Gay Rights and the War in Iraq - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-02-2007, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Post Gay Rights and the War in Iraq

Benzworld members,

I found this story "Gay Rights and the War in Iraq" on the website dropping knowledge.

I have provided the link as a reference and the news story below:

1. the drop » Blog Archive » Gay Rights and the War in Iraq


James Van Thach

There have been a wave of vicious attacks against gay Iraqi men and women by Shia militants who believe that homosexuality is against their faith. Men are the main targets, and several have been found “executed” or beaten to death – worse still, their murder has been recorded on camera.

The Observer trailed a Channel 4 documentary on the escalating homophobia in an article last Sunday, noting, most shockingly of all, that the attacks are permissable under current Iraqi law:

Homosexuality is seen as so immoral that it qualifies as an ‘honour killing’ to murder someone who is gay - and the perpetrator can escape punishment. Section 111 of Iraq’s penal code lays out protections for murder when people are acting against Islam.

Minors who have been sold into same-sex prostitution by desperate parents have also been victims of “honour killing”. In one case an eleven-year old was kidnapped by policemen and found shot dead three days later. Like the women of Iraq, nationals who happen to be homosexual or have merely been accused of homosexuality are at constant risk from self-appointed “defenders of the faith”.

Meanwhile, lesbian, gay or bisexual members of the US Forces fighting to control the same Shia militants also have to go underground to protect their choice of career and the way they wish to live. Under the Clinton administration the military instituted a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” towards gay servicemen and women. It was intended to gradually integrate gays into the forces, but in effect it means that they can only remain in the military if they aren’t “out”. The costs of this policy – both financial, personal and strategic – are hefty:

In the years since “don’t ask, don’t tell” was implemented, the number of homosexuality-related discharges in the military rose from 617 in 1994 to 870 in 1996 and finally to 1,273 in 2001. In 2004, the last year for which statistics are available, the number fell back to 653. To date, the number of discharges totals more than 10,000, including more than 50 Arabic- and Farsi-speaking linguists.

In February, a blue ribbon commission assembled by the University of California concluded that last year the Government Accountability Office miscalculated by half the cost of enlisting and training service members only to have them discharged under the policy. While the GAO put that number at roughly $190.5 million, the panel estimated the cost to taxpayers to be $368.3 million.

The loss of the Arabic and Farsi interpreters seems especially counterproductive. Blogger Andrew Sullivan highlights an essay written by a cadet at the famous West Point Academy, Alexander Raggio, for which the sixteen-year old received an award from the Academy itself. Raggio quoted the Army’s own philosophy back to it to give weight to his argument that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule was lifted:

“‘The Army often talks of doing the harder right rather than the easier wrong, and now it is time to put the policy where the propaganda is,’ he wrote in his 24-page thesis. ‘Allowing the open service of gays in the military is the right thing to do, no matter how difficult a transition it may be.’”

Thanks to campaigns like the Call to Duty Tour, public opinion is gradually warming to the idea of lifting the ban, even though that move is making no progress through the legislature. There remains a culture of both casual and sometimes more extreme homophobia in the forces themselves. Raggio himself is likely to be deployed in Iraq next year.

According to the UK-based human rights group, Iraqi Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transexuals, US military spokesmen have assured them that they are aware of the persecution of gays in Iraq and that they will endeavor to prevent it, as they would the persecution of any other group. However, there have also been rumours and reports of US personnel verbally and physically assaulting gay Iraqis.
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"That currently peace can only be accomplished with an honest broker not with Terroristic attacks. For our nation young people need to become more involved in our governmental process because they need direction in their life and the U.S. Army is the place to grow. The military is a great extended family that will only benefit our future."
Marco Benz Descendant of First Gas Automobile Inventor Karl Benz

Last edited by James_Van_Thach; 08-02-2007 at 04:36 AM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-02-2007, 05:50 AM
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heh, heh....did the US forces personnel murder those people in the image? heh, inspirational image! heh, heh.......
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-02-2007, 09:18 AM
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Sounds like my high school.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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