Defense Secretary Hagel: Reviewing Transexuals in the Military!

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As you know if you’ve read many of my diatribes I have no problems with gay people (‘people’ = meaning individuals, not activists or activist  organizations).

When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ went away in the military  I didn’t tweet ‘OMG, Horrible’ like some of the irrational folks have done in similar circumstances. We all have sexual identities and we are all (supposedly) adults who SHOULD be able to deal, in a civilized manner, with people and situations that challange our behavioral beliefs. That, in the proverbial “nut shell” is the basis of most (not all) predjudice: challenges to our preconceptions and beliefs. Just to be clear, no one need change their personal beliefs but to function in our American ‘melting pot’ it is very conductive to realize (and act on that realization) that differences in behavior are not a direct challenge to what you believe they are simply expressions of someone else’s beliefs and in a free society that is not (or should not be) a problem; if it is an insurmountable problem, you have options..

Gays, Lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered all exist as a part of our society. I firmly believe that they didn’t ask or choose to live a life of exclusion, ostricization or separation from the majority (and in some cases from their families), but there they are: living that life! People who suffer from mental illnesses, autism, Down’s syndrome , etc. certainly didn’t choose to live and, in some sectors of society, be treated as outcasts. Being looked at and teated as “different” may not be “fair”, but so much in life can be looked at like that — if, that is,  you choose to look at it as “unfair” instead of seeing it as a harsh reality to be dealt with. Man, by his very nature, cannot easily accept differences that challange to his beliefs and, because of his nature , man is not “fair”. (He or she was also “born THAT way! LOL)

The previous was in reference to society in general where you can choose your friends and enemies and choose hundreds of other things that effect your everyday life; now on to the miilitary where many choices have been voluntarily given up. In the military, many choices can not in fact even be ‘on the table’ ; the rules of this “closed society” are very different for very valid reasons.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that he is willing to “review the military ban on transexuals.” Well a review never hurts as long as the results of that review reflect practical reality and not just people’s preferences, sensitivities, political objectives  and/or obsequence to pressure groups (not that I would ever suggest that such things will be a consideration in this review! :-)).

A May 12th article  on “thewire.com” describes and quotes from an appearance Sec. Hagel made on ABC’s Sunday news show “This Week.” It’s apparent from this interview that Sec, Hagel IS willing to review the military ban on transgendered military service but he appears dubious.

Here’s a surprise for some of you: I am also dubious!

In that “This Week” appearance Sec. Hagel is quoted as follows:

<blockquote> “The issue of transgender is a bit more complicated, because it has a medical component to it. These issues require medical attention. Austere locations where we put our men and women in many cases, don’t always provide that kind of opportunity. I do think it continually should be reviewed. I’m open to that, by the way. I’m open to those assessments, because, again, I go back to the bottom line. Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.”</blockquote>

The Secretary went on to discuss “psychosexual” conditions”

<blockquote> “Current or history of psychosexual conditions, including, but not limited to transsexualism, exhibitionism, transvestism, voyeurism, and other paraphilias, do not meet the standard.”</blockquote>

(The “standard” to which Sec. Hagel is referring is the military “Standard of Medical Fitness

[Wow! I learned a new word: paraphilias! Look it up! Wikipedia has a whole list of them! ]

Back to the article: I completely agree with the quotes from Sec. Hagel and will go just a bit further. In ‘my view’, transexuals, unless they have been completely sexually reassigned and have been able to cope responsibly for some period of time with the results of this reassignment , may be a danger to themselves and others and should not be allowed to serve in a confined, rigid atmosphere like a military organization.

Transsexuals, in my view, are a world apart from gays, lesbians or bisexuals who are openly gay; these individuals are, in the majority of cases, coping with and content with who they are and in the vast majority of cases ‘who they are’ does not effect their understanding of normative rules of behavior or  their understanding of the need for those rules.

Bottom line: If you have problems coping with who you are or have reservations with the military, their customs, their rules or their very reason for being: don’t join. If you do join, and you have a problem with something a basic as your sexuality, you are being very irresponsible.

