CommunityPam's House Blend

As skilled gays are discharged, military looks to immigrant population as recruiting pool

Even with the economy in the sh*tter, the military is still having a hard time recruiting to fill the needs with the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new pilot program to recruit immigrants that will offer a quick path to citizenship is being launched even as the military is still discharging trained gay and lesbian Americans who have served their country. While this is a great enticement for those who want to become a permanent part of the American quilt, this points out more of the absurdity of retaining DADT as policy.  Aubrey Sarvis of SLDN:

There are certain requirements — language skills (interestingly, Spanish is not one of them) or medical training, for example. Julia Preston writes in the Times: “Recruiters expect that the temporary immigrants will have more education, foreign language skills and professional expertise than many Americans who enlist, helping the military to fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis.” The Army’s top recruitment officer, Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, is quoted as saying, “There will be some very talented folks in this group.”

I don’t care to mull over — it’s too depressing — what that says about our natural-born citizens who’ve made it at least part way through the American public educational system. It does suggest, though, that the money President Obama marked for education might be well spent.

There are certain limitations on the new recruiting program. It will start small — one thousand recruits to begin with — and most of them from the New York area. But if the program works, as it no doubt will, it will expand to include all branches of the military. “For the Army,” the Times reports, “it could eventually provide as many as 14,000 volunteers a year, or about one in six recruits.”

Sadly I can’t say that I’m incredulous but I can say that I marvel at the contortions our government goes through to avoid welcoming gays and lesbians openly into the armed services, whether they be skilled, highly skilled, or not skilled at all. Are we more dangerous than a Pashto-speaking kid who arrived a couple of years ago from Afghanistan? Is our loyalty more suspect than that of a native speaker of Arabic, or Chinese, or Tamil, or Russian, or Kurdish, or Igbo? Is our sexual orientation contagious? Was someone going to catch it from one of the 66 Arabic linguists — a mission critical skill — discharged because of their sexual orientation?

Immigration is what made this country grow to greatness. Except for Native Americans, the origins of every one of us lie elsewhere. Country of origin is not the issue. If it were, Barack Hussein Obama would not be president. So this is not an anti-immigrant rant. Far from it. It is, however, a strong argument against the law passed by Congress in 1993 that explicitly excludes gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces of the United States. One might say that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is the only legacy of Jim Crow still on the books.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding