Leftist media (again) misrepresents PTSD in vets

Sad soldierThere 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.

 

Fort Hood exemplifies the insanity of our modern age

David Burge (aka Iowahawk) reduces the insanity at Fort Hood to a mere 22 perfect and pithy words.  (Hat tip:  Caped Crusader.)

No guns on army bases

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.

A few thoughts about Obama’s approach to those newly-minted Medal of Honor recipients

medal_of_honor_awardBarack 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:

Box of medals
In the box is the official “thank you” note (so to speak), which has on its reverse side a cheat sheet for explaining the medals and ribbons contained within it:

Dad's medals page 2

Dad's medals page 1
The box also contains the following ribbons and medals.  The War Medal, attesting to his service between 1939 and 1945:

Medals (3)

Medals (2)
The Africa Star, attesting to his service in North Africa from 1942 through 1943, and the Battle of Britain star, despite the fact that my Dad first stepped foot in England in 1954.

Medals (1)
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:

Medals (5)
Medals (4)

New-Wave feminism isn’t any better for military women than it is for non-military women

suffragette-votes-for-womenFirst 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.)

slutwalk5The 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:

Women marines pull-ups1. Military Women Do Not Want To Serve in the Combat Arms

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.

[snip]

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.

[snip]

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.

Exactly.

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.

The anti-bossy campaign is just the latest example of the Left’s obsession with gender, sex, and sexuality as a way of remaking society

Little girl scolding puppyIn 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.

Found it on Facebook: The few, the proud, the grammatical

The few, the proud, the grammatical

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.

Per an email I received, veterans are organizing to clip the wings of an anti-military Commander In Chief

Marines dismounting from an amphibious assault vehicleI cannot vouch for the following email’s veracity. That is, I do not know whether it’s true that there’s rising distress in the military about the Obama administration or whether it’s true that troops and veterans are beginning to share political information amongst themselves directed at clipping Obama’s wings in 2014. A lot of the information about ROEs sounds old, but the reference to the 2014 election indicates that this is a current email. All I can say is that I got this and found it interesting enough to pass along:

You may not be a veteran but you might know someone who is to pass this on to.

VET’S BACKLASH AGAINST OBAMA, A movement has been started by our armed forces, to get out the vote in 2014. They are organizing themselves, but this can be done by all of us. The President, the Commander in Chief, has made the Rules of Engagement (ROE) so difficult, that our troops are often killed before they can even get permission to fight. Nothing has been done to stop our troops from being murdered by Afghanis they are training, either. Now, the President wants the US to sign on to the UNs International Criminal Court (ICC), which would allow the UNs ICC to arrest and try US troops for War Crimes, without the legal protections guaranteed under US Law, and from which there is no appeal. The President, with his Democratic control of the Senate, has nearly all the power. If the Non-Establishment can take back the Senate in 2014, our troops can once again be protected from unnecessary danger. Please consider this, and send it on to your mailing lists. Thank You and Semper Fi,

Interestingly enough, when GWB was president you heard about the military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan almost daily. With Obama in the White House, the mainstream media has been strangely quiet. More than 1,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the last 27 months. This is more than the combined total of the nine years before. Thirty have died in August. During the last month, over 50 additional NATO and US servicemen have been murdered, inside jobs by those who are hired to be a force for good in Afghanistan .

The commander in chief is AWOL. Not a peep, although he ordered the White House flag flown at half-staff for the Sikhs that were killed. There is a deep disgust, a fury, growing in the ranks of the military against the indifferent incompetence of this president.

It has taken on a dangerous tone. No one knows what to do about him, but the anger runs deep as the deaths continue with no strategic end in sight to the idiocy of this war. Obama has had 4 years to end this futile insanity, during which time he has vacationed, golfed, campaigned, and generally ignored the plight of our men and women in uniform. But, there is now a movement afoot in the armed services to launch a massive get out the vote drive against this president. Not just current active duty types, but the National Guard, Reserves, the retired, and all other prior service members. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of veterans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond.

