Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eagles And Chickens

Caption: A USAF F-15 Eagle. Apparently, gay people can't fly them, even with 18 years of experience.

Image credit: Arpingstone/Wikimedia

I'd written before about Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, the decorated F-15 pilot who is in danger of being discharged because he's gay:

Which makes this next story all the more remarkable to me. You could say it's a story about a real-life Jack Harkness, but instead of his being respected for who he is and what he's done, he's being drummed out of the military, because he's been exposed as gay.
[T]hey're drumming him out while our military is involved in two wars, where his skills as an experienced fighter pilot could, presumably, come in handy.

Some Of Us Aren't There Yet, But It's Time They Caught Up

What I didn't know at that time was how his being gay had been discovered:

With me so far? Here's where things really get crazy.

In defending himself, the aviator argues it was consensual sex and in so doing reveals himself to be gay. That is in apparent violation of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and now the Air Force is trying to boot him out of the service, just one year before his 20-year hitch is up and he gets his pension.

The Posterboy For Everything Wrong With DADT

Admittedly, LTC Fehrenbach's sexual orientation is against Defense Department policy. There are several things troubling about this, though. First of all, he didn't just blurt out that he was gay. This wasn't a case like that of former Army Lt. Dan Choi. He was being investigated, and so he was either in a position where he had to lie to the police, or he had to tell them he was gay.

The second is that I used the phrase "Fehrenbach's sexual orientation is against Defense Department policy". It's a bit like saying "LTC Fehrenbach is white, which is against DoD policy". It's something that his genetic inheritance makes him, and it has nothing to do with how well he performs his job.

If the Obama Administration had any guts, they'd fix this, but they don't. And that's the other troubling thing. The White House is really good at being tough with people who won't hit back. Anyone who will, or any issue that will actually exact a price for making a stand, they can't run away from fast enough.

So, after an outstanding 19 year career, it's almost certain that LTC Fehrenbach will be dismissed from the service, with nothing more than a "don't let the door hit you on the way out."

No comments: