"Don't ask, don't tell?" Don't matter.

Here in the Show Me State, we show gay Army personnel the door. Missouri's Fort Leonard Wood leads the nation in dismissal of gay men and lesbians under the notorious "don't ask, don't tell" policy crafted during the Clinton administration by then-Joint Chiefs chair Colin Powell. The policy essentially states that a gay soldier may be dismissed if he or she "acts" gay, or even hints that he or she might be gay. The sixty military personnel dismissed at Leonard Wood during 2005 was up from the 40 kicked out during the previous year - and this during a period of active war, when the military is scrambling to meet recruitment goals.

Even more disturbing is the situation at Fort Campbell in Kentucky:

The second-highest number of discharges was at Fort Campbell, a sprawling Army base on the Kentucky-Tennessee line. But the 49 people dismissed there, up from 19 in 2004, also represented the single-biggest increase in discharges anywhere.

It was at Fort Campbell where a soldier, Pfc. Barry Winchell, was bludgeoned to death in 1999 by a fellow soldier who believed Winchell was gay. Gay discharges from the base went up sharply on the heels of that murder but later subsided.

"The numbers at Fort Campbell remain disturbing because of the history there," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "The discharge numbers had gone significantly down. This seems to be a rebound. It's not clear why."

Actually, it's clear enough. Being gay is considered a greater threat to "unit cohesion" and the military mission than hatred and murder. "Be all you can be," indeed.

(Pick up a weapon and stand a cross-post...)

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