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MILITARY: Witt’s competency as a nurse isn’t the issue

Letter by Robert L. Humphries, Puyallup on Sep. 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm with 19 Comments »
September 21, 2010 2:33 pm

The argument being used by Margaret Witt would rip the top off a Pandora’s box for the military.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Witt was violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice by her actions, and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy doesn’t really absolve an officer from dishonoring her oath “in the closet.”

Witt served most, if not all, of her career in a lifestyle deemed unbecoming behavior for an officer. Many other officers have had their careers cut short due to a moment of indiscretion – maybe one lie, one contract payback, one adulterous affair or a single inappropriate behavior with a subordinate.

Witt’s argument that she was a good nurse – regardless of her sexual persuasion – can’t hold water. She was not turned out of uniform because she was a bad nurse but because she violated her oath as an officer.

If her argument can grant her full return to service as a commissioned officer, then what is to be said for all the untold cases of those officers who were good at their job except for a moment’s lapse in their honorable service? These officers could add to their argument that their lapse in judgment was merely a moment, a one-time-only event, and not something that permeated their entire service.

However, even in the age of bank bailouts, the settlement payouts for all these subsequent claims based upon a Witt precedent could be substantial.

Leave a comment Comments → 19
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    The Military didn’t ask, she told. End of story. If she wants to fall on her sword for The Cause, she should be willing to accept the result.

  2. Pecksbadboy says:

    Wrongo Tubby/Blaine, she was asked to leave because someone else told. I wonder how many other officers would be turned out because of a jealous husband. The jist of the case is whether she was released because of Don’t Ask or Conduct
    Unbecoming an Officer.

  3. There are many ways of “telling.” One is having an affair with a married woman. It’sthe risk you take with adultery.

  4. EEjJohnson says:

    She slept with a married woman.Good bye.

  5. It’s pretty simple, Adultery = Conduct unbecoming of an Officer, it’s in the UCMJ.

  6. CrazyJim says:

    Being forced to lie daily about who you are is the ultimate killer of the soul. To inflict this on troops defending us is a destructive form of torture. That may not have been the intention, but that’s what it is.

  7. I don’t think she’ll win her case. If they tossed her only on being gay, she might very well win, but the adultery charge is a big deal for officers and they treat that crap serious. The President can commit adultery as the Commander In Chief but not a major. Go figure.

  8. OldLefty says:

    If having adulterous affairs is going to dismiss people from the military, I’m betting that we are going to have one heck of a time finding soldiers.

    How do two soldiers meet and get married in the military without “an affair”?

    Please don’t try to make me believe that they live in separate housing and are virgin on the day of the wedding.

  9. pen_mightier_than_sword says:

    Adultery is out of control rampant on military bases–ask any Army member. Tens of thousands of young people living in close proximity with long separations from spouses and gender mixed soldiers working closely together. They are all human and large percentages of them (divorce is 65 to 70%) are having sex with people other than their own spouse. Adultery should be removed from the UCMJ altogether or they should kick out half the force.

  10. I am not naive; certainly aware that adultery is hardly considered a moral misdemeanor these days BUT… I WAS saying that if you don’t want trouble, you follow the rules. I

    ndiscretion means you are at risk of being found out.

    And CrazyJim, soul-killer, really? is it essential that we publicize our sexual proclivities in order to be recognized as whole people?

  11. FreeAmerica says:

    Here we go again…. now the military should overlook adultery?

    Sit back in your chair and proclaim that 50% of the military is committing adultery?…sounds bad but as usual no factual basis for comment.

    Let the military take care of it…..nuff said

  12. Wouldn’t it be interesting if another Judge found “Don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional and tossed this case.

  13. Since the republicans insist in standing in the way again, it is only appropriate that the “activist courts” solve the problem and relegate this negative human rights procedure to the trash bin.

  14. BlaineCGarver says:

    Hey, Pub….if the Conservatives had their way, the Major would not have been allowed in the military and this problem would not have popped up, she would be someplace baking cookies for her married female lovers.

  15. “BlaineCGarver says:
    September 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm
    Hey, Pub….if the Conservatives had their way, the Major would not have been allowed in the military and this problem would not have popped up, she would be someplace baking cookies for her married female lovers.”

    It would be typical of Conservatives to deny a person his or her opportunity to serve the country based on a false assumption. Really, really stupid remark.

  16. This for those who never served in the military… They are civilian laws in this country and the Military has the uniform code of military justice which is 100 percent different from civilian law. The military is required to obey booth. An Officer is held to a higher standard that the enlisted. Yes, adultery by an Officer is grounds for being dismiss from the military as well as being gay.So even if she returned for being gay the military can dismiss her for the adulteress affair.And if I remember correctly during the recruitment process you are required to answer a list of personal question about your driving record, police record ,drug use & even your sexual orientation. If she stated that she was straight then she can be dismissed for falsifing her records as well. And it doesn’t matter how great of and nurse she is. If I was her I would take the discharge. Because she can make more money as a civilian it would the militaries lost and the civilian worlds gain

  17. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    I don’t think she wants to stay in indefinitely. She was ousted a year from the time she was eligible for retirement. The discharge isn’t a plus for her in anyway because she loses the pension she had been earning for the past 20 years, as well as lifetime medical care. She may be able to roll her service years over to the VA where she works now and get credit for the pension, but she would still lose lifetime coverage under Tricare.

    Aside from this, she was never charged with adultery. She was discharged for being gay. The circumstances leading to her discharge obviously included the discover yof adultery, but the Air Force chose not to pursue that charge — likely for two reasons: 1) the UCMJ holds a 5 year statute of limitations and the act of adultery occurred more than 5 years prior to the Air Force taking any disciplinary actions, and 2) because they knew very well that adultery is so common in the military, both among officers and enlisted, that they may very well be opening themselves up to a lawsuit for selective prosecution.

    You’re right that the military must obey both civilian and military law, but both civilian and military statutes are subject to Constitutional constraints. A military law is invalid if it violates the Constitution, just as a violative civilian law would be. In light of Lawrence v. Texas, the right to choose your own sexual partners is fundamental and therefore protected by the Constitution. The government cannot restrict a fundamental right without showing an overriding, compelling reason for each instance. Here, they haven’t done that. All they’ve done is provided the blanket suggestion that gays in the military are contrary to good order and morale, and in this specific case, they have utterly failed to even address the issue of morale because they know that is a false assertion.

    Witt’s case hinges on the court finding that Lawrence v. Texas applies to military law too, and since it is Supreme Court precedent that overrides any contradictory statute… well, you do the math.

    Bottom line is she wasn’t charged with committing adultery, so that is a moot point. She was discharged for being gay, which will likely be found unconstitutional.

  18. Liberals are so weird. How can anyone defend someone who is totally confused about who they are? They try to make it sound “normal” and “acceptable”. The plain truth of the matter is this, gays have a mental disorder, simple as that.

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