On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981. From that date forward, the armed forces of the United States were colorblind. Decades ahead of the larger American society, minorities in our armed forces enjoyed the same rights as anyone else in the services.
Any officer unwilling to enforce this policy was invited to resign his commission immediately.
President Obama as commander in chief of our armed forces has it in his power to ensure that rape of our sons and daughters in the services is taken seriously — as a crime and not as a youthful indiscretion. To do so, he would not have to buck public opinion as Truman did; we’re way out ahead of him on this one.
He would merely have to show spine enough to embrace Truman’s precedent. I’m not holding my breath.
Lafayette, Calif., June 5, 2013