The left loathes the military and all it represents — honor, manliness, patriotism, selflessness and tradition. The ban on open homosexuality in the ranks, for example, was lifted in the lame-duck session of Congress in 2010 after the Democrats lost control of the House, and eight good little Republicans joined every Democrat in the Senate to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
This assault on common sense succeeded despite the warning by 1,164 retired flag and general military officers, 51 of four-star rank, that repeal would have a debilitating impact on recruiting and keeping troops in an all-volunteer military. Repeal would damage morale, discipline and “unit cohesion.”
Leon E. Panetta, the second of President Obama’s four secretaries of defense, pushed for “gender diversity metrics” in Marine and Army infantry, armor, artillery and special operations, including the Navy’s seals, to open these units to women.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the politically correct and thoroughly housebroken chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, let slip the dregs of warmaking at a Pentagon press conference in January 2013. A correspondent asked whether certain occupational specialties would remain restricted to men. “[If] we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it,” he replied, “the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the [defense secretary], why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”
The gelding of the American soldier continues apace, and now the frightened military leadership wants to overturn an administrative ban on transgender, or surgically altered, soldiers. Addressing the troops in Afghanistan after five days as secretary of defense, Ashton Carter suggested that being transgendered should not necessarily prevent such a person from serving as a soldier. “I come at this kind of question from a fundamental starting point,” he said in authentic Harvard professor speak, “which is that we want to make our conditions and experience of service as attractive as possible to our best people in the country.” Nothing about effective soldiering from Mr. Carter, who has never worn the uniform, not even of the Boy Scouts.
Fighting a war is not an equal-employment opportunity. It requires men who are trained to kill people and break things. Stonewall Jackson, Alvin York, George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower would scarcely recognize a modern politically correct regiment, but the grim work of a soldier at war has not changed. Could such an army as envisioned by Gen. Dempsey or Secretary Carter establish a beachhead on Normandy or take Iwo Jima and Okinawa?
In its own dereliction of duty, the Senate Armed Services Committee didn’t ask Mr. Carter about the effects of lifting the ban on transgender soldiers at his confirmation hearings last month. Lifting “don’t ask, don’t tell” required an act of Congress, but the ban on the transgendered could be lifted administratively.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff must speak out forcefully to support the ban, and the Republican Congress should screw up the courage to prevent the further emasculation of the military by codifying the administrative ban into law, in the fiscal 2016 defense budget. The military bars many categories from serving in the ranks now. The blind, the halt, octogenarians and one-legged applicants are routinely turned away by recruiters, with offense neither intended nor taken by reasonable men and women. The military chiefs should remember the fundamental mission of the military, which is to fight the nation’s wars with the best of the best. Anything less is not acceptable.