The million military retirees in Florida alone could mean an overwhelming victory in that state if they all show up at the polls. It might not keep another one hundred U.S. troops from dying between now and November, but a turn out to vote by the military against this heart breaking lack of leadership can make a powerful statement that hastens a change to the indifference of this shallow little man who just lets our soldiers die.

(Thanks to Caped Crusader)

Drag shows and the American military

Sailors-Dancing-on-DeckAs the picture to my left shows, there is nothing new in the American military about men in what used to be an all-male, or predominantly-male, society still trying to resurrect a simulacrum of their civilian life.  Two musicals that emerged during and immediately after World War II make heavy use of men in drag.  The one with which most people are familiar is Roger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, which revolved around sailors in the South Pacific during WWII.

Most people remember South Pacific for two reasons:  it’s principled stand against racism and the gooey hit song “Some Enchanted Evening.”  I doubt many think of the scene in which Ray Walston dresses himself up in a coconut shell bra for the amusement of his fellow sailors and Marines (starting at 3:02):

Irving Berlin made even greater use of drag performances in “This Is The Army,” the Broadway-style review he created for the Army. It’s all-male, all-Army cast toured throughout the European theater in the thick of the war, bring a great deal of pleasure to the troops.

Because it was a Broadway-style review, Berlin of course had to write parts for women. And because there were no women to be had, every female part was a drag part. I can’t find any discrete clips but the entire movie is below, with the drag scenes at 58:00, 1:08, 1:12, and 1:28.

As best as I can tell, regardless of whether individual performers and audience members were getting a homoerotic thrill from the drag performance, the purpose behind these WWII shows was entirely heterosexual: it was to fill the gap the troops felt in their lives because of the women they left behind.

That was then. This is now:

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Since the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, U.S. military bases have hosted a gay marriage ceremonies and a potluck gatherings. But on Saturday, servicemembers here may have been the first to take to the stage and perform as drag queens on a military installation in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops.

Drag queens and drag kings, to be precise.

Six servicemembers — gay, lesbian and straight — donned heavy makeup to dance and lip sync songs such as “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” for a raucous capacity crowd at the Rocker NCO Club at Kadena Air Base. The event was a fundraiser for the recently formed Okinawa chapter of OutServe-SLDN, which is the largest nonprofit advocate for the military’s LGBT community.

[snip]

But an initial 200 tickets were plucked up almost immediately, so they issued another 200.

“We ended up selling 400 tickets in 10 days,” she said.

Amid the unexpected success, OutServe carefully avoided any mention of politics, but its variety show comes at a pivotal time for gay civil rights in the United States, with many states passing laws dealing with marriage or debating individual liberties.

It is also a sign of the times within the military; just a few years ago, gay and lesbian drag performances on a military base would have been unthinkable and potentially a cause for dismissal from the service.

The repeals of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, as well as the Defense of Marriage Act — the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages — have allowed gays and lesbians in the military to be open with their sexuality for the first time.

The historic shift appears to be mostly accepted and embraced throughout the ranks despite warnings the DADT repeal could harm order and good discipline.

On Saturday night, the Rocker club was packed for performances by servicemembers using stage names such as Chocolate Sunrise – a crowd favorite — and Artemis Faux. The event’s sole lesbian performer took the drag king name Manny Nuff.

I think Irving Berlin, Richard Rogers, and Oscar Hammerstein would be surprised.

I leave to your personal beliefs whether this is a change for the better or not, insofar as American military health is concerned. I just note that the military’s focus has changed a lot in the last seventy or so years.

Yes, the SEALS’ sacrifice during Operation Red Wings was a waste

Operation Red WingsBefore you start hammering away at me, let me explain what I mean about my claim that the sacrifice the SEALS and their rescuers made during Operation Red Wings was indeed a waste.  I am referring, of course, to Jake Tapper’s asking Marcus Luttrell whether  his comrades died in vain.  That was a foolish and tactless question to ask Luttrell, and Luttrell couldn’t and wouldn’t give the real answer in any event.  There is an answer, though, and Tapper was right.  Here’s why:

There are three types of wasted battle deaths, two of which are familiar to all, and one of which is a brand new one.

