Kudos to CNN for featuring Lt. Daniel Choi on its American Morning program. The more people see this great American, the more they’ll see the folly of the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) policy barring gay people from serving openly in our nation’s armed forces.
As you may recall, Lt. Choi is a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran about to be dismissed from the military because he came out publicly as gay.
My subordinates know I’m gay. They don’t care. They are professional.
Further, they are respectable infantrymen who work as a team. Many told me that they respect me even more because I trusted them enough to let them know the truth. Trust is the foundation of unit cohesion.
After I publicly announced that I am gay, I reported for training and led rifle marksmanship. I ordered hundreds of soldiers to fire live rounds and qualify on their weapons. I qualified on my own weapon. I showered after training and slept in an open bay with 40 other infantrymen. I cannot understand the claim that I “negatively affected good order and discipline in the New York Army National Guard.” I refuse to accept this statement as true.
Here, we have an American who wants to serve his nation and help protect his fellow citizens. His very record shows him to be qualified. His colleagues don’t find his sexuality a detriment to his service.
He asks the President not to fire him, telling his commander-in-chief that he loves his job: “I want to deploy and continue to serve with the unit I respect and admire. I want to continue to serve our country because of everything it stands for.”
We should want more men like Lt. Choi in our armed forces. But, DADT means that we get fewer. Repealing this law would strengthen our armed forces by increasing the pool of qualified men and women from which they could draw. Not just that, it would save the military from wasting time rooting out gay service members when it could be training them to better defend this great nation.