Is Obama’s political correctness campaign distracting the U.S. military? While the Pentagon struggles to integrate women into Marine combat units, studies the participation of transgender persons and works to prevent discrimination against gay soldiers, it is visibly failing to get the job done in Syria. U.S. efforts to destroy ISIS have been so inept that senior intelligence officials have been doctoring field reports to buttress President Obama’s claims of progress against the terrorist group. These are alarming developments.
Americans are horrified that the U.S. has spent $500 million dollars to train sympathetic rebels in Syria, a program that has so far produced about 4 or 5 fighters. The mission’s goal was to train 5,400 troops in year one. Several months in, some 100 warriors were engaged. Those trainees were soon killed or scattered by an al-Qaeda affiliate, all but ending the effort.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest blamed the disastrous flop on President Obama’s opponents, saying, “This specific option… is not something that this administration ever believed, but it is something that our critics will have to answer for.”
What a pusillanimous attempt to pass the buck. As Ryan Crocker, Obama’s former ambassador to Afghanistan said, “How un-presidential that sounds.” But, it does sound like Obama, who has spent six years blaming George W. Bush for the country’s ills, and who is resolutely skeptical of military engagement.
President Obama has no idea how to confront ISIS, or how to confront Russian leader Vladimir Putin or China’s President Xi Jinping, both of whom are taking full advantage of Obama’s lame duck status. Putin is busy building a serious military presence in Syria, while at the same time consolidating his annexation of Crimea by further infiltrating southeastern Ukraine. This, despite Obama’s repeated warnings that “there will be costs” for such adventures.
Xi Jinping is expanding China’s military presence in the South China Sea, and ramping up cyber-invasions of U.S. businesses and institutions. President Obama warned that he views cyber intrusions as “an act of aggression that has to stop," and promised retaliation. Like, hosting Xi at a state dinner.
President Obama is not comfortable in his role as commander in chief. He never served in the military and never embraced the core belief that the U.S. plays a necessary role as the world’s top cop. This responsibility stems from our exceptional status as a beacon of human rights and defender of justice – a position that Obama does not fully accept. The United States has the most powerful military in the world, but President Obama has refused to unleash its might against our adversaries.
Instead, the heads of our armed services are focused on rolling out Obama’s women’s rights and LGBT agenda. Most recently, the White House has commanded our military to integrate women into all combat roles by 2016, or demand an exemption. The demand has set off a firestorm within the Marine Corps, which remains 93 percent male, and which limits the participation of women in infantry units.
The Corps created a yearlong task force to study the issue composed of some 300 men and 100 women. In nearly 70 percent of the jobs evaluated, all-male units outperformed those that included women. Integrated groups required to carry heavy loads for long distances, for instance, were slower, marksmanship by men was better and women were more prone to injuries. Since much of Marine Corps infantry activity requires expeditionary activity under primitive circumstances, physical endurance is essential. Partly because of the study, the Marine commander is expected to request an exemption from the integration demand.
The study is being challenged by the civilian head of the Marine Corps, who has claimed the results were biased. Ray Mabus has vowed to push ahead with the required integration, including front-line combat units, despite resistance from the Corps. “My belief is you get gender-neutral standards relating to the job Marines have to do, and you adhere to them,” Mr. Mabus said. In other words, dumb down the standards so that they are achievable by both men and women, and all will be well. Mr. Mabus is a Democrat politician, a former governor of Mississippi who served two years in the Navy and was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Obama in 2009.
Women have made great strides in military participation; over 280,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades. Since 2013, more than 100,000 positions have opened to women, leaving only about 10 percent of military jobs still off limits. Maybe, just as women cannot compete as linebackers in the NFL, they are also not suited for the most physically demanding of our combat roles.
The Pentagon is also focused on assimilating gay troops. President Obama just reinforced his priorities by nominating Eric Fanning as the first openly gay Secretary of the Army. An administration official told The New York Times, “His appointment demonstrates that Mr. Obama and [Defense Secretary] Carter want to keep pushing the military toward more openness toward gay men and lesbians.”
In his role, Mr. Fanning, who has never served in the military but who has held staff positions in different branches of our armed services, will influence promotions and policy. As a former member of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, he is known to favor ending gender discrimination in the military and to support service by transgender persons.
Opening our military to all who wish to serve is important, but should not distract military leaders from defeating ISIS. Our armed forces are the best equipped and trained in the world, and by far and away the most respected of all American institutions, according to Gallup. For generations, “Sending in the Marines” was code for getting the job done. That cannot change.