Tag Archives: Marine Corps

Eros and Estrogen on the Front Line

Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

This December it will be 42 years since the last male was drafted into combat, but it looks like the fun is just starting for women. Not that they will be going to the post office to register anytime soon. Instead woman already in the military — who thought they were being all they can be by typing 130 WPM or checking PowerPoint presentations for typos — will find themselves assigned to combat arms to meet a quota designed by a wide–load Member of Congress whose most strenuous activity is the Pilates class she makes once a month.

Still, they won’t be seeing the elephant overnight. Right now only a handful of the 203,000 women currently in the military can pass the physical for combat infantry or Marines. When faced with the reality that women can’t pass the test, Congress and Pentagon paper–pushers will change the test until they can pass.

(For details see the shifting metrics that define Obamacare. Currently the administration has ruled that if a patient is able to get an appointment with the foreign–born medical professional she’s stuck with in the new, severely limited health care network — and the doctor doesn’t recommend bleeding as a cure — the program is a success!)

Unfortunately, when you lower standards by definition you get substandard material. This is not to say women as a group are substandard. I’m married to one that’s outstanding, but even in her twenties she wasn’t ready for combat.

The Marine Corps, which I was counting on to maintain standards, is showing signs of going wobbly. CNS News reports the Corps has delayed a requirement that female Marines do a minimum of three pull–ups. The postponement came after 55 percent of females in boot camp couldn’t meet the standard. By comparison, only 1 percent of the males failed.

This test is important for the future of our military’s combat effectiveness because upper body strength is vital both in combat and on the front line where soldiers carry ammunition, lift the wounded, manhandle sandbags and tote weapons.

I suppose we could allow women to push a shopping cart into combat or issue ‘spinner’ luggage. But that won’t work either because after she fills the bag with shoes there won’t be any room for equipment.

The deadline for degrading the combat arm is 2016 and as the date approaches, and the lack of qualified women becomes obvious enough for even a Democrat to see, that’s when the pressure to change the test will be the most severe.

Pentagon mouthpieces may continue to reassure an anxious public that physical standards won’t be lowered to pass females into the combat arm, but recruiters also telling female recruits they can keep their doctor.

What’s really strange in all this is the left’s inability to maintain a consistent story line. On one hand every female recruit is a potential Lt. Ellen Ripley. On the other, current female troops are already engaged in hand–to–hand combat with members of the opposite sex and they’re losing. The female that’s ready to put her life on the line in defense of her country is evidently incapacitated by a pat on the behind.

The Pentagon recently released the results of a survey that showed 6 percent of the women in the military (a total of 12,000) were victims of unwanted sexual contact. This covers everything from rape to following too closely in the chow line. (Maybe the left wants women issued rifles so they can defend themselves when they’re on the receiving end of sexual friendly fire.)

But as The Washington Times Rowan Scarborough has pointed out the Pentagon’s results are wildly out of step with overall US statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey showed that in contrast to the Pentagon’s 6 percent, only “one-fourth of a percent of women ages 18 to 34 had suffered such abuse in 2010. Preliminary numbers for 2012 show a rate of just over four-tenths of a percent.”

The difference in the numbers reflects methodology. The Pentagon survey, so beloved by sexual harassment axe grinders, used email for results. The Bureau survey used 146,570 in–person interviews and follow–up telephone sessions. In–person and telephone interviews are the gold standard of survey research. By comparison if cheap email surveys were accurate, politicians would use them in their campaigns, but they don’t.

The Pentagon survey even manages to have a larger total of victims than the total of completed surveys. One item that was particularly interesting is the 14,000 men that claimed they were victims of sexual assault, which means some men were evidently telling in spite of official policy not to ask.

Of course inaccurate results are no obstacle for leftist social engineers if the numbers can be used to advance an agenda. The Obama administration likes to depict our fighting arms as havens for macho cavemen that need to be curbed. One gets the feeling they are shocked the military, of all places, attracts men with a high testosterone count.

The Soviet Red Army had political commissars assigned to every unit, maybe the Pentagon plans on assigning sexual commissars to tell soldiers how much fraternizing is allowed with your battle buddy. I’m thinking commissars will prove invaluable during those unfortunate times when females are captured by the enemy and the captors are agonizing over the knotty moral question of whether a simple rape or the more inclusive gang rape is allowed.

Leftist social engineers never account for reality in their planning. The enemies we are most likely to face don’t have women in combat slots and they aren’t making the barracks safe for lavender. The fact that no successful military in history has put women in combat has escaped Pentagon HR planners completely. Brunhilde, and Ripley for that matter, were only a myth.

