Bigotry. Hatred. Idiocy. These are the words that are being thrown around in light of President Trump’s recent decision to reenact the transgender ban within the military. According to a RAND study, this decision will affect approximately 4,000 active duty and reserve transgender service members.
President Trump’s announcement has provoked organizations such as The National Center for Transgender Equality, who in a written statement wrote, “This is worse than don’t ask don’t tell, this is don’t serve, don’t serve. This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science.”
The Family Research Council, on the other hand, praised the decision. “I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities – and not continue the social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nation’s military. The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight, and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda.”
While political bickering will ensue during the next few days, this will remain an issue throughout the foreseeable future. It is important to look at this decision objectively, and understand the most important question about this decision; will the United States military be more effective in engaging and destroying America’s enemies?
Many people argue that the transgender population should not be refused the opportunity to serve in the military “because of who they are.” I would argue that yes, they can be denied. Seemingly healthy individuals are denied joining the military for a plethora of medical reasons. People who have conditions that are not satisfactory for military service will be denied; not because of “who they are” but because there are certain standards. These standards include medical, physical, emotional, psychological, which in conjunction with one another, creates an effective fighting force.
The purpose of the United States military is to close in and destroy the enemies of the United States of America, both foreign and domestic. Its purpose is not to enable a social experiment, which in its nature, destabilizes unit cohesion and lowers standards, therefore, lowering the effectiveness of the military as a whole.
Not only do transgender policies create a preventable distraction for personnel, but it also raises the cost of medical care, offering unnecessary treatments and follow-ups, raising the cost and lowering the combat effectiveness of those going through these treatments. While the aforementioned RAND study shows only about a $2.4 million to $8.4 million increase in medical spending, those costs would have added up over time.
Gender transitions can take a few months to a few years to complete, time which is not spent training or fighting. It also takes up the time of doctors and therapists who could be used in a more military-essential manner: giving assistance to wounded soldiers and helping rehabilitate them from injury, or aiding those going through PTSD. The effect of preferential treatment should also not be overlooked, as the overboard catering to transgender interests, whether it’s through briefings, training or treatment, can potentially create resentment within a unit.
President Trump’s decision, in conjunction with Secretary Mattis and the Department of Defense, was the correct one to make.
Not only does it lessen the cost of medical care, but it also lessens distractions, reaffirms military standards of order and discipline, and keeps a highly trained and lethal force ready and willing to defend our country in times of peril. The military should, and needs to be, combat-ready at all times. The military is not a business. It is a well-oiled machine, not concerned with modern political correctness, but with the destruction of our enemies.