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About 'don't ask, don't tell'

June 13, 2007

Re "Telltale flaw," editorial, June 9

As a man who served in the Air Force Reserves in the late 1960s, when we had to lie to serve our country, you touch on one thing that has always bothered me: We rarely, if ever, hear about the "asking" part of the law, only the "telling" offense. "Don't ask, don't tell" has two honed edges for proceeding with prosecution and discharge. In the case you cite, an officer (I presume) in the Navy approached Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Benjamin and did the "asking." In my opinion, he (or they) committed the same offense that they accused Benjamin of committing. "Don't ask, don't tell" has two edges that should always result in a discharge. If it was the base commander who initiated the discussion, then he or she should be considered for discharge. The rule is simple.

TOM GRAVES

Culver City

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I'd like to see the GOP presidential candidates answer this question at their next debate: If an Arabic e-mail from a known terrorist group were intercepted, and the only translator available was a recently outed gay soldier, would you ask him to translate or wait until a straight translator could be found, even if waiting would endanger the lives of thousands? In this case I hope we would not get a "straight" answer.

PAUL GULINO

Santa Monica

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