When conflict occurs armies aren’t matched according to brackets or seeds. If that were the case we could volunteer to fight the Isle of Lesbos and leave it at that. The obvious solution for sexual assault in the military is fewer females in close proximity to males or at least a more accurate survey, but with this administration neither is likely to happen.

Engaging Young Voters on Defense Issues

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A study released recently by the national leaders of Young Republicans (YRNC) polled young voters on numerous issues, including defense and foreign policy. The study reports that only 17% of youngsters believe that protecting the country should be the government’s top priority; that defense is “the place to start” budget cuts; that 35% of young voters, including 45% of young independents, believe defense spending should be cut [further]; and that in general, many if not most young voters want to reduce the size and budget of the military, withdraw it from foreign countries, and entrench America behind the oceans.

Why do so many youngsters hold such mistaken views? I believe this is due to confusion, as well as Republicans’ failure to clear up that confusion and explain why America needs to stop cutting its defense budget, retain the military at no less than its current size, and generally remain involved in the world.

This article aims to explain these issues and clear up the confusion. If you are a young voter, please give me 10 minutes of your time to explain.

Firstly, why shouldn’t the US cut its defense budget further?

Because, quite simply, significant cuts would seriously weaken the US military. There are many building bricks of military strength: brave troops, good training, competent leaders, world-class equipment, force size, a steady supply of ammunition and other provisions – but other than bravery, none of this is possible to have without sufficient funding. Without an adequate budget, the military will be very weak.

An army marches on its stomach, as Napoleon said – or more precisely, on its budget. To have an adequately-sized military, quality training and care for the troops, decent base and housing infrastructure, a sufficient supply of goods, and world-class weapons in sufficient quantities, you need adequate funding.

The military is not too big; if anything, it’s too small. The Navy, with the smallest ship fleet since 1915, is able to meet only 59% of Combatant Commanders’ needs for ships; the Air Force is strained beyond hope, flying its smallest and oldest aircraft fleet (average age: over 24 years, meaning the USAF’s aircraft, on average, were produced before you were born; they’re older than the pilots flying them). The Marines are on track to shrink to 182,100 men – but if sequestration sticks, they’ll have only 145,000 – not enough for even one major operation per the USMC’s Commandnant. The military is a shadow of its former self; in the Reagan years, it ahd over 2.6 million personnel and the Navy had 600 ships.

Some question why the US spends as much as it does compared to other countries.

But in all non-Western countries, one dollar can buy several times as much as it can in the US. And in countries like China, central governments pay only for capital military expenditures like weapons development and acquisition, while basing and personnel costs are borne mostly by regional governments. Thus, China’s military budget (up to $215 bn according to the DOD) is actually worth several times that amount. In Russia, the Defense Ministry gets much of its property as “free goods” from other ministries.

Moreover, total US military spending, including Afghan war costs, are only 4.1% of America’s GDP, the lowest share of GDP going to defense since 1948 (excluding the late Clinton years). That was a time of total military demobilization. Speaking of which, history shows that everytime the US has deeply cut its military’s size and budget, it later had to rebuild the military at a high cost when a new adversary perpetrated, or threatened, aggression – after both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War.

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Moreover, the US has a much larger economy (the world’s largest) and the 3rd largest population, so its natural that its military budget, in raw dollars, would be larger than those of other countries. Proportionally to its economy and population ($1,990 per capita, compared to almost $2,500 per capita during the Reagan years), the defense spending burden is quite low – especially by historical standards.

Many young voters are certainly frustrated with the waste in defense (and nondefense) spending. Believe me, so am I. That is why I’ve written, over the years, the largest DOD reform proposals package ever devised by anyone. But there isn’t enough waste in the DOD budget to pay for the budget cuts being contemplated by many young citizens – or those scheduled under current law. Because, you see, under the Budget Control Act of 2011, defense spending is on course to be cut by $1 trillion over the next decade (through FY2022, $550 bn of that under a mechanism called sequestration – which, making matters worse, doesn’t distinguish between legitimate defense priorities and waste, and instead requires cuts across the entire defense budget by 10%, in missile defense as much as in DOD bureaucrats. The DOD has zero legal flexibility to distribute those cuts.

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Before the sequester, the BCA had already mandated $487 bn in defense budget cuts; before that, Secretary Gates cut $178 bn in “efficiencies”; and before that, he had already killed over 50 weapon programs, including the F-22 fighter, the CG-X cruiser, and the Airborne Laser. Defense spending, in short, has already been subjected to deep, excessive cuts during President Obama’s tenure – while nondefense spending had not, prior to sequestration, faced any cuts (and even under sequestration, nondefense spending cuts will be shallow). And a full 60% of sequestration’s cuts are from defense.

