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Military should retain best, brightest

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This past week, our elected officials took necessary steps to end the discriminatory law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I applaud the leadership of Chairman Carl Levin, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rep. Patrick Murphy, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for allowing our military the authority to ensure the right policies without political interference to unit cohesion, military readiness, recruiting and retention. As a veteran and one of the 14,000 service members discharged under this policy, I can’t help but be disappointed that my congressman chose to vote against this national security amendment. Rep. Tom McClintock’s vote clearly indicates his priorities are not with the 80 percent of Americans that support repeal and the majority of Iraq veterans that continue to work alongside known or suspected gay comrades with no detriment to the mission. I know how it is to have a member plucked from the ranks without notice. Let me tell you, the stresses it causes to the unit are far more dangerous than known homosexuals. We must work to finally end DADT and see that the Pentagon continues its implementation study with the intention to retain the best and brightest in our ranks based on performance not sexual orientation. Anthony Loverde, Penn Valley