“Don’t ask, don’t tell” continues to dominate the news and I would imagine this law will be repealed. The big question is when and how.

My concern is how it will be overturned. If the court’s decisions are allowed to stand, on constitutional grounds, then what does that say about other provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice?

Gen. Stanley McChrystal resigned after the Rolling Stone article and accusation of a violation of Article 88 of the UCMJ. But if the courts can determine constitutionality of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, then isn’t Article 88 (contempt toward officials) a flagrant violation of our First Amendment rights of free speech?

I don’t think the civilian courts are the place to decide military policy decisions. We are members of an all-volunteer force who swore an oath to defend the Constitution and obey the UCMJ. If we choose one over the other, what then happens to military order and discipline?

We are held to a higher standard than our civilian counterparts and, for 234 years, this has made our armed forces strong. So before we start picking apart the UCMJ, with the Constitution, we need to stop and look at the unintended consequences.

Master Sgt. Brian Coats

Budapest, Hungary

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