Thoughts on the Syrian Conundrum

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Syria warIn his address to the nation on September 10th, President Obama made a strong, very believable case against the very existence of Chemical (Serin gas) weapons. Especially when these weapons are in the armory’s of terrorist nations or nations that sponsor terrorism.

He also made a convincing argument for action against Syria.

He did not, however, explain why the civilized nations of the world are not acting and why the need to act has been laid at the feet of our nation; why the United States should act unilaterally to neutralize this threat. It’s a heavy and dangerous burden to bare just so we can claim the mantle of “American Exceptionalism.” It’s obvious that our exceptionalism, our willingness to carry war to rogue states, means nothing — even to the people of our supposed allied nations — who have made themselves invisible for the occasion.

Complete inaction, as Obama explained, is the same as a sanction and would effectively erode the world-wide ban against weapons of mass destruction (chemical or nuclear) and make insane megalomaniacs around the world feel safe to use them and or to give them to terrorists who would delight in killing anyone who does not share their social or religious beliefs.

So action is needed, I can certainly go along with that; but the action that is required is not, in my opinion, one superpower possibly endangering the world by threatening a limited strike and assuming that that is all that is required to make the bullies cower; the needed action is dozens of nations with their guns and missiles pointed at Syria and Iran.

OR . . . Perhaps the answer is Russia!

One can only guess at his motivations, but President Putin brokered a deal last week with Syrian President Assad that would have Syria join the International Chemical Weapons ban and allow all his chemical weapons to be placed into the hands of an independent 3rd party and eventually destroyed.

It’s very likely that this is a sincere effort because President Putin is just as afraid of chemical weapons getting into the hands of terrorists (which could easily happen in the midst of the ongoing Syrian Civil War) as we are.

Putin assisting President Obama out of his (our) bad situation in Syria might ‘stick in the craw’ of Obama and most Americans but it looks like (assuming that this IS a sincere effort on the part of Russia) Russia has done the United States a large favor. Putin has, of course, done himself a large favor at the same time by making himself look like a hero in the eyes of the world and possibly winning a nomination for the next Nobel Peace Prize.

The only real problem is that Putin has embarrassed President Obama and the American government by effortlessly resolving what could have, if Obama had muddled into this by doing it HIS way, turned into a very large crisis.

Another problem is that America has to agree to whatever terms are hammered out for the transfer and ultimate destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons inventory. Because Putin’s actions embarrassed us in the eyes of the world and because President Obama may not be man enough to swallow his pride and go along with reasonable terms, this might have a disastrous end after all.

And then there is Secretary of State Kerry. He finally, after all these years has some apparent power and it’s obviously going to his head. Right now he’s in Geneva acting more presidential than our president ever has. He could easily “queer” the whole deal.

If America decides not to go along with a reasonable resolution to the chemical weapons conundrum and proceeds with his “targeted strike” its easy to see Iran getting involved and, from there, all Hell MIGHT break loose.

While all this is going on it’s interesting to note that the Obama Administration has just sent weapons to Al Queda and continues to insist that Assad be removed from office by his opposition. The problem with that is that history (the history of Iran) would likely repeat itself in Syria.

The Shah of Iran, like President Assad, was a brutal ruler but, also like Assad, he was not an enemy of America. President Jimmy Carter didn’t know enough to leave him alone and let his run HIS country the way he wanted, it meant nothing to Carter that the people who were known as his opposition and successors were not only more brutal than the Shah but were sworn enemies of ANY country that did not embrace Shria Law.

In Syria, if history repeats itself and Assad is replaced by an extremist Muslim government (which is almost a certainty) it will be a puppet government to Iran and Israel will have an even more dangerous ‘next door’ neighbor than it has now.

Why then is President Obama arming Assad’s opposition? For the same reason President Carter supported the Shah’s opposition; they are both shallow, narrow minded and self-righteous leaders. They both live in a Fantasy Land where every government is benign and democratic (and Christian). In fact many, if not most, of our Senators and Congressmen seem to have the same fantasy.

