The following editorial appeared in Friday's Washington Post.
The U.S. military has positions to fill. Thousands of them. And, like any enterprise seeking employees, it casts a wide net to find qualified people — as long as they're not gay. So it was the height of irony that military want ads were placed on a gay professional networking Web site last week. In fact, the placement would have made perfect sense were it not for the wrongheaded "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans gay people from serving openly in the military.
Since 1993, more than 11,000 people have been discharged from the services because of their homosexuality. Of those, 800 were in positions deemed "mission-critical" by the Pentagon. Those would be combat engineers, medical professionals and linguists (58 of whom spoke Arabic) — the very people the Army, Navy and Air Force were looking for when their job postings showed up on GLEE.com, which stands for Gay, Lesbian & Everyone Else.
According to USA Today, which informed the Defense Department of its unusual advertising venue, the Navy is looking for Arabic translators and intelligence analysts, the Air Force is looking for social workers and nurses, and the Army and Army National Guard have infantry and artillery positions available. Mind you, the military didn't go to GLEE.com directly. The ad placements involved a mix-up with the military's private ad agency. And the listings were removed once the Pentagon was informed.
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The whole sorry episode highlights the absurdity of the ban on openly gay people in the military. Israel, Australia, Britain and 21 other countries have no problem with gays and lesbians serving openly in their armed forces. With its military stretched to the breaking point, the United States should follow their wise lead. That it doesn't is as shortsighted as it is unjust.