Admiral Bill McRaven, Navy SEAL and head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, speaks to some very lucky University of Texas graduates:
This is excellent footage of the stunt plane crash yesterday at Travis Air Force Base. &It supports accusations that Eddie Andreini, the pilot, might have survived that skid if emergency rescuers had immediately used fire extinguishers. The deeply uncomfortable conclusion is that the pilot, rather than being killed instantly in the crash, died horribly in the fire after the crash. If that is indeed what happened, the Air Force has a great deal of “splaining” to do, as Ricky Ricardo so often said.
The footage also corroborates my memory that the emcee immediately told everyone to stay where they were, an instruction instantly and completely ignored by every single person on the field.
I had planned on writing a long post about the Travis Air Force Base Open House, wrapping up with comparing the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, which I’ve never seen, with the Navy’s Blue Angels, which I’ve seen more times than I can count. That didn’t happen. We did get a chance to see, and even walk through, some pretty awesome planes, but the whole event was overshadowed by a tragedy: Eddie Andreini, 77, a veteran stunt pilot died in a crash.
I didn’t see the crash happen, but eyewitnesses saw him flying upside down and low to the ground. Suddenly, the emcee said “Oh, Eddie. Oh, Eddie!” and that was that. Andreini hit the ground hard and his plane quickly burst into flames.
The emcee then said “Everybody, please stay where you are. Do not move. Stay where you are.” With those words, as one, hundreds of people stopped what they were doing . . . and rushed over to the barricades separating the crowd from the airfield. No one crossed the barricades, but there was an overwhelming human impulse to see what had happened.
Actually, not everyone. I quickly realized what happened and didn’t look. I knew there would be nothing to see, since the crash site was on the far side of the runway and was quickly surrounded by emergency vehicles. Nevertheless, it felt like ghoulish voyeurism to try to see a man’s funeral pyre.
The authorities at the base asked everyone to leave, a process that took about two hours, from concourse to road. The crowd was saddened and polite. As we left, military and local police personnel poured on the field. It wasn’t clear why they were necessary. I suspected that the descended on the site simply because the good.
My thoughts and prayers go to Andreini’s family and friends. (Incidentally, it was clear that the emcee was a friend, yet he never lost his professionalism, as he helped give instructions and information to the crowd.)
UPDATE: This is awful. It turns out that the pilot might have survived the crash if emergency crews had responded more swiftly.
When it comes to Navy SEALS, Don Mann is the real deal. He was an active duty Navy SEAL for seventeen years, including eight years on SEAL Team Six. As he describes his experiences:
As a member of Seal Team Six for over eight years and a SEAL for over 17 years, he worked in countless covert operations, operating from land, sea, and air, and facing shootings, decapitations, and stabbings. He was captured by the enemy and lived to tell the tale, and he participated in highly classified missions all over the globe, including Somalia, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
In addition to (or as augmentation for) his role as a SEAL, Mann is also a high endurance athlete, who has been in over 1,000 races (mostly extreme runs that make marathons look like a walk in the park). At one time, he was the 38th highest ranked triathlete in the world.
If anyone is qualified to write thrillers about a Navy SEAL Six team, Mann is the one. To date, Mann has actually written four such thrillers (in addition to a slew of non-fiction books about SEALS). The four thrillers are (1) Hunt the Wolf: A SEAL Team Six Novel; (2) SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Scorpion; (3) SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Falcon; and (4) SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Jackal. (For all but Hunt the Falcon, Ralph Pezzullo is listed as co-author.)
I received Kindle copies of all four SEAL Team Six novels from a book review site with which I’m affiliated. The reason behind this largesse was the fact that the official publication date for the fourth book is May 13. With my fondness for Navy SEALs and for thrillers, it was a foregone conclusion that I would gobble the books down all at once. I managed to read all four in a day-and-a-half. Looking back, this was a mistake. Because they are formulaic, reading them one on top of each other, without a decent interval of a few months between each one, highlighted their mechanical qualities and threw their flaws into relief. I think I would have liked them more had I read them less.
Before I get too deep into this, let me say that I have no problem with formulaic books. Most authors have a template they use, and readers keep returning to their books because they like that template. A perfect example of this is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, the 18th of which (Never Go Back : A Jack Reacher Novel) I had just finished reading just before I picked up Mann’s series.
