Liberals have spent the last week insisting that Donald Trump’s military policy is wrong — but they certainly haven’t come up with any compelling reasons why. While conservatives point to a laundry list of problems from the potential $3.7 billion price tag to “sensitivity” training, the Left’s only defense seems to be trotting out photos of a former Navy SEAL Christopher (now Kristin) Beck. No one argues that Beck served his country with distinction — but he never did so as a woman. He identified as a new gender after he was discharged, and even then, didn’t publicly “come out” until two years later. As Donna Carol Voss points out in a great column for the Federalist, “6 Ridiculous Arguments in Favor of Transgender Soldiers,” it’s “disingenuous to say Beck is the first female Navy SEAL when that career ended two years before Christopher — who was known for his beard — transitioned to Kristin. There has never been a female Navy SEAL, only a male Navy SEAL who retired and took feminizing hormones.”
Ask a liberal how Obama’s policy actually improves readiness, and they’ll respond one of two ways: with a personal story or a personal attack. Why? Because there hasn’t been a single scientifically-based, rational military argument for it. Without psychology, top brass, or even popular opinion on their side, the Left resorts to a tired playbook — distractions and name-calling. Fox News’s Tucker Carlson found that out in his debate with New York Congressman Sean Maloney (D). Like most liberals, Maloney’s go-to justifications for Obama’s were Beck and transgender empowerment. Apparently, he thinks the military’s job isn’t winning wars but putting people on the path to self-actualization.
No wonder almost 60 percent active-duty troops are opposed. In a battle with the enemy, they’d choose tanks over “tolerance” any day. Still, Maloney trotted out the familiar straw man (woman?). “To not like [Trump’s new policy] and to claim it somehow makes our country ‘less safe’ are two different things. How does this make our country less safe?” “How about SEAL Team 6?” Maloney asks. I think you’d agree they make our country safer. So, Kristin Beck, member of SEAL Team 6, she’s a transgender woman, [she has several medals] and a purple heart…” But, Tucker interjects, “I don’t think she served as a transgender SEAL though.” (Video here.)
MALONEY: No, but there are thousands of transgender service members serving honorably and meeting the test that the military expects…
CARLSON: But transgenders have never been allowed to serve openly and to have their transitions paid for by the U.S. government… This country has been around for almost 250 years, winning a bunch of wars. That’s not a slight on any specific person, but I’m skeptical as to how this makes our country safe. I don’t actually think you can show that. You’re just mad about it, and you’re using our national security to make your point.
MALONEY: Well, look. There are thousands of people serving honorably. We won a bunch of wars before we integrated the Armed Services with African Americans. And we won a bunch of wars without women serving… There are a whole lot of transgender people serving with honor, and there’s not a single reason you would kick them out of the military except for prejudice.
CARLSON: That’s just a silly thing to say. This is a legitimate debate, and for you to say that anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot…
MALONEY: I didn’t say that…
CARLSON: Well, yes you did. You said the only reason is prejudice.
CARLSON: In other words, if you disagree with me… you’re a bad person. My point is, there are two sides to this — there’s a cost to this. There are difficulties integrating people. There are questions about what it means to be transgender. These are real adult questions — and you’re blowing them off by describing anyone who doesn’t agree with you as motivated by prejudice. And that’s childish… The onus is on you. Since the military has never had this policy in its history to show that paying for sex change operations is going to make us somehow more likely to beat Al Qaeda.
… I’m a patriotic person. I would love to serve in the military. I’m too old. It takes me 27 minutes to run 5K. I’m not qualified. The question is not “What’s empowering for me?” it’s “What’s good for the national defense?” And that’s not the lens through which you’re looking at this.
MALONEY: But Kristin Beck is qualified, and performed heroically on SEAL Team 6.
CARLSON: Look, I’m not attacking Kristin Beck. It’s very frustrating speaking with ideologues like you, because everything you disagree with is an attack on someone… You are an extremist posing as a rational person. I’m trying to have a rational debate, and you’re trying to tell me I’m attacking a Navy SEAL, which I’m emphatically not doing… This is why the Pentagon didn’t announce it themselves today. Because [Obama’s] policy has very little support in the Pentagon, but they’re afraid because of demagogues like you. That they’re going to be attacked for saying what is obvious, which is: the point of the military is to win wars. And saying that will get people like you to call them bigots.
This isn’t a civilian office, where work can afford to take a backseat to sensitivity. It’s a warzone. If we care about national security, why would we waste resources, money, and training time on a pride parade for the mentally unstable? Political correctness doesn’t save lives in a battle with ISIS. Only an efficient, highly-trained, mentally fit force can. Even the people Sean Maloney are supposedly defending seem to understand that. In an article for the Daily Signal, a man who once identified as transgender argues, “The military is fighting force, not a gender clinic. Some service members will come to regret having undergone the surgery and will want to de-transition. Where will the military be then? Will the military pay for the sex-change reversal procedure, too?”
Most service chiefs have been outspoken about the risks. Unfortunately, Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft isn’t one of them. Breaking with the Pentagon’s brass, he told reporters that he called “all 13 members of the Coast Guard who have come out as transgender” to reassure them that he “would not turn [his] back.” “We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith.” But if Zukunft thinks prolonging the distraction is good for the troops, he’s in the minority. Only 16 percent of people currently serving in the military think Obama’s policy is good for morale. Fifty-seven oppose it outright. So if people like Sean Maloney want to support the troops, they’d stop peddling their own agenda and listen to the military they claim to be representing.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.