Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Military Arabic Linguist Fired For Being Gay

Another rarely talented military Arabic linguist we desperately need is about to be fired because he's gay:
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.

...

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.


How stupid are we as a society?

Aaron Belkin blames Obama:
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?


I have to agree. I know Obama's got to pick his battles, but this one's a no-brainer. How often do you get to do the thing that is right, popular, AND will make our country safer?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

do you know anyone who suffers from a gruesome disease, but one that does not present itself externally? Does that person flaunt his disease as if he is proud of contracting it? If he/she does, is that not just a method by which to ignore the lack of humor in the problem, so as to be able to cope with it? Why is this different?

Holy Hyrax said...

Does this have anything to do with him being a linguist? Meaning, since he deals with highly religious people, they would not want to talk with him if he was openly gay?

Scott said...

Please don't insult me or the victim here by blaming this on some imaginary entity known only as society. There is a chain of command in the military and the fault here lies first with the person who thinks "following orders" is an acceptable justification for wrong doing and then follows up through the chain to every superior who passes down the order.

That being said, this guy will be better off not being in the military and we're all better off when the military has less people to use for their evil purposes.

Holy Hyrax said...

I also wonder why he felt a need to come out, and, why was there a need for someone to ask him about it. What is with this 'need' of people to be exhibitionists and tell people their private lives (not just homesexuality, but ANYTHING). But then again, we ARE living in a twitter era.

>military has less people to use for their evil purposes.

I wonder if you would say this to present day soldiers and veterans.

Scott said...

I wonder if you would say this to present day soldiers and veterans.I have, more or less. They usually say either "Fuck you" if they're that kind of meat head, or "hey my friends died for your right to say that" if they're a little more thoughtful. Either way, emotions rule the day.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Either way, emotions rule the day.

There is of course some irony in this coming from you.


ooooooooooh, wholesale Nike shoes.

Jewish Atheist said...

Anonymous:

Wat?


HH:

Does this have anything to do with him being a linguist? Meaning, since he deals with highly religious people, they would not want to talk with him if he was openly gay?Always looking for an excuse to defend the indefensible, huh? :-) No, there's no evidence of any problem whatsoever before he came out on television. If there were, they could fire him for not being able to do his job.

I also wonder why he felt a need to come out, and, why was there a need for someone to ask him about it.You "wonder" about that? Really?

I'm sure you'd have no objections to a DADT policy for Jews in the military, right? You can be Jewish as long as you never tell anyone or otherwise let it come out?

Jewish Atheist said...

Scott:

Please don't insult me or the victim here by blaming this on some imaginary entity known only as society.I didn't. I explicitly put this on Obama in this post. I've previously blamed Clinton, who signed DADT. And I'm constantly on the Republicans and the religious right and anyone else who wants to marginalize and discriminate against gays.

That being said, this guy will be better off not being in the militaryMaybe he will, maybe he won't. This was the career he chose and wanted to continue. Whether it's good for him or not, his choice is being taken away from him.

and we're all better off when the military has less people to use for their evil purposes.Bit of a broad brush there, no? How are we better off in any way by understanding Arabic speakers *worse*? You think the military's going to wrap up operations and go home now that this guy's been fired?

Holy Hyrax said...

JA

When you comment, can you separate between what you are copying and pasting , and your own response please?

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

I try. Blogger recently stopped reproducing my newlines. Maybe I'll try using some html paragraphs.

FrumJewInYU said...

I find it odd to be saying this, but I mostly agree with JA in principle. There is a separation between church and state. Period. While I and other religious folk are obviously against homosexual acts, that doesn't give the government the right to legislate against it.

However, practically I think Obama made the smart move by not signing an executive order now. I think he definitely would use up too much political capital that would be necessary to fight the bigger gay-rights issues, like marriage, that are going to come to a head in the not-too-distant future. Granted, public opinion would be on his side, but that doesn't change the fact in would result in a large backlash amongst both solid and not-as-solid right-wingers, especially because the executive order would be messing with their bastion, the military.

The Hedyot said...

The missing break was causing problems for me too. Use a double <br> tag immediately after the closing italics and it will look fine.

Tigerboy said...

Anonymous:
---"do you know anyone who suffers from a gruesome disease, but one that does not present itself externally? Does that person flaunt his disease as if he is proud of contracting it?"

Can you take a moment and explain how being gay has anything in common with a gruesome disease? Do you think that being gay is contagious? I don't understand. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Always looking for an excuse to defend the indefensible, huh? :-)

Not at all, I was just really curious.

>I'm sure you'd have no objections to a DADT policy for Jews in the military, right? You can be Jewish as long as you never tell anyone or otherwise let it come out?

I don't see how its anyones business whether I would be jewish for me to have to "come out" or for anyone to even ask me.

If there was some statistics that gays in the military cause problems amongst the male soldiers, then I would have no problem with DADT. Until then, I don't see a problem with gays in the army.

Orthoprax said...

HH,

"If there was some statistics that gays in the military cause problems amongst the male soldiers, then I would have no problem with DADT."

The sole argument for DADT is that since our military is a volunteer army and composed largely of people with more socially conservative opinions, the conjecture is that having homosexuals being openly gay could lead to poor cohesiveness among troops and to fewer recruits entering the armed forces.

So while those arguments are probably valid to some degree, I don't believe the effects would be significant. And in fact, the net consequence of not sending away good people who are willing and able to do the duty would likely be to the military's benefit.

Jack said...

How stupid are we as a society? Now you don't really want us to answer that. ;)

There is a chain of command in the military Yep, and it is of critical importance. Without the chain of command the military would fall apart.

Doesn't mean that you don't want thinking soldiers, but there are times and places for questioning orders. It is important to distinguish when and where.

Scott said...

So you think this was a good decision then?

Comrade Kevin said...

I wonder who is advising him about this and what his true feelings on the position are.

Jack said...

I am saying that the system has to be revised. I could care less about the sexuality of soldiers. It is stupid to get caught up in it.

All that being said I want a military that follows the chain of command because otherwise it breaks down into anarchy.

That doesn't mean that soldiers shouldn't use common sense, but how they apply it is the question.

Scott said...

Well if you think the rule should change, isn't the easiest way to change it for lower officials not to enforce it? I mean if the guy tells his commander he's gay, and the commanders just keeps it to his self, then what happens?

OMG ANARCHY!

E-Man said...

Scott, I think that was what was going on. However, the guy came out on television. How do you ignore that?

Holy Hyrax said...

>isn't the easiest way to change it for lower officials not to enforce it?

Um, no, that's the worst idea. That's Jack's whole point.

Scott said...

Well then he has a really bad point.

Jack said...

Well then he has a really bad point.That is how I win all my arguments by telling the other guy that he has a really bad point. It is highly effective.