Tuesday, February 21, 2006

You need to see the Call to Duty Tour

I just got back from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where the first stop of the Call to Duty Tour took place (watch the video). I had thought I knew everything there was to know about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays and lesbians in the military, and was mainly attending to support the young veterans speaking, including Jarrod Chlapowski, the former Army linguist and card-carrying Libertarian Party member who first brought the Tour to our attention. But tonight I learned a lot more than I expected when I heard the veterans' stories. The stories from these young veterans, some who were discharged under DADT, and others who resigned early in promising military careers because they couldn't or wouldn't lead the double life required by the policy, were different than anything you've read in a newspaper or magazine or heard some politician or talking head on TV speak about.

The most chilling story came from one young linguist who spoke Arabic (as one of at least 5 languages he spoke), when he recounted that one of the bits of pre-9/11 intelligence "chatter" was a single sentence in Arabic, "Tomorrow is zero day." Any of the 54 Arab linguists who had been discharged prior to 9/11 under DADT could easily have translated it immediately had they still been serving, but due to the shortage of such linguists, this sentence wasn't translated until two days after the attacks.

The Call to Duty Tour is coming to a college campus near you. You can find their schedule here, so mark your calendar and go listen to these very human stories about the effects of the DADT policy. You'll be glad you did.

And while we didn't have time to raise the funds to co-sponsor this tour as we had hoped we would, we do have time to become a sponsor of the next tour. I've created a special field on our online donations page to raise money specifically for this purpose. Go hear them talk when they come to your town, and when you get home, go to our donations page and make your pledge for the second Call to Duty Tour.