After Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran who is fluent in Arabic has announced on national TV that he is gay, he is about to be dismissed from the military.
Over at the Huffington Post, Aaron Belkin,Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Palm Center at University of California at Santa Barbara, contends that President Obama can block this good man from losing his job in our armed forces:
A new study, about to be published by a group of experts in military law, shows that President Obama does, in fact, have stroke-of-the-pen authority to suspend gay discharges. 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 simply 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.
He’s right. The more we see gay people serving openly, the easier it’ll be to repeal the ban. And from what I read about Choi, he does seem to be the kind of guy we would want to have in the military.
If this study is accurate, then let’s hope White House Counsel Greg Craig reads it, so he can use it to help draft the rationale for an executive order suspending implementation of DADT. Someone, I think, people will challenge their interpretation of statute and may sue to ensure Choi’s dismissal (and so provide another piece of evidence of the folly of DADT).
Let’s just persuade Congress to repeal this silly law so our military doesn’t waste resources removing good men and women from our armed forces.