One treads on potentially dangerous ground with regard to political and social correctness whenever broaching the subject of fitness/qualifications for the presidency, military agencies, and other offices or positions in government. Admittedly, people with varying backgrounds predisposing one way or the other with regard to expected success or failure have performed both surprisingly well and disappointingly badly in these governmental posts. As a practical matter, there can be no test with regard to qualifications other than those mentioned in the Constitution and/or the laws emanating therefrom.
Throwing caution aside and notwithstanding there being no Constitutional grounds for this suggestion, herein it is suggested, anyway, that no candidate for the presidency be considered unless she/he has had military experience. The primary reason should be perfectly obvious, to wit, that the president is by Constitutional fiat Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. If only military personnel are allowed to conduct the military, as is the case, it stands to reason that as the top officer and also the ultimate authority for every military operation, the president should have a background that includes both military training and service. This does not mean that she/he must have served in combat, but that the president must be intimately acquainted with military infrastructure, personnel, and procedures.
With the exception of Bill Clinton, every president all the way back to the 1930s, during the tenure of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has served in the military as a commissioned officer on active duty, seven of the eleven in combat or in combat areas. FDR himself served during World War I as assistant secretary of the Navy. In the 30 years or so following the Civil War, four of the six presidents had a military background, as did George Washington, of course, in militarily securing the birth of the nation. This doesn’t mean that each of the presidents always made good decisions militarily and otherwise, but that each at least had an idea regarding what he was ordering others to do, as well as the circumstances under and because of which they were being ordered to do it.
The primary exception to be taken to this position is that it virtually precludes any chance for a woman to aspire to the highest office in the land. As a practical matter, this is largely true, since far fewer women than men become active in the military, so the arithmetic makes the case. Technically, however, this is not true, since women are very much a part of the military, both as enlisted and commissioned personnel. Women make up more than 15% of the total military at present, almost 20% of the Air Force. Thirty years ago, women made up less than five percent of the military. Women attend the service academies in large numbers and work their way up the chain of command, just as the men do.
The approach termed as unacceptably chauvinistic is, of course, that women, with rare exceptions, are not suited for the military, especially those entities of which involve actual combat, and therefore will always volunteer in fewer numbers than men and with less of the most meaningful experiences (that of combat), making their chances of getting to the presidency even more restricted. There’s truth to this, but the greater truth is that this means that women are also much less suited then men for the presidency itself – admittedly a politically incorrect and outrageous position to take, but one that is logical from the standpoint of the president’s responsibility in maintaining national security, most often a function of the military and the military mindset.
The military is designed for the breaking of things and people and the violent taking of lives, unattractive actions men are far more likely to perform (and perform well) than women, who are predisposed far more than men toward nurturing, not killing…just a fact of life. The fact that women have entered the work force in huge numbers since World War II, have become adept as sometimes hard-nosed businesspersons as well as skilled/unskilled laborers, and are far more independent than at any time in history does not change this fundamental difference between them and men. And even in the rare cases in which the women are just as “mean” as the men, they are at a pronounced physical disadvantage, generally much smaller and otherwise biologically impaired for the athleticism and size/strength required for the “dirty work,” and therefore weaker…just a fact.
On this subject, those who disagree will point to Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher as feminine icons in recent history in the matter of governing nations. Both were quite successful, in Israel and Great Britain, respectively, though neither had to face a problem such as widespread war. Meir had to face the terrorists and Thatcher acquitted herself well in the Falklands affair with Argentina, but neither had to face butcher-states on a grand scale such as those represented and commanded by the likes of Hitler, Tojo, or Mussolini. Neither, of course, was in charge of the most powerful fighting machine in the world or in charge of the nation that in its superpower capacity actually held the power of life and death for much, if not most, of the world. Think Kuwait, as a recent example.
Regarding the present threat posed by nameless, faceless, often un-uniformed, bloodthirsty terrorist killers – both highly organized and in cell groups – butchery must be countered often with butchery. And this does not have to do solely with the Muslim states led by vicious religious fanatics to whom life means little (even among themselves), but with other nations…indeed, all nations, including this nation, which constantly look to their own welfare, even if it sometimes comes at the expense of that of other nations.
Much is made of the fact that Senator Hillary Clinton is practically a shoo-in as the democrat nominee in 2008. Bill Clinton was called the “first black president” because of his appeal to African Americans. He could sort of be called the “first woman president,” too, not for his appeal to women (although that’s debatable) but because of his well-documented abhorrence of the military, at least, one supposes, with respect to its sanguinary nature – anything but nurturing. He so profoundly misunderstood the military that he attempted as practically his first official act to mandate that homosexuals be nurtured into the military. He was turned around on that effort. On his watch, women were nurtured into combat, placed on naval ships…things that should never have happened. In 1994 on Clinton’s watch, women and men were nurtured together in boot camps in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, perhaps the worst strategic mistake in military history…a stupid mistake which, it is believed, is now being corrected. On Clinton’s watch, there was a concerted effort to feminize the military, with disastrous consequences, a predictable trend toward weakening the armed forces.
Bill Clinton (Hillary’s reflection – “It takes a village…?” – what drivel!) furnished incontrovertible proof that the presidency is a masculine thing, not a nurturing position when the fate of the nation is in the balance, as it is in every generation. Just imagining either Bill or Hillary Clinton in charge on 9/11 is enough to make one ….whew…!