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Friday, April 08, 2005

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 "Don't ask, don't tell" under pressure as recruiting falls

Capitol Hill Blue reports that an Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq wants a chance to remain in the military as an openly gay soldier, a desire that's bringing him into conflict with the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, of Utica, Ohio, was awarded the Purple Heart after a grenade sent pieces of shrapnel into his arm, face and legs while he was operating a machine gun on an armored Humvee last May.

"We can't keep hiding the fact that there's gay people in the military and they aren't causing any harm," said Stout, who says he is openly gay among most of his 26-member platoon.

After reading about Stout's plight it dawned on me that the current environment might be an ideal to challenge the absurd "don't ask, don't tell" policy:
The Army fell almost one-third short of its recruiting goal in March, its second consecutive month of shortfall amid concerns that the Iraq war is discouraging young people from enlisting.

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey had said recently that internal forecasts indicated the Army was likely to miss its monthly recruiting goals in March and April, although he and other Army officials have said they remain cautiously optimistic of reaching the full-year target of 80,000 recruits.
Click here

The Army has not missed its full-year target since 1999.

It will be interesting to watch the wingnuts squirm as they struggle to find more cannon fodder for their oil war while people like Stout who wish to serve get barred from doing so.

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