There was an unusual Rasmussen survey this month which provided a glimpse into one segment of the population we don’t hear from often enough. Our nation’s military almost uniformly (pun not intended) wants the right to arm themselves while on base. Unfortunately, what seems like common sense at the most basic level is highly controversial in politics, particularly among the Democrat leadership. Our own Katie Pavlich touched on this at Town Hall with some of the pertinent background.
After watching the slaughter at the Ft. Hood terror attack in 2009, the second Ft. Hood shooting in 2014 and most recently in Chattanooga, soldiers stationed at bases and posts here at home are fed up with the military’s “gun free” zone policy.
Current Department of Defense policy states, “It is DoD policy to limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried.”
After Chattanooga, this policy was even more dumbfounding. The FBI had been warning military service members about potential lone wolf terror attacks for nearly a year, yet didn’t allow those stationed in recruitment centers any means to protect themselves.
The results of this survey are pretty much as obvious as discovering that water is wet, but as I noted above, it’s something of a rare glimpse. You don’t often see our active duty soldiers, sailors and airmen piping up on matters of political debate, and unless things have changed significantly since I was in the service, that fact is by design. Personnel are actively discouraged from spouting off, particularly when their opinions could be seen as contrary to the leadership, established rules or the Commander in Chief. If that sounds unfair to civilian ears you really need to consider the absolute requirement for discipline and respect for the chain of command in a functional military. Free thinking on matters of policy and tactics is not only discouraged, but seen as corrosive.
Still, our troops are human beings, each with their own opinions, and most of them doubtless follow the news of the days. I have to wonder if this desire for self-protection – widely opposed by Democrats – is only a smaller symptom of a larger trend. The Washington Post reported this month that recent veterans completing their terms of military service are far more Republican than they used to be.
We found that military service did move the needle to the right, even after controlling for age and other demographic factors. Veterans in general were more likely to vote for John McCain and Mitt Romney, more likely to call themselves Republicans, more likely to hold conservative positions on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, and more likely to dislike Obamacare. About half of non-veteran men voted for Obama, but only about 35 percent of male veterans voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012…
But that section of the analysis is for all veterans. They already seemed to tilt to the Right traditionally, but the newest crop is accelerating the pace.
A closer look at which veterans exhibit distinctive attitudes reveals that recent, younger veterans are more likely to be Republicans and vote for GOP candidates. We ran a statistical model that examined veteran attitudes and vote choice for each decade of age. While veterans in their 20s are not numerous—only about 6 percent of American men this age served—they are particularly likely to prefer and identify with Republicans.
This may puzzle the psychological analysts in Washington and Manhattan but it’s not any sort of news around most military bases. Unit and branch cohesion is pretty much baked into the cake in the military. In fact, during basic training we pretty much try to weed out people who can’t fit into a unified military mold since they’re the ones most likely to get you killed in a combat zone. And the military likes the government most when they take care of the troops. Which party do you suppose that description lines up best with?
It would be nice to just issue a proclamation here today that all soldiers should be able to carry on base. I’m certainly in favor of it. But for that to happen it takes more than just the phone and the pen. If it’s to be done it needs to happen through normal military channels and such change takes time. It would be good to see them get started on it though.