Friday, March 26, 2010

Gays Exult Over New "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Regs

by Dexter Petzvol, TYDN Military Affairs Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan -- (TYDN) An exhausted Josh Senstein takes a long drag from a Marlboro and stares as the smoke dances into the war-torn sky, TheYellowDailyNews has learned.

Senstein, a 19-year-old Army private reared on an Iowa corn farm, is gay and was exulting over the military's new and relaxed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.


"This vindicates what I've been saying all along: even gays have the right to fight in foreign wars and get our heads blown off just like straight people," Senstein said in an exclusive interview with TheYellowDailyNews as he wiped blood from his rifle's bayonet. "I'm not sure what the hell we're doing in this God-forsaken country, or what the hell we're fighting for. But that doesn't matter because it's now OK to be gay in the military."

Senstein's comments echoed those of dozens of gay servicemen and servicewomen TheYellowDailyNews interviewed here Friday in the mean-streets of Kabul, where temperatures where soaring past 100 degrees. The interviews came a day after the Defense Department released regulations that will limit the circumstances under which a service member can be investigated and discharged from the military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"When they send me into the next firefight, and whether I'm killed or maimed, I'll know the brass now has my respect and admiration," Jenn Jenolavy, an 18-year lesbian Army private from Walla Walla, Wash. said in an exclusive interview with TheYellowDailyNews. "When I'm out here on the streets hunting and being hunted by the Taliban, having firefights with God knows who and defusing bombs left and right, it makes me feel better that our leadership is gaining a newfound respect for gays and lesbians."

The new "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulations will have a tangible impact on the thousands of lesbian and gay service members currently serving in silence, under threat of being investigated and discharged. The new regulations raise the level of the commander authorized to initiate a discharge investigation, revise the threshold for third-party allegations and for credible information.

Nowhere were the new regulations more welcomed than here on this Kabul roadside, where 12 U.S. soldiers were killed and eight others maimed by an explosive hidden inside a suicide bomber's jacket. One survivor, James Hollander, a 19-year-old Army private from Birmingham, Ala., said the new "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy removed some of the pain from just losing his left leg from the torso down.

"This is a win-win for us scrubs out here on the front lines," Hollander said. "And I'm not even gay."

Photo: nukeit1

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