Just when you thought the misguided, ill-conceived, bastard policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” couldn’t get any stupider, we have this:
Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, a fighter weapons systems officer, has been flying the F-15E Strike Eagle since 1998. He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron’s history. On that infamous September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation’s capital. Later he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received at least 30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is now a flight instructor in Idaho, where he has passed on his skills to more than 300 future Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force weapons systems officers.
Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction. He comes from a military family. His father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, his mother an Air Force nurse and captain. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach has honored that tradition.
Now, I know you’d think the Air Force would want to keep this guy for the rest of his natural life. He’s the poster child for military heroism, honor, duty and integrity. But no; the military has been taken over at the highest levels by proselytes and religious fanatics who think that homosexuality is just too darn evil to be tolerated, even if the soldier, sailor, airman or marine exhibiting such sexuality has served honorably and bravely for nearly 20 years.
No, that sort of thing has no place in America’s military. We just serve and protect the country, we don’t accurately represent it.
Folks, this is stupid. There is no logical reason to discharge this man, nor was there any reason to discharge Lieutenant Choi last month. Lt. Choi, you will recall, was until recently an Arabic linguist whose horrible crime against decency and public order was, well, being gay. Again, a highly trained soldier filling a role in a critical field was kicked out for nothing more serious than violating 19th century standards of conduct. You’d think the Army would want to keep as many Arabic linguists as possible. Apparently ideology trumps operational needs.
This is madness, and it must stop. Unfortunately, the one man who now has the power to make it stop, has shown little inclination to do so. I’m talking about President Barack “Yes we can, but we probably won’t” Obama. His latest solution to the problem appears to be to ignore it for now.
Maybe changing the law isn’t possible at the moment. He can still issue an Executive Order directing the service chiefs to stop implementing it, in light of the critical need for specialist personnel. Whatever. He really needs to grow a pair and end this fiasco once and for all.
For his part, LtCol Fehrenbach has made his case tonight, live on the Rachel Maddow show. Watch it on MSNBC.