When this story broke, Norman Siegel, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, was out of town, and the NYCLU and the ACLU remained silent. Siegel says if he'd been here, he would have recommended that the chaplain be disciplined--but not fired--if he'd used the slur at an official function. If it was not an official function, Siegel would have argued that Kalaidjian could say whatever he wanted, without punishment, just like Leonard Jeffries.
Louis Brandeis used to say that speech should not be suppressed unless the actual harm it may cause is so imminent that there is no "opportunity for full discussion" of the offensive speech. But if "there be time to expose through discussion the falsehoods and avert the evil [of the speech] by education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." (Emphasis added.)
If only Howard Safir could rise above his mediocrity to comprehend Justice Brandeis's command of the First Amendment.