Letter to Pres Obama from Vietnam Vet re: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Very pleasant surprise. A missing post that I found in the cache.

July 2, 2009

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell/Lt Choi/posts/interviews

This letter was in the comment section of the “Petition to POTUS to prevent Lt Dan Choi from being fired” post that I’ve been meaning to enter. It is an open letter from Vietnam Veteran, BILL STODDART to barry. I’m posting it because I think Mr Stoddart deserves to be heard and Lt Choi should get to hear his support and the chances are better in a main post than in the comment section. I don’t think Mr Stoddart would mind since his intent was to get his message to POTUS but I didn’t include his name in the title just in case.

Text unchanged – typos addressed and spacing added.

Mr. President,

I served in the US military from 8/66 thru 8/69. One of these three years was with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam.

It just amazes me that the mere fact of my sexual orientation, even today, if discovered would prevent me from serving my country.

Because of low enlistment rates, the military continues to lower it’s applicant expectations. Today, even convicted felons are permitted to enlist. Yet a law abiding gay or lesbian American is not permitted to serve simply because of who they are.

The US stands alone as the only major world power that discriminates in this way. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is just like the “Separate But Equal” policy of the 60’s and 70’s that promoted segregation. The Supreme Court ruled that the will of the majority should never be used to subject the rights of a minority and that “Separate But Equal” was inherently “unequal”.

The Pentagon is complaining that we don’t have enough qualified linguists serving in Iraq. Yet, within the last few years, a whole group of servicemen serving in Iraq (and fluent in Arabic) were discharged simply because of who they were.

I fully realize that there are many issues on your plate at this time. HOWEVER, how can we portray ourselves as the beacon of democracy in the world if we permit this type of blatant homophobia at home!!

Do what you promised to do Mr President and abolish “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell today!!

Respectfully,

Bill Stoddart

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