Standards be damned

The December 2015 announcement by the Obama administration opening up all combat jobs to women should have come as no surprise.  It is a triumph of political correctness over function.   Of course, as current SecDef Carter stated, “as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”

Yes, of course they will qualify and “meet the standards.”   And if they don’t, then, by God, those standards must be biased.   But that’s for another time to argue over.

My first reaction?  The typical woman lacks the upper body strength of the typical man.  Of course, there are some women stronger than most men, and,  we’ve all met men weaker than most women.    Fine.  Very few women will actually be able to pass the screening, right?

For now.  Standards will inevitably be sacrificed so that the military doesn’t “discriminate” against women.    But consider what might be a typical duty for a female infantry grunt (gruntette?):  dragging or carrying a wounded comrade to safety.   The Marines’ weight standards for a 5’10” man (say a typical Marine) are 132 pounds (min) to 192 (max), for an average of 162 pounds.

Now, how many women are able to actually dead-lift 162 pounds, let alone carry that weight for any distance?  Not many, I’d guess.

Not to matter.  One inevitable reaction to this PC nonsense is to propose that women should register for the draft.  Makes sense, if one accepts the premise that, in the unlikely event we need to activate the draft, then all who are at potential risk for combat duty ought to share that risk.

Therein lies the lefty dilemma:  the notion that women are proud and tough and can do anything at all, crashing directly into the other lefty theme of women as helpless victims  (no means no, microagressions, etc. etc).  If women can serve in the combat arms, then they must, in fairness, also be part of the draft.  Sorry lefties.  Your women will need to leave their fainting couches at home.

In the reality, I can pretty much guarantee that a vast proportion of women would not pass realistic screening for combat jobs.  As, for that matter, far too many men would not, but almost certainly not nearly proportionally as many women.   Thereby wasting a whole lot of the military’s time and effort if we are ever as a nation so  strapped for volunteers that we must re-engage the draft.

Hey, social justice warriors:  be careful what you ask for.  You might just get truly equal treatment.

A strong woman…

…can beat Donald Trump. That’s the message conveyed by the candidate, who will not appear on the platform for tomorrow’s debate. The strong woman is not Hillary Clinton, she is Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who Trump stated had been “unfair” to him during the first GOP debate last August.

One must feel The Donald’s pain.   A woman who was “unfair” to him, and whose employer, Fox News, refused to remove her as one of the moderators.   The nerve of those people at Fox.   That Fox had provided Donald with at least weekly free air time over the past several years is now down the memory hole, I suppose.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Fox spokesman tweeted this lovely bit of snark:

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president…”

More to the point, is Trump afraid of another “unfair” question?  For the record, I thought Kelly’s question was unfair, directed as it was solely to Trump.  Boo hoo, Donald.  He can’t stand the heat, so he boogies out of the kitchen.

Final point:  the Hillary Clinton attack video practically produces itself.  Donald Trump, afraid to be questioned by a strong woman.   I, Hillary, am a strong woman (although unable to retain control of top secret emails, but that’s for another time…)

As for The Donald…

Trump is almost a walking definition of what it means to be vulgar. He is a blowhard. He is a bully, juvenile in his attacks. Not just juvenile, but sometimes downright mean-spirited (e.g. mocking a disabled reporter for his disability, not for his opinions).

When his supporters argue, “But what he is saying is true,” does this apply to Trump’s many insults against others? And what is the truth about vague statements that such-and-such is “going to be terrific?” Because he’s going to make “great deals,” I suppose.

Look, Donald Trump is fun to watch (except when he is cringe-worthy). And he is owed a debt for bringing issues to the fore (such as immigration and the brainless Obama plan to bring tens of thousands of un-vetted Syrian refugees into our country).

But as a potential commander-in-chief? As we might say in my native New York, fuhgeddaboudit.

Nothing much has changed

Been away since last September, for a variety of reasons, including surgery.  In the four months, little of substance has changed in the Republican primary.  Then, I wrote:

Two points. First, conservatives and Republicans (I am both) need to ask themselves: are those seeking the Republican nomination likely to be better, or worse presidents, than Hillary (or Joe or, shudder, Bernie)? There is not a single person running on our side who would not make a better president than any of those the Democrats have on offer (whatever happened to Jim Webb?).

Second, hark back to William F. Buckley’s premise: we should nominate the most conservative candidate who can win the general election. Not the perfect candidate. He (or she) does not exist.

Right now, for me at least, that would be Marco Rubio. He is smart, well-versed on the issues of the day, good on his feet, and presents the starkest possible generational contrast with the Old Folks the Dems have to offer.

