Purpose of Modern Military: Inclusiveness or Winning War?

The debate over reversing the U.S. military's transgender ban raises serious questions about national defense.

By Tom Sileo Published on March 25, 2015

Citing unnamed U.S. officials, Lolita C. Baldor of the Associated Press reports that “Defense Secretary Ash Carter has gotten pushback from senior military leaders on whether the Pentagon should lift its ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.”

The article goes on to detail reasons for the opposition, like questions about whether transgender troops would live with their units or in separate barracks and whether they would use the same bathrooms. The AP article then paints the portrait of a transgender U.S. Army veteran who advocates reversing the military’s ban on transgender service members.

While mainstream media outlets, such as The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, have tended to run pieces arguing that the military’s transgender policy be reversed on anti-discrimination grounds, The Washington Times ran an editorial earlier this month urging politicians to remember what its editorial board believes is the military’s ultimate purpose: Winning war.

“Fighting a war is not an equal-employment opportunity,” The Washington Times editorial board wrote. “It requires men who are trained to kill people and break things.”

“Stonewall Jackson, Alvin York, George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower would scarcely recognize a modern politically correct regiment, but the grim work of a soldier at war has not changed,” the editorial continues. “Could such an army as envisioned by Gen. (Martin) Dempsey or Secretary Carter establish a beachhead on Normandy or take Iwo Jima and Okinawa?”

As Iran pursues a nuclear weapon and the threat posed by ISIS terrorists increases by the day, the debate over the military’s transgender ban is not just another tedious shouting match between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. It could help define the future of an institution that a vast majority of Americans believe should be the world’s premier fighting force.

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