Tag: military

Well, the world hasn’t ended yet

A little housekeeping first. The next two weeks will see me head down in the final edits and prep of Light Magic for its scheduled release date of Feb. 6th. Because of that, I’ll be blogging here but there will be some reposting of past blogs or posting of snippets. Don’t worry, though. If anything breaks in the news about current events or the publishing industry that I feel moved to comment on, I will.

Today, I’m going to do my best to keep my temper under control. I’m a military mom. A proud military mom. My son is active duty and is a victim, like all members of our military and so many other federal employees, of the current political tug-of-war going on in DC. When are we, the voters, going to say “Enough!”?

It isn’t monetary concerns holding up the budget. It’s social concerns, namely DACA and related issues. Yes, those are important issues but not so important that we put the smooth running of our government — muchless the safety of our country — at risk. Continue reading

Equality redux

Last week, I did a post at According to Hoyt about equality and women in the military. Specifically, I referenced Ashton Carter’s declaration that all jobs in the military should be open to both sexes. I admitted there that I was all for it, including combat jobs, if a woman could qualify for the position without those qualifications being watered down. I went further, I said that, in the name of equality, women should be treated the same as a man when it comes to registering for the draft. In other words, as long as there is the requirement, it should apply across the board.

After all, as long as the requirement is there and you say there should be equality, that ought to mean in all aspects of the military and that includes the draft.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Instead of posting a snippet, I find myself reading an article from the National Review that had my jaw dropping for several reasons.

Let’s start with the headline itself: Only a Barbaric Nation Drafts Its Mothers and Daughters into Combat.

So, based on the headline itself, the National Review thinks it is all right to draft our sons and fathers into combat. That isn’t barbaric. But, even though all areas of the military, including combat roles are to be open to women, it would be barbaric to draft them. I guess the National Review thinks the “little woman” is too delicate to take part in battle.

But let’s move on to the article itself.

Ah, the very first line of the article gets right to the heart of the matter — politics. It seems the author of the article is disappointed that Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio said in the debate that they feel women should have to register for the draft. Sounds to me that they are simply agreeing that if you are going to apply equality to the military, you shouldn’t be able to pick and choose where you want that equality applied.

Now, I will give it to the National Review. It is up front in the article that it has condemned the Obama Administration for trying to open all jobs in the military to women. It’s objections have been based on studies and historical data and, to be honest, I share some of their concern. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your point of view — the decision by Sec Def makes those objections moot.

But let’s go on.

Indeed, there are other fundamental reasons to oppose not just the presence of women in the infantry but their forcible conscription into its ranks.

Wait, where has anyone said there would be forcible conscription into the infantry? Did I miss something? What SecDef’s ruling means is that a woman can join the infantry if she wants — and if she meets the physical and mental requirements. Simply requiring women to register for the draft the same way men are required does not, by itself, mean women will be “conscripted” into the infantry. In fact, I have little doubt that, should the draft once more be used and women are part of it, those women drafted will find themselves filling non-combat roles in a much higher percentage than their male counterparts do.

Men should protect women. They should not shelter behind mothers and daughters.

Then the National Review goes on to the next political hot button by claiming that we see this in mass shootings where men sacrifice themselves in order to protect their womenfolk. Okay, that’s a paraphrase but not by much. What really gets me about this statement and the follow-up regarding mass shootings is that is negates all the times women have acted to protect others, including males. It assumes women are not capable of protecting themselves and others. It does, in fact, play into the argument from certain sectors that the patriarchy is working to keep women from stepping out of the kitchen and away from raising kids.

Does that mean it isn’t a valid concern? No. There is a part of almost every man I have ever met that, on some deep, possible genetic level that sends him into protective mode when a woman is in trouble. That does raise the concern about how a man would react to see a female squadmate in trouble. It also raises the question of how he would react if the two of them are captured by the enemy and the enemy threatens the woman with rape or other tortures.

However, does that invalidate women in combat? I don’t know and I won’t make that judgment call. Right now, whether it does or not, well, it doesn’t matter. SecDef has made sure of it.

When we order women into ground combat, we are ordering them into situations where men larger and stronger than they will show no mercy. 

