Lt. Choi Refuses to (Continue) Lie
Andrew Sullivan gives Quote For the Day honors to gay Army 1st Lieutenant Dan Choi for this excerpt from his Open Letter to President Obama and Every Member of Congress:
I have learned many lessons in the ten years since I first raised my right hand at the United States Military Academy at West Point and committed to fighting for my country. The lessons of courage, integrity, honesty and selfless service are some of the most important.
At West Point, I recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday. It taught us to “choose the harder right over the easier wrong” and to “never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.” The Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort.
Following the Honor Code never bowed to comfortable timing or popularity. Honor and integrity are 24-hour values. That is why I refuse to lie about my identity.
Keeping one’s sexuality to onesself is not a lie in any ordinary sense of the word. If it were, however, Choi has been lying for at least a decade by complying with the “Don’t Tell” part of the infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise. Why, suddenly, was he compelled to “be honest” by outing himself?
That said, Choi has clearly demonstrated that he can serve in uniform without upsetting “good order and discipline.” Judging from his uniform photo above, he excelled at West Point where, unless things have changed drastically in recent years, he bunked with other male cadets and shared communal showers with them. I take him at his word that his soldiers, raised in an era where being gay is about as noteworthy as being a redhead, continue to accept him as their leader.
It’s time to change the policy. But Choi knew what the policy was when he signed up and when he went on television and announced he was gay.
If you’re suggesting he shouldn’t have signed up unless he was willing to submit silently to the policy, I think that’s clearly wrong. It’s quite possible he joined to serve his country despite the policy and hoped it would change. It hasn’t, so he’s sacrificing his career in order to register his opposition to the policy. Officers are supposed to be willing to resign or otherwise take the consequences for standing up for principle.
A policy that is long overdue to be changed. Of course I suspect it will be like the promise to change the course in Iraq, Afghan, Gitmo etc… a lot of things that sound good and brief well during campaings but that is about all we will get from this admin.
a classic Joyner post – stating the appallingly obvious. It needs to be said by somebody, right?! I should start to keep track of these water-is-wet posts. I’ll check in again in about a week, see how many WIWs there are…
Choi’s story only serves to illustrate that the DADT policy worked. As James noted, Choi “bunked with other male cadets and shared communal showers with them,” but those other male cadets were unaware of his sexuality at the time. Presumably there will come a day when sexuality will be meaningless, even in the context of close quarters, but was that time 1999, when Choi joined up, I don’t know.
I would guess most people opposed to the DADT policy never experienced the soldier’s life of close quarter living. I presume they would not feel the same about close communal showers with men and women together for obvious reasons. But is an issue that cannot simply be brushed aside as mere bigotry. To me, the close quarter living situation, is the biggest problem with permitting openly gay people serve in the military.
This is not to say it is unworkable, but it is merely to point out that most people seem to simply ignore it as an issue and focus solely on the potential for bigotry.
If this dude is any indication, the only thing gayer than the Navy appears to be the Army
Change and transition is difficult. I had (deceased) two career Army relatives who plain and simply would not understand.
I’ve never been in the Armed Forces, so I shouldn’t opine vigorously on the theory of DADT or morale issues.
But from where I stand, and wrt Choi….its apparent things went well, and, as they say, “thank you for your service,” and God’s speed.
hardhat – Do you have a point? Or are you pointless?
Steve – I’ve been in for a long time now and I used to be of the opinion that the DADT was a good policy b/c I was worried about the community shower thing but after all this time and meeting many gay men and women who are in the service and many who are not, i don’t see the need for the policy. If sexual harassment in the showers occurs then there are ways to stop that such as AR 600-20 which is army command policy just like you would not tolerate people commenting on females and their bodies. Will there be problems, of course, but nothing the services can’t work through like they did when the forces were integrated with african americans or women in the past – just my two cents.
Ten years since he first enrolled at West Point and he’s still a lieutenant? Does this seem right?
