If you know the answer — please explain it to me?????

According to recent news, the U.S. military is having trouble finding enough people to send over to the desert to get killed, so they have lowered their standards and started accepting soldiers that are former convicts.

Check out this article from the Chicago Tribune. I’ll pull some quotes below. But a few comments first.

Over the *many* years I’ve been on Spaceship Earth, I’ve known quite a few gays, and quite a few lesbians. To the best of my recollection I haven’t had any issues with any of them (and quite a few really run times to boot – ever gone square dancing with a bunch of gay boys???) I suppose if I did have any issues there was nothing that big, as I’ve forgotten about it. OH YEAH — there was one time — you’ll have to go to the end of this posting to find out.

Over the years, to my knowledge, I’ve had one close encounter with a former convict. Surgery was needed to mend broken bones, and we took to calling the look I wore for the next few weeks “variations on a raccoon.” Really I never knew there were so very many shades of purple.

So really — who would you rather be “in the trenches” with?? Someone that would rather crack your head open?? Or someone that helps pull you up by the bootstraps when your head has been cracked open??

`Don’t ask’ rule’s serious tradeoffs

Published March 4, 2007

Thanks to the growing demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has had increasing trouble finding and keeping recruits. So it’s had to lower its standards. How much? Since 2003, the number of convicted felons allowed to join has nearly doubled–to 1,605 last year. The military has also welcomed nearly 44,000 enlistees convicted of serious misdemeanors. Going from an orange jumpsuit to desert camo must be a refreshing change.

But the Pentagon hasn’t eliminated its standards entirely. You still can’t serve your country if you have a thing for people of your own sex. And if you are secretly gay, you can be kicked out if your sexual orientation becomes known. Since 1993, more than 11,000 troops have been discharged under President Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. If you were in the Army, would you rather bunk next to a homosexual or an ex-con?

Many of those soldiers evicted under the existing policy have vital skills that are hard to replace, such as fluency in Arabic or Farsi. At the same time the military is discharging gays, it is compelled to embrace ex-cons. That’s the weird tradeoff we’ve chosen with don’t-ask-don’t-tell.

If the policy were only detrimental to gays, it might be justified. But right now, it looks like a policy billed as preserving military effectiveness that actually does just the opposite.


Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune’s editorial board. E-mail: schapman@tribune.com

As promised, I did once take issue with something that one of my gay friends said. He had just finished up his Master’s and was going on to his Ph.D. At the time we were both living in a University town and completely surrounded by academic type people.

Since he had finished up his thesis shortly before graduation time, I asked if he was going to go through graduation and invite his family out and such. He said “it’s ONLY a Master’s.” I really laid into him – told him that just because he is hanging around a bunch of Professors and Ph.D.s and such it doesn’t mean that a Master’s is worthless and how many people in his family have a Master’s and how many people in the town he grew up in had a Master’s or a Bachelor’s or whatever. I laid into him for about 10 minutes letting him know that his recent *accomplishment* was not worthless.

I think I scared the poor boy.

Which just goes to show — you *DO NOT* put down my friends when you’re around me, even if you’re putting down yourself.


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