It’s time for America to get real and get out of Fantasy Land!

Several Points About Syria

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Syria warSecretary Kerry is insisting that firing who knows how many missiles at Syria with the objective of punishing the president of that sovereign country and tipping the balance of power in a country that is in the middle of a civil war, is NOT an act of war and that turning that country over to some form of radical Muslim Brotherhood is not a likely outcome.

Common sense tells us that that is a bold-faced lie!

Attacking a sovereign country with missiles, for any reason other than eradicating a ‘clear and present danger’ to your country IS an inexcusable act of war in anyone’s play book and handing Assad’s regime over to one of the many Muslim factions opposing Assad (in the end it will be the one faction that is the most vicious and most well armed by Iraq) under those circumstances, is an act of insanity!

We’re about to see, next week, if our Congress can escape the notion that they are the world’s elected ‘moral warriors’ and if they are able to open their collective mind up to concepts that are the products of rational judgment, i.e., an ‘America First’ ethos and the now almost obsolete idea that the Congress is only sanctioned to vote the will of the people they represent.

One can’t really blame Kerry for his lies since he is now a virtual puppet with Obama’s hand up the back of his shirt, moving his mouth. Secretary of State Kerry’s unfortunate lack of character and honesty aside, we have never have been able to believe the majority of what has been touted as fact from Barack Obama or his minions; he has never has been totally honest and open with the American public and there is no reason to believe he will ever change. He has, in act after act during his administration, shown that he does not believe in the very principles that once made this country the richest and greatest bastion of freedom in the world. He has also, not unexpectedly, proved to be an overt Muslim sympathizer; he was, after all born and raised as a Muslim.

If the use of Chemical Weapons is an International crime and if the International community refuses to do anything about it, why is it supposedly the United States’ mission to punish the ‘wicked’ all by ourselves? That’s stupid and dangerous. Enforcing the chemical weapons ban ( which, incidentally, Syria never signed onto) is a job for the United Nations not any one individual nation. Right now there should be several battalions of ‘blue helmeted’ U.N. troops engaging Assad, as well as Hezbolah and Al Queda, dismantling Syrian Chemical Weapons storage facilities. That, however, has not happened and will never happen because the United Nations, as it is now, is as ineffectual as a day care Center.

Obama’s and Kerry’s assurances aside, there is a very large possibility that an American attack will ignite a larger conflict (involving the United States). This is not according to me, this is according to the Russian, Chinese and Syrian governments. Syria has, in fact, promised that it will fight back even if it leads to WW III.

It’s obvious to me and many others that Obama has an ulterior motive in Syria — he wants radicalized Muslims in control. Ever since Obama has been in office he has been kissing the rear ends of Muslims. That’s where his real sympathy lies. That’s one key reason that he is willing to commit America’s military might to the objective of destabilizing the Assad regime.

We really must stop playing “policeman to the world” right NOW! If some atrocity occurs in some uncivilized corner of the world and it is NOT a “Clear and Present Danger” to America or Americans, we just have to chalk it up to the fact that different people believe and act in different ways, believe in different gods and act according to THEIR beliefs (not OURS).

On the other hand, if an action by ANY government DOES present a clear and present danger to the U.S., we must act boldly, rapidly and without seeking the consent of any other country or body to eliminate that danger. That is the only action that rogue/uncivilized countries will respect.

As I’ve said before, the United States must be feared by it’s enemies if it is to survive.

Serious About Syria

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SyriaI firmly believe, and have long retained this belief, that the United States needs to stop interfering in other country’s internal affairs, including civil wars, and especially in the Middle East. I believe that to keep United States citizens safe we should make the United States as invincible as possible and make sure that we are feared and respected by those countries who refuse to be our allies and by countries, individuals and groups who wish us harm. We should support our allies and encourage others who have similar value systems to become our allies.