Moreover, you could eliminate military spending entirely, and there still would be huge budget deficits for perpetuity. So defense spending is the wrong place to look for further cuts. It’s time for entitlements – which are exempt from sequestration – to face reductions now.

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Furthermore – and most importantly – defense is the most important function of the federal government, indeed its highest Constitutional duty, as made clear by the Constitution’s Preamble and Sec. 4 of Art. IV, and by the fact that half of all enumerated powers of Congress listed in Sec. 8 of Art. I of the Constitution pertain to military matters. Defense is therefore far more important than, say, farm aid or mass transit. And that is what the Founding Fathers believed.

George Washington told Congress in 1790 that “Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defense will merit particular regard. (…) To be prepared for war is one of the effective means of preserving the peace.” John Adams said wisely that “National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” James Madison asked in one of the Federalist Papers: “How could readiness for war in times of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?”

Some will say, “But the US should do less around the world. It should be less interventionist.”

But less is not better. More is not better, either. Only better is better.

The US, of course, shouldn’t make every conflict around the world, and every nation’s governance or security problems, its own. But in crucial parts of the world, the US needs to intervene when (and only when) its interests or its key allies are threatened. Who rules in Bosnia, Zambia, or Lesotho is irrelevant to US interests.

But when North Korea tests nuclear weapons and missiles and threatens US allies and Guam; when China bullies and threatens countries across East Asia; when Russia flies bombers close to US airspace practicing attacks on the US; when Israel’s security is threatened, the US cannot stand by; it must do something. The key is to determine what constitutes an American national interest and thus when and where to intervene, if at all; I’ve attempted to do so here. Also, if and when the US intervenes, it needs to achieve victory quickly and then go home. Prolonged wars don’t serve the national interest.

You may ask, “What about Iraq and Afghanistan, then?” I believe the invasion of Iraq and the nationbuilding campaign in Afghanistan were big mistakes. The US, like other countries, sometimes makes them. But it’s crucial not to shift to the other extreme of the position spectrum and oppose any overseas interventions completely. The right path lies in the middle; the US should sometimes intervene, but only in defense of its vital interests and allies. Historically, that has been the policy of Republican Presidents such as… Ronald Reagan and his Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. The latter officially enshrined this policy as the Weinberger Doctrine.

Dear Young Reader, if you’ve read all of this to the end, I want to thank you – even if you don’t agree with me completely, or even in 50%. The US military needs the engagement and support of every US citizen – especially young citizens, who are the future and the hope of any nation and its armed forces.

TSA and the City of Sacramento try to protect the public from a hero

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California in general is often the source of jokes for conservatives, as is the TSA. If this story didn’t involve a highly decorated, disabled Marine veteran, there is no doubt there would be scores of conservatives rolling in the aisles laughing at the stupidity that was on display. But, this is not remotely close to amusing – it is tragic, irresponsible, reprehensible, and inexcusable.

Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was traveling to Sacramento to be honored for his service, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, on the way there, he was treated like a terrorist, not once, but twice. First, was at the hands of TSA. The second incident was particularly disturbing, since security for the building where he was supposed to be the guest of honor were the ones to mistreat him. I say that because the thin excuse that his uniform had too much metal, and therefore set off the alarms, was utterly unacceptable. After being subjected to a handheld metal detector being waved around me when I happen to set off an alarm at a government building countless times, I know very well that it is not necessary to require that a decorated Marine remove his uniform to verify that his medals are the cause of the alarms sounding off.

Special arrangements can be made for disabled veterans wishing to travel, so that they can be treated with the respect that they deserve when making their way through our airports and public buildings. That is not acceptable either. It is a ludicrous concept, that the Veterans’ Administration and the various security agencies – local, state and federal – cannot come up with a reasonable way to automatically treat our veterans with respect, and not force them to be insulted by invasive searches. These people are fingerprinted, photographed, and tracked completely while they are in the service, and given the government’s penchant for keeping tabs on citizens, it is not believable that all that information is removed from the system when a member of the service leaves. Beyond that, the fact is that the TSA and building security officers in Sacramento proved one simple point in this little exercise – they obviously do not have the intelligence to have the jobs they currently hold, and should be fired.

Another thing that should happen is that Cpl. Kemnitz should receive a written apology from the TSA and Sacramento security officers involved. He should receive the same from every lawmaker in the State of California, and the Governor. That won’t happen, of course, because that is the proper, and honorable thing to do. Perhaps their defense for not doing that will be as shameful as what they did in the first place – they will probably say Cpl. Kemnitz didn’t ask for an apology, so they didn’t give one. There is a reason why it is said “once a Marine, always a Marine.” And they obviously do not understand that either.

