Saturday, May 05, 2007

Opinion (Clarence Page): Don't ask, don't tell, don't leave

WASHINGTON -- How much harm do gays and lesbians really cause in the ranks of the military? Not much, it turns out.

Judging by the latest discharge figures, the military's policy is really: "Don't ask, don't tell. Just keep fighting!"

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made more news than he wanted to... when he called homosexual acts "immoral" during a meeting with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board.

Pace expressed mild regret for divulging his personal views instead of sticking with the official Pentagon line. But he stopped short of an apology to all of the gay and lesbian military personnel whose service and sacrifices he had insulted.

That's a shame, when you consider another less ballyhooed news development that came to light that same week: the release of the latest Pentagon figures on how many service personnel actually have been discharged for reasons connected to their being gay or lesbian.

In 2006, it turns out, gay-related discharges fell to 612 from a peak of 1,273 in 2001.

Read the rest at the Chicago Tribune