The United States military has admitted to making a mistake: It almost (and for a few minutes) recruited qualified gay Americans for the armed forces.
But there'll be no more of that now, thank you very much.
This morning's USA Today reports on a series of recruitment ads placed on the LGBT website GLEE.com. The ads - which were for chaplains, linguists (who we know the military desperately needs) and lawyers, among others - were put on the gay networking site as part of a 'diversity' partnership with Monster.com. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network turned the ads over to Andrea Stone at USA Today . . . and this morning, the military says it made a mistake by posting them in the first place, and is taking action to wipe them off the gay web once and for all.
The true irony, of course, is that the military could really use a few good (gay) men and women right now. The armed forces are issuing a record number of waivers to boost their recruitment numbers; they've even welcomed hundreds of convicted felons into the fighting forces. Yet, two gay service members are fired from the military every day . . . more than 11,000 since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" went into effect . . . including nearly 800 people with skills deemed 'mission-critical' by the Pentagon itself.
Yes, there is irony here, but there's also a good bit of stupidity, too.
The military, however, is putting its 'morals' above its needs. When asked about the ads, the Army National Guard, at least, pleaded ignorance . . . and moral superiority, too, it seems.
"This is the first I've heard about it," said Maj. Michael Baptista, advertising branch chief for the Army National Guard, which will spend $6.5 million on Internet recruiting this year. "We didn't knowingly advertise on that particular website," which he said does not "meet the moral standards" of the military.
Felons meet the moral standards of the armed forces, but good, upstanding gay Americans do not.
And remember: These are the people running the war.
Now the ads - part of a "diversity and inclusion" package (oh, so much irony to soak up here!) - are being pulled from GLEE. More than 8,000 ads in total will be stripped from the site and the military will revert back to its "Don't Ask, Don't Recruit" policy. And, one imagines, someone in the armed forces will be in very hot water today.
And while it is, indeed, fun to poke the military's eye just a bit for their gay recruiting tactics (did recruiters earn toaster ovens, a la Ellen?), the reality behind the story is all too serious: There's still a "Gays Not Welcome" sign on the Pentagon door, and the military is still forced to abide by "Don't Ask, Don't Recruit."
Now, Congress should step in and change the law, so those ads on GLEE could actually stay.