Obama To Fire His First Gay Arabic Linguist

  • metta

    Posts: 39126

    May 11, 2009 8:06 AM GMT


    Obama To Fire His First Gay Arabic Linguist

    Huffington Post

    Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and officer in the Army National Guard who is fluent in Arabic and who returned recently from Iraq, received notice today that the military is about to fire him. Why? Because he came out of the closet as a gay man on national television.

    Some readers might think it unfair to blame Obama. After all, the president inherited the "don't ask, don't tell" law when he took office. As Commander-in-Chief, he has to follow the law. If the law says that the military must fire any service member who acknowledges being gay, that is not Obama's fault.

    Or is it?

    A new study, about to be published by a group of experts in military law, shows that President Obama does, in fact, have statutory, stroke-of-the-pen authority to suspend gay discharges. Obama could simply invoke his authority under federal law (10 U.S.C. ยง12305) to retain any member of the military he believes is essential to national security.

    Or he could take advantage of a legal loophole. The "don't ask, don't tell" law requires the military to fire anyone found to be gay or lesbian. But there is nothing requiring the military to make such a finding. The president can order the military to stop investigating service members' sexuality.

    An executive order would not get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" law, but would take the critical step of suspending its implementation, hence rendering it effectively dead. Once people see gays and lesbians serving openly, legally and without problems, it will be much easier to get rid of the law at a later time.

    I spent a day with Dan Choi last month, and he is not someone we want to fire from the military. He loves the armed forces. He served bravely under tough combat conditions in Iraq. His Arabic is excellent, and he used his language skills to defuse many tough situations and to save lives, both Iraqi and American. All of his unit mates know he is gay, and they have been very supportive of him. But he doesn't want to live a lie.

    Obama has been praised for delaying efforts to get rid of "don't ask, don't tell," and some major gay rights groups are actively lobbying to delay consideration of the issue. They seem to believe that Obama should focus on other gay-rights issues first, and that he shouldn't spend his precious political capital trying to ram a repeal bill through Congress.

    This misses the point. Obama could sign an executive order today. With roughly three-quarters of the public, including a majority of republicans, in favor of open gay service, a meaningful public backlash is unlikely. A slight majority of service members prefer that the policy be left in place, but polls also show that only a tiny minority of them care strongly about the issue, and that the vast majority of service members are comfortable interacting with gays.

    Obama may believe he has nothing to lose by waiting. But what about Dan Choi's career? Is this really the right time to fire military officers who are fluent in Arabic?






    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aaron-belkin/obama-to-fire-his-first-g_b_199070.html

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2009 12:53 PM GMT
    This is materially wrong on several points. First, the officer is a member of the National Guard. When he returned home from Iraq his Commander-in-Chief became his state Governor, not the President. The President is the Command-in-Chief of federal troops, not the individual National Guards of the 50 states & territories.

    At most the federal government might remove the officer's "federal recognition" which is an administrative step that comes nowhere near the level of the President. National Guard officers hold 2 commissions, one from their state, and one from the US.

    Second, removal from military service for homosexuality is mandated by the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), an Eisenhower-era law enacted by Congress, that President Obama cannot unilaterally change or repeal. No President has a choice in this matter until Congress amends the law.

    DADT is merely a tricky way of getting around the UCMJ. If the military member isn't identified as being gay, then the UCMJ provisions can't apply. It literally means: The military will no longer ask the question if you are gay, and if you don't tell us on your own, either, then UCMJ provisions will be a moot point. But if the military finds out through any source, out you go.

    So repealing DADT would actually be worse, possibly taking us back to when the military did ask, under oath, if you are gay. Repealing DADT would NOT allow gays to serve in the military, because that's a matter for the UCMJ. That's the law that must be changed, by Congress.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    May 11, 2009 5:15 PM GMT
    So repealing DADT would actually be worse, possibly taking us back to when the military did ask, under oath, if you are gay. Repealing DADT would NOT allow gays to serve in the military, because that's a matter for the UCMJ. That's the law that must be changed, by Congress.

    That would be a lot better than the way it is now.
    Now we have some kind of have insidious system in place that says you can but can't serve. That you must be honorable but a deceiver.

    DADT is a horrible policy, it did nothing for gay people accept legitimize having to hide who they are and in essence institutionalize being in the closet.

    Under the armed forces policy in regard to homosexuality gay people are not to commit same-sex acts or reveal such a propensity at any time while they are serving, not in their private lives or whether they are on or off base. And they can't attempt to or be married to the same-sex.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
    I think we should let Obama take care of the timing of this. He said he would do it and knows better what all needs to be done. Criminy! It's only been a little over a hundred days!

    That dude outted himself. He should have given Obama longer to act, IMHO.