Marco Rubio is still my first choice.  As for The Donald, he thunders on,  spitting his venom at those who disagree with his greatness.

State of the Republican race

It has been said many times, but bears repeating: there is no perfect candidate. Even if there were, my perfect candidate would likely be different than your perfect candidate.

Two points. First, conservatives and Republicans (I am both) need to ask themselves: are those seeking the Republican nomination likely to be better, or worse presidents, than Hillary (or Joe or, shudder, Bernie)? There is not a single person running on our side who would not make a better president than any of those the Democrats have on offer (whatever happened to Jim Webb?).

Second, hark back to William F. Buckley’s premise: we should nominate the most conservative candidate who can win the general election. Not the perfect candidate. He (or she) does not exist.

Right now, for me at least, that would be Marco Rubio. He is smart, well-versed on the issues of the day, good on his feet, and presents the starkest possible generational contrast with the Old Folks the Dems have to offer.

While The Donald might get the nomination, he is rather disliked by the general electorate. And his explosive response to any slight, perceived or real, would do him in in the general.

What about Bush, Carson, and Fiorina? The name Bush has become anathema, and we are not some third-rate monarchy that passes the throne to the next in line for coronation. Carson? Brilliant surgeon, marvelous person. Not a clue when it comes to what matters in running our military or foreign policy. We’ve already seen what on-the-job training will get you in a president. Fiorina? Failed executive, failed senate candidate. ‘Nuff said.

As for Scott Walker, for whom I had high hopes, he disappointed with his sour grapes exit. But he was right. We need to focus on dumping Trump. No-chance candidates such as Govs. Gilmore, Huckabee, Jindal, and Pataki, and Sens. Graham, Paul, and Santorum should exit gracefully before wasting any more time and money.

Summer of Trump

Ah, Donald Trump. He is now a media frenzy, a human tornado of bloviation, exaggeration, and braggadocio. I very much admire the man’s brass huevos, and love it when he gives off-the-top-of-his-head responses. But wait, as they say on the infomercials, is it possible this jamoke could gain our nomination and actually be elected president? I did not think so, but…

Anecdotal, but perhaps a leading indicator of The Donald’s electability: First, a good friend, a lifelong Democrat and liberal, very much likes Trump and says she will vote for him. First double-take.

Second, my union-forever inlaws have told me they also like Trump, and would vote for him. Second double-take.

In both cases, likely the first Republican (ok, purists – the man on the Republican ticket) they will have ever voted for.

My conclusion, albeit quite tentative, is that Trump, should he gain the Republican nomination, has a very good chance at winning.

The question for actual Republicans, including myself, is this: Is Donald Trump the best we can do? Seems to me he is a Republican of convenience. He is mercurial, and has changed his positions radically within the very recent past.

Perhaps the Summer of Trump will lead to an Autumn Awakening among Republicans, and Trump will take his proper place, trailing genuine and serious conservatives such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Perry.

Depravity

There is a rather interesting analysis of ISIS up at the New York Review of Books. Well worth the read, especially for anyone who believes they know what ISIS is about. Bottom line for me? ISIS is comprised of depraved souls with no love for their fellow human beings, so long as those individuals do not agree with the ISIS way of death.

I confess to being a Calvinist, and, as such, find no shock in the depravity of ISIS and its supporters. On the contrary, their depravity, unchecked by our so-called modern sensibilities, is the natural state of humanity. Absent sufficient challenge, it metastasizes into places such as Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and, now, ISIS.

It would be too facile to blame Islam per se. Obviously, a very large majority of Muslims do not support the ISIS blood cult. Just as obviously, that same large majority is not dealing effectively with the serpent in its midst.

What to do? I know what we could do, but I don’t believe the West has the stomach for it – massive attacks with massive loss of civilian lives. Basically, make a wasteland out of all territory infested by the ISIS virus.

So, what should we do? A good start would be to ramp up our air campaign, effectively arm the Kurds to make them our sharp end of the spear. Perhaps even make good on a long-ignored promise of creating a Kurdistan out of Kurdish enclaves in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and, yes, Turkey.

Before any of that, though, the very first thing we must do is stop being mush-headed about ISIS. We must acknowledge that ISIS is a blood-cult variety of Islam. We must acknowledge that tribalism still rules the Middle East. They are not modern just because they have Twitter accounts. We must stop thinking that half-hearted measures and good intentions might work (e.g. let’s stop pretending that because we claim a “60 nation coalition” that we are actually making a real fight of it).

Along the way, and starting with the next administration (the current one seems to hate all things truly military), build up all branches of our armed forces. It is worse than useless to speak of “red lines” and not back up such brave talk. Or even be able to back it up because our president has decimated our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.