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Experts say Congress needs to intervene: troops could be hit with courts-martial for refusing to use preferred pronouns

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Military experts believe Congress needs to intervene in the military’s carried away woke agenda “before it’s too late.” Captain Thomas Wheatley, an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, told the Daily Caller News Foundation the military could seek to formally punish service members for refusing to use another service member’s preferred pronouns under existing policy.

The military “is right to want to protect the rights and welfare of its transgender service members. But it owes the same protection to those who share a different perspective on the issue, especially when that perspective is a deep-seated expression of personal conscience,” Wheatley told the DCNF.

None of the military’s rules explicitly prohibit so-called “misgendering,” when someone uses pronouns to describe a transgender person which do not correspond to the person’s new gender identity, Wheatley explained. However, existing guidance implies that using pronouns rejected by another person violates Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) regulations against sex-based harassment and discrimination.

The DCNF reports:

A 2020 Equal Opportunity law opened the door for commanders to subject someone who refuses to affirm a transgender servicemember’s so-called gender identity to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for charges related to harassment, Capt. Thomas Wheatley, an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Such a move would likely infringe on a servicemember’s constitutional rights to uphold their conscience, but it might not prevent leaders from employing more subtle ways of disciplining service members.

Service members could conceivably be court-martialed for “refusing to use another person’s self-identified pronouns, even when their refusal stems from principled religious conviction,” Wheatley told the DCNF. “This law applies to service members at all times and in all locations, even when they’re off duty and in the privacy of their off-post residence.”

The UCMJ also prohibits “conduct unbecoming of an officer” under Article 133 and activity that could be seen to discredit the military institution under Article 134 — the same article the military uses to prosecute child pornographers and other acts of sexual deviance, he explained.

“Is it now ‘unbecoming’ and incompatible with service as a commissioned officer to openly hold sincere religious convictions surrounding the act of creation and the nature of human sex?” Wheatley asked.

Wheatley said his interest in the issue was sparked four years ago, when the Army updated its MEO policy stating “violations of MEO and Harassment Prevention and Response policies may result in disciplinary action under the UCMJ.”

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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