09 Aug 2010

Whom Do You Make An Intelligence Analyst?

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If you are the US Army, you pick a gay, self-medicating, emotionally-unstable computer hacker, who harbors extreme liberal opinions, and who has “the personality of a bull in a china shop.”

Despite being apparently completely recognizable to acquaintances and associates as gay, and despite displaying a fairy wand on his desk, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy did not cause Pfc. Bradley Manning to be separated from the service. Manning had a drag queen boyfriend, hung out in politically-motivated circles of computer hackers, and had been reprimanded for assaulting an officer, but none of that kept him from having a Top Secret clearance providing access to what the New York Times describes as “some of the most secret information on the planet.”

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Almost as incredible as ignoring a certain Army MD’s inflammatory remarks about the West…

I really think that if people stopped fighting women in the military, and focussed on people with truly dangerous attitudes, we would be better off. Troop Scoop has stories every day of amazing work that female Army soldiers are doing, that only females can do (for example working with Afghan women).

This particular story is extraordinary because it is a textbook case of the kind of security breach that this kind of person used to be banned for. Ironically, I had been wondering until this scandal why the Army didn’t just drop don’t ask don’t tell, as I had foolishly assumed that the kind of gays who enlisted would be more patriotic, more dedicated to serving their country because of lingering prejudice they might expect to encounter (in other words, you would have to be twice as dedicated to want to enlist, so would be a worthwhile soldier). I was really naive, I guess.


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