This op-ed by Nathaniel Frank. "a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara," begins with the same juxtaposition of news items -- gays suing over the military's policy of discharging them, and straight soldiers' suing over the military's policy of not discharging them -- that I noted in this post. However, it offers much more in the way of numbers:
This year the Pentagon approved the recall of 72 veterans in communication and navigation, but it has expelled 115 gay troops in that category since 1998; it recalled 33 in operational intelligence but has expelled 50 gays; in combat operations control, it recalled 33 but expelled 106.Perhaps the most important statistics are at the end of the piece:
Overall, the military has announced the recall of 5,674 veterans since June, but has discharged 6,416 soldiers under its "don't ask, don't tell" policy since 1998, including 1,655 since the wars in the Middle East began. The discharges covered people in 161 occupational specialties, including linguists; intelligence personnel; nuclear, biological and chemical warfare experts; artillery specialists; and missile guidance and control operators.
But it should not require judicial action to end the ban on gays in the military. From a military standpoint, the policy is unwise. And politically, the moment may be near when public support of gays in the military makes Congressional action possible. Seventy-nine percent of the public now favors letting gays serve openly. For the first time, a majority of junior enlisted personnel support open gays in the military.(While I was checking to see if Phil Carter had put in his two cents on the issue, I saw an interesting post from last week about what I would consider to be a similar controversy, women in front-line combat.)