The most obvious wasted death is the one that occurs because of terrible command decisions.  One could argue that the entirety of WWI, with Brits throwing themselves into No Man’s Land for four years at their generals’ commands was that type of wasted death.  The British had appalling tactics and, rather than changing them to avoid a bloody stalemate, simply redoubled its failed approach.  Likewise, in the case of Operation Red Wings, the SEALS were fatally hampered by rules of engagement so restrictive that, after lengthy debate, they decided that they were safer releasing potential spies than they were killing or otherwise disabling them.

The men in Operation Red Wings might still have died in other places at other times during the war in Afghanistan, but their deaths in that time and at that place flowed directly from a foolish policy that gave (and still gives) greater respect to the enemy’s safety than to that of our own troops.

Nevertheless, when he answered Tapper’s question, Luttrell spoke a greater truth, reflecting his understanding that no war is every perfectly carried out at either a strategic or tactical level.  As long as you’re still fighting, you can still win:

I don’t know what part of the film you were watching, but hopelessness really never came into it. I mean, where did you see that? Because there was never a point where we just felt like we were hopelessly lost or anything like that. We never gave up. We never felt like we were losing until we were actually dead.

What Luttrell left unsaid at the time was that his team still believed in the fight.  More importantly, so did America’s then-Commander in Chief, President George W. Bush.  Bush never doubted the righteousness of trying to destroy al Qaeda and the Taliban in their Afghani stronghold.  As far as all concerned believed, Afghanistan was an important war that would benefit America.  In that regard, therefore, when troops die in a righteous (and, one hopes, victorious) war, their deaths have meaning regardless of the success or failure of any single engagement.

Which brings us to the second type of wasted death in war:  deaths that occur because the war’s supporters fail to understand that they are supporting a bad or lost cause.  In every case where a country’s military is the aggressor, only to lose dramatically to a better prepared, more ferocious fighting force, many on the losing side are going to have to ask “Why the heck did we start this?  What a waste of lives and resources.”  Even if you have the best cause in the world, if there’s no way you can possibly win, those who die have wasted their lives.

The caveat to this viewpoint, of course, is that one only realizes after the fact that a war was a waste.  During the American Revolution, many might have said that the revolutionaries’ stand against the most powerful military in the world was bound to be a waste . . . except that it wasn’t.

Obama-salutingThe above examples of wasted deaths in war are familiar to any history student.  Barack Obama has added an entirely new category to “wasted war deaths,” one that I don’t think has ever before occurred in recorded history:  deaths that are a waste because the Commander-in-Chief couldn’t care less about victory or the troops, but merely wants to give the appearance of fighting for short-term domestic political advantage.

Per Robert Gates:

“As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” Mr. Gates writes. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”

Except that Obama didn’t get out of Afghanistan, because it would have looked bad politically, since he’d run on a platform claiming that Afghanistan was a good war. Of course, he probably didn’t believe that either. Both he and Hillary, after all, agreed in Gates’ presence that they were determinedly opposed to the Iraq War merely out of political expediency, without any regard for America’s best interests:

“Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”

Given this cavalier attitude, it’s no surprise that the President did nothing to secure Iraq, and sat (and has long been sitting) idly by as al Qaeda has retaken city after city in which American men fought and died. By deliberately turning victory into defeat, Obama has taken every single Iraq death and wiped it of meaning. While they were once deaths in a just cause to bring democracy to a benighted land, thereby decreasing the risk of devastating terror attacks against America, now those same deaths have become pointless, since Obama didn’t just allow the status quo to reappear, he fomented an even worse situation than before. (Saddam Hussein was bad; al Qaeda is worse.) Somehow it’s perfectly symbolic of this travesty that the military’s last act with regard to Fallujah is to persecute Marines.

Not only was Obama uninterested in our nation’s security or our military victories, he was singularly uninterested in the troops:

One quality I missed in Obama was passion, especially when it came to the two wars,’ Gates wrote.

‘In my presence, Bush — very unlike his father — was pretty unsentimental. But he was passionate about the war in Iraq; on occasion, at a Medal of Honor ceremony or the like, I would see his eyes well up.

