Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Statistics, Obama, Protests; a Discharge a Day Keeps the Christian Right Away

     Don't Ask, Don't Tell had a busy week. 


     President Obama was heckled during a speech in Los Angeles for dragging his feet on the DADT repeal.  Staying true to form, he promised change, saying that LGBT persons have an ally in him.

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    six military officers discharged under DADT, lead by Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence in protest of Obama's failure to realize his campaign promise to repeal the discriminatory policy.  CBS News reports:
     GetEQUAL identifies the six protesters as Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas. Pietrangelo was arrested with Choi last month as well.   
     "We're tired of people just giving us lip action," Thomas says in a video posted to the GetEQUAL Web site. She vows to hold the president responsible until the policy is repealed. "Just put your money where your mouth is," she says in the video to Mr. Obama, who vowed to repeal the policy both as a candidate and as president. "If you're going to say that you're going to do something, do it. Because anything else is just a lie."
     Police banned reporters from the scene of the protest and closed Lafayette Park, Politico's Ben Smith reports, an unusual move that one reporter deemed "ridiculous."
     Police banned reporters from being able to cover the story?  Don't we live in a country, where the First Amendment explicitly points out that the government can't restrict the free speech of the news media?  What kind of change is this, President Obama?

     Wednesday and Thursday

      Statistically, each day, at least one homosexual military officer is dismissed under the discriminatory prescriptions of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  This week alone, eight or nine lives will be turned upside down, careers lost, and your tax dollars put to work, in discriminating against persons, who want to protect your civil rights in the world.


     Service Members United released the latest statistics, the number of homosexual discharges under DADT, and the numbers are likely underestimated, because certain military branches aren't telling:
     “As expected, this record low in total annual ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharge numbers reflects a continuing downward trend, as military commanders continue to ignore this law that is clearly outdated and which impairs their unit readiness,” said Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the current Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “But this new number still means that 443 lives were unnecessarily turned upside down in 2009, 443 careers were unfairly terminated, and military units unexpectedly lost a valuable asset 443 times last year as two wars raged.”
     Although only 443 total discharges are included in the official statistic for fiscal year 2009, the true number of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharges is very likely higher. When pressed by Servicemembers United, the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Freedom of Information Office confirmed on three separate occasions in late 2009 and early 2010 that the internal source of their annual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers is the Defense Manpower Data Center, and that Defense Manpower Data Center statistics do not include discharges from the Reserves or the National Guard.
     On this revelation, Nicholson added, “It is indeed surprising to learn now that the annual discharge numbers have been underreported. Policy makers, the media, and the American public rely on these numbers to make decisions and judgments about the costs of this policy."
Image Credits:
DADT Protest at White House: GetEqual
Which is the gay one?: Tribune Media

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