The Reacher novels are pleasantly predictable: Ex-military cop Jack Reacher wanders aimlessly and across the United States and invariably stumbles upon grotesquely violent criminals who leave a wide swath of destruction in their wake until Reacher comes along and turns them into mulch. What makes the books work is Reacher’s character. He should be ridiculous, because he’s something of a superman, able to out-reason and out-fight every bad guy he comes across. Take away his impulse to be on the side of the gods, and he’d be a monster.
In fact, though, Child has made Reacher a very interesting character, because he walks us through Reacher’s logical process: What does Reacher notice as the bad guys approach him? How does he analyze the situation? What moral decisions is he making as part of this analysis? What tactics does he decide upon and why? And finally, how effective were his chosen tactics when he finally used them? Child puts you directly into the brain of a type of savant, a man preternaturally skilled at analyzing dangerous situations and turning them to his advantage.
Child’s books are also meticulously plotted. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Child is a massive stoner. He’s got the kind of obsessive attention to detail that makes sense only if someone is ripped on a drug that makes the hard work of imagining and writing such details fun, rather than deadly dull. Indeed, Child’s attention to fascinating details is so good that one can forgive the absence of an actual plot. For example, Child’s last book, Never Go Back, had an insanely stupid, lame denouement, something that’s antithetical to denouements. After all, a thriller, even if it can’t be thrilling, should at least be interesting.
When it comes to Never Go Back, though, Child didn’t even try. Still, Reacher is such an enjoyable character, you want to read the book anyway, and are willing to forgive Child his sins as a writer at least long enough to read the next Reacher book (should there be one).
Mann’s formulaic novels aren’t as good as Child’s book, but they’re not bad. Had I read them spread out over months, in the order in which they were published, I probably would have enjoyed them more than I did.
I know this sounds as if I’m damning Mann’s books with faint praise, and maybe I am. I need to make a full disclosure here, which is that I soured on the books about halfway through the third and in the beginning of the fourth. My low-level ill-will arose for a very specific reason, which is that Mann’s and my biases clashed.
In both the third and fourth books, Mann attacks the Israeli military. In the third book, it’s a completely gratuitous swipe about the Israeli special forces not being as good as they think they are. In the fourth book, the opening scene includes a quite detailed swipe at the Israeli military, implying that its members are rule-bound, cold-blooded, vindictive cowards. This might have been forgivable if this detailed scene had related to the rest of the book, but it didn’t. By book’s end, it’s clear that this anti-IDF sideline wasn’t necessary to the main plot. Mann just felt he wanted it in there.
There is absolutely nothing antisemitic about Mann’s negative attitude towards the Israeli military, and I respect that fact. It’s clear that Mann dislikes it as a military, not as a Jewish military. I got the strong feeling that, at one time, or over a period of several times, Mann had some bad experiences with the IDF and he’s using his novels as a place to vent his negative feelings.
Being spiteful is Mann’s prerogative — and it’s my prerogative to get unpleasantly ruffled because of that spite. I’m certain that the IDF has rotten apples in it, since all militaries do. I have no idea whether the IDF and its special forces are overrated, but it’s entirely possible that they are . . . or not. Nevertheless, I do feel that it was wrong for Mann to take self-serving, unnecessary swipes at a military that is on the side of the angels in the long war against the worldwide hydra of Islamic militants (along with the American military). Israel is a sufficiently beleaguered nation to deserve some respite from creative vindictiveness. The clash between Mann’s bias (not thrilled about the Israeli military) and my bias (supportive of the IDF) definitely dimmed my pleasure in his writing.
And now, finally, my review. All four books have the same pattern. Thomas Crocker is Mann’s alter ego: he looks like Mann (mustache and thinning hair), he exercises like Mann (taking his team on extreme climbs in the Himalayas or extreme runs in the Sahara desert), and he works like Mann once did, heading a SEAL Team Six unit tasked with dangerous secret missions. The book isn’t written in the first person, but we see everything through Crocker’s eyes and hear his thoughts. He loves his country; hates the enemy; worries about the damage to his soul from the deaths he’s caused; cares for his team; loves his wife and his daughter, whom he constantly leaves behind because missions take precedence; looks at his rough childhood as the crucible that created the warrior that he now is; sublimates fear; and manages to continue moving despite the fact that he’s invariably concussed, wounded, bleeding, and sleep deprived.
