Arabic Linguist Fired From Army For Being Openly Gay

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat May 9 13:53:55 UTC 2009

Arabic Linguist Fired From Army For Being Openly Gay
Posted by Stephanie Condon |  418

(AP / file)In spite of President Obama's declared stance against the
"don't-ask-don't-tell" policy that keeps openly gay individuals out of
the military, the U.S. Army on Thursday told Lt. Dan Choi he is being
dismissed for publicly revealing his homosexuality. Choi is not the
first servicemember to be dismissed because of his sexuality under the
Obama administration, but his dismissal stands out because of his
noted skills. Choi is an infantry platoon leader in the New York
National Guard who is fluent in Arabic. He graduated West Point and
recently returned from Iraq.

As founding member of Knights Out, an organization for openly gay,
lesbisan, bisexual, and transgender West Point alumni and their
supporters, Choi advocates allowing openly gay people to serve in the
military. He announced his own sexuality on MSNBC on March 19. On the
campaign trail, Mr. Obama specifically criticized the dismissal of
openly gay servicemen who have special language skills. He also told
the Advocate, a gay newsmagazine, that the don't-ask-don't-tell policy
is a "counterproductive strategy."

"We’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or
lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like
Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need," he said in an
interview with the magazine. "That doesn’t make us more safe."

Since the don't-ask-don't-tell policy was implemented during the
Clinton administration, around 12,500 servicemembers have been
dismissed because of their sexuality.

The White House also recently came under fire from liberal bloggers
who noted a change in the language addressing the issue on The site initially said Mr. Obama supported
"repealing" don't-ask-don't-tell, but it later said the president
supported "changing" the policy "in a sensible way." After taking heat
on the matter, the White House changed the wording on
once again to say the president "supports repealing Don’t Ask Don’t
Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our
national security."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has also been noncomittal about
repealing the policy. While touring war colleges in April, Gates said
he did not yet have a position on whether gay troops should be open
about their sexuality.

Mr. Obama has also come under pressure from gay advocates to appoint
an openly gay person to the Supreme Court.

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