Do Something NOW About DADT President Obama !
Just a day after the grandiose invitation only meet and greet over cocktails at the White House with LGBT "leaders" and President Obama to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall, comes word that on Tuesday a military board in Syracuse, NY has recommended Lt. Dan Choi be fired from his position with the Army National Guard in violation of DADT. Lt. Choi is a founding member of Knights Out and spokeperson for the group of LGBT West Point graduates.
Lt. Choi's bio at the website reads, a 2003 graduate of the US Military Academy. He is a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Choi serves in the Army National Guard as an infantry platoon leader, a job that allows him to lead soldiers on the ground level and fully utilize his combat training and experience. While at West Point, he majored in Arabic Language and Environmental Engineering and volunteered as a leader in the Cadet Chapel Choir and the Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Choi is pursing graduate studies at Harvard University and resides in Orange County, California.
In a conversation with producers at MSNBC, Lt. Choi said, "I'm disappointed but I need to send a message to my soliders that if you get knocked down get yourself back up and keep fighting. What kind of an officer or leader would I be if I gave up ?"
Lt. Choi has said he will appeal the decision to the Secretary of Defense and the US Supreme Court if needed. More than 12,500 members of the military have been discharged under DADT.
During the White House reception on Monday, President Obama remarked on many LGBT issues and in his opening statement said, "you have my thanks for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard and care about their communities -- and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender."
Obama continued, "Now this struggle, I don't need to tell you, is incredibly difficult, although I think it's important to consider the extraordinary progress that we have made. There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though we've made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted."
Towards the end of his remarks President Obama got around to the DADT policy of the US military, "And finally, I want to say a word about "don't ask, don't tell." As I said before -- I'll say it again -- I believe "don't ask, don't tell" doesn't contribute to our national security. In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we'll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.
Someday, I'm confident, we'll look back at this transition and ask why it generated such angst, but as Commander-in-Chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term. That's why I've asked the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan for how to thoroughly implement a repeal.
I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy -- patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security."
As others have pointed out, Keith Olbermann in his discussion of DADT Tuesday evening during his show Countdown on MSNBC, President Obama could do something now, at least to stop any further discharges until a formal plan to end DADT is constructed and then voted on by Congress.
One of the points made during Countdown with Olbermann and his guest Dan Savage, was in regards to when Truman ordered the military to racially intregrate, if he had waited for everyone to be on board with the idea, intregration would never have been done Savage brought up.
So here we are, one more casualty of DADT about to come about and all the back stroking and sweet talk done during a Dog and Pony Show reception does not mean a hill of beans if that back stroker does not have the courage or gumption to step up to the plate and at the very least, stop temporarily the discharge of any more brave and honorable men and women who proudly serve the United States of America and whose only fault is they happen to be gay or lesbian.
(Ed. Note: Bumped and please note that over 160,000 people had signed the Courage Campaign's petition in support of Lt. Choi before his trial. I know that it is after the fact but please consider signing it as well? Connecticut Man1)