‘I worked for Obama longer than Bush, and I never saw his eyes well up.’

No surprise there, of course.  To Obama the narcissist, the men and women in the military are merely objects serving his ego. It’s therefore also no surprise that the only subject regarding the military that excited him was getting gays into it, a passion with interesting Freudian implications:

Gates wrote that ‘the only military matter, apart from leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

Just as disturbing as Obama’s warped values is his complete disinterest in even a simulacrum of competence:

President Obama is “chronically incapable” of military strategy and falls far short of his predecessor George W. Bush, according to one of Britain’s most senior military advisors.

[snip]

[Sir Hew] Strachan, a current member of the Chief of the Defense Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel, cited the “crazy” handling of the Syrian crisis as the most egregious example of a fundamental collapse in military planning that began in the aftermath of 9/11. “If anything it’s gone backwards instead of forwards, Obama seems to be almost chronically incapable of doing this. Bush may have had totally fanciful political objectives in terms of trying to fight a global War on Terror, which was inherently astrategic, but at least he had a clear sense of what he wanted to do in the world. Obama has no sense of what he wants to do in the world,” he said.

So, yes, Operation Red Wings was a waste, not at the time, but in retrospect — and this is so because we have a president who views war solely in terms of his own self-aggrandizement and political objectives, without any regard for America’s national security or strategic interests, or for the troops who have served and are currently serving in our American military.  Obama has managed to negate any good the troops did before he became President and, since he became president, they are merely objects on his own personal chessboard.  Like some spoiled potentate, he moves them around for his pleasure and views their deaths with clinical dispassion.

(See also this article, from Foreign Policy.)

 

A Facebook post that explains why Ryan’s pension cuts to the military were so craven

American military cemetery LuxembourgA friend tipped me off to a Facebook post that’s gone viral.  Practically within minutes of learning that, while Congress was doing nothing to stem the millions of dollars heading to illegal aliens, it would cut veterans’ benefits, Chuck Wooten, Chief Master Sargeant, USAF (ret.), got a fundraising letter from Paul Ryan.  Wooten took to Facebook to explain precisely why he wouldn’t be contributing any money to Ryan any time soon:

FB Friends,
I’m still mulling this Paul Ryan budget deal that stole money from every military retiree (past, present and future). This morning, upon opening my email, I noticed I had a letter from Congressman Paul Ryan…and it was begging me for an “emergency end of the year donation.” It only proves what we already know. The folks in Washington are indeed clueless. Instead of hitting the delete button, I decided to call Congressman Ryan out on his audacity and lack of self-awareness. I sent the following to him. I’m also posting it on the FB USAF Chiefs page as an open letter to the Congressman. If you’re a retiree, I will tell you we may have lost the battle, but not the war. If you’re inclined and find it worthy, let’s flood social media with this letter and see if we can get some traction. Thanks.

To Congressman Paul Ryan
Today at 8:19 AM
Congressman Ryan,

Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.

You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.

Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.

We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence…in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always be better than yours. We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.

Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.

I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.

Chuck Wooten,
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)

That pretty much says it all. While I’m no fan of the overly generous pensions too many public employees get for doing jobs that the rest of us perform in the private sector without all the whoops, hollers, and excessive rewards, the military is sui generis. Our troops hold a unique position in which they promise to fight, bleed, and die on our behalf. Thankfully, most of them aren’t called upon to make these ultimate (or potentially ultimate) sacrifices, but the fact that their job description requires them to make such a promise means that they deserve something more upon retirement than the average white collar desk jockey gets.

A military man’s take on a budget that stiffs vets while enriching illegal aliens

Marines dismounting from an amphibious assault vehicleThe new budget cuts pensions for vets, including those who were wounded while serving this country, while continuing unchecked the flow of money to illegal aliens.  We’re not shocked, because we’ve learned that, no matter how low our government goes, give it a day and it can go even lower.  The absence of shock, though, doesn’t insulate us from anger and disappointment.  I got the following from a friend who serves and I think it pretty much says everything that needs to be said on the subject:

So I signed a contract with the govt outlining what exactly I would get in exchange for my lifetime of service. Now the govt gets to change the deal yet I am expected to continue to hold up my end of the bargain.

