Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pentagon set to lift the ban on Transgender troops.

The Pentagon. AP. 

The Pentagon is set to lift the ban on transgender soldiers as soon as next week. Washington Post. The descion comes after a year of internal debate on the merits and costs of doing so. Last year Defense Secretary Ash Carter gave the Pentagon six months to conduct an investigation, which stretched out to almost a year. Current policy is to medically discharge the transgendered. Recent policy changes have loosened the restriction and the descion is now made by higher ranked officers. Though the current descion was praised by LGBT rights groups, there is considerable disagreement within the ranks. 

My Comment:
This seems like a classic case of people playing politics with national security. Though I have no problem with homosexuals serving in the military, allowing the transgendered to serve has some obvious issues with it. Before I continue, I do wish to say that I bare no ill will towards the transgendered community and I do understand that some of them may wish to serve. 

But there are some obvious downsides to allowing trans people to serve. The transgendered often require medical attention for their condition. Hormones alone would cause major problems in a combat situation. Transgender people need these hormones as treatment and getting them in combat would be a logistical nightmare. If the choice was between hormones and critical supplies like bullets, rations or medicine, the hormones should take a back seat. But given how skewed the Pentagon's priorities seem to be, that may not be the case. 

There are other issues as well. Many transgendered people have mental health issues and substance abuse problems as well, either as a result of the disorder or independent of it. I will let you debate the cause of the issue but studies have shown that the transgendered are much more likely to suffer from these disorders. 

The issues could be exacerbated by serving in combat. With depression and substance abuse already common among transgender people and soldiers, imagine what the stress of combat could do when both issues are combined? My guess is that the transgendered in combat would be more likely to kill themselves or even attack their comrades. There is a reason why we don't let people with mental stay in the military. It's just too high risk. 

But despite these issues the ban is going to be lifted anyways. For me this is just another example of the Obama administration using the military as a place to preach leftist values. Though I was slightly supportive of gays in the military I was somewhat opposed to sending women into combat. This just seems like more of the same. 

Indeed, the situation is very similar to lifting the ban on women in combat. Though I am glad that women are finally being allowed to make the same sacrifice American men, and may indeed be forced to do so if we ever get the draft back, I think there are also some major problems with women serving in combat. Very few women are strong enough to actually meet the standards needed to be a soldier, Marine, airman or sailor, and there are fears that these standards will be reduced.

Though transwomen would be better able to meet the standards, since many of them grew up as men and have the muscle mass as a result, there are similar fears for them. My fear is that like the physical standards for soldiers are getting reduced because of women in combat, the mental standards for soldiers may be reduced as well. 

Still, this is making a mountain out of a molehill. The transgender population is so small as to be statistically insignificant. The most common estimate for the rate of transgendered people is .3 percent, with an estimated 700,000 in the military. If you grant that the transgendered population were to join the military at the same rate as the rest of the country, 0.5%, then you get only about 3500 people. Very few of those would serve in front line combat roles. That's a rounding error in a military as large as ours. 

So even though I think that allowing the transgendered to serve is a mistake due to the logistical problems and the high incidence of mental health, it is not going to have much of an impact in the long run. As always with these social issues the problem is greatly exaggerated. It's just another wedge issue to distract from more important things. 

No comments:

Post a Comment