Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When Weakness Is Strength

The Bush administration is in a bit of a quandary. They want to win in Iraq—to save face, to live up to their promises, to not appear weak—and they want to placate their base. Unfortunately, these two aims are in conflict.

According to the New York Times, the US military discharged 10% more people in 2005 than in 2004. For being gay. This at a time when morale is at a low ebb, both in Iraq and at home.

Andrew Sullivan focused on the administration's preposterous purge of homosexual Arabic linguists on Monday, and asked this pertinent question: "How Serious Is Bush About The War?"

When a president allows the dismissal of people absolutely vital to the war effort (there is a critical shortage of linguists in the military—more so thanks to this stupid policy) to kowtow to the bigotry and homophobia of the Republican base, the answer is obvious: Not very.

For all the nonsense that Bush talks about being strong and making hard decisions (he's "The Decider", after all), you'd think he would take a tough stance on measurably weakening the armed forces during war time. You'd be wrong. And we're all worse off for it.
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