This is the fourth installment of a five-part series on how Barack Obama is America’s number one threat to national security.
“There are ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army by attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army.”—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
When presidential candidate Barack Obama proudly announced in the fall of 2007 that, if elected, he was going to “fundamentally change the United States of America” it was a warning shot across the bow of the U.S. military, its culture, and the men and women who bravely serve every day.
More to the point, while our armed forces take fire from enemies in the sands and mountains of the Middle East, they are also taking fire from a much more lethal source: their commander-in-chief. Yes, America’s military is at war with radical Islamists around the world and, more problematic, with their President at home.
Barack Obama’s war with the U.S. military is one with several fronts: social engineering of the military culture at the expense of readiness and capability; dictating the rules of engagement (ROE) that hinder our troops’ ability to fight an enemy that doesn’t wear traditional military uniforms and hides behind women’s burqas while operating from schools and mosques; and, slashing the necessary funding for force modernization and sustainability. And finally, morale—successful military operations always come down to morale.
Former President and World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower once said “Morale is the greatest single factor in successful wars.” It’s also a concept that Barack Obama seems incapable of grasping.
It is hauntingly familiar to those of us who served in uniform during the 1990s, and, I would imagine, also familiar for those who served in the armed forces during the 1970s under the feeble leadership of President Jimmy Carter as well. My personal experience comes from having served for the pro-military, principled leadership of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush during the 1980s and the experience of serving on the front lines, and then at the side during the 1990s, of a man with no character or principles, Bill Clinton.
Only three days into his infant presidency, in 1993, Clinton announced that he was going to lift the 50-year ban on homosexuals in the military. The original policy had been developed out of necessity during World War II and was reaffirmed by Congress in 1982 when it declared that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service because it undermines discipline, good order and morale.”
Bill Clinton’s first order in office was directing then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin to stop enforcing the ban on recruiting homosexuals and to halt prosecutions of homosexuals already in the services. He did so without consulting the military leadership in the Pentagon only to run headlong into the protestations of then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in Staff Gen. Colin Powell.
The result was the Department of Defense’s policy we now know to be “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The policy, however, is often confused with the law passed by Congress in 1993 which expressly forbids open homosexuality in the ranks. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is actually the implementing D.O.D. regulation. The law itself, Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C., otherwise known as The Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993, was passed by Congress in 1993 with veto-proof majorities and the federal courts have upheld the law as constitutional several times since.
Among the findings and provisions in the law, Congress dictated, and the courts have upheld, that “there is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces,” “success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion,” “military life is fundamentally different from civilian life,” “military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society,” and, “the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often Spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.” Ultimately, open homosexuality, they concluded, would present an “unacceptable risk” to good order, discipline, morale and unit cohesion.
Just as Clinton attempted to socially engineer the military to fit his ideological palate and placate the gay and lesbian voting bloc in 1993, Barack Obama is attempting to do precisely the same thing 17 years later with his announced intent to lift the ban and make good on his quid pro quo with the LGBT Left (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered).
“I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve,” Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union address. Just a week later, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified, “We have received our orders from the commander in chief, and we are moving out accordingly.”
Outraged by the Obama Administrations attempt to reengineer the military culture into one in which the openly gay, bisexual and even transgendered could serve, 1,167 retired flag and general officers personally signed a statement calling for the current law to be retained.
Among the critical findings they voiced: 1) the findings in the 1993 law remain valid, 2) the proposed legislation would require acceptance of professed (not just discreet) sexual minorities, with retroactive affect, 3) the LGBT law would affect all military branches and communities, to include Army and Marine infantry, Special Operations Forces, Navy SEALS, surface ships and submarines, on a constant (24/7) basis, and, 4) unit commanders would be burdened with personnel turmoil, accusations of bias, and potential career penalties that will weaken trust and team cohesion. In the end, there is no value added by overturning the ban. Quite to the contrary, recent polls of U.S. military personnel indicate that 10% of those in uniform will leave the service or “vote with their feet,” if such a law is changed. Another 15% say that they will seriously consider doing so.
In time of war, can we accept that sort of devastating impact? Social engineering should not be the priority of Barack Obama, or any President for that matter; fighting and doing what it takes to win wars should be.