In a victory for anti-gay, shower-fearing advocates of the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, Lieutenant Dan Choi--an openly gay infantry officer--was removed yesterday from his position leading soldiers in the New York Army National Guard. He was subsequently kicked out of the Army.
To be certain, this was a spectacular triumph for those trumpeting morality in the Armed Services. In exchange for maintaining the heterosexual purity of Choi’s infantry battalion, the Army only had to give up the following things:
1. A West Point graduate
2. An Arabic linguist
3. A seasoned leader and combat veteran with service in Iraq.
Sacrificing an Arabic linguist with a security clearance is small price to pay, of course, for placating bigots.
Rachel Maddow covered it on her show last night:
For those who can’t view the clip, Rachel highlighted portions of Choi’s letter from the Army. It said, in part:
This is to inform you that sufficient basis exists to initiate action for withdrawal of Federal Recognition in the Army National Guard. . .for moral or professional dereliction. . .Specifically, you admitted publicly that you are a homosexual, which constitutes homosexual conduct. . .Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard.
I wrote about Choi in March after he made his announcement and began working with Knights Out, an organization comprised of gay West Point graduates. At the time, it was pretty clear that this was coming. Choi knew the rules, and he knew he was breaking them. So this isn’t the Army’s fault. The Army, in this case, was simply forced by Choi to enforce the law as passed by Congress. And I don’t have a problem with that.
More important than the action or the result, however, is the message this sends. And the message is this: The "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law is cosmically absurd in 2009. By sacrificing his own career, that’s the point Choi is attempting to drive home to Middle America. And when he appears on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight, I think he’ll do that.
The U.S. Army is weaker today than it was yesterday. And for that, I hope our patriotic, socially "conservative" anti-gay friends are proud.
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