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July 01, 2010

Meretricious Legal Grandstanding Move of the Day

There's something amusing about watching shameless political grandstanding beget shameless legal grandstanding:

The gay soldiers arrested outside the White House protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will annouce today that they're demanding that President Obama testify in their trial on minor civil disobedience charges.

Their novel argument: Obama himself called on gay rights advocates to pressure him, so they were just following orders.

Nice try, morons. Last time I checked, servicemen and women have no duty to obey an unlawful order.

A still, small voice tells me that repeatedly demonstrating that you think you're above the law does little to reassure those who doubt your willingness to place your country above your sense of self interest.

On the other hand, there is considerable entertainment value in watching our President being hoist by his own petard. Carry on.

Posted by Cassandra at July 1, 2010 10:06 AM

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I like their argument, "the President made us do it." Can I use that to not pay taxes? Yes your honor, I know tax evasion is a crime, but most of the White House Staff didn't file their taxes, and the President did say that the rich needs to pay their fair share.

Posted by: Smart Grunt at July 1, 2010 11:28 AM

The gay soldiers arrested outside the White House...

No gay soldiers were arrested outside the White House. *Mister* Choi and *Mister* Pietrangelo were both discharged last year and are civilians -- which they evidently *wanted* to be when they outed themselves.


Posted by: BillT at July 1, 2010 01:23 PM

The thing is, everyone else who puts on that uniform understands that with it, they accept limitations on the freedom of action ordinary citizens enjoy.

And actually, they're not even willing to accept the limits civilians enjoy - they seem to think they can break the law when it suits their higher purpose and escape any consequences.

They want to dress up in the uniform without actually acting like they're in the military - to enjoy the benefits and the stature military service entails without the tiresome necessity of actually earning either reward.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 1, 2010 02:19 PM

They want to dress up in the uniform without actually acting like they're in the military...

In this instance, they dressed in the uniforms without actually *being* in the military, but did so in order to convey the impression that they *were* -- a violation of 18 USC, Section 712. And, unless they removed their insignia of rank, they were also in violation of 18 USC, Section 912.

Posted by: BillT at July 1, 2010 03:22 PM

%$#@!

"...18 USC, Section 702..."

Posted by: BillT at July 1, 2010 03:25 PM

According to numerous articles, Choi was drilling with his unit in February (he claims he was asked to come back). So I'm pretty sure he was still in as of then. Unless he was lying, which is entirely possible, although no one mentioned that. I haven't seen anything about him being discharged since then, but I haven't really looked. The Advocate reports his discharge as "still pending" and Pietrangelo's as a done deal.

Also, the fact that he keeps talking about ending DADT drives me up a wall. Ending DADT puts us back with the original UCMJ guidelines, right? So, um, isn't that worse? I would say so.

Why doesn't he protest the UCMJ instead of DADT? Since that would further homosexual integration within the military, and ending DADT would not. And why chain himself to the White House? Isn't it the purview of Congress to change the UCMJ?

Or am I missing something here? Because it seems like THIS particular approach is just drama for the sake of drama. And if I wanted some of that, I'd attend a Twilight movie on opening night with my 12 year old daughter.

*shudder*

Posted by: airforcewife at July 1, 2010 07:19 PM

Now, viewed from the perspective of military discipline and order, this may be a disaster. But viewed from the perspective of agitators whose entire identity is wrapped up in their sexuality, it's a beautiful thing.

I also harbor a secret love for the idea that the President might be held to account for his words. If a Marine officer says, "I wish that..." tradition holds that this statement be interpreted by his Marines as an order. If the President said to these guys, "I want you to hold me to this," well...

Posted by: Grim at July 1, 2010 08:02 PM

To watch from ashore the struggles of another...

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 1, 2010 08:58 PM

Btw, this is one of the reasons why repealing or attempting to replace DADT will be disastrous.

Not because the policy is good or that something better can't be manufactured, but because transnational regressives will Engineer it to Fail.

Like everything else going wrong in this country. They will make it fail. They will make people suffer.

