Former SecDef Explains Transgender Policy: We had no choice.

President Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has been doing interviews to hawk his book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon, and spoke with the Military Times in September. In the interview he explained away the complexities, morality, and responsibility of some of the key DoD decisions with the simple “we had no choice.”

On the continuing presence of US troops in Afghanistan [emphasis added]:

I really do believe we’ve been on the best course, and the only course available to us.

On integrating women in combat arms within the US military [emphasis added]: 

It was more a manpower issue than anything else, he said, because banning women from combat arms meant disqualifying half of the population…at a time when recruiting was becoming more and more difficult

“I didn’t want to take half the population off the table.”

On transgenders in the military [emphasis added]:

“The reason that a decision was basically unavoidable was that we had transgender members in service…Their commanders didn’t want to throw them out, because they were doing a good job…

“If you decide you’re not going to throw out the transgender members who are there, there’s no argument for not admitting more,” he said.

Those arguments — particularly the last one — have to be about the dumbest lines of reasoning ever used to justify wholesale changes in military and personnel policy.

Claiming that remaining in Afghanistan for decades is the only option available demonstrates a woeful lack of vision.

Saying women had to be allowed in combat roles else, presumably, the military would be a shadow of its former self is both defeatist and unnecessary for a volunteer military not facing an existential national threat.

Advocating for sweeping social change in supporting transgender service in the military by shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Meh, they’re already there” is the height of stupidity. There are felons, racists, drug addicts, and other social miscreants throughout the military — and they’re “doing a good job,” which is how they’re able to stay below the radar despite their vices.

Does their presence in the military suddenly mean we should support their conduct and open the service to more like them? That’s ludicrous on its face.

Yet, that’s the same argument the transgender lobby used and is currently using: We’re already here, so get over it.

Morality is and remains what it is regardless of those who flaunt it. Put another way, the speed limit remains the law whether people routinely violate it or not.  Lying on your taxes but still being ‘good at your job’ is not evidence the tax code must be changed.

Carter closed that part of the conversation with further politically expedient but ultimately self-indicting hand-washing [emphasis added]:

“It is military qualifications and the ability make standards that will guarantee that we continue to have the finest fighting force in the world,” he said. “Anything else is social policy, and there’s no place for social policy in the military.”

That’s a disingenuous deflection, because as the SecDef, he determined military qualifications. “Military qualifications” are not some higher dimension set of rules by which he was inexplicably bound. Until Carter, military qualifications included a mental state that aligned with one’s biology. He changed those qualifications in an act of social policy — something that “has no place in the military.” Yet now he refuses to own those policy changes; rather, he shrugs his shoulders and claims the tide of progressivism was merely “unavoidable”.

It would seem as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s leadership philosophy was to claim some external factor forced his hand. That’s the mark of someone who refuses to take responsibility for his own choices — and someone like that doesn’t make a very good leader.


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