March 28, 2018
There was a time, not too long ago, when both parties understood and respected the military's role. If you'd have asked most Democrats, even 10 years ago, to go on record in support of a pro-transgender policy, they would have said to you what Donald Trump is saying to them now: Are you kidding?
For this White House, rolling back Obama-era extremism is nothing new. President Trump has been doing it for the better part of 14 months. But doing the right thing isn't always the easiest thing, and the media is doing its best to make the administration's reversal of the Pentagon's transgender policy sting. Lucky for us, Donald Trump isn't bothered. With the military on the brink, staring down a $3.7 billion price tag for service members' sex changes, President Trump decided it was time for a return to common sense. And plenty of Americans are lining up to thank him.
Congressmen like Andy Harris (R-Md.), a doctor and a veteran who probably has a better perspective than most, was relieved that the president and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis let the facts speak for themselves. "He applied what the panel of experts recommended... The military is not about fairness. It's about what makes us have the best fighting force. And if you have something that either decreases morale or puts someone in the military who reliably or dependably be able to function... then that doesn't enhance our readiness."
During an interview on Monday's "Washington Watch," he explained how the last administration lost sight of what was important. "I think we've forgotten the purpose of the military. The purpose of the military is not social engineering or social experimentation. God forbid, we ever have to go to a war, and anything that detracts from that, we should be very careful about instituting. And I think the transgender policy of the Obama administration clearly detracted from our ability to go to war and have the most capable and most stable fighting force that we could."
As for the idea that President Obama was righting some gross inequity, nothing, Harris points out, was more unfair than his own policy! "It was actually the opposite of fair [under Obama]. There were special exceptions made that shouldn't have been made for individuals with gender dysphoria under serious treatment."
Other Republicans, like veteran Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), were glad the Pentagon finally debunked the liberal study that had been propping up Obama's ridiculous policy. "The discussion that we've had in Washington [was] based so much on a RAND study that was not only incomplete but glossed over a lot of the data, which Secretary Mattis points out in his letter to the president. And we all were really kind of taken aback. 'Okay, you're making all of these claims, and you're imposing a policy on the way out the door, and yet we've not had any hearings and any studies or anything.'"
He says that during the debate over defense spending last year, he couldn't believe the kind of training materials our troops were reading. "...[I]t was coaching the commanders on how to deal with 'male pregnancies,' how they should deal with members of the military with mixed genitalia that would be sharing showers with service members -- these are just bizarre things that you would really have to be completely removed from reality to think that that would not have a cohesion and a unit readiness impact. And so I really applaud Secretary Mattis for taking a deliberate route on this issue, and I think the president in looking at his recommendations, made a wise choice."
Liberals, who either haven't read the report (or don't care about the science behind it), rant that the president's move is "vicious" or "inhumane." Tell that to people with nasal polyps or flat feet! They aren't allowed to serve either, and, just like this policy, it had nothing to do with malice. There are literally hundreds of conditions or physical limitations disqualifying people from military service. So many, in fact, that your fingers will get numb scrolling through them all. As Mattis himself writes in the memo, 71 percent of Americans are ineligible right out of the gate for "medical, mental, or behavioral reasons."
The Nancy Pelosis and Chuck Schumers of the world treat the military like your everyday office environment -- when in fact, it's a physically-demanding, life-threatening battleground. The goal isn't to advance "tolerance" or help people on the path to self-actualization. It's to fight and win wars. And that mission is severely compromised when leaders like Obama try to force the military into accepting unstable recruits in the name of "fairness."
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who's been one a courageous leader on this issue, said how glad she is that President Trump accepted Mattis's recommendation "to keep military medical & health standards fair for everyone and ensure military's priority remains readiness, lethality, & unit cohesion." The focus Department of Defense, she went on, should not be "advancing a political cause at the expense of lives and common sense."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.