As the Defense Department seeks to establish its own intelligence service because of the ineptitude of the CIA, the Army, more concerned with its macho image than with its competence, has dismissed a bunch (six) of Arabic linguists because they are gay. Ask Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle Wolfowitz or Rice if they speak Arabic and you will get a blank stare. "Gay or straight?" they will reply. It appears that only straight Arabic is spoken in the Army, or the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Speaking as a straight white male, I could not give a hoot who it is that can translate the latest message from Osama bin Laden about his next target. All I care about is that they get it right and prevent it. But no. This insane, tyrannical government that has revived Admiral John Poindexter and put him in charge of a gigantic bureaucracy to create a file on every American in his very own "Defense Awareness Agency," to guarantee, not that we are safe from terrorism, but that you and I are in fear for the total loss of our privacy, now fires the only Arabic-speaking people in the Army because of their sexual orientation. How many Arabic-speaking bureaucrats does Poindexter have in his charge? I will take bets that there are none.
Does anyone remember Poindexter? He of the perjured testimony who was sprung because of a deal with Congress giving him immunity? What is astonishing is how this government learns nothing. When foreign spies were running rampant and stealing vital information endangering American national security, the CIA was busy with Operation Chaos undermining legitimate dissent against the Vietnam War, America’s greatest debacle to date. Totally illegal, it used up fortunes of the American taxpayers’ money to produce nothing of value, while it ruined the lives and careers of countless people whose only sin was opposing the stupidity of the government.
Who now will tell Rummy what bin Laden is saying when he outlines his next plans to destroy targets in the United States?
"Mr. Secretary, we have a report from an intelligence expert that Al Queda plans to hit the Bronx zoo."
"Who wrote it up?" Rumsfeld harrumphs as he peers over his spectacles at a document telling him exactly where Kabul, Afghanistan, can be found on the map.
"A gay intelligence officer fluent in Arabic," the subordinate replies.
"Out! Get him out!" Viscount Rumsfeld of Kandahar replies, indignantly, "Can’t have that. If it got out, the entire reputation of this administration would be ruined."
"Because the only information we can rely on is straight."
"But what if he’s right? Have we got anyone else who can translate the message?"
Rumsfeld peers back in his steely countenance:
"Of course not. We don’t need a translation. We’ve got a comprehensive policy to deal with all contingencies."
"Yes, sir," the subordinate replies. "And what might that be?"
"Where have you been?" Rummy shoots back "We bomb everyone and everything. That way, we don’t need any intelligence."
"Right, sir," the subordinate salutes.
"You’re not gay, are you?" Rumsfeld asks.
"Mr. Secretary, must I answer that?"
"Just be straight with me," the Secretary of Defense replies. "It’s what the president wants. And needs."
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell, and the forthcoming novel, The Immortalists. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.