Crocker’s teammates are more literary ciphers than real characters. They exist to move the plot forward. Akil, the team’s navigator, is the Egyptian-born Muslim who came to America as a child, is a stalwart defender of America’s freedoms against Iran’s Islamic totalitarianism and, when he’s not being incredibly brave and disciplined, thinks only of sex. Mancini, the team’s weapons expert, is also the book’s expositor. He’s a know-it-all with a photographic memory/ Wherever the book takes the team, he will offer commentary about the sights they see, the nature of the enemy, the weather, etc. In other words, because the omniscient narrator never drops away from Crocker’s viewpoint, it’s up to Mancini to fill the reader in on everything Crocker cannot know. The other term members are given names and details (beard, wife, smile, fiancée, etc.), but are sufficiently ill-defined as characters to be completely forgettable.
One of the two things I’ve taken away about SEALs from the non-fiction books I’ve read is that they are trained, and trained, and trained, and then trained some more. The other thing that sticks in my brain is that they meticulously prepare for every mission. Mann has realized that an action novel that spends too much time detailing all of the SEAL’s meticulous preparation will work best as a sleep aid, rather than a thriller. Ironically, though, by avoiding all the mission detail, what Mann ends up with is a group of SEALs who rush unprepared into just about everything. If it weren’t for their highly trained skills and their really cool weapons, these guys would be morons, doing everything by the seat of their pants and getting into big trouble because of it.
In the first three books, the team’s missions involve Iranian infiltration in North Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the last book, his team takes on a Mexican drug cartel. In all four books, the team is constantly frustrated by politics, especially those emanating from the CIA, which is given over to extreme political cowardice. In all four books, good people die, good people get wounded, bad people get horribly killed, and innocents get rescued. The good guys usually prevail, but it’s a painful, demoralizing, bloody, bloody process.
I’d be more specific at this point, but I can’t. Having read all four of the books in the same 48-hour period, they’ve run together in my mind, leaving only an overarching pattern without any defining details jumping out at me.
Looking at all four books a little temporal distance (I read the last one on Tuesday), I think the following is a fairly objective summary: These books are not great, but they’re not bad. They’re workmanlike thrillers that give some insight into (1) the never-ending training in which SEALs engage; (2) the enormous toll their work takes on their private life; (3) the terrible risks they take, partly out of love of country and partly because they’re very courageous adrenalin junkies; and (4) the genuine dangers in today’s world against which our armed forces and special forces protect us. If you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-read, fairly interesting military thriller, you could do a lot worse than Don Mann’s SEAL Team Six series. They won’t win any prizes, but they’ll definitely keep you entertained.
In an earlier post, I asked whether the military was engaged in necessary housekeeping or political purging. I have no answer to that question, but DuffelBlog, the military humor blog, has its own take on today’s military and the cuts that could be made.
Conservatives have noticed that the Pentagon is firing officers left and right, with many leaving under an embarrassing cloud. The question they ask — and I don’t know that anyone has an answer — is whether these firings are the legitimate and appropriate housecleaning that a sclerotic bureaucracy needs or whether they’re a purge, with Obama’s New Age, gender flexible, fighting optional military getting rid of people in command positions who actually think that the military’s job is to wage war in America’s defense.
All I know is that the latest person being investigated as a predicate to an inevitable firing is someone I’ve actually met. Back in October 2009, I got the opportunity to attend a party that had, as its guests, members of the Blue Angels. I wrote about it here. I also included a photograph I took of all the guys (plus two gals) lined up:
Please take special notice of the guy in the center (or more accurately, sixth from the left). We spent a few minutes speaking with him and found him to be — as all these officers were — personable, intelligent, and respectful.
Now, though, a debate rages about just how respectful this specific officer actually was:
A former commanding officer of the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, has been removed from his current post after accusations that he ‘tolerated an inappropriate work environment.’
Capt. Gregory McWherter allowed, and in some cases encouraged, sexually explicit humor and inappropriate comments among members of the famed precision flying team, the U.S. Navy contended on Wednesday.
McWherter was relieved of duty as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado on Friday after a complaint was filed with the Navy’s inspector general about an ‘inappropriate command climate’ at the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
During his two stints as Blue Angels leader between 2008 and 2012, McWherter ‘tolerated an inappropriate work environment within the squadron which may have violated the Navy’s sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies,’ a Navy statement said.
‘The complaint alleges that lewd speech, inappropriate comments, and sexually explicit humor were allowed in the workplace and in some case encouraged by the commanding officer,’ and that ‘pornographic images were displayed in the workplace and shared in electronic communications,’ the statement said.
