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Who Decides?

Those who put their lives on the line should not be overruled by political correctness.

The recent announcement that changes a policy of excluding women from certain military jobs highlights a fundamental question: Who decides?

Our military is all volunteers.  They sign up to protect us from our enemies in the world.  Make no mistake, if they did not do their jobs, great harm would come to us.

The military has a tough job to do.  They have a whole culture, built up over many years, to support doing that difficult job.  Part of that culture is a set of standards - honor, obedience, deference, toughness.  Some of those standards are arbitrary.  Pilots have to be a certain height - not too short, and not too tall.  To win certain positions, you have to get a certain score on certain tests.  Sometimes they reject people who have poor hearing or require glasses.

The bottom line is that those who have to do the job have found that they can best do that difficult job by choosing the right people, with the right skills, temperament and virtues to do the job.  After all, mistakes cost lives.  It is appropriate that those who bear the risks, and do the job get to choose the standards for who will be given the enormous, life-and-death responsibilities of jobs in the military.

This article about combat conditions is an excellent one.  It makes a good case that trying to pretend that men and women are the same is unwise.  It implies that to pretend to treat them the same will cost lives.  I agree.

My point is slightly different.

Our society is becoming a nation of busybodies.  In every area of productive endeavor, from child care to health care, from mining to constuction, people who have no involvement and little knowlege of the activity are pushing laws to accomplish their own political agendas on the backs of the people doing the work. Rather than a free society with private property, we have become a society where we believe that a majority of 50%+1 can impose their will on everyone.  This is the tyranny of the majority that our founders warned us about.

A nation that is in turmoil over the proper role of the sexes is now pushing a political agenda on our military with little regard to the reality of whether it will help or harm their vital mission.

It's time for the politicians to butt out.  The military is not a jobs program or a social club.  It does not exist for the "job advancement" of its members.  It is a singular institution with a singular and deadly purpose: win wars.

