13 October 2009

Ruined Lives

Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach has appeared on Rachel Maddow's show before, but last night's appearance was different. He was beside himself with stress, anger, and fear, because, despite 18 solid years of grade-A service to his country, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is about to be fired from the armed forces because he is gay.

In a country that is fighting two wars (and has been for eight years, causing multiple deployments for most troops), in a country that needs as many Arabic-speaking linguists as possible to fight those wars, that the Pentagon is still discharging men and women who are serving honorably is wrong beyond measure. (An aside: We would do well to remind the Commander-in-Chief that the very first casualty in the Iraq War was Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, a gay man who lost his leg after stepping on a land mine on March 21, 2003.)

That the President and the congress have taken so long to move to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell is unfathomable. Lives are being ruined here, folks! I understand there are many important things on Mr. Obama's plate at the moment, that the pile of shit left behind by the Bush administration is mountainous. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are two major piles in that mess, and removing troops from service simply because they are gay isn't just morally wrong...it's unpatriotic.

The President and congress need to act on this soon. The politics in D.C. will more than likely change a bit next year, and the likelihood of overturning DADT will diminish greatly.