Significantly, McWherter got a strong vote of support from a woman who served under his command:
‘At one point there was a command survey and one came back that men didn’t treat women fairly,’ Melinda Cary, who served under McWherter during 2006 to 2008, told The News Journal.
‘The first thing he did was bring us to talk about who was telling jokes. And he went out, and, I guess, set them straight. He followed up and made sure we weren’t still having trouble.’
Maybe McWherter is a sexist pig who ought never to have been allowed a command. Or maybe he’s an old-fashioned warrior who is making too much trouble in a modern military determined to serve as a giant Leftist social experiment, rather than hewing to its traditional responsibility as America’s protector.
(To see a better picture of McWherter, click on over to the Daily Mail article. For some reason, I’m not able to upload new photos to my site this morning.)
UPDATE: I was finally able to upload a picture of McWherter.
There are so many things about the drive-by mainstream media that irritate me that it’s sometimes hard to prioritize or quantify them. I can, however, say with alacrity that one of the irritants at the top of my list is the media’s 40+ year-long effort to demonize America’s vets, whom they paint as ticking time-bombs in constant, imminent danger of exploding.
Entirely expectedly, then, that was how the media treated Specialist Ivan Lopez, the man who went on the latest shooting rampage on unarmed troops at Fort Hood (where they had to call 911 to rescue them). “PTSD!” the media shrilled. It turned out, of course, that Lopez wasn’t a combat vet at all. Still, as far as the media is concerned, just being in the military itself is a trauma so great that the media can reasonably claim that every active duty military member and every veteran in America is a potential PTSD explosion waiting to happen.
I’ve never bought that. My parents and all their friends were survivors of at least one war and often two. All experienced WWII (either as troops, refugees, or prisoners of war), and most of them experienced a second war as well: the Israeli War of Independence, the Soviet takeover of Hungary, the Communist takeover in China, etc. Peculiarly enough, all of them, without exception, went on to live productive, non-violent lives.
Were these members of the Greatest Generation always the happiest people in the world? Well, yes, actually — mostly they were quite happy. The only person I met who was a bundle of misery was a man who had escaped from Auschwitz (something extraordinary) by somehow hiding himself in a pile of corpses that, for reasons unclear to me (I was only 9 or 10 when I met him) were being shipped out of the camp. Another Auschwitz survivor I knew, though, was one of the most vital, vibrant people I’ve every met.
All of the WWII survivors in whose shadow I was raised had dark memories and dark moments, but they all still lived with a certain triumphalism. They had survived and were damned proud of that fact, even as many mourned their lost family and their lost friends, and all mourned the lost years of their youth. The Jewish ones also thumbed their noses at Hitler with every child, grandchild, niece, and nephew that they had. They understood that life was to be cherished, not wasted.
That’s why it never, ever, never, absolutely never ever, made sense to me that America’s Vietnam troops all came back as crazed, schizophrenic, psychopathic killers or dysfunctional bums. Why were they so much more vulnerable to war’s horrors than their parents’ generation? Even the excuses offered — lack of support at home or drug use in Vietnam — didn’t make much sense, especially the drug part.
If drugs were the problem, why didn’t every UC Berkeley graduate from 1964 to the present day turn into a crazed killer or drugged-out homeless person? Indeed, I suspect that, if you did a study, you’d find more drugged-out homeless people in the Berkeley graduate cohort than in the American troops cohort. As for rejection by the folks at home, sure that’s demoralizing, but is that really enough to turn you into a mass murderer or dysfunctional bum?
A few years ago, the media, which in the 21st century had opted for the “we love our troops” trope, rather than the dated “we hate our troops” trope, announced that George Bush’s military was driving America’s troops and veterans to mass suicide. I addressed that canard in 2008 (the last year of the Bush presidency). Gateway Pundit also pointed out that the military suicide rate was higher under Clinton’s stint as Command In Chief than it was under George Bush’s.
Just last year, HuffPo again said troops are killing themselves like suicidal flies and the New York Times assured its readers that the high rates weren’t just because the military is made up of young men who are the most likely segment in any population to commit suicide. I’ll just note that, as before, even if one accepts solely for the sake of argument the claim that military suicides exceed those in the generally population, these increased suicide rates occurred under a Democrat Commander In Chief, not a Republican one….
