Jarrod Chlapowski

More Than a Linguist: SU Web Ad 3

Filed By Jarrod Chlapowski | September 01, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, Servicemembers United

So we have our first active duty web ad. The fact that we're using someone still in is compelling - as it's meant to be - but only as a means to gain attention. The deeper talking point here is just how comprehensive the effects of DADT really are.

Take a gander:

The focus on linguists discharged under DADT began with a story broke by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM, now the Palm Center) in November of 2002, when seven Arabic linguists were discharged under DADT. Their respective discharges did not only affect them in a various and horrendous fashion, but the entire morale of the unit, both gay and straight folks.

The gay service members - mostly open - began to suffer paranoia that they would be next, while the straight janes and joes lost respect for the institution of the military over such a ridiculous and unecessary law. None were happy to see their friends go through this process. I remember - I was there. This was my unit.

In later assignments, the one complaint I heard from Arabic linguist friends returning from overseas was that there was not enough of them. Intelligence was backlogged, missions had insufficient linguistic support, and existing linguists were overworked beyond what would be reasonable in a position that demands precision and accuracy. I asked my friend John if it would it have helped his unit out if soldiers like Alastair Gamble were still in the service. "That would have divided my workload in half," he sighed. Responsible for translating Arabic for an entire Brigade, John couldn't give two shits that Gamble was gay.

When a service member is discharged from the military, he or she is not the only one affected, but their entire unit, and every future unit in which they could have served. Each service member discharged represents years of contributions to the military that are incredibly useful, particularly in these critical fields.

But it is the unit that is missing those contributions, and it is the unit that would benefit from repeal.

We're working hard at SU to put these ads on the air. Stop by www.militaryreadiness.org to find out how you can help us educate the American pubic in this critical time before the September vote, as well as keep the momentum going.


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These are well-produced ads. What are you all doing to get them out to audiences that might be hostile to the message?

Doing our best to get the funds to put them on the air. Don't think 'hostile' is the right word so much as a non-pejorative 'ignorant.' But, believe me, putting these out on the air is among our top priorities right now.