That said, I know that the United States is about to “strike” Syria and I think we all know the reason. Our President put his foot in the all of our mouths by promising action if Chemical weapons were used in Syria and now that the “red line” has been crossed it’s put the United States in a position where our ‘reputation’ is on the line.

Reputation (or “face” as it’s called in some parts of the world) is a concept that is only used by the weak and insecure. The United States should never have to worry about how others see us, we are, by every measure, the “elephant in the room.” If any country thinks it can strike a fatal blow against the United States, it’s leaders are deluding themselves and putting their population in a very dangerous place.

According to a USA Today article/ from Tuesday: “The expected U.S. missile strike against Syria will be aimed at forces linked to chemical weapons as well as broader military targets”. If we have to go into Syria, that seems to be the best way to do it. We are apparently not going to attempt to effect a regime change in Syria, to do that would be a dangerous gamble because the next regime could be worse than the current one (like what happened when we forced Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi off the Peacock Throne in 1979). Nor are we planning on putting “boots on the ground” in Syria. Let countries handle their own regime changes and let those local warriors who remain alive, live with any unintended consequences.

U.S. military “assets” are already in place and whatever we do we will do it soon!

Some of the media are making a big deal about President Obama not asking for consent from the Congress before the attack on Syria. According to the Constitution, the U.S. cannot “declare war” without the consent of Congress but this is not a declaration of war, this action is intended as a public “spanking” of Syrian President Assad. Threats have been made of retaliation against Israel if the U.S. attacks Syria. If that happens Israel will quickly retaliate and they won’t be nice about it; Israel will of course expect U.S. support if attacked and the U.S. is committed to defending it’s ally against a military attack from another Middle Eastern country or even from a certain “Bear” in eastern Europe.

Rape in the Military: Hormones or Disrespect?

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A Fox News article today focuses on the perceived ‘epidemic’ of sexual assaults in all branches of the armed services.

The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday brought in the top brass from each of the armed services for a grilling about the possible reasons behind the rash of sexual assaults and their plans for solving the problem; ironically it was one of their own senators who was the first one placed over the proverbial barrel, not one of the brass. Senator Saxby Chambliss actually had the temerity to state that the reason for the rash of sexual assaults might just be (in his words):


“The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22, or 23. Gee whiz, the level — the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

Yes! The senior senator from Georgia actually said “gee wiz;” and yes he is probably at least 90% correct in his assessment but he was attacked from both sides of the aisle for saying it . . . that’s not what the publicity hounds on the Senate Committee wanted to hear. The committee didn’t assemble to hear reason or logic, they wanted to hear solutions, and rightly so. They also wanted to rip some “brass” off the top brass to satisfy ‘blood-thirsty’ female voters.

If Sen. Chambliss had thought to add: “but that’s no excuse for rape” he could be sitting peacefully sipping Southern Comfort tonight instead of trying to justify his apparent justification of rape. When even Debbie Wasserman Schultz is more correct on any subject than you are, you know you’re in a very tenuous position.

The military is, and always has been, a reflection of society in general. Our society today has become more sexualized and less respectful of authority — in two words, ‘less civilized.’ In what has been referred to as the “good old days” people had more respect for authority and for each other because the rules were, for the most part, logical, rational and fairly enforced. Today however, logic and rationality have been replaced by “zero tolerance” which is anything but logical or rational. Zero tolerance was created by lazy school administrators and was soon adopted by lazy business administrators. Nonsensical rules turn the ‘fear of breaking’ rules into the ‘challenge of breaking rules without getting caught.’

It is those teenagers and young adults who have developed an indifferent attitude toward rules who are going into the military and not adapting to the strict, respectful, no nonsense culture required for military discipline.

I can’t imagine a scenario where society will ever return to the old attitudes about the sanctity of rules but we can go forward! Go forward into a culture where rules are tempered with common sense and, for that reason, breaking them is not easily justified by potential rule breakers.

Perhaps more classroom time is needed in military boot camp, to reeducate the kids that our society has failed.