- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 1999

Reader suspicious of don’t ask, don’t tell’ time line

It’s not surprising that the Pentagon has ordered a new review of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexual recruits just four months after its last review (“Pentagon stance on homosexuals shifted quickly,” Dec. 15). This isn’t about policy, it’s about politics.The new review is due back in three months just days before first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to march in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. When Mrs. Clinton announced that she would join the parade, she incurred the wrath of New York’s gay activists, who traditionally have been barred by parade organizers.Here’s my prediction: Mrs. Clinton will announce a liberalization of the Pentagon’s policy toward gays on the same day that she marches in the parade, assuaging New York’s gay voters without abandoning her promise to the Irish. How Clintonian.EZRA LEVANTToronto

With the right attitude, GI Janes have a place in the military

As a female junior officer in the U.S. military, I feel I must respond to Larry Elder’s Dec. 8 commentary, “Are GI Janes unwelcome?” As I prepare to be promoted to captain (one of the 91 percent of women as likely to make this advancement as men), I often hear of the issues facing women in the military. I feel an examination of the entire system is necessary when trying to answer questions on this issue.As the military evolves into a high-tech industry, the need for highly educated soldiers also evolves. Today’s military is the most educated the United States has ever fielded. Recruiting posters and slogans tout the educational benefits the military has to offer. This entices young men and women who are looking for alternatives to pay for college. The military is no longer a place where the uneducated go to have an otherwise nonexistent chance to succeed. Today’s members are not always interested in the military as an institution, but sometimes are more interested in receiving the money for college or the “free” training the military offers (training that often is very marketable in the civilian business world).Basic training also has evolved to meet the needs of these new recruits. A program that was designed to toughen and train has become one that coddles and cares. When I went through basic training as a private more than eight years ago, I was in a coed company. We had issues with men and women, but they were nipped in the bud, and proper punishment was handed down immediately. Now, if something of this nature occurs, it becomes a highly publicized event. If people cannot conduct themselves appropriately in a coed training environment, they probably cannot conduct themselves appropriately in any environment, military or otherwise.As a female officer, I counsel other women (both those in the military and those considering military service) to grow thicker skin and if there truly is a problem to report it. When choosing a career in the military, you must realize there still are many who believe it is a man’s world. Women must be professional and work hard to change this viewpoint. Too often, I hear women complain that they are being oppressed when, in fact, they have not worked hard enough to deserve whatever they are hoping to attain. I am not saying women should not report incidences of sexual harassment and discrimination, but this has become an avenue of advancement for some, clouding legitimate issues. Senior male leaders are so concerned about false accusations and allegations that they often err on the side of being overly cautious and practice reverse discrimination.GI Janes certainly are welcome in the U.S. military if they are prepared to be soldiers, airmen and sailors while maintaining their femininity but not compromising either. They are likely to be unwelcome if they are just women with the attitude that they should be treated differently because of their sex.KATHRYN J. MASTERSAlexandria

Much work to be done on tuberculosis fight

Regarding the Dec. 13 article “TB keeps finding ways to reappear,” I would like to point out that there is more to be said on the severity of the tuberculosis (TB) situation and much more to be done.The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is infected with the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. This year, 2 million people will lose their lives to TB. At a cost of just $20 to $100 per life saved (based on World Bank estimates), proper TB treatment is remarkably cost-effective. Yet fewer than one in five TB victims worldwide receives effective treatment.We also face the looming crisis of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). These strains of TB develop resistance as a result of improper treatment. The cost of treating MDR-TB is 100 times higher up to a quarter of a million dollars per patient in the United States. MDR-TB kills half of those infected in industrialized nations. It is a veritable death sentence in developing countries.In this time of expanding global commerce and increasing overseas tourism, we are at greater risk than ever of contracting and spreading tuberculosis. TB is a killer that knows no national boundaries, and we are all at risk until TB is controlled everywhere. It’s simply common sense to invest in international prevention and treatment.My colleague Constance A. Morella and I worked this year to increase U.S. investment in international tuberculosis control. With the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee’s foreign operations subcommittee under Chairman Sonny Callahan and ranking Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the House increased funding for these critical programs threefold from $12 million in 1999 to $35 million next year.We have made important strides in U.S. investment in international TB control, but more needs to be done. The longer we wait to address this growing epidemic, the more costly and more difficult it will be to control.REP. SHERROD BROWNU.S. House of RepresentativesWashington

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