Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Open Letter to the Commander-in-Chief & Congress

From 1st Lt. Daniel W. Choi, Infantry officer from the New York Army National Guard:

The Department of the Army sent a letter discharging me on April 23rd. I will not lie to you; the letter is a slap in the face. It is a slap in the face to me. It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers.

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.

As an infantry officer, I am not accustomed to begging. But I beg you today: Do not fire me. Do not fire me because my soldiers are more than a unit or a fighting force – we are a family and we support each other. We should not learn that honesty and courage leads to punishment and insult. Their professionalism should not be rewarded with losing their leader. I understand if you must fire me, but please do not discredit and insult my soldiers for their professionalism.

When I was commissioned I was told that I serve at the pleasure of the President. I hope I have not displeased anyone by my honesty. I love my 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.

Please do not wait to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Please do not fire me.

The President will undoubtedly send the good Louie a nice handwritten note, ignoring the fact that the office he holds requires leadership which on this he has shown very little of. The leadership of the DNC seems to reside in the Speaker's chair, instead of the White House, from which all we hear on DADT is the dodging cry of "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!". More's the pity as Bill Clinton's legacy of betrayal is allowed to continue and good soldiers like Choi are let go.

3 comments:

epilonious said...

I actually just heard Daniel on a podcast today.

One of the things he illustrated was the conundrum service members are placed-in: “We are told to not lie, cheat, or steal, and to not abide those who lie, cheat, or steal, then told we _have_ to lie about our orientation or we’ll be unceremoniously drummed out”.

This was the first place I learned he was being unceremoniously drummed out, and it sucks.

Either way, if you want to hear more of his perspective, it can be found on Ramble Redhead's podcast (with part 2 following up) here

RambleRedhead said...

I did an interview with Daniel Choi for my show and hope you will listen!

Thanks for all you do as well!

John said...

Thanks guys. Just finished the podcasts and really enjoyed them! Choi seems to be a good officer.