Fri, Feb 09, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Cheeky Democrat warns of crack `lesbian platoon'

AP , WASHINGTON

A congressman jokingly suggested the Bush administration fears a "platoon of lesbians" more than terrorists in Baghdad.

Democrat Representative Gary Ackerman's criticism came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ackerman complained to Rice that the military had fired Arabic and Farsi translators after learning the translators were homosexual.

"For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are against terrorists. They're very brave with the terrorists and if the terrorists ever got ahold of this information, they [could] get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad," said Ackerman, prompting laughter.

Ackerman, who in 2002 voted for the invasion of Iraq but is now a fierce opponent of the war, made one other crack, too, this time in reference to the Bush administration's opposition to gay marriage.

Ackerman suggested the State Department hire the outed -- and ousted -- military translators.

"Can we marry up these two -- or maybe that's not the right word ... Can we have some kind of union of those two issues?" Ackerman asked, prompting more laughter.

"Congressman, I'm not aware of the availability of people, but I will certainly look," Rice replied, adding the department had quadrupled the number of employees in critical languages.

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