It’s already pretty clear that, in the Trump White House, the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
Now we have definitive proof that the right hand doesn’t even know what it’s doing.
Days after announcing an escalation of the American military prison in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump wants to prepare for that build-up by firing some 12,800 of them, as he finally turns his heinously cruel Tweets about bouncing transgender service-members into an actual policy.
Because wouldn’t you thin out the ranks of your company for no good reason at all just as you were about to embark on a major project that could affect you and your long-term security for years to come?
No, of course not. But that’s the logic at work in Trumplandia.
According to NPR, transgender service-members “would be subject to removal at Defense Secretary James Mattis’ discretion — and the service would bar transgender people from enlisting, under new White House guidelines for the Pentagon.”
NPR reporter Tom Bowman confirmed “rough details” of the policy after the noted leftists at The Wall Street Journal went public with the White House’s plan for the Pentagon.
Gay and lesbian service-members have been able to serve openly in the U.S. military since 2011. In 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter extended that to transgender service members.
Trump abruptly changed course last month via a series of Tweets. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” he wrote.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” Trump concluded.
Never mind that Defense Secretary James Mattis was in the middle of studying the policy and hadn’t finished yet.
It also came as news to military bosses, who reaffirmed the service branches’ commitment to inclusion and diversity. They also said they wouldn’t carry out the policy until they got some kind of formal direction that wasn’t a deranged Tweet by a septuagenarian with anger issues and the world’s shortest attention span.
The New York Times reports that the ban, which would take effect in six months’ time, “has not yet been finalized.”
But “once it is approved, it would allow [Mattis] to force out transgender service members by setting a legal standard of whether they would be able to deploy to war zones or for other lengthy military missions,” the newspaper reported.
Like, for instance, an open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan where the standards for ascertaining victory are only slightly easier than nailing oranges to the wall.
So now there’s an actual policy, which in addition to barring transgender members from serving, would also direct the military to stop spending money on medical care for trans service-members (never mind the fact that the real cost is beyond negligible).
Besides being slimy and probably not legal, the policy would also cause “significant disruptions” in the military and would “‘degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” the Palm Center, which helped the military devise its transgender admission standards, said in a statement, citing the comments of some 56 retired commanders.
Speaking to The New York Times, Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center said it was “unconscionable” for Trump to “take aim at his own, loyally serving troops for political reasons at a time when the military needs to focus on real threats.”
“Imposing one set of standards for transgender troops, and another set of standards for everyone else is a recipe for disruption, distraction and waste,” Belkin told The Times.
It’s also not the freedom that the 10 sailors of the USS John McCain were serving to protect when they were killed in a collision with an oil tanker.
Trump would do well to remember that.
An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.