Uhh…dude….you must be playing on the same team as Choi.
Any God-fearing soldier would totally be into communal showers with a bunch of broads! Didn’t they do that in “Stripes”???
I had the same thought. He would have been commissioned 6 years ago and should certainly have made captain by now. His signature indicates that he’s in the NY National Guard, so maybe he left active duty early for some reason.
Or, maybe, the whole “gay” thing is made up to shroud his own anti-American, liberal conscience.
Maybe he never got a promotion because he’s a lazy bum?
If he really is gay, then Choi is proof that gays suck as soldiers and if they continue to serve, they will undoubtedly bring the whole military down.
Let’s see, 4 years to graduate as 2d Lt. 18-24mos from 2nd to 1st Lt. Let’s say 24 (I’m assuming he went to language school for intensive training). So, that would mean he had about 4 years in grade as a 1st Lt. It may be that, because of his billet, promotion is a bit harder. Also, he was in the Guard, too, that might make promotion more slow. And, if I’m reading this page right, Military Commissioned Officer Promotions, the minimum time in grade a 1st Lt can expect to serve before moving into the zone for promotion is 3 years. So he sounds like he wass about where he should have been, time-wise any way.
But JJ was an occifer…so he probably has a better answer for the question.
If Lt. Choi has chosen to be a martyr for this particular cause, then he has my full support and admiration.
I enlisted in the Navy 49 years ago (God, has it been that long already), and we applied our own unwritten rule about homosexuality. A gay could make an advance one time. If I said no and he backed off, case closed. If he persisted, it was bos’n’ locker time.
What mattered was if a sailor was reliable. If he learned his specialty and could be trusted to perform when push came to shove, we didn’t care if he and some other swabby diddled on their own time. Showers? Not a problem. Bunks? Not a problem. They just had to keep it among themselves.
Officially, of course … Well, we didn’t think much of officially to begin with.
Heh…I enlisted in the Marines 51 years ago…tempus H. fugit on a crutch. I tell young folks that a strange thing will happen to them when they hit 50: They’ll stop and think for an instant, “50 years! How the hell did that happen?”
Yes of course, because gay people, unlike heterosexuals, will hit on anyone of the same sex (whether they are even attracted to them or not) who ventures into their space…they have absolutely no ability to restrain their sexual urges…seriously, does anyone really believe this…
Semper Fi, Jarhead. Back in the day, we learned why the Navy had Marines and the Army had mules — the Army got first choice.
I was really disappointed that Clinton didn’t settle the issue while he had his chance. If he had used his balls for something other than interns, this would have been forgotten by now. I sincerely hope the current POTUS will do a better job.
Back in 1979 I needed a job and some dude told me the Navy was looking for recruits. I set up an appointment with a recruiter, but the night before I was watching the Carson show and the Village People were playing “In the Navy.”
That song scared me sh^tless. If those types dudes were in the navy, it was clear I’d be working in Harvey Milk-sville so I canceled my appointment immediately.
Heh. Just get me to the right part of the beach, Squid, is all I ask. 🙂
Amen to that, brother.
Interested Party is the exact person I was considering when posting the comment. Given the self-chosen moniker, I am guessing IP is only looking at this from his/her perspective and thinking, “I don’t care about anyone in the shower, I am just there to take a shower.” And that is probably true in most cases. But that is not the issue. The issue is the OTHER person, who feels awkward showering with someone who desires people of the same sex.
Seriously, IP, do you think if we went to West Point and declared that from this day forward the showers would be co-ed, it would be unreasonable for the women there to be concerned? But I would venture to say that most of the men there would not have any desire to harass or assault the women. They might want to ogle, but not harass or assault. Would that be OK? Or more to the point, would it be wrong for the Academy to prohibit the co-ed showers purely based on the uncomfortableness of the women. Because, like Mike said earlier,
So do Mike and IP really think co-ed showers are, or should be, on the way, simply because Army Regs prohibit harassment? Come on!!