There is video footage of how they mistreated Cpl. Kemnitz. Instead of featuring that, since it’s available at the Daily Mail, here is something that honors Cpl. Kemnitz for his heroic service, and explains what the TSA and the City of Sacramento obviously do not understand.

Atheists, The Marines, and When a Cross Transcends All Religious Meaning

When it comes to certain topics surrounding patriotism and the military, I have a tendency of toning down my own rhetoric. In this, I will restrict myself to making one point about atheism, and leave the rest to someone far more qualified to speak on this issue.
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Atheists have repeatedly been taking the spotlight lately for various levels of stupid behavior. For whatever reason, they are finding it necessary to stick their noses in where they don’t belong. Whether it’s lawsuits about religious items on public land, or un-blessing a road, they’re obviously trying to make it clear that they will not tolerate anyone showing any signs that they follow any religion publicly. But, this time, they have crossed the line from attacking religion, to the point of attacking the secular sacred. Yes, there is such a thing, and we as a nation, observe it at least once yearly, on Memorial Day. As the daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and niece of veterans and service members from World War II to this very moment, I know very well that some things are sacred to soldiers, and have nothing to do with religion, even if it appears so to outsiders. The current atheist crusade of trying to have the crosses removed from Camp Pendleton is no different than petitioning the Federal Government to remove the Tomb of the Unknowns from Arlington National Cemetery.

But don’t take my word for it when it comes to explaining the meaning of this memorial at Camp Pendleton. Today, I was privileged enough to receive a response from a Marine that had been stationed there. He graciously explained the meaning of the memorial, and his thoughts on the issue:

I was stationed at Camp Pendleton from 2000 to 2005. I was assigned to 3rd Battalion 1st Marines, Weapons Company, CAAT Platoon which is located at Camp Horno where these crosses are located. Camp Horno is a remote camp that is compromised entirely of Infantry and Infantry only. There aren’t even any female Marines located anywhere close. It houses four to five Infantry Battalions and the 1st Marine Regiments Headquarters, so basically a lot of testosterone and a lot angry Jarheads with a lot of bad memories surrounded by a mountain side and an active firing range across the road.

Back in 2003, seven Marines from 2nd Battalion 1st Marines climbed up to the top of Horno ridge and erected a cross to honor our brothers who had been killed in action. It became a place for reflection and a place to clear our heads when the memories got too bad. I remember nights when I couldn’t sleep, which was most of the time, I would climb up that damn hill and visit the cross. I would always bring a bottle of Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker Black, and made sure I left half behind for my brothers who were no longer there.

My battalion returned to Iraq in 2004, and that deployment took a heavy toll on all of us. We lost 33 men during operations in and around Fallujah. We came home extremely proud, but every one of us knew we would never be the same again. The cross had a new meaning to us. During morning PT runs we carried large rocks up the hills with us to place at the base of the cross, and pay homage to our brothers. The bigger the better. If it caused pain even better. We all had tortured souls after that deployment, and we almost felt as if the more pain we caused ourselves, somehow it would change the fact that they weren’t there anymore. It was our way of honoring them. Some men even brought their Purple Heart Medals, which were given to them for being wounded in combat, and left them there as a tribute. I remember once also seeing a Silver Star, one of the highest awards you can receive for valor, left on top of a large stone. There were all kinds of tributes being left there, from pictures, to bottles of alcohol, and articles of clothing. This was not a place for the public. This was a place that we Infantry Marines felt was ours. Our solemn ground, where we could hold onto fleeting memories of some of the greatest men we have ever known.

When I first read the article that a group of atheists demanded that they be taken down, I grew enraged. The crosses had nothing to do with religion. We lost men of all religions during these wars, and we lost men that didn’t believe in god. Some of my fellow Marines who visited the cross on a daily basis were atheist, and they would defend that cross with their lives if it came down to it. I’m not a religious person at all, but I would do anything to defend that cross. What’s next? Are they going to dig up all the graves at Normandy Beach in France that honor our dead from World War II? Last time I checked that’s sovereign American ground with crosses and stars of David. As Marines, if we really wanted to offend people, we would have put a giant Jesus statue up with him pissing on a Koran, but we didn’t. We simply put up a cross, the same way a family puts one up at the side of a road where another family member had died in a car accident.

The way I see it is if you don’t like the cross, don’t look at it. If the very existence of the cross bothers them that much that they need it to be removed, well then the very existence of this group bothers me and a whole lot of other Marines enough that we would be more than happy to remove them from existence. We are not the Boy Scouts, and about the only thing worse than disrespecting our beloved Marine Corps is disrespecting our fallen warriors who have given them their rights with their lives.

Semper Fidelis