s command nonetheless asked him about his sexual orientation and went on to launch a full investigation into allegations about him.
The command-appointed investigating officer interviewing Copas asked such questions as, “Do you work off duty with the local community theatre?” and “Do you know or are you aware of anyone who believes you are a homosexual?”
He also recommended conducting “an inquiry…into the possibility of further homosexual conduct by member(s) of the (unit).”
Despite never learning who made the original allegations against him, Sergeant Copas was dismissed from the Army in January.
So, it's nothing really new, just a little more information on the rules regarding investigation of allegedly gay service members. I didn't know from CNN that the original accusation was merely that one of the members of the unit might have a profile up online that showed he was gay. I know that according to DADT they're not allowed to be "out" but unless the profile said something like "Hi, my name's Sargeant Joe and I'm a member of the 82nd Airborne, and I'm gay," the guy hasn't really outed himself. After all, in order to know that the guy had a gay profile, you had to be looking for gay profiles. That said, if he really outed himself under his full name and photo on the internet, I have little sympathy for him regarding his dismissal. Small as the odds are that he'd be caught by his command chain, he's not supposed to out himself at all, anywhere. Here's the thought from this article that really pegged me:
The SLDN* labelled the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell as (sic) “ineffective and convenient, weapon of vengeance in our armed forces.”
Sharra Greer, director for law and policy said: “Anyone with an axe to grind, a former partner or roommate, or an angry relative, for example, can end an otherwise promising career simply by employing rumour and hearsay. "
*SLDN - Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
And what Ms. Greer has said is what really bothers me most about the policy, on a personal level. As an American, desirous of safety, and protective of my civil liberties, I am bothered by the fact that an Arabic linguist with a clean record of service to the military was dismissed while we're supposedly fighting a "War On Terror". The fact that he was dismissed as the result of an anonymous tip by someone with an axe to grind only makes it worse. The liberal in me is incensed that 200-odd years after psychologists developed the terminology to discuss homosexuality, an orientation that insofar as we know dates back as far as heterosexuality, our society is still so freaked out by what we don't understand that we can't tolerate its presence in our midst.