The U.S. Military Rewrites the Basic Laws of Biology...What's Next?
That 2 + 2 = 5?
I’d like to clear up a common civilian misconception, a misconception particularly popular with military buffs, baby boom-aged conservative males who skipped the draft, and others who have a rather touchingly adolescent interest in an idealized Michael Bay-movie version of soldiering.
U.S. military culture, unfortunately, is not the free-wheeling, macho, rebel yell thing you’d like to think it is. Out on the perimeters, yes, where Central Command tends to fall away, where IED and suicide bombers are real. But at the head, around the Pentagon, the U.S. military (less so for the Marines) haven’t been that bunch of brigands for several decades. The U.S. Military is now like any other federal bureaucracy, worse in some ways. Just think of DoD as the Department of Education with uniforms.
One needs to remember that the military is there to follow the orders of their commander-in-chief and Congress. That’s the way it should be, and military leaders take this ultimate command very, very seriously. Told to jump, they will ask “how high?” POTUS and congressmen sometimes ask whether "jumping" is a good idea at this time, but most often not. And good commanders grit their teeth and figure out how to accomplish the mission, whatever that might be. Like all good followers, they also know that orders are best followed when one truly believes in the righteousness of said order.
The problem is that in a world that’s gone mad in certain respects, this only means that the military goes mad, too, exquisitely mad, as mad as only people dedicated to following orders can be. They might even rewrite the laws of biology if need be. They might even decide that men can get pregnant.
In the late nineties the “how high should we jump” principle meant swallowing (no sour faces allowed) the notion that the sexes are absolutely the same in every respect. There are no wombs, there are no hormones, there are no differently scaled and shaped skeletons. Female and male soldiers could be trained together because there, is, for example, no significant physiological difference in upper body strength And since there are no plumbing or hormonal differences either, there was no reason for 18-year-old males and females to be especially interested in each other. So coed barracks it was confidently forecast, wouldn’t be a problem either.
This required some cunning feats of Orwellian doublethink as commanders simultaneously had to deal with the disproportionately high rates of female lower body injury (from marching and carrying heavy packs), the loss of women from ship crews to pregnancy, and of course the constant thrum of sexual harassment reports. This period of madness, doublethink and mad, mad, mad policy is covered in detail in my book, “The Kinder, Gentler Military.”
Now the madness that the U.S. military has accepted, the orders it’s attempting to carry out full throttle, is the idea that someone who decides he or she is the opposite sex (and lives that way for a proscribed period) is to be considered the opposite sex.
James Hasson, a former army captain, did the world a great service by publishing pages from “Tier Three Transgender Training,” a new set of procedures for commanding officers in a recent article for the Federalist. The training manual contains a number of vignettes, addressing stuff like how showering should be handled and how to conduct a urine test, whether the transgender soldier is the tester or the testee. The training manual contains such gems as women soldiers may be asked to share a shower room with a soldier who, because "she did not under go a surgical change...still has male genitalia." Hasson’s article skipped one “vignette.” That’s too bad because it shows just how far the military is willing to go to satisfy a president and congress. It's quite Orwellian, in the sense that in the novel 1984 arch-villain O’Brien tells Winston Smith there is no reality. "We, the Party, control reality. If we want to say 2 + 2 = 5, it is so.”
In similar fashion, the U.S. military has gone ahead and declared that men can become pregnant. Vignette 6 of Tier Three Transgender Training instructs commanding officers what to do when “a soldier has completed Army gender transition from female to male as indicated in DEERS.”
“The Soldier did not have sex-reassignment surgery, and recently stopped taking male hormones in order to start a family.”
“Today the Soldier approached his commanding officer to discuss his newly confirmed pregnancy.”
Great, while our commanding officers are trying to remember what pronoun to use when addressing a soldier who’s stopped taking his male hormones but not had gender reassignment surgery and has just announced his newly confirmed pregnancy, our enemies abroad only have to worry about the lethality of their IEDs, the best placement of a suicide bomb, and whether that ICBM can make it to California.
Stephanie Gutmann is the author of "The Kinder, Gentler Military," Scribner 2000. Republished in paperback in 2001 by Encounter.