Today’s edition of the confirmation hearings circus will feature an appearance by the man who may have been one of the most popular cabinet picks that the President Elect has made. (Well… in conservative circles, anyway.) General James “Mad Dog” Mattis will answer questions from anyone with the solid brass cojones to challenge him as he prepares to take his place as Secretary of Defense. I’m sure there will be a number of topics covered, but as The Hill reports, liberals are probably going to be raising questions about the outgoing administration’s mandates regarding women in combat and LGBT issues with an eye toward how Mattis will be dealing with them.
Retired Gen. James Mattis’s stance on women in combat and LGBT troops will be thrust in the spotlight Thursday when he faces senators for his confirmation hearing to be the next secretary of Defense.
The man whom Mattis is in line to replace, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, opened all combat jobs to women with no exceptions in late 2015 over the objection of the Marine Corps. This summer, Carter also lifted the ban on transgender troops serving openly.
Supporters of the changes have been worried since Election Day that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will roll them back.
Ash Carter’s tenure was in some ways defined by this issue. Back in 2015 he pulled the trigger on ordering all combat roles to be open to women on only thirty days notice. This led to considerable consternation in the military community and it wasn’t just coming from Mattis. When John Kelly retired, he expressed his dismay over the lowering of standards required in the Marines if they wanted to fill the combat ranks with female fighters. Everyone will be watching to see what Mad Dog has to say on the subject.
I highly doubt we’re going to be seeing any sort of change in stance over openly gay members of the military serving and as far as I’m concerned there’s no need to go there. Any men who meet the basic physical and psychological requirements for combat and are willing to serve their country should be able to do so. When it comes to sending women into actual combat roles my view is already well known. It’s not just a question of meeting physical requirements… I simply don’t approve of sending American women to fight and die – or even worse, be captured – on the front lines. These concerns are only reinforced when considering the fact that we’re currently fighting a monstrous enemy which brags about their history of selling “enemy” women into service as sex slaves.
I get that my position paints me as something of a dinosaur and I’m probably on the wrong side of history here. So be it. But there are additional concerns to be addressed which deal with the tiny number of female enlistees who can actually pass the same benchmarks for combat troops which we’ve traditionally required. I would expect Mattis to be asked about this and to have some answers ready. If I had to guess, he might come down on the side of leaving those billets open to women, but not approving of any minimum quota of females because it’s so hard to find them.
But then again, he might not. Mad Dog has offered some opinions in the past which indicate that he doesn’t feel the fairer sex is mentally prepared to do the dirty work required on the front lines.
Mattis, a retired Marine, has expressed skepticism in the past about whether women are suited for what he called “intimate killing” and has blasted civilian leaders with a “progressive agenda” pushing “social change” on the military.
That’s an interesting way to put it, but intimate killing is obviously something that Mattis knows a thing or two about. I’ll just slip on my asbestos underwear before saying this, but I have to agree with him. If you’re looking for some statistics to back that up, just take a look a the historical crime rate data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Traditionally, women only account for 14% of all violent crime in this country and 60% of those incidents were cases of domestic violence, fighting back against an abusive spouse or partner and similar situations. When it comes to actual killing, the number of female murderers is almost too low to accurately measure when compared to men and fully two thirds of the male victims in those cases were husbands or boyfriends.
I know it’s unpopular to say in the 21st century, but the human race is composed of two sexes… male and female. And there are distinct (and generally wonderful) differences between us. One of the less wonderful ones is that fact that men are simply better equipped to engage in violence and even killing when the situation demands it. It seems rather obvious that there would be a parallel to the question of putting women in combat roles. I’m not saying we don’t have any ladies who can do it… just that it’s a far slimmer percentage.
I won’t be surprised if Mattis weighs in with some very similar thoughts today. Holding his tongue and being politically correct aren’t exactly traits that have defined Mad Dog throughout his career.