Glancing at the New York Times today, an infuriating article caught my eye. "Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting", read the headline. It should be well known to anyone that our armed forces are stretched thin with all the international operations we are supporting, with the National Guard having to be deployed overseas, and with active duty members being asked to extend and repeat tours of duty beyond what anyone ever expected. So the Army is going to lengths to staff up, and as this article tells, it is going to new lows, too. Age and weight requirements have been relaxed, minimum scores on aptitude tests lowered, and even high-school drop-outs are being recruited. In the past, a criminal record was a disqualification for military service, but last year, the DoD granted waivers to accept over 8,000 recruits with criminal records, including nearly 900 felons. So it seems the military's "unit cohesion" can tolerate thieves and felons in its midst, but just not any homosexuals. It's hard to imagine what could better underscore the sheer stupidity of the ban on gays in the military. Highly talented, motivated, and decorated servicemembers are being pointlessly discharged for being homosexual, and criminals recruited to replace them.
It's high time Congress came around to the conclusion of former Joint Chiefs Chairman John Shalikashvili, who once supported the ban, but last month publicly declared that it's time to reconsider. As he sees and says plainly, "we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job." Too bad even some of our supposed friends like Hillary Clinton (who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee) aren't doing anything about this. Fortunately, at least 123 House members have signed on to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would do away with this senseless ban.