Lt. Dan Choi on His "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Setback
Dear friend --
I've got some bad news.
After 10 years of service to our country--including leading combat patrols, rebuilding schools and translating Arabic in Iraq for 15 months--the Federal Recognition Board issued its recommendation on Tuesday that I be discharged from the Army for "moral and professional dereliction" under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The board's decision to fire me is not the end. Now that this panel of four officers has recommended my discharge, it still must be approved by senior officials in the Army, a process that could take a few weeks to a year. Unless something unexpected happens, it may be just a matter of time before the Army officially fires me.
I will not give up, no matter the odds. Because I know that the only way we will win this fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is by facing it head on. And I need your help again to keep up the fight.
I've made my case to President Obama--supported by more than 140,000 of your signatures. I've made my case to the Army--supported by more than 160,000 of your signatures. And I will continue to make my case until they fire me for good.
Now we need to make our case to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Will you join me in asking Speaker Pelosi to strongly support legislation currently in Congress that would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? Please sign on to our letter before July 4th and I'll personally deliver your signatures to the Speaker ASAP.
At West Point, I 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." The Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort.
That's why I can't give up now. I've got to keep fighting. My fellow servicemembers--and the 70 fellow West Point graduates who have also come out of the closet to join Knights Out, the organization I co-founded to push for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"--would expect nothing less.
The only way we can win this fight for the truth is if the political cost of discrimination eventually becomes too great for the system to operate successfully. We need to raise the political cost in Congress so that Speaker Nancy Pelosi understands that, as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once said, "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
Speaker Pelosi needs to make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a priority now and come out strongly in support of legislative action to repeal this discriminatory law. Will you stand by my side now and sign our letter to the Speaker before July 4th? You have my word that I will deliver your signatures to Speaker Pelosi personally.
As I said a few days ago, national security means many things, but the thing that makes us secure in our nation and homes is love. What makes me a better soldier, leader, Christian and human being is love. And I'm not going to hide my love.
Love is worth it.
Thank you for your support.
Daniel W. Choi
New York Army National Guard
P.S. You can also help by joining the Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell Cause and inviting your friends.