Issuing military order via tweets
This appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
U.S. President Donald Trump chose the most offensive way possible to announce his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military. He did it in three 140-character tweets, as if to suggest that the honourable service of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines didn’t warrant any greater consideration.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow ... Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming ... victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”
Trump suggests that the presence of transgender service members somehow blocks the path to victory, which is a ludicrous and unfounded assertion. In fact, a Rand Corp. study concluded the opposite.
Trump and readers of this editorial owe it to themselves to view a 2015 video by the New York Times profiling Airman Logan Ireland, who at the time was serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The airman’s bulging biceps and rippling stomach muscles belie the notion that transgender status created any physical impediment to Ireland’s ability to serve. Ireland was assigned a female gender at birth but bears all the attributes of a very healthy male. Unit commanders were fully aware of Ireland’s transgender status and registered no objections.
In one respect, Trump is correct: There is a medical cost attached to the hormone injections that help people like Ireland maintain their physical attributes. But the cost, estimated by Rand to be about $8.4 million a year, is neither prohibitive nor out of line with other medical costs that the Pentagon gladly absorbs to keep service members in top condition.
Ireland, now a staff sergeant, told the Air Force Times on Wednesday that he would challenge the order in court. “You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life.”