The number of military discharges of gays has risen to its highest level in 14 years, and reported incidents of anti-gay harassment have climbed by 23 percent in a year, a legal aid group said today. The rise in gay-related incidents comes despite a Pentagon strategy to clarify its "don't ask, don't tell" policy throughout the armed services and to make work conditions hospitable for gays who keep their sexuality private.
Well, now, let's just see here ....
Administration pretty much completely hostile to the idea of gays in military service? Check.
Military so hostile that the only possible exemption to the ongoing stop-loss order is homosexual conduct? Check.
People understandably interpreting both as a green light to go after gays? Check.
Seriously, why would anyone be in the slightest bit surprised by this?
"We definitely don't condone harassment," said Lt. Col. James Cassella, a Pentagon spokesman. "When it comes to enforcing the policy, we balance readiness and unit cohesion with an individual's right to privacy and the expectation of a safe and harassment-free work environment."
As the military notes, there is a "lack of political will" on the part of the administration to even pay the least attention to the issue. (Except when it pops up in various news items, like a zit that you hope will just go away before you have to do something about it.)
It's also not surprising that this is affecting more women than men. In general, the sort of men who would harrass other men about being gay are the sorts of men who will assume that a woman who doesn't like them doesn't like them because she has to be gay. It's a convenient accusation, at the very least. and, of course, you can make these accusations more or less anonymously, and if your commanders don't happen to like you, they may well investigate. And, frankly, it's damn near impossible to prove that you're not gay if you haven't run around sleeping with every person of the opposite sex that you can find.
Until and unless Bush II Fraudulency's administration puts teeth and force into a policy in which it does not believe, things will continue to deteriorate. Since the administration, in fact, doesn't mind this sort of thing as long as it doesn't lead to an overall lessening of armed efficiency, things will continue this way for some time to come.