For once, it’s pretty easy

1LT Dan Choi, 2003 Graduate of the Military Academy at West Point. Arab Linguist. National Guardsman.

and now, Gay rights Advocate, is being recommended for discharge due to announcing to the world that he’s gay.

1LT Dan Choi

1LT Dan Choi

First Lt. Dan Choi disclosed in March that he is gay, challenging the 1994 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that requires the military to discharge troops who disclose their sexual orientation. Tuesday’s ruling, made after a daylong hearing, is a step toward stripping Choi of his officer’s commission and ending his career.

“It’s disappointing, but not unexpected,” said Sue Fulton, a spokeswoman for Knights Out, a group of gay and lesbian West Point alumni Choi helped found.

Fulton said the Guard’s Federal Recognition Board heard from members of Choi’s unit, his commanding officer and fellow soldiers who served in Iraq, and reviewed more than 150 letters of support for Choi, a 2003 West Point graduate and an Arab linguist.

“At the end of the day, they did not consider any of that material [to] whether he was a good soldier,” she said. “It was solely about whether he said he was gay.”

But see, here’s the problem: It’s not about being a good soldier. It’s not about having a much needed skill.

It’s about the law.

Like it or not, the law is still in effect.

We didn’t ask, but you told. Therefore, you go.

It’s pretty easy.

I think the Lieutenant is doing an admirable thing. He’s standing up for what he believes in. Good for him.

But instead of arguing the merits of the law, gay rights advocates are going to argue that LT Choi should be saved from discharge.

It’s not about him, it’s about the law.

Let’s try to not get confused on this one, shall we?

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8 Responses to For once, it’s pretty easy

  1. Article –108th CONGRESS

    “SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”
    i think they should not be allowed in the military, do you think for a second george washington would of allowed this. you know the forefathers that died for our constitioun and freedom? dont touch the laws. i know this is a seperate subject but lets get down to the basics, in iran they would of took him out. i think ABSOLUTELY NOT.and anyone who says they should be allowed is not american

  2. Niall says:

    Actually, George Washington was happy to accept the military aid and skills of an openly gay general during the War of Independence – Baron von Steuben of Prussia. He even campaigned with his boyfriend. So much for your grasp of history.

    So, sure, the law is the law. But is it a good law? And is it a just law? The Navy concluded in the Crittenden Report in 1957 that there was no military reason for banning homosexuals from serving. Not sure why everyone is still pretending otherwise.

    A law that deprives the military, systematically, of skills crucial to its warfighting mission is obviously stupid. And obviously unjust.

    Anyway, DADT is going to go away pretty soon, so “the law” will be that you can’t discriminate against gay people in the military. Since that will be the new law, I’m sure you’ll all be 100% behind it, without discussion, because it’s the law.

    Right guys?

  3. Greenriverkate says:

    The “law” allowed slavery. The “law” forbide marriage of white and blacks or any colored minority. The “law” allowed discrimination. The “law” forbid you to spit on the sidewalk…I could fill a page with bad laws that were defied to make changes. You “aren’t” gay unless you say so? Oh, Lord, give me a break. God gave us a brain and why this country doesn’t use it, is beyond me. Choi and others have proven themselves as excellent soldiers. Many have gone to war. Many serve today but must LIE to serve. To me Lying is a bigger sin than being gay. What in the world is wrong with this country when all we spread is hate and bigotry against our own children. Sad that we haven’t grown up and gone beyond this point.

  4. fastnav says:

    Actually, Niall, you’re about 80% right.

    I wouldn’t say the military, as a whole, is 100% behind DADT either, as evidenced by these discussions.

    So when it gets repealed, I doubt we’ll be 100% behind that. Yes, there will be discussion. Yes there will be vehement debate.

    But either way, we will follow it, because it is the law.

    on a separate note, it’s not the place of the military to determine the “justness” of any law. That’s the job of the judicial branch.

  5. Niall says:

    Fastnav –

    But the position in your original post is basically, “The law is the law, so goodbye.” This leaves out the question of whether that law should exist, and whether it is just.

    If, back in the day, a white friend of yours was convicted of marrying a black person, would you have said, “Hey, the law’s the law. You broke it, so tough luck!” Really?

    In re your point that the military doesn’t determine the justness of any law is irrelevant. Of course laws are made by the judicial branch. That doesn’t change that fact that each of us, as individual citizens, has the right and duty to contemplate the justness of our laws and move to change them if they are not.

    At least that’s what I think Gen. von Steuben probably thought when he was training the Continental Army for George Washington.

    We also have the responsibility to ask whether certain policies and laws exclusive to the military are helping our hindering our war on global terror. A law that forces us to dismiss an Arabic language expert is clearly a stupid law.

  6. fastnav says:

    Niall –
    Yes, that was the original train of thought. And it’s still true. Here is the law, good bye.

    You’re example of interracial marriage is irrelevant because what I am talking about is the application of the law within the confines of the military. If there had been a law that said “if you marry another race you will be discharged from the military” than it will be followed. Don’t try to compare apples and oranges.

    The military is an interesting place. It’s often said we defend democracy, not practice it.

    Laws are not made by the judicial branch. They are made by the legislative branch. The justness of them is determined by the judicial branch. Yes, individuals in the military are allowed to determine the legality of orders they’ve been given, but so long as the following of them does not break the law, they must be followed.

    No where in this post did I pass any judgement on the justness of DADT. I merely said “the law is in effect.” Doesn’t matter what I think about it being “just” or not. As a member of the military, LT Choi is subject to that law.

    I, in fact, support his standing up for his desire to serve despite his sexual preference. I agree that we needlessly get rid of people with useful skills we desperately need.

    But the fact remains, the law is in effect. He violated it willingly, so the military has no recourse until the law is overturned.

  7. Niall says:

    I think that it’s kind of meaningless to discuss the impact of an unjust law by saying it’s the law. That doesn’t really get us anywhere, and it’s kind of trivial. I think what people are objecting to is that there is precisely such a law that has such an effect.

    And I think you’re trying to play both sides of the military issue. On the one hand you want to say, “Hey! We don’t make the laws, we just apply them!”. In other words, you want to say, “These laws didn’t come from the military!”. Then, on the other hand, you want to say, “Hey, the military is different and our rules are different.”

    Both can’t be true. It’s also kind of disingenuous since the military lobbied very hard to block DADT, since it created a few loopholes to protect gay service people. As you know, the military is not just a passive institution that does whatever it’s told. It is itself a powerful interest group whose priorities and views actively shape legislation.

    So, really. Meh.

    No one is denying that the law is “in effect”. No one is denying that laws, once in effect, are applied. It’s just not a meaningful point, if what we are discussing is whether this is a good law or a bad one, with good effects or bad effects. To pretend, as you seem to, that the military never gets involved in *that* discussion is both obviously wrong and highly disingenuous.

  8. fastnav says:

    My original post wasn’t about discussing the good or badness of the law.

    Just that it was in effect and that Choi is subject to it and shouldn’t be surprised that he’s being discharged. That he shouldn’t be fighting his discharge, but the existence of the law in the first place.

    it’s not about him. It’s about the law.

    That was the point.

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