Monday, February 1, 2010

The Time Has Come To End "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

This photo shows Lt. Dan Choi, right, with his partner, Matthew Kinsey. Choi faces a discharge from the military because he is gay and doesn't like lying. Lying, though, is a prerequisite to staying in the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" law banning gays from openly serving. Choi, an Arabic linguist and Iraq veteran, views lying as a antithetical to military conduct.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama announced that he would work to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." A confluence of factors is finally forcing the president to overturn this unjust ban:

...a variety of 21st-century forces — a new generation in the military, a change in climate at the top levels of the Pentagon, pressure on the president from a critical interest group, even Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand’s anticipated Democratic primary battle in New York — converged to begin repeal of a 1993 law that has led to the discharge of more than 13,000 gay men and lesbians, including desperately needed Arabic translators.

The loss of 13,000 individuals to the military because of their sexual orientation is absurd enough. Compounding the absurdity is the loss of "desperately needed Arabic translators." Republican leader John A. Boehner, Representative of Ohio, doesn't see a problem: “In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat, why would we want to get into this debate?”

So we must wait until there are no threats to the country and both wars are concluded before commencing with "this debate." In addition, Boehner sees no connection between our foreign entanglements and the need to communicate with the Arab world. After all, who needs Lt. Dan Choi's Arabic skills when he has a partner named Matthew?

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