The U.S. Army recently discharged a highly regarded Arabic linguist who was the target of an anonymous email "outing" campaign. Former Sergeant Bleu Copas was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was a member of the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division. A decorated Sergeant who received impressive performance reviews, Copas also performed in the 82nd Airborne Chorus. His dismissal, under the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel, brings the total number of Arabic language specialists dismissed under the ban to at least 55. Neither Copas nor his command know who was the source of the email campaign.
Since 1993, more than 11,000 service members have been dismissed under the gay ban, according to the Department of Defense. A February 2005 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the Pentagon has fired 322 language specialists who "had ... skills in a foreign language that DoD had considered to be especially important." The report also found that nearly 800 specialists, including intelligence analysts, divers and combat controllers, were fired despite having "some training in an occupation identified ... as 'critical.'" The House of Representatives is currently considering legislation to repeal the law, with 118 bi-partisan members supporting the measure.
Via Andrew Sullivan.