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Friday’s adventures in Twitterland was consumed with President Trump’s decision to reverse the Obama Administration’s inclusion of transgender individuals serving in the military. One woman from California asked me the following:
Valid question and clarifying. Exactly what am I afraid of? Mostly my son dying. It’s as simple as that. And while I have but one Marine related to me by blood, all of them, no matter what branch of the service they may be in, all are his brothers and sisters. For any of them to perish diminishes me and diminishes our country.
One of the talking points latched onto by her fellow progressives follows this line: “If someone wants to volunteer and is willing to die for our country, who are any of us to say ‘no?'” This very question is at fundamental odds with the purpose and intent of the United States military. To paraphrase Gen. George S. Patton, their objective is not to die for our country, but rather make the other poor bastard die for his country. We honor those that make that sacrifice, but we never seek to place them in a situation that guarantees it. Every minute of training is devoted to giving every recruit every chance of coming home.
Part and parcel of that is evaluating fitness for combat. While not every job in the military is designated as a combat position, war can be a funny thing. Just because you are not seeking combat doesn’t mean that combat won’t find you. That is why, for the Corps, every Marine is first a rifleman.
Which brings us to the most disturbing of statistics concerning transgender individuals: According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, at some time or another 40 percent to 50 percent of them will attempt suicide. Why the desire then to give them a weapon and put them into a situation where lives depend on emotional and mental stability under stress?
So asks J.R. Salzman. Salzman is a champion athlete who won eight world titles at the Lumberjack World Championships between 1998 and 2010. He joined the Minnesota National Guard on the 2nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and was sent to Iraq in 2006. In December of that year he was injured in a blast that caused traumatic brain injury and the loss of his right arm below the elbow.
He writes about being stuck in the 105° heat, being both bored and frightened at the same time, and the toll it takes:
Any tiny little personal issue (with the youngest among his team) had suddenly became a mountain. And that [expletive] came out on that fire base. And they snapped mentally. After stepping on each other’s nuts living in the same can for five months, guys were at each other’s throats. The stress made it worse. Guys would literally snap over a Dear John letter. Their personal issues came out and they were instantly combat ineffective.
Now take someone confused about whether they are a man or woman. Take those psychological and emotional issues and put them in that environment. Take someone who is right off the bat not uniform or part of the same team. Give them special treatment because of their identity. Take that person, put them in that stressful war environment and watch what happens. It’s a [expletive] ticking time bomb.
You have to be incredibly tough mentally, physically and emotionally. War is not a [expletive] video game. It tests every ounce of your being. You can’t teach someone to be a fearless warrior in a [expletive] PowerPoint. You either have it or you don’t. You can hack it or you can’t.
The worst thing about the transgender advocates is that they have neither the experience or nor the family ties to the military. For them these are purely political exercises paid for by the blood of others and the anguish of families that they will never have to meet. If you believe your side of the argument is personal and about people, don’t treat the other side as a mere statistic.
Unfortunately, when I answered this woman’s question the conversation stopped. Evidently my answer was either unexpected or not included in her list of preconceived answers to everything.