Monday, May 1, 2017

Only A War Can Save Us From Ourselves

We’ve thoroughly documented the disjointed thinking of Navy leadership, the hollowness of the fleet, and myriad other problems.  Of all the Navy’s problems, social engineering is, arguably, the biggest and worst.  The other problems can be fixed in relatively short order.  Maintenance could be drastically improved almost overnight if the Navy suddenly wanted to.  Better aircraft and ship designs could be implemented within five years, as we’ve proposed.  Weapon systems could be brought up to the level of the rest of the world in a heartbeat.

The problem that can’t be fixed, once it takes hold, is social engineering.  Social engineering is the artificial manipulation of the military’s personnel with the goal of reflecting the demographic trends seen in society at large.  Well, what’s wrong with that?  Shouldn’t our military reflect the society it serves?  Even if it doesn’t quite reflect society’s makeup, setting that composition as a goal is admirable, isn’t it?  No, it isn’t.  It’s stupid, demeaning to those involved, and produces effects exactly contrary to those desired.  Let’s look a bit closer at the very concept.

Forcing an organization or group’s demographics to conform to society’s demographics ignores choice and human nature.  It assumes, naively, that all members of society want to be members of sub-groups in ratios exactly equal to society’s demographics.

Further, it assumes that all members of society are exactly equal in all respects - physical, mental, and emotional - and this is just utter nonsense.

Did you know that nearly 100% of live births are produced by women?  This is an outrage and must be stopped.  Men should be allowed to produce 50% of the births and, if necessary, the courts should step in to break the stranglehold that women currently have on this practice.  Women are practicing systematic oppression of men by keeping this important function to themselves.  Are not all people, men and women, exactly equal and exactly equally capable of all things?

Some of you, a few misguided souls, probably believe that there is an obvious physical reason for this discrepancy and that physical differences should excuse performance differences and be the justification for this abhorrent discrimination against men.  We know, however, that physical differences are not a reason for differences in performance.  How do we know this?  Because our senior military leadership has assured us that women are exactly equal to men even in jobs that require superior strength and stamina.  Men are not inherently stronger than women – women have just not been given the same opportunity to train to the required strength.  The pictures you’ve seen of troops marching while women have no packs and men carry their packs for them are not a sign of any inherent physical weakness on the part of women.  Instead, those pictures make clear the gender-malicious lack of training opportunity imposed on women and preventing them from easily carrying the same weight that a man can carry.

I had a little fun with that example but it demonstrates, to anyone stupid enough to require the demonstration, that men and women are not equal.  They have physical differences that manifest themselves as performance differences.

OB/GYN doctors are 75% female.  Why?  Who knows?  Women just seem to prefer that medical specialty and men do not.  Should we mandate 50% men and 50% women OB/GYN doctors?  That would be absurd.  Let men and women choose what they prefer and enjoy.  And yet, mandating choice is exactly what the military is engaging in. 

“The proposal, sent to Defense Secretary Ash Carter for approval, would require the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to consider minority candidates for key jobs such as aide-de-camp and military assistant to senior leaders. “

Well, what’s wrong with that?  Forcing the military to “consider” minorities can’t be a bad thing, can it?  Of course not.  However, it’s a very thin line between “considering” and a quota system premised on reverse discrimination.  In the civilian world, when dealing with race, society was unable to avoid mere removal of barriers and leapt enthusiastically into quotas which set the civil rights movement back significantly by making all minority hires suspect.  Did they get the job because they earned it or because they were part of a quota? 

The point is that the military, even more than the civilian world, must have the best in every position.  If that results in an all black, or all Asian, or all male, or all female, or all white officer corps (or SEAL Team or infantry unit or whatever), or any mix thereof, then so be it. 

Here’s some interesting data.

“Overall, the active duty force of more than 1 million troops is about 69% white, 17% black and 4% Asian, according to Pentagon figures.”

The article did not include data for Hispanics.

Compare that to the overall US racial demographics, according to Wiki, which has the US at 64% white, 16% Hispanic, 12% black, and 5% Asian.

Thus, the military is pretty close to the US societal makeup.  So, what problem are we solving?  But, I digress …

Our leadership is concerned.

“Carter believes that emphasizing diversity is essential for the military to attract and retain the troops it needs for the future, …”

Again, what problem are we solving?  Perhaps Carter is unaware of the actual data?  But, I digress …

To be fair and clear, the military appears more concerned with subsets in the military that don’t reflect society at large.  Thus, while the overall makeup is virtually identical to society, certain groups such as officers, SEALs, or whatever, may not be and this is what the military leadership apparently wants to address.

For example,

“The Pentagon’s most elite forces, including Navy SEALs, are virtually all-white. Last year, the paper reported that eight of 753 SEAL officers were black, or 1%.”

So, how does the military plan to address the imbalances?

“The plan before Carter would direct each of the services to establish goals for race, ethnicity and gender among the officers it commissions to “reflect the diverse population in the United States eligible to serve in our military. Undertaking the additional effort to identify and recruit a diverse candidate pool will help us build a stronger force and expose more Americans to the opportunity to serve in our military.”

