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The military is not the place for social engineering

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Transgender Military

Recently, President Trump told the military to discontinue Barack Obama’s proposal allowing transgendered individuals to be recruited into the military. And, right on queue, came screams of bigotry and discrimination. Shocking.

My only concern regarding the transgender ban is that any obligations already made be honored. This is non-negotiable to me. If we make a promise to a servicemember, we must uphold it. period.

The politicians and media can fight over the specific rule and whether it is discrimination or not.

We the people will once again be the adults and have the necessary discussion – whether the military is strengthened or weakened by the integration or ban of transgendered service members.

The only thing that matters in the military is that our squads are the best they can possibly be.

A couple years ago, there was controversy over another military integration proposal. It was the question of whether women could be in combat roles.

As a man, putting women into combat roles makes me uneasy. It feels morally wrong to knowingly put a woman in harm’s way. Whether it is my toxic masculinity, my white privilege, my male privilege, or my cis privilege, something feels morally wrong.

But feelings alone aren’t enough to pass a judgment. Facts don’t care about my feelings, either. So let’s look at some facts.

There was a yearlong comparison between an all-male and mixed male and female units. It looked at varying situations that could occur in combat and assessed the effectiveness of both groups.

From NPR’s article summarizing the study, “all-male squads performed better than mixed groups in 69 percent of the tasks evaluated.” It also showed that men had more speed, more lethality, and were less prone to injuries.

The full study also stated that “all-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties.”

They continue, “during casualty evacuation assessments, there were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups” with the exception of “casualty evacuation as a one-Marine fireman’s carry of another (in which case it was most often a male Marine who “evacuated” the casualty).”

Feel free to look through the study yourself and see what you find.

While this is just one study, it doesn’t ease my concern. This study gives reason to doubt the effectiveness of gender-integrated combat units. I can only imagine the effectiveness of a gender-integrated combat unit where some of the men identify as women and women identify as men. How do you even study that?

How do you even study that? Are male-to-female transgenders counted as females and vice versa? If every female in the previous study was a male-to-female transgender, they would still have had the benefits of increased testosterone levels. It would be an absolute nightmare to figure out.

To pretend none of this matters, that the ends of equality justify the means, is objectively immoral. One small mistake and someone can die. If our combat units are slightly less efficient than they could be, more lives will be lost. One is too many.

Until a change in the makeup of our military services is shown to be as effective or more effective than an all-male squad, then I support prohibiting it. (Note: Defense Secretary Mattis has postponed the “transgender ban” pending studies for implementation.)

Call it discrimination, I don’t care. Call me a bigot, I don’t care. I’ll gladly trade being called names if it will save just one life.

This isn’t a matter of personal opinion on transgenderism or feminism. It is literal life and death.

The battlefield is not the place for social experimentation. The risks are too high and the reward of good feelings can never outweigh the risk of losing another American in war.

If we knowingly send out a sub par combat unit, then we are leaving Americans behind before they even see an enemy.

And we don’t leave anyone behind.

To all those who serve in our military, thank you.

Foreign Affairs

White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

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White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

Syria has been in a state of disarray for nearly a decade now. Ever since the infamous “red line” that President Obama failed to enforce, the Middle Eastern nation has been suffering through war, poverty, and occupation by hostile forces ranging from the Islamic State to Russia and Iran.

The Islamic State may no longer be an occupying threat in Syria, but Iran and Russia are. The White House has a plan to push them out of the country. It does not involve military engagement, though U.S. military personnel may engage if they feel threatened. Instead, the plan is to offer aid to the Syrians wherever they need help, except where Iran and Russia have a presence.

This represents a huge chunk of the crumbling nation.

Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria

“There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime.

Driving Iran out of Syria would be one prong in an approach that would also involve continuing to destroy remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and finding a political transition after the exit of both ISIS and Iran that does not call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside.

My Take

Any measure that does not put Americans in harms way is worth pursuing. As long as Syria is as vulnerable as it is, there are risks to both American and Israeli interests in the region. The war-torn nation needs help rebuilding so they can rightly remove Iran’s and Russia’s presence.

Perhaps more importantly is the need to rejuvenate a homeland for millions of refugees. They are already causing major problems in countries throughout Europe and Asia. If we can expedite the renewal of their homeland, it will prompt many to return.

We have no business fighting battles in Syria. The White House plan would use diplomacy and economic pressure to rid Syria of their occupying forces. It’s a long shot, but it’s better than further military conflicts.

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Military

Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

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Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

Following a crash last month in South Carolina of a F-35 fighter jet, the United States military has grounded the entire fleet. The suspected problem, faulty fuel tubes, must be inspected before the fleet will be brought back into combat duty.

F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45827795“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.

“Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The aircraft, which uses stealth technology to reduce its visibility to radar, comes in three variants.

Each F-35 costs around $100 million. Expect the military to move quickly as the aircraft is crucial in the air defense of the nation, giving us complete air superiority regardless of the threat.

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Military

Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

After last week’s downing of a Russian Il-20 surveillance plane by Syrian air defense, Moscow has promised to send it’s advanced S-300 air defense system. The Russians blamed Israel for the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

https://noqreport.com/2018/09/18/russia-blames-israel-syria-shooting-spy-plane/This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

While Russians are denying that the system is targeting any nation in particular, they know Israel is the only nation that regularly flies into Syria to attack weapons depots intended for use against the Jewish state.

Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/russia-send-300-missile-defence-systems-syria-180924093518745.html“According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly cannot but harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

However, the Kremlin said the installation of S-300 was aimed at increasing safety of Russian military and “not directed at any third country”.

My Take

Russia is playing with fire in more ways than one. The S-300 system is designed as a multi-stage air defense system capable of changing the game in the Middle East. Israel had demanded they not be installed in Syria after the initial agreement was made by Russia in 2013, but last week’s incident changed things.

What Russia cannot afford is further antagonizing the west. If the result of this leads to more attacks on Israel because they weren’t able to stop them in Syria, it is likely America will step in with countermeasures for Israel to use against the S-300. This will lead to escalations neither country wants.

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