Yep. However, the same applies to men. The enemy is there to defeat our troops, no matter how they have to do it. Saying they won’t show mercy simply because they are fighting women is disingenuous. Everything the New Republic has said could apply to sending men into combat. But that doesn’t fit their narrative. Nor does it surprise me.

In the article, New Republic condemns Bush, Christie and Rubio for bowing down to political correctness. That might be part of it but part is reality. If we are going to have a draft, it should apply to everyone.  If someone is eligible to enlist, then they should be eligible for the draft. It is that simple. It has nothing to do with what their sex is.

Here is the real issue with the entire premise of the article. It assumes, wrongly, that any woman drafted would be placed into a combat role. History proves the lie to that statement. All you have to do is look at the the draft as it was utilized in wars to see that. The military runs on much more than its combat troops. You have to have medics and mechanics, clerks and cooks and so much more. But saying the military will draft women to be mechanics doesn’t make nearly the splash in the headlines as saying they will be drafted into ground combat roles.

In this case, the New Republic is trying to push its own agenda by causing a knee-jerk reaction with what is nothing more than yellow journalism. If you don’t want women in combat, don’t criticize the call to make them eligible for the draft. Criticize SecDef’s decision to open all roles in the military to women. Don’t ignore the fact that not all who are drafted wind up going onto the front lines. Don’t ignore the fact that those women who enlisted could be assigned to the front, if their MOS applies.

But that would mean a much more sedate article than the one posted, one that might require their readers to think instead of just reacting.

Thank you, American Airlines

I find myself in the unique, for me at least, position of thanking one of our airlines. I’d originally thought to just put a short note on facebook about this but, after reading an opinion piece in the paper this morning about American and all its problems, I wanted to do a bit more. Fair disclosure up front: this is something that was related to me by my mother who was a participant in what I’m about to describe.

Yesterday was Mom’s regular day to volunteer at DFW Airport as an Ambassador. Ambassadors are men and women who volunteer to assist travelers by answering questions, directing them to the appropriate gate, helping them find someone with an airline or with airport management who can deal with their problems. They are, more than that, ambassadors of good will at the airport.

So, there Mom was working her post at the airport yesterday when one of our soldiers approached her and asked for help. This young man, who was in uniform, had a problem. He’d been booked on a flight with another airline and had been standing in line to be checked in when he was told his flight was not only filled but was taking off without him. Mind you, he’d been there in plenty of time. He’d followed all the rules. His luggage had been checked. But this airline, with its inefficient and ineffective staffing, was leaving him behind.

Now, I know a lot of you are nodding your heads. You’ve either been in his position before or you know someone who has been. Most of us, when faced with this sort of problem can simply wait for the next flight. Unfortunately, that was not an option for the soldier. He had to report in to Camp Pendleton. If he waited for the airline in question — coff: US Air — to work with him, he would be late in reporting in. That is NOT something any soldier wants to happen.

Frustrated because US Air wasn’t willing work with him, the soldier made his way to American Airlines and, by chance, to my mother who was working in that terminal. He wanted to know if there was anything Mom could do to help him. Since she doesn’t work for the airline, she did the only thing she could. She escorted him to the nearest AA ticket agent.

And this is where I give kudos to American. The agent not only understood what the problem was, but he went above and beyond to help the young soldier. He not only started working his terminal to see what sort of flight arrangements he could make for the soldier, but he got on the phone to US Air to see if he could get them to do the right thing. Handing that phone to Mom to monitor while he was on hold with US Air, he picked up another phone and placed a call that turned out to be to one of the high mucky-mucks for American.

Long story short, or at least shorter, by the time the agent finished, US Air had agreed to put the soldier on the next flight out. Unfortunately, because it wasn’t a direct flight, he would still arrive at Camp Pendleton late. BUT, and this is a big but, American had authorized a seat for him on their next flight, a direct flight, that would get him there in time to report in. His luggage might not get there with him, but it would be there on the next flight.

American might have a lot of problems right now between their bankruptcy filing, the pilots’ union and its demands — and we will not discuss them right now because I’m not nearly as sympathetic to the pilots as I am to AA right now — and the sudden influx of seats coming loose (hmmm, can anyone say “coincidence”?). But yesterday shows that AA also cares about our men and women in uniform, something you can’t always say about the current administration.

So, to American Airlines and to that ticket agent who went so far above and beyond to assist one of our soldiers, thank you.

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