Saturday, April 10, 2010

Don't Think, Don't Disagree

This week, three US service members died in Iraq, two on Wednesday. One of the two who died Wednesday was Lt Robert Collins. John Munford (The Citizen) reports that he "was 2004 graduate of Sandy Creek High School and a 2008 graduate of West Point Military Academy. He was also engaged to be married. Collins was also a member of American Legion Post 105 in Fayetteville." Meanwhile Iraq War veteran Eric Alva speaks at Stetson University in Florida this coming Tuesday.

Lectures Calendar Event
Event Title: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Eric Alva
Date : April 13, 2010
Time : 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Information : Eric Alva will be giving a lecture about the "don't ask, don't tell policy. Eric is a human rights campaign activist.
Location : Stetson Room
Contact : Yves Clemmen
Email :
Phone : 822-7540


Audrey Parente (Daytona News-Journal) reports:

The event is not a protest, but educational, said Jessie Perry, immediate past president of Stetson's Organization for Students Actively Pursuing Equality and secretary of Kaleidoscope, the school's gay-straight alliance. She was pivotal in organizing the lecture. The National Organization for Women and the university's Women and Gender Studies program are also event sponsors.
"Our desire is to raise awareness of what is national news at this point," Perry said. "We want the policy to be repealed because we believe the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities should have the opportunity to serve their country if they choose -- without having to pretend to be heterosexual."

Lt Dan Choi has been speaking on campuses lately as well. Aaron Glantz interviews him at IPS:

Q: Why did you chain yourself to the gates of the White House?

A: Pres. Obama has the authority right now to demonstrate leadership. The president has made clear that he wants to see "don't ask, don't tell" repealed and the only way you can see repealing this through Congress is for the president to take executive leadership. We needed to make that message loud and clear.

Q: In March, you came out as openly gay on the Rachel Maddow show, but now you have been recalled to drill with your unit. How is that possible?

A: In June, I was put on trial [for violating 'don't ask, don't tell'] and they recommended discharge. But now it's been nine months, 10 months, and I have been recalled to drill with my unit. Our unit is going to deploy and they need experienced leadership. I've been deployed to Iraq before.
I graduated from West Point with a degree in Arabic and I speak Arabic with a degree of proficiency. There has been no disruption in my unit [as a result of my coming out]. It is certainly proof that our country can deal with the repeal just like all the other countries in NATO... But in the last nine months, hundreds of soldiers have been kicked out for doing just what I did. The policy must end.

Being gay can get you kicked out of the service -- at a time when they're so short handed that people keep being sent back to Iraq. Case in point, Jason Ditz ( reports, "Six years after the scandal that shocked the nation and left seven members of the group convicted of mistreatment of Abu Ghraib detainees, the 372nd Military Police Company will soon be sent back to Iraq."

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

We'll close with this from Joan Smith's "Obama – the idealist turns assassin" (Independent of London):

Back in the old days, when Barack Obama was one of the hopefuls trying to get his party's presidential nomination, he was asked a specific question: does the American constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charge as unlawful enemy combatants? The would-be candidate's response was unequivocal, rejecting the idea that there was any such power. No wonder, then, that so many people were startled when it emerged last week that the Obama administration has authorised not only the detention but the "targeted killing" of an American citizen, the extremist Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends