Approximately forty House Representatives are urging the Pentagon to reconsider its ban on gay Arabic linguists. Spearheaded by Representative Marty Meehan – the Massachusetts politico who regularly fights “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – the collective asks the Pentagon to justify booting 58 gay Arabic linguists.
Speaking on his own behalf, Meehan pondered:
At a time when our military is stretched to the limit and our cultural knowledge of the Middle East is dangerously deficient, I just can’t believe that kicking out able, competent Arabic linguists is making our country any safer.
The outcry comes after government officials fired three more gay linguists, including Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Benjamin…
Benjamin claims that the Navy wanted him to sign a contract denying his homosexuality, but his lawyer advised against it. Benjamin, who served in the Navy for four years, also claims that officials knew he did dudes, but didn’t take offense until he sent an incriminating email:
I’d always had been out since the day I started working there. We had conversations about being gay in the military and what it was like. There were no issues with unit cohesion. I never caused divisiveness or ever experienced slurs… I was always discreet, I never considered it would be an issue… But, it was more aggressive than I thought.
In the aforementioned emails, Benjamin says he “may” have referenced being gay or going on a date, but nothing overtly queer. Military officials searched his computer, found the messages to his roommate, a gay soldier stationed in Iraq and then proceeded to push the out, so to speak.
Meehan’s new offensive recalls Congressman Gary Ackerman’s harsh words for Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice:
It seems that the military has gone around and fired a whole bunch of people who speak foreign languages – Farsi and Arabic… For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are [of] terrorists, but they’re very brave with the terrorists. If the terrorists ever got hold of this information, they’d get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.
It’s not funny ’cause it’s true…
Hearing sought over linguists’ discharge [Houston Chronicle]