May 30, 2010
Here you go AlejandroL.
Lt Dan Choi on the Joy Behar Show talking about the latest move on barry’s part to do nothing….except when he needs voters. Nothing will happen – if even then – until December 2010 when the Pentagon study is completed.
First time I’ve heard Lt Choi admit the reason behind his coming forward.
FULL TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS
BEHAR: My gay friends can find the best restaurants, the best hotels and the best sales. I guarantee you they can find Osama bin Laden and dress him a lot better when they do. So isn`t it time to repeal “don`t ask, don`t tell”?
Here to talk about this is Lieutenant Dan Choi, a West Point graduate, gay Iraq veteran and nationally recognized advocate for the repeal of “don`t ask, don`t tell.” Welcome to the show, Dan.
LT. DAN CHOI, ADVOCATE FOR REPEAL OF “DON`T ASK, DON`T TELL”: Thanks for having me, Joy.
BEHAR: My pleasure.
Now, Obama endorsed a “don`t ask, don`t tell” compromise between lawmakers and the Defense Department. Does this mean that gays and lesbians will now be able to serve openly in the military?
CHOI: You would think that the President would want that to happen. You would think that that`s the case, but it`s not. And anybody can be fired right now just for telling the truth about themselves. The law is still on the books.
And Joy, the use of the word “compromise”, I think, is a little bit too generous. A compromise assumes that both sides have done something or given something. We all know that this is not a compromise.
It`s a delay, what the president has done, saying that Congress should repeal “don`t ask, don`t tell” in the law and it`ll be a long time before the President and the Pentagon do anything to enact any kind of nondiscrimination.
BEHAR: I see.
CHOI: So we know that there is — right. There are two things that have to happen to fully repeal “don`t ask, don`t tell”. The President is asking for the first to happen and is doing absolutely nothing for the second.
BEHAR: Can`t he do something with just the stroke of a pen? Can he freeze the “don`t ask, don`t tell” –
CHOI: That`s right.
BEHAR: Why doesn`t he do that?
CHOI: That`s absolutely correct.
BEHAR: Who is he protecting?
CHOI: He is the commander-in-chief –
CHOI: — he is the commander-in-chief and he`s firing soldiers just for telling the truth. He has executive order authorities but he also could do something else. He can include into the defense authorization — which is essentially his budget — and tell Congress to repeal “don`t ask, don`t tell” as a law. But he has refused to do that as well.
And there`s a lot of things that he still has to do. When –
BEHAR: Why? Why is he holding it up? Why do you think personally — I mean, he seems like an open-minded guy. You know he`s not a homophobe. What is his problem with this?
CHOI: Well, I think a lot of people — and this is the most devastating thing about the “don`t ask, don`t tell” repeal process is that people are putting their political agendas before the needs of the soldiers and the rights of soldiers to access their own integrity. So you have right now soldiers who cannot tell the truth about themselves or the people that they love.
CHOI: And you have politicians either in the White House or in Congress that are putting their own careers above the careers of those who are serving their country. And I think that`s absolutely ridiculous and anti-American.
BEHAR: Definitely. Now, you decided to come out last year on the “Rachel Maddow” show. Why not my show?
CHOI: Well, I`m — I have to point out that even today with all this, it`s still illegal for me to say, “Joy, I am gay.” So, there, I broke the law on your show, too.
CHOI: And –
BEHAR: Why don`t you come on –
CHOI: But it`s –
BEHAR: Why don`t you come on my show and get married, Dan?
CHOI: All right. Not to you.
BEHAR: No, not to me.
CHOI: If I was for the other side –
BEHAR: Duh –
CHOI: — I would.
But Joy, I think what this is — the law essentially tells people that they are not allowed to love who they — who love — to love the people that are their number one supporters in the entire world. For me, when I came out on TV more than a year ago I did it because I finally fell in love with somebody. And I — I understood commitment and maturity, growth and sacrifice all in the context of intimacy and love. And finally understanding what everybody`s talking about in the romance novels — not that I read a lot of romance novels –
CHOI: — but in the movies and in the songs and the poems. I finally understood that. But even more important, I understood what my soldiers were going through when they said that they fall in love or they`re going through a break-up.
BEHAR: Of course.
CHOI: And that made me a better leader, it made me a better soldier and it made me a better person.
BEHAR: It`s a human need that`s being denied and distorted, frankly. You know, I have to ask you something.
CHOI: That`s right.
BEHAR: What are the other soldiers — the straight guys in the Army and the military — do they really care about this, do you think? Does it inhibit them? Do they feel like they don`t want to be in the shower — what is the problem there? What is it?
CHOI: It`s funny that you bring that up. There`s so many people that make so much of these terms — of unit cohesion and, in fact, the Pentagon is studying whether discrimination is in keeping with American values and military values and they`re taking this long to consider some of those red herrings that when in my personal experience, I go back to my unit, I`m still serving in the military. And you know what the soldiers want to hear. You know what they demand from their leaders and their officers.
BEHAR: And what do you want — what do you say to that? What do you — what do they want to hear?
CHOI: They want their leaders to be honest. And they want everybody to fall in to the same and commit themselves, uncompromisingly to the same values — integrity, honor, courage. And there is no reason why anybody should compromise those sacred foundations of military service.
BEHAR: Absolutely right. Ok.
Thank you very much, Lieutenant, for joining me. And remember the offer. You can get married on my show.
CHOI: Joy, it`s a pleasure.
BEHAR: All right. We`ll be back in just a minute.