An openly gay soldier?

| Fri Apr. 8, 2005 2:40 PM EDT

Here's an interesting story about Sgt. Robert Stout, a soldier wounded in Iraq who has asked to stay in the Army as an openly gay soldier. The first openly gay soldier, in fact. Some details: Stout "has not encountered trouble from his fellow soldiers," and he notes that changing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, in which gay men and women can serve if they keep their sexuality a secret, could be the answer to the military's recruitment woes. "I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open." Hm, well, given the much-noted trouble the Army has had in finding new soldiers, maybe change will come sooner than we think.

Then again, for the past few years the military has had no qualms about putting its injunction against homosexuals above its own, more pressing needs. In an age where the military has been struggling mightily to train its troops and intelligence officers in foreign languages, especially in Middle Eastern languages, at least 20 Arabic speakers and six Farsi speakers were discharged between 1998 and 2004, all because they were gay. So best of luck to Sgt. Stout, but he's swimming against a strong, strong current here.