Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Don't Ask - Don't Tell: The End Draws Nigh!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Lt. Daniel Choi is a West Point graduate and infantry officer who is also an Arabic linguist, and with those qualifications he is a hot military property - or at least he was. Dan Choi, a man who speaks Arabic fluently and has a degree from our nation's premier military training university, was drummed out of the United States Army last year because he is gay.

Late yesterday a rumor began circulating on the internets that said Lt. Choi had been ordered back to active duty. As a former Lieutenant in the Army myself, and a natural born skeptic, I had my doubts about the accuracy of that report. Besides, there was no accompanying story about Rush Limbaugh's head exploding!

Today there is some clarification. Dan Choi has not been ordered back to active duty and the wall of DADT has not fallen. But the wall has cracked - significantly. Choi, with the support of his former superiors in the New York National Guard, was allowed to drill, in uniform, this past weekend with his troops on "critical infantry tasks." What that says to me is that the wall is about to crumble, and leaders in the New York National Guard are anxious to get this super soldier back in action!

Last week Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Admiral) Michael Mullen both announced their support for doing away with Don't Ask - Don't Tell. (Strangely, Limbaugh's head did not explode then either, but, like the DADT wall, it does appear to have significant cracking!)

Here is what Admiral Mullen had to say on the issue:

“It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.

"At the end of the day, that is what the debate is all about, ending discrimination. You either believe gays should be discriminated against, or you don’t. I happen to believe they should not be."

The military is changing for the better. People like Bob Gates, Mike Mullen, and Dan Choi are bringing changes that will ultimately strengthen our country and respect the patriotism of all Americans - not just those who happened to be born straight.

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