Suicide is a difficult argument for the media to make for three reasons. First, as many have argued and the Times has tried to refute, it’s a sad truth that suicides happen a lot in a population such as the military (lots of young men, especially young men far from home). Second, it’s entirely possible to argue that the suicides aren’t the result of the horrors of combat, which humans are programmed to weather, but because the military is being downsized, troops are being made irrelevant, and the Obama economy means that they have no future in the civilian world. The media doesn’t want to go there. Third, while suicides are tragic, they’re not dramatic. Most are lonely affairs that affect only the actor’s immediate friends and family.
How much more exciting, then, to revive the moribund “crazed Vietnam vet” myth, this one with the neatly clinical label of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We’re right back to the old ticking time bomb, with every vet a mass murderer in the making. Except, as with all of the media’s anti-military narratives, this one isn’t true either:
This generalization — that the millions of veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan are about to snap — plays to a stereotype of veterans being forever broken by war, when the truth is that the vast majority are not afflicted with PTSD.
But even more unfortunate is the perception that veterans are a group people should fear. Indeed, it has become common to mention military service or combat experience of a wrongdoer as if it’s some predictor of crime.
[Snip. Go to the article to see examples of the anti-military canards the media lobs at vets.]
This is a shameful misrepresentation, and it only serves as a stigma to prevent veterans with legitimate mental health issues from seeking the care they need.
“Post-traumatic stress is a manageable condition and a natural response to trauma,” writes Army veteran Alex Horton. “One that can affect a soldier in war as much as a grandmother in a car crash.”
Life is stressful. Life has always been stressful. It was stressful for our prehistoric ancestors duking it out with savage beasts and Neanderthal competitors. It was stressful people in pre-modern eras when disease, famine, and war were ordinary, not exceptional. It’s stressful for the lawyer who loses a case in court, the surgeon whose patient dies on the table, and the check-out clerk who has to play beat the clock every day or lose her job.
If humans couldn’t process stress, even extreme stress, they would have died out a long time ago. Different individuals may suffer more from stress, or certain events may be extraordinarily stressful, but that doesn’t turn every traumatized person into an Al Qaeda bomber. Indeed, the real mass murderers — the Al Qaeda members, the Al Shabaab people (in Kenya), the Nazis, the Soviets in the Ukraine — were and are as often as not products of ordinary lives, not traumatized lives. They don’t have PTSD themselves; they create it in others.
David Burge (aka Iowahawk) reduces the insanity at Fort Hood to a mere 22 perfect and pithy words. (Hat tip: Caped Crusader.)
Imagine, if you will, that what happens at one of these bases isn’t one crazed gunman or disaffected Islamist but is, instead, a sustained, surprise paramilitary attack. Will our sitting duck troops call 911 then too? They are vulnerable to any surprise attack, whether it comes from one or dozens or hundreds of murderously inclined and heavily armed people.
Barack Obama yesterday handed out twenty-four Medals of Honor to veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam who were allegedly denied these medals because of discrimination. The process was an arduous one:
It took decades, congressional legislation and a review of thousands of war records, but two dozen veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam received the Medal of Honor on Tuesday from President Obama at a somber and tearful White House ceremony.
The premise behind these long-delayed honors was that the Pentagon systematically denied Jews and Hispanics Medals of Honor during the three wars mentioned above. If that’s the case, it’s a wonderful thing to see that wrong redressed.
One does wonder, though, how the military determined that these specific veterans ought to have gotten Medals of Honor back in the day. Were there notations in their files that said, “Commanding officer’s Medal of Honor suggestion denied because the candidate is named Weinberg or Santiago”? Or was there a statistical analysis that said that X percent of Hispanics and Jews ought to have received Medals of Honors, so we’ll cull the records for troops in each demographic and conduct a de novo review? Nobody knows and nobody will know:
The Pentagon has not released the findings of its review or specified which recipients were previously denied the Medal of Honor because of discrimination. But in his remarks, the president spoke of setting wrongs right.
For whatever reason, to the extent these men bravely served their country, I certainly don’t begrudge them this honor — and that’s true even if their bravery wouldn’t have earned that award in real time, even discounting discrimination. Complaining about such rewards to septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians is petty and makes no sense. I congratulate these men for the honor accorded them.
But I still have a bone to pick…. And of course, the bone is with the President. I don’t know whether this a legitimate nitpick, or if it’s just that every utterance he makes irritates me, but here goes:
After the usual shtick about how he’s righting America’s past wrongs, Obama added this: “”This is the length to which America will go to make sure everyone who serves under our proud flag receives the thanks that they deserve.”
