Someone posted an item on Facebook the other day about President Obama upholding his campaign promise to have a poetry slam in the White House. I commented that it was a little disturbing that he found time to fulfill that one, but needs to wait on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Maybe it's because James Earl Jones threw down some Othello and Obama just couldn't wait for that.
DADT's opposition is reaching a critical mass. This week week we learned of two soldiers being dismissed due to their gaiety — Second Lieutenant Sandy Tsao and Lieutenant Daniel Choi — who both have now written personal letters to our dear dilatory leader. So far, we know Tsao got this hand-written response complete with promise of eventuality from Mr. President:
Choi, who founded the Knights Out organization, has appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show several times, including his coming out interview. Last week, he closed by making this pointed point: “Well, I'm not a politician myself. I just, like so many thousands of others, gay and lesbian that are in the Army, that are in the armed forces, raised their right hand, they said — you know, we're in a time of war right now. It's not about what timing is good or bad. It's not about what you want to do. It's about what your responsibility is. We're saying that we're standing up to our responsibility and we're saying we want to serve.”
DADT raises a number of concerns. As Choi and everyone else have pointed out, the policy is one of forced perfidy that runs absolutely counter to the military code of honor. What's honorable about lying? Not so much, really. Secondly, war is stressful enough without adding unnecessary and manufactured personal stresses on top of that, as evidenced by the record number of military suicides and the tragic killing of five soldiers by their stressed-out comrade earlier this week. You have to wonder how many of those suicides were gay soldiers who couldn't bear following the unjust order to live a lie. Speaking of, isn't there something in the code about not following those kinds of orders? All kinds of experts think this thing needs a good repealing. Here's one talking to Rachel the other night:
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We've all heard the stories about how we got a warning in the days before September 11, 2001, but we were short on Arabic translators, so it didn't get processed until September 12. Dan Choi is an Arabic translator. His service is set to end in the next few weeks. What if that's the day we get another warning, but Choi isn't on the job? Would that be enough to show Senator John McCain that, no, the DADT policy does not work. Or do we need to get James Earl Jones to go all Othello on him, too.