Is there currently anything more predictable in our political discourse than the onslaught of the conservative outrage machine every time the Obama administration announces a major change in operation?
Well, they've struck again.
On Thursday, the Pentagon made good on a nearly year long promise to lift the ban on transgender individuals in the military.
"This is the right thing to do for our people and for the force,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, announcing the move that has been in the works since last July. Carter, himself, indicated support for lifting the ban as far back as February 2015. “We’re talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve. We can’t allow barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission," he said Thursday.
According to USA Today, the change "came despite last-minute concerns [that] were raised by top brass about how to deal with the medical, housing and uniform issues for troops who are transitioning to the other sex."
However, Carter ordered a working group of senior civilian and military leaders tasked with a plan to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military a year ago. More from USA Today:
There are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender troops in the active-duty force of 1.3 million, according to Agnes Schaefer, the lead author of a RAND Corp. study commissioned by the Pentagon on the issue. Of those troops, RAND estimates that between 30 and 140 would seek hormone treatment, and 25 to 130 would seek surgery. The estimated annual price tag: $2.4 million to $8.4 million, per year.
The effect on readiness to fight, or deploy, is anticipated to be small, Schaefer said. Transgender troops would be unavailable to deploy between 8 and 43 man years annually, a measure of military readiness. The military overall has 1.2 million man years. The Army has about 5,300 non-deployable man years.
"The bottom line is that we think it will be minimal," Schaefer said of the effect on military readiness of lifting the ban.
Still, Arizona Senator John McCain complained to Fox News on Thursday that the administration had not sought his approval beforehand.
And like clockwork, the most rabid right-wingers on Twitter lashed out with their usual anti-Transgender comments Thursday -- which I've dutifully scooped up for a handy listicle of hate. Sorry?