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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 6, 2009 at 5:08 PM

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy

Cut the ancient anchor preventing full democracy and pride

I believe the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is as outdated as the Vietnam-era G.I. Bill, which has now been modified. We need to cut this anchor, which continues to keep us from being a fully democratic country.

I was a sergeant in the Army Infantry in Iraq and I was able to do my job, even though I am gay. Some of my Army buddies had known about it, but did not care.

I led men in Iraq safely and brought them all home, not because I am gay or straight, but because I am just a man like any other human being.

Let’s lift this ancient ban and allow anyone to serve and still be able to keep their pride at the same time.

— Ricky Mirabal, Renton

Degrading our capability as a 21st-century nation

I am a Vietnam-era veteran. I served in the United States Army Security Agency as a battalion legal specialist for the 1 year, 11 months and 16 days I was overseas.

During this time, I saw examples of discrimination against good soldiers by lousy officers as a matter of official policy. Not only was this discrimination rampant, it was not enforced equally. One gay-enlisted man was sent to the stockade where he was raped; another gay officer was quietly sent home. Both of these men were good soldiers.

It is time that this type of policy be changed!

Being gay is not, in itself, reason for us to say that a man or woman cannot serve our great nation with pride and dignity.

Anti-gay policy is generally supported by people who have never served. Any politician who supports this policy does not belong in a position of authority, unless he or she has had the honor of actively serving our country in the military and seen what this policy does to degrade our capability as a nation in the 21st century.

When I was serving, blacks were still second-grade soldiers. I am not gay; I am decorated and honorably discharged, proud to have served.

I only wish I were young enough to serve again.

— Mel Nordberg, Seattle

Dishonoring men of honor

As a Vietnam-era veteran, I witnessed discrimination against some excellent and committed military personnel. In fact, one of my childhood friends was booted out of the Air Force because he was gay.

This happened after he had served 18 years in the Air Force. He lost all the years of his service and was not allowed to complete the two years needed to qualify him for retirement.

This was very unfair treatment for a person who served this country with honor.

— Daniel Spraggins, Edmonds

Comments | More in Gay rights, military

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