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Posted on Jan 7, 2013 Print this Article

Issue 31: January 2013

This edition of CMR E-Notes highlights four issues of concern to the Center for Military Readiness:

 A.  Questions of Nominee Hagel Should Focus on Defense, Not LGBT Left Intimidation

B.  Obama Administration Should Respect Religious Liberty of Military Chaplains

C.  Army Draft Manual Sparks Controversy About "Green on Blue" Afghan Attacks

D.  Pentagon Promoting Policies That Increase Sexual Misconduct in the Military

Policy matters discussed in this edition of CMR E-Notes − LGBT Left intimidation, religious liberty for chaplains, political correctness about jihadist attacks in Afghanistan, and chronic sexual misconduct − are issues with a direct effect on morale and readiness. 

More information on these issues is available on the website of the Center for Military Readiness, www.cmrlink.org. 

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A.  Questions of Nominee Hagel Should Focus on Defense, Not LGBT Left Intimidation

Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel is catching heat for being one of several senators who question Bill Clinton's nomination of LGBT activist James C. Hormel to be ambassador to Luxembourg.  CMR is not endorsing the Hagel nomination − members of the Senate need to grill him on a number of national defense issues.  But for reasons explained in this article, it would be a mistake for Republicans to buy into the complaints of GetEQUAL and the Log Cabin Republicans.

 B.  Obama Administration Should Respect Religious Liberty of Military Chaplains

The Center for Military Readiness is pleased that the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 (NDAA) includes a new section of law that reaffirms the constitutional rights of chaplains to act in accordance with their views on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs. 

Working with a number of Military Culture Coalition (MCC) group leaders, CMR took a leadership role in efforts to protect constitutional rights of religious liberty in all branches of the service.  Persistent efforts to explain the need for the legislation, over many months, scored an important victory for chaplains and religious freedom.  More information on the legislation is available here:

Congress Takes First Steps to Protect Religious Liberty in the Military

 It is not surprising however, that President Barack Obama criticized the measure in a January 2 signing statement.  The president's imperious comments suggest that the administration might try to redefine or circumvent the law with enforcement regulations contrary to the intent of Congress. 

The Obama Administration did not object to the legislation formally when it was before the House/Senate Conference last December.  Subtle changes that conferees made in the legislative language, however, reflect the intolerant attitude of activist officials who consider any form of disagreement with LGBT law to be a "threat to good order and discipline."  It was not necessary to add that phrase to the House-passed legislation, which already had affirmed UCMJ provisions barring actions and speech that threaten good order and discipline.

President Obama's gratuitous objections indicate that he continues to be primarily concerned about the small minority of professed LGBT personnel, with little regard for the majority of military chaplains and people of faith who serve.  Despite the president's comments, chaplains will have a statutory basis to oppose directives that violate their religious principles.  The statutory provision also will give support to chaplains who face disciplinary actions related to LGBT Law.

Desirable proposals that passed in the House and were proposed in the Senate were not enacted this time around, but they will come up again.  For example, House/Senate conferees did not approve legislative language that would have defined what a chaplain is.  They also omitted the section that would have barred same-sex marriages or marriage-like ceremonies on military bases.  Both proposals had been approved by the House in May 2012, and were incorporated in a free-standing Senate bill (SR 3526) called the Military Religious Freedom Act.

CMR regrets that conferees omitted these constructive measures, particularly when some chaplains have presumed to conduct same-sex "ceremonies" at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, and even at Fort Polk, LA, a state where same-sex unions are not legal.  These are issues that can and should be taken up again in the future.  Still, it is satisfying to know that the new law will reinforce chaplains' rights of religious freedom.

CMR appreciates members of the House and Senate who approved this first step in pushing back, and looks forward to working with them and like-minded groups to achieve even more constructive goals in the future.

C.  Army Draft Manual Sparks Controversy About "Green on Blue" Afghan Attacks

A number of commentators have reacted strongly to a recent Wall Street Journal article about a draft Army handbook on Afghan culture.  Conclusions in the final report have yet to be seen, so we don't know whether recommendations and information will disparage our troops or be helpful in protecting them from escalating "green on blue" violence in Afghanistan.

CMR has put the issue in context by reporting news about the deliberate 2009 murder of a female Navy lieutenant, Florence Choe, in Afghanistan, along with a male officer.    According to a female friend and eyewitness who was also wounded in the attack, Lt. Choe, the beautiful mother of a two-year old, was shot several times by an Afghan "ally" who disapproved of the athletic shorts Choe and her companions were wearing while running on a track near the border of her military base:

The final Army Report needs to clearly dispel the notion that American troops are the primary cause of violent attacks by Afghan troops that Americans have trained as "allies."  The report also should put political correctness aside and provide truthful information about the jihadist threat.  For their own safety, our troops need to know what they are up against in that dangerous part of the world.

D.  Pentagon Promoting Policies That Increase Sexual Misconduct in the Military

The Defense Department continues to keep the blinders on when it comes to the obvious:  There is a disturbing correlation between sexual misconduct in the military and policies that have pushed women ever-closer to direct ground combat.  Despite various types of remedial training and wishful thinking, rates of sexual misconduct across the spectrum between sexual abuse and romantic relationships, have worsened in recent years.

Persistent trends that CMR has tracked and analyzed discredit the notion that exposing military women to combat violence somehow makes them "safer."  Nor is there any reason to believe that assigning women to all-male "tip of the spear" infantry battalions will lessen incidents of sexual misconduct.  More information is available in this CMR Policy Analysis:

Pentagon Policies Increase Military Sexual Assaults

 As reported in the Washington Times on Thursday, in 2012, for the third year in a row, the U.S. Navy found it necessary to fire ship captains, executive officers, and senior enlisted officers at the rate of more than two per month − most often for reasons of sexual misconduct:

 In 1997, the Kassebaum-Baker Commission unanimously recommended that army gender-integrated basic training (GIBT) be ended because it was "resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion, and more distraction from training programs." (p. 15)  The Pentagon ignored the commission's sound advice.  (The commission also noted that the Marines' single-gender basic training was producing superior results.)

Despite tangible evidence of failure, the same Pentagon officials who complain about sexual assaults keep demanding dubious social policies that would worsen the situation. On February 9, 2012, for example, Pentagon briefers announced their intent to promote "diversity" by incrementally implementing controversial recommendations of the Military Diversity Leadership Commission (MLDC), including the commission's push for women to be involuntarily assigned to direct ground combat (infantry) battalions.

Pentagon officials regularly praise their own work and proclaim undeserved "success," even though evidence of sexual misconduct, both consensual and non-consensual, continues to accelerate, year after year. These same officials should not be given even more authority to impose more of the same.

 

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 The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues.  Nothing in this publication is intended to support or oppose legislation.

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 Print this Article