Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump Sparks Meltdown After Announcing Transgender Military Ban. We Asked 6 Veterans to Respond

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to make a big announcement.
In a series of tweets, Trump said that transgender individuals would not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military in “any capacity.” The president's comments were met with a massive amount of backlash. LGBT groups are calling it a “direct attack” on trans people.
Independent Journal Review wanted to see what veterans think:
1. Josh Ghering, U.S. Marine staff sergeant, Iraq and Afghan War veteran, former drill instructor:
"Critics say that they have research that it wouldn’t increase costs by that much. Other countries allow transgenders to openly serve and it didn’t cause problems. When Obama did away with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it created issues, though.
"When we change the ways we do things, it affects the military. We get death by Power Point on how to talk to people. We are getting all these new guidelines from the government. That’s not what we need. We need to be focused on how to improve our warfighting ability, period.
"If transgendered individuals are being taken out for these procedures and treatments, they are not being trained properly. Before we go to war, we train for over a year on ranges and with regimen after regimen. So then we take these individuals out of training to get their surgery. But what good are they if we are over in a war zone and they aren’t able to contribute to the fight because they’re going through therapy or recovering from said surgery.
“I didn’t have a problem when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was in place. But the military is not a social experiment. Its objective is to fight wars. That's where its sole focus should be.”
2. Zac Oja, U.S. Army Ranger and Afghan War veteran:
"I'm curious to see how this will be implemented, will the openly transgendered individuals currently serving be forced out of the military? Will they be forced to 'identify' with what their birth certificate says for gender?
"This, in my opinion, is going to do nothing markedly positive but will open the flood gate to the left for open dissent against this new policy.
"I have seen SEC-DEF Mattis saying that he wanted an extension on the provision put forth by Obama and then SEC-DEF Carter regarding women in all combat roles and the benefits put in place for transitioning service members. I agree that much more data is needed to gain a better picture of the cost/benefits of having transgendered service members in our great military.
“I will say that I have heard nothing but good things from dear friends that have served with openly transgender soldiers.”
3. Sean Conner, U.S. Marine sergeant, MARSOC operator (Raider), and Iraq veteran:
"The military is a machine that doesn't breakdown for politics. I can assure you that the reasoning for this decision is for the benefit of the whole system.
"Considering less than 1 percent identify as transgender in the military, it would be a major burden, and the cost benefit analysis would be in the favor of not allowing this policy to go through. The amount of change, cost and redirection would not outweigh the very small pros, if any.
“The military had it right before with Don't Ask Don't Tell, or else things get complicated real quick. The rules were there before Trump came around and for good reason. I empathize if they want to serve, but just do it without having to announce your sexual orientation — its pretty simple.”
Conner also pointed out something that a lot of people don't know about the policy. He was briefed in a transgender class about it a few months back.
“Many people don't know that this would allow taxpayer paid for cosmetic or transitioning surgery for that soldier. In addition, while that soldier was in transition, they would not be allowed to work in full duty or be deployed for up to even two years, or how long it took —essentially, being a waste of the slot, and taxpayer money,” Conner said.
4. Jay Strobino, U.S. Army sergeant, and Iraq War veteran who was shot 13 times:
"I believe that the infantry and combat arms should stay male. (male: being born with male genitalia). In the military, your roles positions and tasks are very clear and outlined. And I have nothing against transgendered people or homosexuals, but it'll start confusing those roles.
"It's not the ability so much of the individual, because yes there are plenty of females that can out lift me, out run me and so on. But it's a lower average as a whole, just due to body limitations. And you can't have two sets of standards for the same group. It just won't work.
"So then what do you do? Lower the overall standard? Well, that's even worse. You train to be the best that you can possibly be, and always strive to be better than that. Bringing the group to their best collective potential. The standard should never be lowered. If you're under the standard then you either train and improve, or you're not in combat arms. There's no middle ground.
“If something goes wrong somewhere else, whatever, you fix it. If something goes wrong in a combat arms group, people die.”
5. Darian Browning, U.S. Army sergeant, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division:
"Only two things matter: Survivability and lethality. Anything other than that is a distraction. We have budget problems, also, already.
“The stated purpose of the Army is to 'fight and win the Nation's land wars.' Any decisions or budget fixes should be centered around that and that alone.”
6. Gregory Diacogiannis, U.S. Army sniper and Iraq War veteran:
"I don't like that he just ran with it. He should have had a policy ready to go and Mattis should have rolled it out.
"The military is here to destroy the enemy. It's not a social experiment. We shouldn't be using the military as a petri dish to push progressive ideas. They are a killing machine. People are denied service for all kinds of reasons. Why should we treat people with gender dysphoria differently?
"These people need help and using the military for help is wrong and it doesn't help the military become a better kill force. Nothing is worse for morale than having someone treated differently and letting them live by a different set of rules.
“You will 'other' them because they will become a protected class. In combat everyone is equal, it doesn't matter if you are black, white, gay, straight, man, or woman. But if you let other people live by a different standard you crush morale. Also, we are talking about 0.1% of the population not being able to serve.”
Meanwhile, the barrage of attacks against Trump continues. Before jumping to conclusions, though, it's important to consider how those who serve in the military feel about the issue. Maybe it's their view that should matter most.