During the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama said that if elected, he would repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which bars openly gay men and women from serving in the armed forces. To support his position, Obama argued that “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.” But since taking office, the Obama administration resisted moving to repeal the policy, with Defense Secretary of Defense Robert Gates saying he hoped to “push that one down the road a little bit.” Now, Aaron Belkin reports that the first Arabic linguist is being dismissed from the military under Obama’s watch:
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.
According to Belkin, a soon-to-be-released study by a group of experts in military law will show that “President Obama does, in fact, have stroke-of-the-pen authority to suspend gay discharges.” “An executive order would not get rid of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, but would take the critical step of suspending its implementation, hence rendering it effectively dead,” says Belkin.