“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is the only law in the United States that mandates the firing of an individual for simply saying three words, I am gay. One of my rivals in all things sports is a 1Lt in the New York National Guard, Dan Choi. We can banter with one another about many things, especially when the service academies are involved, he’s a West Point graduate and I am an Annapolis graduate. But Dan Choi is about to be discharged from the Armed Services for having uttered those three words.
It is a shame for this nation to lose a most capable officer. A mutual friend of ours sent me a copy of his open letter to the President presented to CNN where he talks of values like respect, honor, integrity, professionalism, courage and selfless service. As an Arabic translator, he will be one of at least 60 linguists, not to mention at least 9 Farsi speakers, to be discharged in the last five years. As a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, as an infantry officer, his skills of leadership are needed in the two wars left over from the last administration.
True to himself and his unit, everyone in his unit knew he was gay. They didn’t care because they were professionals. “Trust is the foundation of unit cohesion,” Dan wrote. Yet the letter sent to him on 23 April by the Department of the Army, cited his discharge was because he had impacted the good order and discipline of his unit. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Those who disagree with repeal of this law can cite admirals and generals who agree with their position. I can do the same. Those who disagree can call for a study; but the studies have been going on since 1957 and they ALL come to the same conclusion that there is no detriment to military readiness. The U.S. and Turkey are the only NATO allies who have a ban in place. If polls are your thing, The Washington Post/ABC News poll 10 months ago showed 75% of Americans favored repeal of the law which shows a increase from 44% some 15 years ago. Even 64% of Republicans were in favor.
So why is it that the U.S. is continuing down this road when the President and the Secretary of Defense openly state that it should be repealed? Why is it that Dan Choi, an Iraqi veteran and Arabic linguist, is to no longer serve at the pleasure of the President? It is a waste of talent, money and time to continue down this path. Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell now.