“The proposal calls on the services to report to Carter by May 1 on how they will incorporate the policy into their diversity initiatives.”

We earlier mentioned the fine line between goals and quotas and this sounds like a hair’s breadth from being a quota.  We’ve seen that women will be placed in units on a quota basis, performance be damned, and now this.

Now, for the main point of this post which is that not everyone wants to be part of every subset in proportions exactly equal to society’s makeup.  We’ve seen that females constitute a greater than demographically expected portion of OB/Gyn doctors.  Why?  It’s just personal preferences.  Should we force doctors who don’t want to be OB/Gyns to become one in order to satisfy demographic equality while artificially excluding female doctors who do want to be OB/Gyns just because women are over represented in that field?  Most of us would probably think not – that personal preference is fine even if it leads to “imbalanced” demographics relative to society.

“Expanding the pool of minority candidates for combat leadership has proved challenging for the Pentagon. Young black men, for decades, have opted for other fields, including logistics.”

What about qualifications?  If not enough men are choosing OB/Gyn, should we grab people off the street and pronounce them OB/Gyn doctors?  Of course not – they’re not qualified.  Why, then, would we force service men and women into roles they don’t want or are not qualified for?

Of course, there’s a larger issue when we talk about qualifications and that is societal background.  A young white male may enter the military more qualified than a young black male due to their individual histories of education, family life, experience, etc.  That, however, is an issue largely outside the control of the military.  Addressing the issue by forcing people into quota spots is not the answer, as society has discovered.  Quotas will simply ensure that unqualified people are set up for failure and that bias, to the extent it exists, and resentment among those who are qualified but excluded due to quotas will only increase.

The result of social engineering in the military will, inevitably, be units that are poorly suited for their tasks.  During peacetime, we can get away with poor performance and combat inefficiencies.  When war comes, however, our enemies will quickly make clear the idiocy of our social engineering policies.  Combat does not care about demographics.  Combat is the ultimate form of blind justice.  The competent will survive and the unqualified will die.  At that point, and only then, will we begin to revise our policies and implement common sense measures.  Only a war can save us from ourselves.

Note: Before you jump in with a comment about what you think I wrote, go back and reread the post and be sure that I actually wrote what you think I wrote.  I will be merciless on comments that are not based on what was actually written.  You've been warned.


(1)Military Times website, “Pentagon proposal on 'Rooney Rule' for minority officers raising internal concerns”, Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today, April 14, 2016,


  1. What scares me about this is something I recently read about the Austro-Hungarian army.

    Austria Hungary was an old, sick empire. But her military was in a worse shape than it could have been because instead of trying to establish an army and a navy and make it the best they could given the resources (like Germany and Prussia had been doing) they had this polyglot split up military that was designed, in part, to keep the political factions of the empire happy. It ended up being a terrible army.

    I realize this isn't strictly apples to apples to our current issues; but my point is that it seems history teaches us that when the government tries to intervene in the military to pursue non military, more political ends, disaster can occur when those non military ends are against the rules needed for a good military.

    Our goal should be simply this: The military should be the best we can make it, with the best people we can get into it.

    Any redressing of social issues should be done *before* a person is eligible for the military.

    The military is a poor tool with which to redress social injustices.

  2. I don't believe in quotas, but I do believe in making as many opportunities as possible for minorities, so long as the same requirements/standards are maintained. In some instances recruiting minorities can be a plus, considering SEALs operate world-wide, adding more minorities can be provide an advantage in some situation. It's no different than the CIA recruiting people of Middle Eastern decent to better operate in the Middle East.

    1. "I do believe in making as many opportunities as possible for minorities"

      If we're restricting opportunities for some group that would otherwise be qualified, then I'm with you. If, on the other hand, you're talking about preferential opportunities for unqualified candidates, then I'm not. To be fair, you then say,

      "so long as the same requirements/standards are maintained"

      So, I'm with you on that.

      Now, my question for you is, are you aware of any military job opportunities for any qualified group that are restricted to only certain groups? I'm unaware of any.

      Women, of course, fall into the special category of 'unqualified' for some jobs and, therefore, should be restricted.

    2. I'm not aware of any military opportunities for any qualified group that are restricted only to certain groups. It seems that would be illegal if that were the case. That's almost like saying, "Whites Only" or "No Irish."

      I also believe in oppening every job possible to women, including the combat arms where possible.

      My 13 year-old daughter is considering the service and I'm open to the idea. I just her to join as an officer because I know female enlisted can be treated.

  3. Excellent opinion piece. And I am known for being merciless on opinion pieces.

  4. "Only a war can save us from ourselves."

    The problem is that the nation might not survive the
    war... There is no appetite for WWIII among even the
    most ardent hawks I know in my circle and no one wants
    to see their kids die in Syria for some Corporations
    oil pipeline....

    1. Did you actually bother to read the post? Nothing in it called for a war.

  5. Ooops....humble pie accepted...


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