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Old 08-09-2006, 04:18 PM   #1
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award-winning West Point thesis challenges "don't ask, don't tell"

[q]West Point thesis challenges gay policy
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
Tue Aug 8, 5:05 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Alexander Raggio says he was 16 when he learned one of his relatives was gay — and watching that person's struggle gave him a grim introduction to discrimination against gays.

He carried those feelings into West Point, and in his senior thesis argued that the military's policy banning gays is not only wrong, but harmful to the Army.

The Pentagon may not agree, but the U.S. Military Academy gave him an award for the paper.

"I love the Army and I think that this is hurting the Army," said Raggio, 24, in an interview this week from his new military post at Fort Riley, Kan. "I see it as my obligation to say 'I don't agree with what you're doing.' I'm not being insubordinate — I just think we're making a mistake here."

He said it was the first time he had spoken publicly about the paper or the award, which he received last year when he graduated from West Point in New York.

While the topic was controversial, and the argument contrary to the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, Raggio was presented the Brig. Gen. Carroll E. Adams Award for the best senior thesis in the art, philosophy and literature major in the academy's English department.

"It won independent of the subject matter and content," said his thesis adviser Richard Schoonhoven, a philosophy professor at West Point. "It was a closely argued piece of philosophical prose. He tackled a substantive issue, took a stand and didn't back down from the controversy. He presented a good case."

Initially Raggio worried about a backlash from his paper, saying people told him, "There's a possibility this will come back to haunt you, that people will use it against you." But in the end, he said he felt obligated to say what he thought.

"The Army often talks of doing the harder right rather than the easier wrong, and now it is time to put the policy where the propaganda is," he wrote in his 24-page thesis. "Allowing the open service of gays in the military is the right thing to do, no matter how difficult a transition it may be."

Under the Pentagon's policy, the military is prohibited from inquiring about the sex lives of service members, but those who openly acknowledge being gay must be discharged. There were 726 military members discharged under the policy during the year that ended last Sept. 30.

"I have a problem where you have a military that says you can't discriminate based on race; in all but very minimal ways you can't discriminate based on gender, and you can't discriminate based on religion or lack of religion. The only people not getting a fair shake were homosexuals," said Raggio, who is from Muncie, Ind., and describes himself as "about the straightest guy you can imagine."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060808/...NlYwMlJVRPUCUl

[/q]



oh, and btw, 55 Arabic language translators have been dismissed from the military for being gay.

don't ever believe the Pentagon when they tell you they are serious about winning the War on Terror.
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:22 PM   #2
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My friends in the ROTC (some who have even served in combat overseas already) say the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy doesn't work and it's a load of bull. There need to be serious changes made.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:13 PM   #3
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That's awesome! I'm glad someone had the (no pun intended) balls to make such a bold stand. The fact that he is a heterosexual defending homosexuals to the U.S. Army . . . that is just so impressive. Putting his military career on the line . . . that is courageous. Good for him!

I'd love to read his thesis. I wonder if you can find it online.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:24 PM   #4
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http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/Publ...ggioDADTDB.pdf
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:28 PM   #5
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I have never liked the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. It's stupid to throw away brains and expertise just because someone is gay.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:31 PM   #6
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there have been 55 Arab linguists fired from the army because they were gay.

here's one:

[q]To: National and State Desks

Contact: Rebecca Sawyer of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, 202-328-3244 ext. 102 or rasawyer@sldn.org

WASHINGTON, July 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The U.S. Army recently discharged a highly regarded Arabic linguist who was the target of an anonymous email "outing" campaign. Former Sergeant Bleu Copas was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was a member of the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division. A decorated Sergeant who received impressive performance reviews, Copas also performed in the 82nd Airborne Chorus. His dismissal, under the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel, brings the total number of Arabic language specialists dismissed under the ban to at least 55. Neither Copas nor his command know who was the source of the email campaign.

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=69885

[/q]



just how serious are we about this war?
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Old 08-14-2006, 08:41 PM   #7
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They shouldn't be firing Arab linguists. We need those guys in the Middle East. This is just plain stupid.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
They shouldn't be firing Arab linguists. We need those guys in the Middle East. This is just plain stupid.
That's for sure. There's no shortage of stupid policies. I only wish the higher-ups in the military would have spoken up sooner. I think, (and hope) that Pres. Clinton did the best he could, but the mainly republican congress' homophobia one the day. Let's hope that this policy's days are numbered. I wouldn't recommend holding our breath on it tho.
Is ther anything specific (a congressman to write to or a petition?) we can do so that our voices are heard in this regard?

P.S. I enjoyed looking at your art verte76.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:57 PM   #9
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As Commander in Chief, this was Clinton's policy.
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
As Commander in Chief, this was Clinton's policy.
Which for at the time it was a step in the right direction because they wanted to kick gays out of the military.
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
As Commander in Chief, this was Clinton's policy.
Yeah dude, I know that. It wasn't his first choice however. If I remember correctly he started out with a more liberal policy but it got butchered by the republican congress, hence my remark about the homophobic congress (and no it wasn't just the Republicans) The military also fudged around with the intitial policy that did include protections for gays and lesbians in the military. Clinton didn't go around flexing his commander-in-chief muscle like King George Dubya does, that's why I said: he did the best he could. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough, that's why the policy sucks.
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
As Commander in Chief, this was Clinton's policy.
Remembering back to 1993, DADT was an appropriate, incremental step for its time. It was meant to prevent all the "gay baiting" that was prevalent in the military at the time.

In practice, the latter hasn't changed at all, and DADT, 13 years later, has outlived its usefulness. If the military has problems with gays in the military, I consider it a deficiency in the military, not an excuse to exclude gays. Of course, when I read all the examples of intolerance that's rampant in the military, I'd say its symptomatic of a complete lack of professional ethics, and it's an utter embarrassment. That's where we end up with fiascos like Abu Ghraib.

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Old 08-15-2006, 10:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
As Commander in Chief, this was Clinton's policy.


and it's a really bad policy.

Colin Powell supports it too.

it's still a bad policy.

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Old 08-15-2006, 10:18 AM   #14
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Key sentence:

Quote:
"I have a problem where you have a military that says you can't discriminate based on race; in all but very minimal ways you can't discriminate based on gender, and you can't discriminate based on religion or lack of religion. The only people not getting a fair shake were homosexuals."
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