Ken Blackwell: President Obama and Military “Corpsemen”
This piece originally appeared on Townhall.com on February 20, 2010.
The blogs have been having a lot of fun with Vice President Joe Biden’s latest gaffe. The veep claimed that the U.S. would be the world economic leader “throughout the twentieth century.” I guess that was a safe bet.
President Obama’s gaffes are less frequent than Biden’s gaffe-a-day act, but they are no less revealing. YouTube watchers have had a laugh at the Commander-in-Chief’s latest stumble. Speaking about the military, he referred to a medical corpsmen as a “corpse-man.” The President apparently was unfamiliar with the term. And no one on his staff thought to prep him with a phonetic key.
Small matter? Not really. It stands with his famous 52-second video from the 2008 campaign where he stumbled over the term “Quadrennial Defense Review.” Civilian policy makers who have responsibility for military matters are wholly conversant with the QDR, and the term trips off their lips. Then-Sen. Obama showed how unfamiliar he was with military issues not just by his verbal stumble. He said he would not “weaponize” space. He meant he would dismantle Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. But the Left’s slogan about not weaponizing space forgets the fact that the old Soviet Union weaponized space back in 1957 when it launched the first earth satellite, Sputnik. The U.S. submarine fleet is equipped with tens of thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles–all of which would travel through space to their targets if the President had to order a retaliatory attack. Let’s pray he never does. And let’s pray this President learns something about the U.S. military before a crisis hits.
President Obama’s plan to repeal “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” is a further example of his lack of knowledge of the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates pleaded before a Senate committee for a year to study and implement the Obama repeal of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.” Among the practical questions Gates is going to have to answer are these:
1. Will the military be ordered to recruit gays by quota? All other sub-groups in our all-volunteer military are recruited by quota. Women, minorities, specialties like doctors and lawyers, all are subject to quotas.
2. If the answer to No. 1 is Yes, then what would the gay quota be? Would it be the widely discredited 10% figure that gay activists like Obama’s Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings always cite? Or would it be the more realistic “less than 3% figure?”
3. If large numbers of those volunteers currently serving in our military don’t re-enlist, or if sufficient new recruits cannot be attracted to the Obama military, will this administration bring back the draft?
These are all very serious questions to which Sec. Gates must apply himself. He must do this even while he is trying to win the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once the Obama military has been formed, how will the new gay troops be housed? And what about the stress on military health care?
Already, this alternate lifestyle has created what the gay groups themselves refer to as a Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Do the American people want to bring this health crisis into the ranks of our volunteer military?
In his address to the gay lobby, President Obama spoke of extending the right to serve in the military to all groups, regardless of sexual orientation. There is no right to serve in the military. There has never been a right to serve in the military.
Of course it was wrong ever to restrict the military service of black Americans, but it was also the fact that black Americans had served in every one of our wars, and from the first days of our Navy. President Harry Truman’s Executive Order that did away with segregated units in the Army was promptly obeyed in 1948 and generously praised by Gen. Colin Powell fifty years later. But, as Gen. Powell said the last time the issue of recruiting gays by quota for the military was raised, sexual orientation is essentially different from the “benign characteristic” of skin color.
President Obama’s plans can cause a crisis of confidence in the military. This plan threatens unit cohesion at a time when the Ft. Hood shootings already demonstrate a major failure of leadership in the Army. Barack Obama is showing that his only real interest in the military is to use it as a platform for radical social engineering. That does not pass the test of leadership.