- - Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If you want to take a country down, the first thing you do is weaken its military. That’s why sequestration was the perfect storm for the Obama administration. It provided the legal basis for the unilateral disarmament of the most feared and capable military force in the world. However, unilateral disarmament was insufficient to kill the “warrior mentality” of our military forces. It took the social engineering that were forced on our military to undercut unit integrity, cohesiveness, moral fiber, and most importantly, “the will to win,” with apparently no objection by our military leadership.

Stunning was the announcement by Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter that he, personally, overruled the U.S. Marine Corps on whether it should be exempt from his directive that all combat positions be open to women. Nothing is excluded. This includes all front-line combat positions — U.S. Special Forces, Delta Force, Navy SEALs and Army Rangers.

With Mr. Carter’s military background and training, which he received at the ivy-covered walls of Yale, he overruled the best professional military advisers in the U.S. Marine Corps, who must deal with life-and-death situations on a daily basis. Mr. Carter, by his decision, has shown that he has no comprehension of the stress on an individual combat fighter to survive and pray to live to see another sunrise.

This critical, landmark decision clearly has its roots in President Obama’s agenda to “fundamentally transform” America. Mr. Carter stated that the top leadership of the Army, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command recommended that all positions be open to women. That is political correctness run amok. His statement really says that those military leaders had to commit to this ill-advised decision as a condition for their appointment. Furthermore, Mr. Carter’s unsupported claims that combat effectiveness will not be degraded cannot withstand comparison with the U.S. Marine Corps study, which clearly points out that mixed-gender units perform much lower in combat situations than all-male units.

In an attempt to further justify his decision, Mr. Carter cited the military’s repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which banned gays from serving in the military, as a great success. For the record, in 2014, there were more than 10,000 reported unwanted male-on-male incidents. Mr. Carter must be delusional if he consider these numbers to be a great success. These are only the reported incidents.

The secretary went on to state that in order to succeed in our mission of national security, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talent and skills. We must continue to benefit from the best people America has to offer. In that sense, I totally agree. Therefore, “diversity” should never be our No. 1 priority for the military. We must have the best and brightest — that used to be our standard — and it must now be restored. Therefore, Mr. Obama’s mandate that “gender diversity interest” calls for women to make up 25 percent of the personnel base for all services must be firmly rejected. Also, the 2013 “Dempsey Rule,” drawn up by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, that standards too high for women will be questioned, must also be rejected. Clearly, gender diversity will lower standards and, consequently, combat effectiveness. The end result will be many more lives lost in combat and permanent injuries, just to adhere to a social agenda.

It should be noted that in a recent Army survey of women potentially serving in combat roles, 92.5 percent rejected this role. It is clear they understood that forcing women into combat role to fight ISIS will not be voluntary.

Most disturbing is that few if any officials in the Obama administration who are pushing for these dramatic changes have ever served a day in the military, nor will they ever. It is the same group that has forced our military to fight under the restricted rules of engagement that has cost so many American lives and permanent injuries.

It is also the same group (Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett and Hillary Clinton) who overrode all solid military advice to not get involved in Libya. As a matter of principle, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen should have resigned. In modern times, there is only one senior official who resigned as a matter of principle. That was Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, when President Jimmy Carter went ahead with his failed attempt to rescue U.S. diplomatic hostages. I still tip my hat to Cy Vance — a man of principle.

When he was commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the current Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, oversaw a detailed study that highlighted the pitfalls of this ill-advised political decision by Mr. Carter. In light of the secretary’s decision, Gen. Dunford stated, “In the wake of the secretary’s decision, my responsibility is to ensure this is properly implemented. Moving forward, my focus is to lead the full integration of women in a manner that maintains our joint capability .” He knows this was a wrong decision. As a matter of principle, he and the other service chiefs should certainly resign if this decision is not reversed. The military and all other Americans will salute him.

James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy retired admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

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