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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Don’t ask, don’t tell

No time to waste in ending military discrimination

At what point did we decide that we had too much talent, too much bravery, too many skills in the U.S. Armed Forces? When exactly did we say that treating our service people honorably and fairly is optional and/or arbitrary? Isn’t that what must have happened in order for people such as Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach to be discharged from the Air Force? [“Pilot’s fate hangs on timely repeal of gay-ban policy,” News, May 29]

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is and has been a woefully misguided policy, a poor substitution for what should have been done years ago. It’s the kind of thing that, if your kids asked, “Why do we do that?” would be impossible to explain or support without skating across the very thin ice of conveniently ambiguous ethics.

This kind of discrimination in the U.S. military is wrong. It has always been wrong. It needs to end now.

Many of the changes that our leaders want to make — which we wholeheartedly support — will require a certain amount of time and process. As long as we see progress and a positive end in sight, we can be both actively engaged and “supportively patient.” But this shameful, wasteful, ignorant policy is wrong, and “supportively patient” is not the approach we can take.

Every time a gay service man or service woman is discharged, disadvantaged or dishonored for being gay, another corner of our national conscience is chipped off. It’s a loss we can ill afford.

— Mary and Barry Key, Langley

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