US military recruited on gay website

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The American Armed Forces placed job adverts on a gay networking site despite the fact that people who are openly gay, bisexual or lesbian are banned from serving.

A spokesman for the Army National Guard told USA Today he was unaware of the adverts running on

The Navy has ordered that 8,000 ads be removed from the site. The Marine Corps claimed that only civilian jobs, not covered by the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy were advertised.

“This is the first I’ve heard about it,” Major Michael Baptista, advertising branch chief for the Army National Guard, told USA Today.

“We didn’t knowingly advertise on that particular website.”

The US Armed Forces are undergoing a recruitment crisis. Figures released by the Pentagon show that the they are resorting to accepting thousands of convicted criminals into their ranks.

The Army and others have been forced to lower their standards, while continuing to discharge hundreds of personnel for being gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Last year 8,129 “moral waivers” were granted – a mechanism which allows someone with a criminal record to enlist in the military.

They represent a tenth of new recruits in 2006. The US military has already raised the maximum enlistment age and dropped the basic educational standards required of recruits.

In 1992 President Bill Clinton promised to open the military to openly gay and lesbian people during his successful campaign for President, but caved into pressure from the Army – the compromise was the current policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

It means gay, bisexual or lesbians can serve in the Armed Forces as long as they conceal their orientation.

Recently a former Army general who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the US called for a change in attitude towards gay and lesbian soldiers, as did former Defence Secretary William Cohen.

Among those unhappy with the policy is New York congressman Gary Ackerman.

“For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are (of) terrorists, but they’re very brave with the terrorists,” he said.

“If the terrorists ever got hold of this information, they’d get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.”

The US military has discharged over 11,000 personnel for being gay or lesbian since 1993.