05/26/2010 11:27 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) Regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Dear Senator Brown,

My name is Richard Allen Smith and from 2003 to 2008 I served in the United State Army, including a 14 month tour in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division. Throughout my military career it pained me, as a straight Soldier, to see my qualified gay comrades removed from service because of the discriminatory policy known as "Don't ask, Don't tell".

This week, Congress will consider historic legislation that will end this barrier to service - an impediment that inflicts grievous harm on our Nation's military readiness. I was discouraged to read yesterday in the Boston Globe that, in your capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, you will be voting "no" on this legislation. Your stated reason is that you have not reviewed the amendment. This legislation is so important to me and my fellow Veterans that I am willing to go to extraordinary lengths to help you finish your review in time for the SASC vote.

Senator Brown, I want to come to Washington, DC and read you the amendment.

I make a modest salary writing about military and Veterans issues, and receive a monthly living allowance from my G.I. Bill benefits. It's not much, but I get by. Still, I'm willing to spend whatever it takes to come visit you and read this bill with you.

The legislation is only four pages long. Senator Brown, I understand that you're a busy man. That's why, if you happen to be outside the District on business before the vote, I'm willing to travel anywhere, anytime to make sure you've absorbed the four pages of this amendment. Overseas travel might be excessive, though I have a passport and we can negotiate (besides, I wouldn't need to be out of country that long to read a mere four pages).

In that same article, Senator, you raised other objections. One of those objections was that you wanted to wait until "the Pentagon completes its study, and we can be assured that a new policy can be implemented without jeopardizing the mission of our military". As a combat veteran, I share those same concerns, Senator. I believe that if you and I have a chance to read the amendment to you, you will be convinced that the Lieberman Amendment addresses those issues appropriately.

Senator, this is neither a joke nor a publicity stunt for the website I'm paid to maintain. I'm offering to do this because, in a time when America is fighting two major wars, we can ill afford to lose qualified warriors. Having served in one of those wars alongside my gay comrades, I believe it's time to lift the ban. I trust you'll agree with me after we speak.

I look forward to hearing from you or your office soon. My bags are packed, awaiting your response.


Richard Allen Smith