"Trump’s transgender ban is based on hate" (?)
The above headline and the article that follows are by Michael A. Cohen, a columnist with the Boston Globe. It is the sort of hate-filled argument that we have come to expect from the Left. Cohen projects his own hate onto Trump. But it's not a convincing projection. Can anyone reading his words doubt how consumingly Mr. Cohen hates Mr. Trump?
And his argument is a typically Leftist one in another way: its extreme selectivity. Of all the things that Trump and his many military advisers might have had in mind when they decided to limit sexually disturbed people in the military, Cohen considers only one: Medical costs. But anyone who knows anything about the argument knows that the main costs are psychological -- part of what Trump referred to as "disruption".
It is many years since I was an army psychologist but I am still confident that I can tell you what is involved. In "Vom Kriege", Clausewitz stresses the importance of morale in a military unit and that is the basic issue. High morale often means the difference between defeat and victory. And closely linked to morale is unit cohesion. Morale is highest when all the members of a unit have strong brotherly feelings towards one another. That is so much so that psychologists generally conclude that it is most unusual for a man to fight for "King and country". Instead he fights for his brothers -- the men in his unit whom he has trained with and with whom he has experienced stresses of various sorts. Australia's most admired military hero Ben Roberts-Smith has tattooed across his broad chest: "I will not fail my brothers".
And all that is seriously disrupted even with normal women in a unit -- let alone a sexually confused woman. Units that are normally well away from the frontline have long included women. They are not under the frontline stresses where morale and unit cohesion make all the difference. But, even so, women in any unit create problems. Sexual intercourse will always take place within mixed units. -- with varying degrees of consent. Army personnel tend to be vigorously healthy and their sex-drive will be too. And rivalry for the "affections" of the woman will tear "brothers" apart, which is why women were historically barred from battlefield roles even in the Israel Defence Force, though that has been watered down in recent times in Israel. Mixed units will substantially damage frontline cohesion.
I was for a time married to a woman who had spent 9 years in the army transport corps. Fortunately, she was a big strong woman (though pleasingly shaped) and she needed to be. She repeatedly had to fight off approaches from both males and females. She remembers kicking a lesbian across the room to get her off herself and she once expelled a male officer from her tent at the point of a pistol. Since she and I had a very pleasing heterosexual marriage, I can vouch that she was not herself a lesbian but she says that most of her fellow female troops were.
Do you begin to get the issues once you introduce complexity into a simple all-male environment? Mr Cohen can probably not even imagine them but we can be sure that the many generals Trump has advising him know those issues very well. Trump's decision was a sound military one based on military realities and requirements. The hate comes not from Mr Trump but from Mr Cohen
Tuesday night, President Trump traveled to Phoenix and delivered perhaps the most unhinged speech of his presidency, which for Trump is no small accomplishment. The nation’s 45th president spent most of the time focused on the only person who truly matters to him — Donald Trump. Indeed, much of his speech was spent airing his abundant grievances about how the reporters he calls un-American truthfully cover the things he says. But one section of his remarks stands out.
In praising his supporters and contrasting them with the D.C. establishment, Trump said, “You always understood what Washington, D.C., did not. Our movement is a movement built on love. It’s love for fellow citizens.
“We believe that every American has the right to live with dignity. Respect for America demands respect for all of its people. Loyalty to our nation requires loyalty to each other. We all share the same home, the same dreams, and the same hopes for a better future. A wound inflicted upon one member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all.”
These are lovely words that bear no relation to the policies endorsed by the man who uttered them or the audience who applauded them.
Indeed, less than 24 hours after Trump’s speech, a proposed White House directive on the transgender ban was leaked to The Wall Street Journal.
The ban, which reverses the Obama administration’s decision last year to allow transgender troops to serve openly, would instruct the military to stop admitting transgender Americans. It lays out criteria for expelling them and would even force the Pentagon to stop paying for transition medical regimes already underway.
When Trump first announced this ban on Twitter, he claimed that allowing transgender individuals to serve would lead to “tremendous medical costs and disruption” to the military.
I know this will come as a shock, but there is no evidence to back up Trump’s claims. In fact, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, approximately 10 to 130 members of the active force could have “reduced deployability as a result of gender transition-related treatments” each year. Considering there are more 100,000 nondeployable soldiers in the Army alone this is hardly a major burden.
In addition, health care costs for transgender service members would be around $6 million a year — or approximately 14 times less than the amount of money spent by the Pentagon on Viagra.
Trump’s transgender ban is policy in search of a point. In fact, the real reason Trump initially announced it is that he thought it would help him get congressional Republican support for a bill appropriating money for his border wall. Hate begetting more hate.
However, even if allowing transgender Americans to openly serve was a burden, shouldn’t that be a small price to pay for a political movement built on love and the belief that every American has a right to live with dignity?
To be sure, politicians resort to these kinds of platitudes all the time, even as they implement policies that operate in direct contradiction. But the chasm between Trump’s words and the policies he endorses is a mile wide. Rare is it in American history when actual rights are taken away from Americans. Trump’s ban is the rankest form of prejudice — imposing discriminatory policies that are born solely out of intolerance and hatred.
Ideally, court challenges will block Trump’s transgender ban, but it shouldn’t block the reality of what this effort says about Trump and his political “movement.” The president and his supporters can talk all they want about love and unity but the truth is evident: their agenda is one born out of hate.