Last year, the Army discharged Bleu Copas, a sergeant, from the 82nd Airborne. The basis? Anonymous e-mails. The first time superiors asked Copas whether he was gay, the context was informal, and he denied it. The next time, they put him under formal interrogation—"Have you ever engaged in homosexual activity or conduct?"—and he refused to answer. Eventually, to avoid prosecution for perjury, he gave in.
Four days ago, the Stockton, Calif., Record reported the recent expulsion of Randy Miller, a paratrooper who served in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne. His offense? Being in a gay bar—and rejecting a proposition from a fellow soldier, who apparently retaliated by reporting him to the Army. Like Witt, Miller admitted his homosexuality, but only under interrogation. If you don't tell, they make you tell.
Compare any of these cases to Craig's. You cohabit quietly with a same-sex partner for six years. You write a letter to a friend in Portuguese. You deny being gay but are interrogated until you give up. You're spotted in a gay bar rejecting a sexual overture. For these offenses, you lose your career, thanks to a man who stared and extended his hands and feet repeatedly into a neighboring bathroom stall.
Were Craig's gestures ambiguous? Not by his own standards. He signed off on the arrest report. Under DADT, he'd have to prove that what he did was "a departure from [his] usual and customary behavior," that it was "unlikely to recur," and that he did "not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts." But the Idaho Statesman reports three other incidents, from 1967 to 2004, in which Craig allegedly made similar overtures. On the Statesman's Web site, you can listen to an interview in which one of the men describes his tryst with Craig in a public bathroom. These accounts, combined with Craig's arrest report, would easily get him thrown out of the Army if he were a soldier.
Has Craig's arrest chastened him about DADT? Not a bit. Two weeks ago, in a letter to a constituent, he reiterated his support for the policy. "I don't believe the military should be a place for social experimentation," Craig wrote. "It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals."
Now you know why Craig is trying to withdraw his guilty plea. The cardinal rule of "don't ask, don't tell" isn't heterosexuality. It's hypocrisy. The one thing you can't do is tell the truth.
In that sense, Craig is honoring the policy in his own life. But that's the only sense. I don't think what he did should cost him his career. I'd like to cut him some slack. But first, I'd like to restore the careers of a few thousand other gay Americans who have done a lot more for their country.
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Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.