Those who put their lives on the line should be free to determine how the job should be done.  They have enough to do without taking on the added burden of political correctness.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Susan January 25, 2013 at 02:23 PM
"Rather than a free society with private property, we have become a society where we believe that a majority of 50%+1 can impose their will on everyone. This is the tyranny of the majority that our founders warned us about." We've heard this statement repeated frequently from the right since November 7. But let's remember, many of these same people vigorously supported the two amendments put on our ballot last year. They wanted Minnesotans to decide by 50% + 1 to change our state constitution and our voting eligibility. In fact, prior to the election, I pointed this out to Donald several times, yet he still supported the amendments, as far as I can remember. Those who said the marriage amendment "changed nothing" should be rejoicing as nothing has changed. Let's please consider what this author has said every time either party decides to put a majority vote to the people on items that should be decided by our elected representatives. Regarding women in combat, I will say that I agree with Donald when saying that our military leaders should be deciding, not our politicians. I feel women should be allowed to work in all jobs provided that they qualify for that job. This means intellectually and physically. I heard a good point this morning; if a man and woman are on the front lines and the man get shot, can the woman physically bring his injured body back to safety? It’s only one example, but it does make a person think.
Donald Lee January 25, 2013 at 07:11 PM
There is a proposal in the legislature this session to make it more difficult to amend the constitution. I have not seen the details, but I would probably support it. My support for both constitutional amendments this fall was reluctant. I did not like putting these issues in the constitution as an end-run around the Governor, but I believed that the political cost of their being defeated would be unacceptable. The jury is still out on that. Ask me again in May. You can see more detail of my objections to the VoterID amendment here: http://www.mnlea.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2012report.pdf (item 4 - I am an advisor to LEA board) The VoterID amendment did not change voter eligibility. It merely insisted on presentation of evidence of eligibility. Thank you for posting.
Susan January 25, 2013 at 07:32 PM
As I was typing the word "eligibility" I knew you would call me out. ;-) We don't need to debate that again, we've done it far too much. You know why I opposed it and if they had added one more sentence, I would have been comfortable voting yes. It also would have taken away the left's argument of disenfranchised voters. For now, it's probably dead but maybe they will get it right in the future. Thanks for the link and those on the other thread. You are always a good source of information.
Susan January 25, 2013 at 08:19 PM
My first attempt is "pending approval" so I apologize if this shows up twice: As I was typing the word "eligibility" I knew you would call me out. ;-) We don't need to debate that again, we've done it far too much. You know why I opposed Voter ID and if they had added one more sentence, like they did for free IDs, I would have been comfortable voting yes. It also would have taken away the left's argument of disenfranchised voters. For now, it's probably dead but maybe they will get it right in the future. Thanks for the link and those on the other thread. You are always a good source of information.
Ken in MN January 25, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Donald, you're so good at knocking down self-constructed straw men (or is it straw women?). I don't recall ANYBODY saying there should be two sets of standards: One for men, and an easier one for women. The truth of the matter is, with our recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, the whole idea of a front line in a war against a non-state enemy is an anachronism locked in a cold-war mentality. Then again, we all know that the objections of the right are the same objections used to prevent the racial integration of the military back in the 1940's. Check out this EPIC take down by Soledad O'Brien: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/25/1495681/cnn-anchor-tricks-opponent-of-women-in-combat-to-endorse-racial-segregation/
Ken in MN January 25, 2013 at 09:07 PM
More, from a brave female soldier who actually served in Iraq, as opposed to the Right Wing Macho Men of the 101st Fighting Keyboard Brigade who just act like they did: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/01/leon_panetta_lifts_combat_ban_on_women_the_pentagon_s_announcement_finally.html
Susan January 25, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Ken, I'm not sure if you were referencing my comment about the front lines but one could also say out on patrol and a roadside bomb takes out the vehicle and injuries a soldier...different scenario but similar circumstance.
Ken in MN January 25, 2013 at 09:14 PM
And Donald, I hate to break it to you, but the military, for intents and purposes, is one giant jobs program, from the poor kid with no hope of paying for college on his own, all the way to the multibillion-dollar defense corporations. (Proof, by the way, that government spending does create jobs, but I digress...)
Ken in MN January 25, 2013 at 09:24 PM
No, not specifically. Did you check out the link to Marine Smith's opinion piece linked above? Have you noticed the pattern? The arguments against allowing women to serve in combat are the same ones used to keep blacks from fully integrating into the service, and were the same ones used to keep our GLBT brothers and sisters from serving. Is Marine Smith really so much more afraid to be naked in front of a female service member that he is of being blown up by a suicide bomber? SSDD...
Susan January 25, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Haven't checked the links yet (I'm using the cell now), but I will later, thanks.
Donald Lee January 26, 2013 at 05:59 AM
The military has a lot of secondary effects, and sometimes giving people jobs is one of them. However, that is not its purpose. It's purpose is clear, and vital. We hijack the military for other purposes at our peril.
Nancy E Gertner January 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM
"Those who put their lives on the line should be free to determine how the job should be done. They have enough to do without taking on the added burden of political correctness." Well that is a most interesting statement in a writing about the military. It implies autonomy at the INDIVIDUAL level, with each member of the military deciding how they want to perform their duties. Wouldn't that be interesting? We could probably save a ton of money. Who needs training? Who needs leadership?
Donald Lee January 26, 2013 at 06:31 PM
My post may not clear enough on this point, but individual setting their own standards in any situation tends toward chaos. The institution should set the standards, as it always has.
Ken in MN January 28, 2013 at 02:07 PM
"...individuals setting their own standards in any situation tends toward chaos." Said the guy who's political party wants to shrink government to the size where they can drown it in a bathtub...
yomammy January 28, 2013 at 03:26 PM
oooh...soledad...the ultra ultra ultra ultra liberal "reporter"....
yomammy January 28, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Military is NOT about individual. It cant be. Sorry, but you forcing the military to conform to some silly outside "feelings" on how it should be run is wrong.
yomammy February 21, 2013 at 01:42 PM
thats what todays societey thinks its all about...doing whatever they want...whenever they want....screw everyone else.

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