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.