Army Dismisses Gay Arab Linguist
Or, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell–in Any Language.”
AP has the story of Bleu Copas, a gay former soldier who was dismissed even though he seemingly complied with the terms of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified.
Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was “outed” by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “I knew the policy going in,” Copas said in an interview on the campus of East Tennessee State University, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and working as a student adviser. “I knew it was going to be difficult.”
An eight-month Army investigation culminated in Copas’ honorable discharge on January 30 — less than four years after he enlisted, he said, out of a post-September 11 sense of duty to his country.
Michael Demmons quips, “It’s a good thing we don’t need Arabic linguists then!”
Indeed. Whatever one’s thoughts on the suitability of homosexuals for infantry duty, it’s rather difficult to fathom the argument for tossing out a linguist–let alone a critical Arab linguist–on the basis of finding out he’s gay via anonymous emails.
It’s said there are no atheists in foxholes; there probably aren’t a lot of translators there, either. Further, it’s rather clear his fellow All-American paratroops had no clue he was gay; it’s unlikely, therefore, that he was harming the esprit de corps. Conversely, the potential loss of life because there’s nobody around to translate in a critical situation could be quite bad for morale.
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