The same government who is complaining about military “entitlements” eating us alive has no issue extending unemployment benefits at the drop of a hat. They also feel someone who has chosen a life of dropping fries and flipping burgers deserves a “living wage.”

Illegal immigrants crossing into USIn the end, those who have chosen a life of service and actually have contributed to society get a pay cut while the leeches and those with their hand out contributing nothing get a reward.

Also, John McCain is a dick. I would expect more support from a POW. This is the height of hypocrisy considering his political career is based on his military service, specifically time spent as a POW.

This entire issue smacks of disloyalty and is particularly galling to those of us who have spent a lifetime of loyal and faithful service.

Missing headlines: Obama’s Pentagon kills American troops

On November 7, 2011, the Army sent out a tweet.  It forgot to tell anyone that the Obama ROE's made this tweet a lie.

On November 7, 2011, the Army sent out this tweet. It forgot to tell anyone that the Obama ROE’s made this tweet a lie.

Do you remember how, during the Bush years, Democrats and Progressives wept every night for those poor American troops being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Those tears are dried now that Obama is in the White House, but the troops are still dying — and worse, they are dying in increasing numbers because the Obama Pentagon has put into place rules of engagement that ensure troop deaths:

[I]t is clear that the rules of engagement, which restrain troops from firing in order to spare civilian casualties, cut back on airstrikes and artillery strikes — the types of support that protect troops during raids and ambushes.

“In Afghanistan, the [rules of engagement] that were put in place in 2009 and 2010 have created hesitation and confusion for our war fighters,” said Wayne Simmons, a retired U.S. intelligence officer who worked in NATO headquarters in Kabul as the rules took effect, first under Army Gen. Stanley M. McChrystal, then Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“It is no accident nor a coincidence that from January 2009 to August of 2010, coinciding with the Obama/McChrystal radical change of the [rules of engagement], casualties more than doubled,” Mr. Simmons said. “The carnage will certainly continue as the already fragile and ineffective [rules] have been further weakened by the Obama administration as if they were playground rules.”

Read more here.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:  I support the military, but Obama is hell bent on changing it into a military that is hard to support.  It’s becoming a metrosexual death trap, if you will.

How did we get from there to here in just 100 years?

I’m not feeling very inspired today, so I haven’t posted anything original.  Thankfully, though, I read fine blogs and have been able to link to many wonderful things.  At The Mellow Jihadi, Ex Bootneck has written a truly wonderful (and very sad) post about the West’s devolution.  I won’t say more about it, because I don’t know how to describe it in brief without losing what makes it special.  Just check it out.  You’ll be glad you did.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today actually is Veteran’s Day, which was cemented on the calendar to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918:  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  With our reverence for three-day weekends, we too often forget that holidays used to be celebrated on a specific date for a reason.  World War I, of course, marked the first time that America embarked on her 20th- and 21st-century crusade:  wading into foreign wars to ensure that people other than Americans can enjoy the freedoms we too often take for granted.

While it’s been the politicians who have made the choice to send Americans abroad — twice to Europe, twice to Asia, and twice to the Muslim world, along with various sorties and battles in other faraway places — it’s been citizens, not government, who have actually boarded the planes and the boats that took them far from home to fight for others’ freedom as well as for our own.

In our grandparents’ time, in our parents’ time, and now in our own time, young American men and women, both draftees or volunteers, have always made America proud.  Whether politicians fought wars to win (WWI and WWII) or fought wars to stalemate (Korea) or, if Democrats, fought wars to lose (Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan), these men and women have always given their all.  Undeterred by partisan politics or fickle public support, they have taken their oath seriously, and given their hearts and souls and, too often, their blood and guts, to the fight.

Considering all that these troops have given to us and, sadly, how little is given back to them by our plutocratic Progressive government, saying “thank you” one day a year seems like a very small acknowledgment and repayment. Still:  THANK YOU!!