James, my compliments to you. The story of Lt. Choi is not that he is a homosexual in the military but rather that he felt compelled to announce it to the world, as if anyone other than him really gives a damn. You are the only one that I have seen so far to cast the story in the correct light.
Piece of cake. I was an LCVP engineer aboard an attack transport – USS Noble (APA-218). I also got sent to Pendleton to learn the finer points of the BAR and bayonet. So yeah, Sam, I’d have gotten you to the right beach and then some.
“The issue is the OTHER person, who feels awkward showering with someone who desires people of the same sex.”
I’m sure that there were white soldiers who served in the military before it was integrated who felt awkward sharing any space, including a shower, with black soldiers…should their feelings have been taken into consideration before it was decided to integrate the military? And I’m just curious, why would any straight person feel awkward showering with a gay person? Is the gay person going to ogle up or even hit on the straight person simply because he/she shares the same gender? Come on indeed…
Well, quite obviously, somebody, sometime, gave a damn because the guy got fired pursuant to a policy. Some people do give a damn (usually a goddamn), but there are fewer and fewer of them as time goes by. And so few today, I think, that the policy needs deep-sixing.
Steve – no I don’t think it is the same as co-ed showers and neither do most intelligent people. Will sexual ogling occur – yes. will sexual harassment occur – yes. But I do not see a reason to continue the policy b/c of this – and seriously, more and more installations don’t have group showers – that really is the old military – most barracks are one plus one meaning privacy- so if we eliminate group showers, is this enough to satisfy you? I would reckon that in a combat zone or a field exercise, after a few weeks without a shower, and the chance that a gay soldier saw a straight one naked, sex is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Just curious Steve, have you ever served?
This is a very simple issue. One should not be forced ti live a lie while they are ready to die in service of their country. End of story.
Lt Choi is in the same category as the physicians who decide that after the military paid for medical school and a residency program that they are conscientious objectors. Lt Choi receive a free college education, free Arabic training, and probably has a top secret clearance. The fast way out of being sent to Iraq as a 1LT was to come out as homosexual and then go get a job with a beltway bandit at five times the money.
Exactly what part of this exerpt from Lt Choi’s letter do you not understand, sd:
Well, I wonder about this, and think it, in combo with the amount of pressure being placed on the new President by his base, in such matters, may just answer the ‘why now?’ question.
Aside from professional sport, the military is among the last of the genuine meritocracies. So, yes Triumph… given what we’ve seen in the past, it wouldn’t be unusual for there have been a performance issue. He likley figured his military career is dead ended, so why not become a ‘martyr’ for ‘the cause’? Particularly when the current occupant of the WH is showing signs of being sympathetic?
To the first point,
Ignore the last line. Editing error, sorry.
Ah, Bithead, Bithead. To steal from Roy Edroso, your commenting is like the joke The Aristocrats: The longer it goes on, the more obscenely funny it gets.
Support the troops, unless there is political gain to be made from trashing them…
“A gay could make an advance one time. If I said no and he backed off, case closed. If he persisted… What mattered was if a sailor was reliable.”
I just left the Canoe Club after 30 yrs and this unwritten common-sense rule was still in effect. Furthermore, if a known gay was a solid shipmate, he was “protected” from harassment and overt bigotry. The bigots were much more likely to be ostracized and “go to the Bos’n Locker” than the openly gay sailors.
BTW, DADT works (and has worked) extremely well, despite what O-2 Choi might have to say about it.
What exactly is it that amuses you so, Sam? What is so implausable in my suggestion?
Ah, so all the poeple in uniform perform equally?
Even you know better than that.
What does that have to do with anything? You just trashed a combat vet, and we all saw it. It tells us a lot about who you really are.
It would be interesting to see you call Lt.Choi’s integrity into question to his face. Of course something like that would never happen. Not your style…
Only a cowardly pussy like you, without a scintilla of evidence, would impugn the integrity of someone who went in harm’s way in the service of his country. To score some cheapass political point. Disgraceful. Simply disgraceful.