Do you think of the Medal of Honor as a “thank you” note? I don’t. I think of it as an honor and an award acknowledging the highest caliber of behavior in the service of our nation and for the benefit of the individual honoree’s companions in arms. It is greater than a “thank you.”
Perhaps I come at this in a peculiar way. I have sitting on my desk a box full of medals that my father received after WWII. They don’t honor him particularly. They simply acknowledge his service. They are, in other words, a “thank you” for being there.
They’re still pretty cool to tell the truth. Here’s the box, shipped to Tel Aviv from Gloucester at some point after the war:
The above ribbons and medals constitute “thank you” awards. They acknowledge that, just like every man of military age and good physical fitness during that time, Daddy did his bit, and the British nation was appropriately grateful. Daddy fought with courage, and he saw some truly horrific things during his time there, but he would freely admit that he didn’t do anything above and beyond the call of duty. Thank yous were appropriate; high commendations were not. To me, there’s a difference between the two. To Barack Obama, the ultimate non-military man, there is not.
Just as matter of historical interest (interesting to me, at least), Dad also stored in the box his regimental pin (I think) from the Israeli War of Independence and his Royal Air Force Association lapel clip:
First wave feminism, which got women the vote, was a wonderful and necessary thing for a healthy society. Second wave feminism, which got women equal pay for equal work, and which gave them equal access to work that did not dependent on attributes unique to the male sex, was a wonderful and necessary thing for a healthy society. Since then, though, it’s all been downhill, with “New-Wave” feminism engendering all sorts of trends that are damaging for women as individuals and for society as a whole.
The new wave of feminism says that women are wasting themselves looking for a stable married life with a partner who will work with them to raise the next generation of children. Instead, women are being encouraged to have promiscuous “hook-up” sex, which leaves them physically and emotionally vulnerable. At the same time, they’re being encouraged to delay their child-rearing years so that, when they finally want children, many of them discover that they can’t have them or can only have them at great expense, while most of them discover that taking care of small children when you’re almost 40 is a lot tougher than doing the same in your mid-20s. (For more on this, see Camille Paglia’s spot-on essay about putting sex back in sex education.)
The new wave of feminism says that men are evil and oppressive rapists and that they need to be tightly controlled. This is a fun-house mirror image of the equally horrific sharia doctrine that says that men are too weak to resist women’s enticements and that women therefore need to be tightly controlled. This isn’t just a playful “war of the sexes;” it’s a war of attrition between the sexes that envisions, not marriage and children and partnerships, but a zero sum game, with one side reduced to sexual slavery.
The new wave of feminism says that women, despite being able to “roar” (see both Helen Reddy and Katy Perry) are in fact perpetual victims. Evil men stand ready to beat them, rape them, take their jobs, steal their education, demean them and otherwise commit horrible punishments upon them unless the government intervenes on women’s behalf.
The new wave of feminism says babies are disposable. They interfere with the whole “free love” and “career” dynamic. Abortion, rather than being a last resort when the women’s situation is untenable, becomes a first resort to get rid of an inconvenience.
It turns out that the new wave of feminism may not be so good for women in the military either. An organization called “Center for Military Readiness,” which bills itself as a non-partisan entity focused solely on the best policies for America’s military, has put out a position paper saying that the Obama administration’s decision to force women onto the front line in combat zones isn’t just bad for the military, its bad for women too. Here are just a few of its observations:
A recent survey of Army personnel thoroughly discredited the idea that most uniformed women actually want to serve in land combat fighting teams that currently are all-male.
2. Three Pull-Up Test Not Suitable for Female Boot Camp Trainees
Pentagon civilians and military leaders keep claiming that sufficient numbers of women will meet “gender-neutral” standards before they serve in the combat arms. Now comes reality, revealed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, SC.
3. Equal Success Eludes Women at Officer and Enlisted Infantry Training
In 2012, General Amos announced a multi-phased program to assess the feasibility of women serving in the combat arms. The process is supposed to be careful and “measured,” but the Marines have not produced any metrics or empirical evidence that women are or can be trained to be interchangeable with men in “tip of the spear” combat teams that attack the enemy. In fact, most indicators are to the contrary.