Incidentally, if you would like to add a little something to that thank you, I can recommend these military charities:

USO

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

Soldiers’ Angels

Navy SEALS Foundation

Also, to make a difference in non-partisan political support for all of the “sea services,” there’s always my favorite, the Navy League.

The Air Force Academy caves instantly when atheists attack

Yesterday, I wrote a post for Mr. Conservative, which I reproduce here:

Among the many virtues that flow from recognizing God’s existence is humility. Without God, every man begins to think of himself as his own little deity, leaving him free to set his own rules and, if his rules call for it, to hold the power of life and death over others. For that reason, Americans are singularly fortunate that the vast majority of troops in our military hew to traditional Judeo-Christian religious principles that see them subordinating themselves to a Higher Power’s dictates about morality, justice, and grace.

Air Force Academy Oath PosterIf the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”) has its way, though, the Air Force Academy is going to kick God out of its precincts. The MRFF, founded and controlled by the fanatically anti-Christian Mikey Weinstein, is up in arms about the fact that the Air Force Academy’s current oath invokes God: “We will not lie, steal or cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and live honorably, so help me God.”

If Weinstein and the MRFF have their way, and the Air Force decides to amend, rather than just do away with, the old oath, the new oath would essentially read “We will not lie, steal or cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and live honorably, so help me Me.” It’s that last clause that’s frightening. Without the Higher Power, each student at the academy essentially becomes his own moral arbiter, doing whatever he thinks is right at any given moment.

There are always going to be anti-religious fanatics like Weinstein, so he’s not really that interesting. What is interesting is that the Air Force Academy is actually giving serious consideration to Weinstein’s demands. In response to the MRFF’s complaint, the Academy’s Honor Review Committee, instead of sneering and laughing, is giving the demand serious consideration.

Maj. Brus Vidal, the Public Affairs Director, issued a formal statement to that effect: “They considered a range of options and some of those options will be presented to Academy leaders and, ultimately, the Academy Superintendent for a decision.”

It was a mischievous newspaper that brought the censorious Weinstein’s attention to the Academy. Last week, a local newspaper, the Colorado Springs Independent (the Academy is located just north of Colorado Springs), printed a picture of a poster hanging on the Academy’s walls that contained the oath. The newspaper than decided to stir up some controversy by sending that photograph to Weinstein.

Weinstein responded predictably by going ballistic. He wrote a letter to the Academy Superintendent, a woman, who equally predictably responded by backing down. A mere 68 minutes after getting his complaint, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson wrote him “The Prep School poster has been taken down. We are assessing the situation and have many mission elements, to include Prep School leadership, the Honor Review Committee and other entities on base, working to put together a way ahead that is respectful to all perspectives.”

Ask yourself this: If we’ve created a military that is so politically correct and Leftist that it instantly backs down when an anti-Christian hack attacks it, what use is it going to be against people with actual guns and bombs, such as Islamists? Under the Obama administration’s tutelage, our military is having an existential crisis and needs a swift intervention if it’s to be saved. Once it goes full Leftie, it’s useless as a weapon against America’s true enemies.

Today, the Air Force Academy caved:

Air Force Academy cadets are no longer required to say “so help me God” at the end of the Honor Oath, school officials said Friday.

The words were made optional after a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, that they violated the constitutional concept of religious freedom.

Let me say again that the First Amendment doesn’t prohibit religion.  Indeed, the Founders strongly approved of religion.  It simply says that the government cannot create a mandatory church to which all citizens must belong or incur a penalty; it may not make practicing a specific religion a condition of participating in civic affairs; and it cannot interfere with a religion’s doctrine.  The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  The latter is an option, not a mandate.

I’ll end by restating my last paragraph in my Mr. Conservative post:

Ask yourself this: If we’ve created a military that is so politically correct and Leftist that it instantly backs down when an anti-Christian hack attacks it, what use is it going to be against people with actual guns and bombs, such as Islamists? Under the Obama administration’s tutelage, our military is having an existential crisis and needs a swift intervention if it’s to be saved. Once it goes full Leftie, it’s useless as a weapon against America’s true enemies.