Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Atta Boy, Dan Choi!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Daniel Choi was an exceptional soldier, of that there can be little argument.  The 2003 West Point graduate went on to be an Infantry officer in Iraq.  He was also a skilled Arabic linguist.  He was the kind of soldier that Don Rumsfield probably had wet dreams about recruiting.  Unfortunately from the perspective of the small minds who run the United States military, Choi was also problematic - so problematic that they put him out of the Army, albeit with an honorable discharge.  Dan Choi, in addition to being a fine soldier and highly skilled linguist, was (and still is) gay - a loud and proud homosexual man who came out of Rachel Maddow's national television show.

The wheels of justice often grind exceedingly slow, but they are always grinding.  A few weeks ago Federal Judge Virginia Phillips ruled that the military policy of "Don't Ask - Don't Tell" was unconstitutional.  Just today in fact (perhaps yesterday in the States) she announced that she would not stay order demanding the the military quit enforcing this joke of a policy that Bill Clinton saddled the armed forces with nearly two decades ago.  The Obama administration, which is on the record as opposing DADT and seeking its repeal, is nevertheless going to appeal Judge Phillips' ruling.

Craziness, right?

It's so crazy in fact, that even the most faded and jaded of military minds can see the writing on the wall.   DADT is ending.  Maybe it has ended, maybe it will end after the mid-term election when the Senate reconsiders it, or maybe it will end when the government's appeal of the Phillips decision reaches the Supreme Court - but it will end.

Today (yesterday in the States) word got out to the public that the military has told recruiters to stop rejecting otherwise qualified gay people who want to enlist - even if they state upfront that they are gay.  That's a huge move on the part of the armed forces, and a very rational reading of the inevitable.    They did keep a disclaimer out there warning gay enlistees that if the courts rule in favor of "Don't Ask - Don't Tell," they could wind up being ushered out of the service.  But that sounds like a lot of extra work, extra expense, and utter nonsense.

Today 29-year-old Dan Choi along with a gaggle of friends and reporters went to the military recruiting offices at Times Square in New York City.  Choi initially tried to enlist in the Marine Corps, but found out after filling out their forms, that the age limit for new marines is twenty-eight.  Fortunately the former army lieutenant knew that the Army wasn't that particular.  He filled out the Army's enlistment forms and has been tentatively accepted - as a Specialist, E-4 - quite a drop in esteem and pay from his glory days as an officer.  But Dan Choi didn't care.  He's back in the Army.  Dan Choi has come home!

Good for him, and good for America!

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