Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Via Cosmic Iguana, forget about terrorists and the hundred thousand-plus hours of terrorism-related recordings we don't have enough manpower to translate; the greatest threat to our national security is posed linguists! Does that mean we'll be adding a Code Pink to the Homeland Security Alert System?
Confronted with a shortage of Arabic interpreters and its policy banning openly gay service members, the Pentagon had a choice to make.

Which is how former Spec. Glover came to be cleaning pools instead of sitting in the desert, translating Arabic for the U.S. government.

In the past two years, the Department of Defense has discharged 37 linguists from the Defense Language Institute for being gay. Like Glover, many studied Arabic. At a time of heightened need for intelligence specialists, 37 linguists were rendered useless because of their homosexuality.

To discuss this, we are joined by Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

AMY GOODMAN: The significance of this, the story just coming out now, and can you explain what is happening?

NATHANIEL FRANK: Well, the story is not just coming out now, but it's been updated since we now have this number of 37 linguists having been fired under the policy at a time of heightened national security. And last year when the story first came out, to take one example, the Army had 84 slots to fill of Arabic translators and could only fill 42 of them. So if you take this number, 37, it's a very high number of slots that could have been filled that the government is deciding shouldn't be filled because it's insisting on enforcing an outdated policy.
At least I can sleep well at night, secure in the knowledge that the overworked Arabic-language translators in our military will not be assisted by homosexuals. How comforting it is to see the government putting it's moronic homophobia ahead of our national security!