That's how they have always rolled. Since 1930 even.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 1, 2010 09:00 PM

They want to dress up in the uniform without actually acting like they're in the military - to enjoy the benefits and the stature military service entails without the tiresome necessity of actually earning either reward.
Posted by: Cassandra at July 1, 2010 02:19 PM

That, and it just looks s-o-o-o "butch"... ;-)

Posted by: camojack at July 2, 2010 12:35 AM

According to numerous articles, Choi was drilling with his unit in February (he claims he was asked to come back). So I'm pretty sure he was still in as of then.

From Newsweek:

The New York National Guard’s spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Goldenburg, confirmed that Choi has always remained on the rolls of his unit. "His violation of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is being run through the channels of the Department of the Army, which has not yet made a final determination on the revocation of his commission,” Goldenburg [sic] said.

The Guard has always been a political animal, and the NYARNG's hierarchy is especially so, particularly in the area of PC-ness. LTC Goldenberg (Newsweek misspelled his name) is the Public Affairs Officer for the 42d ID, which means he's the press spokesman, and he's being a good PAO by providing a straw man -- a DA decision for revocation of commission doesn't come into play under DADT.

Posted by: BillT at July 2, 2010 02:42 AM

Ooops -- the link for the quote above:

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2010/02/09/dan-choi-can-t-be-reinstated-to-the-army-because-he-was-never-kicked-out-but-his-return-to-drill-is-still-kind-of-a-big-deal.html

There are several other odd statements in the Newsweek article, and left unmentioned was the fact that Lieutenant Choi is also liable to face charges of violating the law by appearing in uniform as an active participant in a political demonstration.

Imagine the uproar if the 42d ID was dragging it's feet over the discharge of an officer who attended Tea Party rallies in uniform.

Posted by: BillT at July 2, 2010 02:55 AM

I also harbor a secret love for the idea that the President might be held to account for his words. If a Marine officer says, "I wish that..." tradition holds that this statement be interpreted by his Marines as an order. If the President said to these guys, "I want you to hold me to this," well...

While that may be entertaining Grim, I don't believe that there's a court in the land that would grant them the benefit of the doubt here because the 'vague order' to "hold me to this" certainly doesn't extend into the realm of illegality. "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" would be a legal order under that system only if there were a legal method of doing so (i.e. escort said clergyman out of the AO or somesuch). Murdering him would be punishable under UCMJ, and "I was ordered to do it" would be no defense.

Posted by: MikeD at July 2, 2010 11:00 AM

And if I wanted some of that, I'd attend a Twilight movie on opening night with my 12 year old daughter.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

BTW, is it just me that's creeped out by a story revolving around the sexual tension between a 100 year old man and an underage female?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 2, 2010 12:03 PM

It is not only that aspect which is creepy. Burger King, where (as the father of a child) I sometimes end up, has a whole series of kids meals built around this thing. Instead of toys, they refer to the kids meal toys as "accessories" for boys(!) or "jewelry" for girls. The idea that this is appropriate material for children is astonishing to me.

Posted by: Grim at July 2, 2010 12:51 PM

The idea that this is appropriate material for children is astonishing to me.

Depending on what it is (and I honestly have no clue) it might not be inappropriate. In fact, I see nothing wrong with costume jewelry for a pre-pubescent girl. For the most part, at least as far as my niece was concerned, "glamorous dress up" was a fun game. Little girls seem to like dressing as brides, and I don't see that as disturbing.

Now, if we're talking about sexually themed jewelry (and if you don't know, trust me, you don't want to), that would be different. And I'm honestly curious about the "accessories" for boys. Are we talking watches? Rings? Chains? What exactly.

I recall one of my favorite Burger King toys as a youth was a wearable compass (on a wristband). I didn't really get the whole point of a compass at the time (too young for cub scouts at the time), but I pretended to be an explorer nonetheless, since I knew ALL good explorers had a compass. Whatever happened to those kind of toys?

Posted by: MikeD at July 2, 2010 01:56 PM

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