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Meet Your New Military September 20, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

It’s axiomatic that once people take their eye off the ball, they drop it. In real life, that means that once you allow yourself to be distracted from your primary mission by extraneous considerations, you put that mission at risk.

That brings us to the US military.

The US military has been an unequaled fighting force for decades: faster, stronger, smarter, and more dedicated than any other military group on earth. I think they stunned onlooking countries a decade ago when they took Iraq, a country with a fairly large and experienced army, in 3 weeks. That was only possible because the military has concentrated on developing and maintaining the ability to accomplish the strategic goals of the United States.

When it comes to military policy on internal affairs, I’ve always said, “Let them do what they think they need to do. There’s enough on their plate.” Gays in the military? Let them decide. Women in combat? Let them decide.

And in general, I think the military has done fairly well in those decisions. I remember as a military brat that race was insignificant compared to a father’s rank; I think racial tensions in the military are still far lower than in civilian society.

But the administration has decided to fix what ain’t broke, changing an effective fighting force into just another socially-just government agency. To whit:

The military is growing more “sensitive” under the Obama administration, Pentagon observers say, by relaxing long-standing restrictions on soldiers’ religious and personal liberties.

The efforts by the Defense Department to adapt to cultural change go beyond the moves to end the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allow women in combat.
In recent weeks, the Pentagon has backed off controversial hairstyle regulations that critics said discriminated against black women and made the phrase “so help me god” optional in the oath for airmen.

Earlier this year, the military loosened its rules for soldiers who want to wear turbans or grow religious beards and provided exemptions for having tattoos and piercings.

“We want to make sure we’re not offending people,” a DOD official told The Hill.

I’d say the military is taking its eye off the ball, and it’s only going to get worse.


1. lauraw - September 23, 2014

Piercings is one thing, but I agree about loosening the tattoo restrictions. It’s not a marker for low class or degeneracy like it used to be.

Even really nice kids are getting inked up. It is sad to me, but true. They just don’t have any kind of stigma about that anymore. If the military cut those kids out, the military would be empty of adventurous-to-normal young people quite shortly. They’re all doing it.

2. geoff - September 24, 2014

Told my kids, “no tats, no piercings (other than ear), no gauges, no funky hair, until you graduate from high school.”

My son didn’t even blink, but my daughter has gone to war over her hair (which she wants to dye blue). To which I say, “3 more years and peace shall be restored.”

3. daveintexas - September 24, 2014

Almost all the young soldiers I see (and I see a lot) are tatted up, at least the arms where I can see? Although it’s funny that one of the reasons staff sgt boyfriend told youngest he was nervous about meeting me was his arm tats.

She said “he won’t care”. She’s was right

4. Lipstick - September 25, 2014

Geoff, my strict mom friend let her daughter dye the tips of her long hair pink and it looked cute . It let the girl be creative and fashion forward without looking freaky.

It was a compromise that pleased everybody.

5. geoff - September 25, 2014

Actually, I told her she could dye the tips, just not the whole thing. I thought I was being very compromising, but give ’em an inch…

I also told her that she could have one complete dye job if she got straight A’s this semester (she’s taking a couple of AP courses and an advanced course, so it’s a bit challenging). She didn’t like that offer either.

So those offers are on the table, and those are the only offers she’s getting.

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