Congressman Joe Wilson is back in the New York Times today. No, he didn’t insult the president or the Congress. This time he targeted gay and lesbian troops who serve honorably in the military, but who are tossed out for no other reason but their sexual orientation.
The chairmen of a Pentagon committee to assess the impact of repealing the law got objections from Republicans, among them Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
At a hearing of the panel, Mr. Wilson cited Pentagon data showing that from 1999 to 2008, 1.9 million people were discharged by the Department of Defense, including 8,300 because of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Mr. Wilson concluded that some 800 people were discharged under the law per year, which he termed “not a significant loss from an overall” Defense Department “manpower perspective.”
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the military has discharged almost 800 mission-critical troops and at least 59 Arabic and nine Farsi linguists under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the last five years.
And then there’s the money wasted on these troops: A 2006 Blue Ribbon Commission report found that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” caused the Pentagon to waste over $360 million in tax payer funds between 1994 and 2003.