Friday, January 27, 2006

240 Medical Staffers Fired Under Don't Ask, Don't Tell

(Link) We all knew about the queer Arabic linguists getting booted out despite being desperately needed. Now we discover life-saving medics aren't important either if they're LGBT. Apparently beggars can be choosers after all.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
From Advocate

Among the nearly 10,000 service members expelled under the Pentagon's antigay "don't ask, don't tell" policy over a 10-year period, hundreds have been medical specialists and officers. According to data released on Wednesday by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, 244 medical specialists were kicked out in the period spanning 1994 to 2003, the first 10 years the policy was in effect. The data were obtained from the Pentagon with the help of Rep. Marty Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

Aaron Belkin, director of the center and an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said the discharges provide evidence that the ban is hampering military readiness. "The consequences of shortfalls in medical specialists during wartime are serious," he said. "When the military lacks the medical personnel it needs on the front lines, it compromises the well-being not only of its injured troops but of the overextended specialists who have to work longer tours to replace those who have been discharged."

According to the new data, the 244 medical personnel discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" included physicians, nurses, biomedical laboratory technicians, and other highly trained medical specialists. The revelation comes at a time when the military has acknowledged it is struggling with significant shortfalls in recruitment and retention of medical personnel for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to a Senate report issued in 2003 by senators Christopher Bond and Patrick Leahy, hundreds of injured Guard and Army Reserve soldiers "have been receiving inadequate medical attention" while housed at Fort Stewart because of a lack of preparedness that includes "an insufficient number of medical clinicians and specialists, which has caused excessive delays in the delivery of care." The situation created the perception among soldiers that they were receiving care that was inferior to that received by active duty personnel, which had a "devastating and negative impact on morale."