From the implementation of DADT in ’93 until my retirement 18 mos ago, I had no experience of anyone declaring their homosexuality for either principled or morally-pure motives.
In every case in which I was involved (CMC and large-division LCPO), the inconvenient demands of service and/or a gay relationship compelled a sailor to “out” themselves.
A term that is never used by DADT opponents is “Good Order and Discipline.” DADT is intended to reinforce this bedrock princple. The needs of the service have priority over the wants of the individual.
Explain, please, how my reading here, doesn’t fit the known facts. Be specific.
Hear, hear. Bit you have been telling us for YEARS how the Iraq war is vital to our security. A just cause.
Yet you slime a man who actually went there and did the heavy lifting, as opposed to, you know, typing about it. You don’t know the facts of the case, you have no idea what is in Lt. Choi’s heart and mind. Really, how on earth can you launch an attack like that on him and still look at yourself in the mirror? Is it somehow ok in your mind because he is gay?
How many weekends did you spend at the lake while this man risked his life in Iraq?
Your guess about what a man who you have never met thinks does not equate to a “known fact”.
BitheadChickenhawk punk. As you are so fond of saying “no sale”.
“How many weekends did you spend at the lake while this man risked his life in Iraq?”
How do we know that 2LT Choi wasn’t “in the rear with the gear” as a an arabic interpreter in the Green Zone, or on a major operating base? Did I miss something in his bio?
Not to denigrate his service, but being in theater and being a “combat vet” are entirely different things. Anything that ditinguishes him from being a REMF, such as a CIB or combat valor award?
Oh, please, Anjin. How many years out of the point and he’s still a louie? You make the assumption that was for no reason at all. I assume the army does things for a reason. And looking up I see I’m not nearly alone in that assumption. The rest fits all too nicely.
Now, if you have facts to counter what I’m suggesting, let’s hear them.
As for “not denigrating his service” is a little late for that. Go up to the lake this weekend and do some writing about how swell war is. There are plenty of real men out there who will do the actual dirty work
Your assumptions are not facts. We are done here chicken hawk go cluck at somebody else.
Bit. I think I will shorten that to just “C Hawk” how does that sound?
Did you miss something? Well, it would hardly be the first time. Lt Choi clearly stated
That he is an Iraq combat vet. Are you calling him a liar?
Isn’t it interesting that criticizing the integrity of someone in the military receives howls of protest from people in certain quarters unless that someone happens to be gay and is true to himself…than those same people spew the same criticisms that they bitch about when others do it…
2LT Choi can state that he is a “Combat Vet” and yet, by the definition of those who actually serve in combat, not be what he says he is. A most misused and abused term, Combat Vet.
The distinction that I’m trying to make and that some are willfully ignoring, is that being a “Combat Vet” and being in combat are two separate and distinct things. An in-theater REMF doesn’t get the title.
Still looking for indications of a CIB, CAB or combat valor award. You know, things that a Combat Vet would have actually earned.
The title of this post would seem to have established that point. And you’ve yet to show me anything that counters my read. Comon, Anjin… you’re the one making accusations. Let’s see some facts in support of your attack on me, eh?
Side note to The Strategic MC: John Kerry, call your office.
Strategic MC – as if people in the green zone don’t get killed – truck drivers on convoys don’t get killed? – when a convoy gets attacked, I guess those 88M drivers are just pretend combat vets – the REMF distinction does not apply to the current conflicts
I stand corrected (by myself).
A little research reveals that 1LT Choi deployed to Iraq as a member of the 10th Mountain Div. No REMF organization, this.
Only to an idiot. Oh, wait, I see you have your hand up…
I purposely introduced the REMF term IOT distinguish between Combat Arms and non-attached, “inside the wire” Combat Support units.
Not to be overly argumentative about this, but you can be killed by hostile forces and still be a REMF. See: TET Offensive, Saigon, 1968.
