Lt. Dan Choi Calls DADT Compromise a “Delay”

Lt. Dan Choi on Humvee duty.

By Frank Pizzoli

“Compromise is a bad term to use in describing what the White House yesterday released as a deal to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” Lt. Dan Choi told Central Voice today (May 25, 2010). He calls President Obama’s orchestrated deal a “delay”.

Late yesterday the news broke that the White House had gathered Congressional leaders, Pentagon officials and gay rights organizations to announce it had hammered out a compromise deal repealing DADT.

Here is what may unfold in the next few days.

In the US Senate, an amendment to repeal DADT is expected to be offered this week by Senator Lieberman (I-CT) during the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. The vote is expected to take place Wednesday or Thursday.

In the US House, a repeal amendment is also expected to be offered this week by Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) on the floor as the chamber debates the National Defense Authorization Act. That vote is expected to take place Thursday or Friday.

A third legislative move that could also take place involves both chambers agreeing to amend current law to reflect that the US Armed Forces does not discriminate against gay and lesbian soldiers.

All deals discussed this week still leave the final decision on certifying any further repeal or regulatory changes regarding gay and lesbian Americans serving in the U.S. military in the hands of the Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mullen.

On March 19, 2009, Choi announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddox Show. Although Choi had value as an Arabic speaker able to communicate quickly and clearly with the Iraqi people, one month after his announcement he was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him. He was one of only eight soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.

While at West Point Choi recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday. “It taught me to choose the harder right over the easier wrong and to never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won,” he says.” Choi notes that the Cadet Honor Code demands truthfulness and honesty. “It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort,” he says.

Choi served for a decade under DADT. On June 30, 2009 he faced a military trial under the policy where the primary evidence against him was his simple statement of truth. Despite the board’s recommendation for discharge, the case was never finalized and Choi continues to serve in his military unit.

On March 19, 2010 Choi, with former Army Captain James Pietrangelo, chained themselves to the White House fence and were arrested with over a dozen patriots around the country in the pursuit of justice. They spent the night in prison. They were arrested again and spent the night in prison with four other military veterans on April 20, 2010. The day following release, Lt. Choi reported to weekend drill with his infantry unit and continues to serve as an army officer.

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