And so it goes, with page after page of evidence showing that women don’t want to be in combat, that women cannot meet current combat-readiness standards, and that women are injured when they try to reach those standards. That last resonates with me. Women have very different bone, muscle, tendon, and ligament configurations. Even the strongest woman you know isn’t going to have all the muscles protecting her neck that a heavily muscled man can amass. Her joints are going to be looser too, which is great for carrying and delivering babies, but lousy for hauling heavy packs and engaging in intense physical combat.
This biological reality explains why CrossFit, a Northern California fitness training company (and therefore almost certainly reliably Progressive in outlet) is refusing to let a male to female transgender person compete as a woman in an upcoming fitness competition. Chloie Jonsson may have effected a cosmetic change so that her exterior self aligns with her interior belief about herself (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but there is no procedure that changes Jonsson’s lifelong development as a male, with dense bones, heavy muscles, and strong tendons and ligaments:
CrossFit’s general counsel, Dale Saran, would not comment on the suit, which seeks $2.5 million in damages. Saran directed The AP to a CrossFit online discussion board, where he posted that Jonsson had not supplied medical documents to back up her assertion that she was a woman.
“The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women,” Saran wrote in a letter to McCoy that’s linked to the discussion board.
But back to the the CMR report. You really should read the whole thing. It’s based on hard-data, rather than academic theory, and, as is always the case when there’s a showdown between real world facts and Progressive theory, the facts win every time.
In America, it used to be that boys were boys and girls were girls, except for a handful of boys and girls who didn’t conform to the norm. Boys were at the top of the heap; girls had a carefully carved out, limited sphere of influence and opportunities; and sexually non-conforming people were ignored or abused, depending on both their ability to blend in and their community’s ability to cope with their differences. Both women and sexually non-conforming people were routinely denied equal treatment under the law.
The women’s lib and gay rights movements were originally sold as a way to ensure that women and gays (and, eventually, the whole LGBTQ spectrum) received equal treatment under the law. That was originally understood to mean equal access to education, employment opportunities, and house; equal pay for equal work; and freedom from overt, violent discriminatory practices — and that was it.
Since then, equal treatment under the law has become a picayune, limited goal. Instead, the Left is using gender and sexuality as a way to remake society entirely in opposition to heterosexual males, the ones who created Western society in the first place.
The latest push to remake society is the effort either to ban the word “bossy” or to turn it into an undiluted positive when the word is applied to girls. This, of course, ignores the reality of bossy little girls.
Girls are bossy, something that comes about because they model themselves on their mothers. Despite decades of Leftist marriage, gender, and sexuality rejiggering, for most children, Mom is the Big Boss in the house. (Indeed, considering the soaring number of single moms, she’s the only boss in the house.) The vast majority of little girls identify with mommy. That’s a fact that no gender theory will ever change. So if Mommy is bossy — as she has to be in order to run a household with children — then a little girl’s logical assumption is that, to be a grown woman in training, she too must be bossy.
And what about the claim that we’re all wrong to say it’s obnoxious when girls are bossy? I couldn’t disagree more. It’s incredibly obnoxious when girls are bossy. What’s appropriate coming from a grown woman with responsibilities is profoundly irritating whether a 4-year-old lisps orders to her friends, a 10-year-old hollers imprecations at her brother, her a 15-year-old, in a strident whine, tells her parents what she wants them to do. It’s obnoxious not because the 4, 10, and 15-year-old are female, but because they haven’t yet earned the right to boss anyone around. The issue is age, not sex.
Even as the Leftist/Progressive/Democrat establishment seeks to make it so that every girl’s fecal matter is perceived as perfumed, the relentless attacks on boys never end. Fortunately for me (’cause I’m lazy), I don’t have to go into detail on this topic because Matt Walsh has already done so, saying what I would say, only doing it better.
So let me just skip ahead to a discussion of the Left’s latest attack on America’s last bastion of masculinity: the military. The military used to be the place where you sent your boys to become men. Now? I don’t know. The military is still overwhelmingly male, but the Obama administration, even though it cannot change the numbers, is doing its best to change its manly ethos.
Gays can openly serve now, which puts a great deal of pressure on young men. While the Left will freely acknowledge that women shouldn’t have to shower with men who view them in a sexually predatory fashion, and that women in the military are at risk of becoming victims of violent sexual attacks from predatory men, the Left refuses to acknowledge that gay men can be equally predatory to other men. (And lesbian women are often predators to other women.) Under the new paradigm, shying away from showering with an aggressive gay man or lesbian woman isn’t logical self-preservation and respect for ones own sexual integrity; it is, instead, homophobic and the people holding such views must be re-educated and/or destroyed. It’s an interesting social experiment, but a disastrous burden to place on an institution that has as its primary task combat training and preparation to fight off enemies of unspeakable savagery.