So, he wasn’t lying then? Even HE says he was lying “about my identity.” until his recent admission.
That sound you heard just now was the lid on your box being slammed shut.
While it’s useful to a degree to examine this, (And I’ll point out I didn’t question his service) I wonder how that bears on the idea that after x years out of the point he’s still a second louie. By about anyone’s standards, that’s the marker of someone who isn’t going up in rank any further, Sam’s point not withstanding. At the least, one can understand how someone in that position could read it that way.
It does seem odd to me as well that he is not an O-3 at this point in his career. Any possibility that he had become known as a social advocate prior to his transfer to the NG?
I got “wrapped around the axle” about his service because part of the initial outrage was that we were discharging a “highly valuable” Arabic linguist in a time of need. I assumed that such a valuable resource would be attached to either intel or sigs, not the infantry.
I refer you to James remarks:
Dance all you want, C Hawk. The matter at hand is you trashing a combat vet. Nothing new from you. You make a lot of noise about supporting the military, but don’t hesitate to spit on those who actually serve when your ideology demands it.
Anyway, I think I have really had enough of this discussion, reading your comments about Lt. Choi has left me with a strong desire to puke.
“Still a louie” …what are you dude? A Captain in the armchair warriors, keyboard platoon?
i just think that if they are gay, they should choose some other line of work, like hair-styling, and not try and bugger up the fighting teeth of the american military. i recall in my time we just beat the bejeebers out of ’em and that made ’em smarten up.
I would fight with anyone but I prefer not to take showers with a bunch of naked dudes, gay or not.
showering just like what ever type of nasty perverted sex your into should be kept private, what are we animals.
lol, what’s a Louie.
And what does a perverted taste for male genitalia have to do with ones identify? Dude if thats what defines you, you got problems.
you say butt sex and bj’s and cuddling with some hairy dude is the center of your being and only what your made of and want to be?
I used to like a lot of nasty sex type stuff, and still do to some extent, but damn I never thought it was who I was, or that it should be a reason for discussing how much honesty or integrity I have.
Scratch a homophobe, and you almost always find latency…
Of course, and do you have the poll of most “intelligent people” that shows that they believe that most people would not care about sharing a shower with someone of the same sex who is gay? Please present that data for me. I am quite interested as to its methodology.
Ah yes, the time worn tactic that people who disagree with “my position” must never have served and therefore are unqualified to comment.
Yes Mike, I served for 10 years in the Army. And your point about group showers is well taken, but even you admitted that the potential for problems is there.
I am personally not opposed to openly gay soldiers serving, but it does bother me that people who support it so brazenly suggest that there are simply no issues like those I mentioned. While most barracks have individual showers, most schools (like air assault, airborne school, etc.) and many training centers do not. So unless you could change the shower situation with a wave of the hand (which you can’t) it is, even by your own admission, an issue.
That’s all I am asking. Let’s not pretend that it is as simple as dealing with basic prejudices, there are underlying concerns in close quarter living that generally do not exist in the outside world that simply must be considered.
Interestingly, neither Interested Party nor Mike advocated for co-ed showers, but presumably because they are “intelligent people” and I am not, their lack of concern must translate to all thinking people, so it was not worth addressing as a philosophical point.
Like what? Sleeping with one of your siblings? Cousins? Or farm animals, perhaps? That would explain a lot…
That’s as may be, Anjin, but he certainly was the one to invoke the word, therefore he apparently didn’t check with James before considering it so.
Oh, spare me the fake self-rightiousness, Anjin.
You’ve just argued yourself into a self-rightious corner.
I recognize this is a little bit of a strech for that thing on top of your neck, but do try to think….
That question of years in rank was even a question James raised, if you will but recall, or go and re-read… Are we now, by the standard you apply to me, consider James a homophobe, too? Or, is this perhaps your way of evading a question you don’t have an answer for?
You can crawl away, now.