I’ve spent much of the day trying to make some sort of sense of the president reinstating the ban on open transgendered persons from serving in the military.  It’s worth noting that trans folks have only been allowed to serve since June 2016; the last half of the last year of Obama’s term.  Not like it was a huge priority.  However, the LGBT community is rightly interpreting this as a setback.

It’s something I didn’t expect either, as I had thought Trump would be fairly neutral on LGBT issues.  So I have to wonder: why should Trump bother with this, why now?

I’m not against this decision, nor am I for it.  When it comes to any LGBT issue, I generally see that the outcome only affects a tiny percentage of the population and so long as it doesn’t injure or harass me, I don’t care.  When issues arise about social issues in the military though, my only question is whether or not the change benefits readiness and the ability of our armed forces to destroy our enemies.  My opinion is that transgendered people, individually, probably do have a negative effect on unit readiness that may be somewhat offset by their skills.  But there are so few of them (maybe 5,000 or less?) in the military that it should be irrelevant.

All I can do is wonder why this was done.  Trump didn’t have to do it to appease the evangelicals.  The military couldn’t possibly have suffered any crippling consequences from adopting this policy just over a year ago. Even if they were, there are a dozen other issues far more impactful than a miniscule number of Trap Troops. There’s enough going on in the news about Imran Awan that Trump didn’t need (nor should he have wanted) a distraction from anything else.

My guess is that it comes down to Trump’s desire to effectively erase anything that could pass for an Obama legacy achievement where he has the power to do so.  Nothing else makes sense.  Well, I guess that doesn’t really make sense either, but that’s what he does.

Any theories?

8 comments

  1. It is something that he can control and he is running low on that at the moment. His base needs a win even one this seemingly insignificant.

  2. I think he did it to appease the military people he holds close in his cabinet. It’s not that hard to understand his fetish for military because they’re obedient and that’s all he seems to actually care about in his list of positive traits for his cabinet.

    We got this decision because an old man sat in a room with other old men and decided amongst themselves that America would be a better place if they simply rewound the clock to when life was comfortable for them.

  3. According to Politico, it was the wall. Some religious conservatives were balking on funding Trump’s pet projects and wanted a ban on military funding of transition surgeries. Trump, of course, went way beyond that. It doesn’t appear that he consulted with the military at all. They were caught flat-footed by this.

  4. I have no doubt he fired this one off from the hip on his own simply because it wasn’t leaked before he did it.

    Not more strange than true.

  5. A couple of points….

    First – I think Trump did this at least in part when he did it as a smokescreen for the fact that the DNC just announced with quite a bit of fanfare their “Better Deal”. BS or not, whether you agree with it or not – instead of every pundit talking about how the DNC really cares about Americans, they are taking about Trump…again.

    Second – I loved the response from the Joint Chiefs office when questioned about it by the media. “We don’t have guidance. We have a tweet. We don’t execute policy based on a tweet.”

    Third – I think any decision about our military based on Political Correctness is horrendously misplaced. The military’s purpose is singular: To defend this country. That’s it. Every decision should be based on if it makes the military more or less effective. Period. If LGBTQXYZ in the military makes the military less effective at waging war, they should not be part of the military, period. If they don’t, then they can be part of it if they so choose to serve.

    Fourth – No way in hell should tax-payer funds be used pay for a sex-change operation. Ever. Under any circumstances. Psychiatric help for those who want to cut off their penis, maybe. But that was a pretty stupid reason Trump threw out there to justify this.

  6. First point, yeah, I can see that. I freely admit that I cannot read Trump at all. I’m regularly surprised how often his supposed “gaffes” end up working in his favor. There isn’t actually any downside whatsoever to him doing this.

    His base approves of it.

    Third point is utterly correct. When I was in the Army in the 90’s, I swear I spent as much time in various sensitivity classes as I did at the pistol range each year. PC does not enhance combat readiness. People need to leave their tender hearts at MEPS and not look back.

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