Strange priorities

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen comments on a report that since 1998, the US military has discharged 20 service personnel who spoke or had studied Arabic because they had “been caught being gay.”

This country, this government, this Congress and social conservatives in states both blue and red have so much invested in anti-gay policies that they will, if need be, jeopardize national security. It does not matter that Arabic interpreters are badly needed in Iraq, where they could save lives. What matters more — what is downright paramount — is that no gays get into the military or, if they do, that they stay deep in the closet, where, of course, they are smugly felt to belong. This is national policy.

In other words, on this issue, the Bush administration puts a higher priority on appeasing its extreme social-conservative supporters than it does on the urgent need for people– regardless of sexual orientation– with skills that can help protect Americans and others.

And some people think gays are strange. Someone needs to ask Bush what he thinks about this at the earliest opportunity.

(Via Andrew Sullivan.)