Placing women in combat is also a de-masculinizing effort (yes, it’s a neologism) on the Obama administration’s part. Training standards will have to be lowered because it’s the extraordinarily rare woman who can compete head-on physically with men. Men are bigger and stronger. They have stronger bones and joints. Their skin is tougher and has fewer nerves, meaning it’s less sensitive to pain. They get less breathless. They can pee standing up or into old water bottles, and they don’t have periods or get pregnant. They are vulnerable to rape (see the above paragraph), but less vulnerable, especially because cultures other than America subscribe to the Red Army’s approach to despoiling conquered women.
The only way women can compete equally with men is to lower the standards for men. This means that young men will not be challenging themselves as much. To the extent many join the military because men need challenges, the military becomes less attractive. Additionally, young men aren’t fools. They know that women will create physical and emotional drags on a combat unit. Only in the Ivory Tower, surrounded by theory, would people think that women with their different biology are identical to men for all purposes, including combat.
Having turned the military into a Progressive experiment for gays and women, now what do we do? We bring transsexuals into the military. Although the number of transsexuals in the military will of necessity be small (there aren’t that many around), I suspect the transsexual-infused military will be a different animal from what it currently is. Libby, one of my wonderful commenters, found this interesting tidbit about transsexuals:
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention report on suicide attempts among transgender and non-gender conforming adults (Jan.2014) found that the while rate for suicide attempts in the general US adult population is about 4.6%, in transgender people, the rate is 41% (46% for trans men).
transsexuals are deeply, deeply unhappy people, who wear their own bodies like a painfully ill-fitting outfit. I feel nothing but compassion for their anguish (an anguish that gender reassignment may do nothing to help). Having said that, I am appalled that our president somehow thinks that the military will be the group therapy environment these troubled souls need. He is using America’s front line defense against a dangerous world to normalize that which, statistically and biologically speaking, isn’t normal.*
There is nothing closer to who and what we are than are gender and sexual orientation. A wise friend of mine thinks that Islam’s entire beef with the Western world is the fact that, as Westernism creeps into Muslim communities, women fight to leave the harem, the burqa, and the hijab. All other insults to the religion are tolerable, except for the one that shakes up the relative values between men and women under Islam.
The Left understands this, but it heads in an opposite direction from Islam. Rather than attacking women and gays to gain control over culture, it attacks heterosexual males. This is why, beginning when they’re just little children, America’s males are systematically demeaned and insulted. They are also deprived of opportunities to express their masculinity in positive ways and, instead, are reduced to expressing it through computer games, random violence, and perpetual dorm-style sloth and slobbery. If you want to see the end of a sustained Leftist attack on men, you need only look to the American black community, where men have been rendered useless. The government fulfills all the functions women need (shelter, food, health care, and child care), leaving the men responsible only for spread sperm. No wonder, then, that black men have developed a culture focused on the size of their weapons (both of which, ironically, are tucked in the pants): guns and penises.
*No, I’m not saying people on the LGBTQ spectrum are “perverts” or “sickos,” or that they should be ridiculed, humiliated, discriminated against, hanged, beaten, imprisoned, or anything else. I don’t believe that.
What I do believe is that love and physical desire are a combination of mind, biology, and culture, and that, when it comes to consensual adult relationships, it’s my business to stay out of it. When I look at people, I judge them on values other than their sex partners, values such as individual freedom versus government control, stable relationships versus promiscuity, hard work versus parasitism, kindness versus cruelty, etc.. I do, however, reserve the right to look down upon people if their choice of sex partner is their only value.
So, rather than sit in judgment on LGBTQs, what I’m trying to say is that non-heterosexual orientations are statistical anomalies and that it is impossible to build a culture around a biological statistical anomaly. It won’t stick.
And while I’m here, let me just throw in a soupcon of data: U.S. Military more educated than the population it serves.
Moreover, considering that college leeches out common sense and inserts PC nonsense, along with a substantial dollop of extended adolescence helplessness, I’d be inclined to believe that enlistees who choose the military over college come out of their experience more competent, more knowledgeable, more functional, more useful, and better citizens than the average Ivy League college grad.