Home Ben Cline’s dangerous ‘demand’ threatens to undercut military preparedness
US & World

Ben Cline’s dangerous ‘demand’ threatens to undercut military preparedness

Gene Zitver

In order to block what he calls the Department of Defense’s “pro-abortion agenda,” Congressman Ben Cline is prepared to play politics with the military preparedness of the United States.


As a commenter on this Facebook post pointed out, “respectfully request that you give consideration” is not the same as “demanded.” Even when he tries to sound tough, Cline undercuts himself.

Cline is obviously inspired by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. The New York Times reports that Tuberville “has single-handedly held up promotions for the military’s senior commanders at least through mid-April as he attempts to pressure the Pentagon to change a new abortion policy created to ensure access to abortions for service members after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

According to The Times:

Mr. Tuberville, a right-wing freshman, began blocking the promotions of generals and admirals across the services in mid-February, after the Pentagon announced it would give U.S. service members up to 21 days of leave for abortions or fertility treatments and reimburse travel and transportation costs incurred while obtaining such treatments.

The Pentagon created the policy in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last year, which overturned the precedent that enshrined abortion rights nationwide and gave rise to a national patchwork of laws. That left Americans including military personnel — who are housed at bases throughout the country, sometimes with little control over where — with unequal access to abortion.

Under the new policy, a service member living in a state where abortions are banned or severely restricted would have time off and reimbursement to travel to a place where the procedure is legal and accessible.

The military’s health care plan covers abortions in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother, but under the new policy, service members would be able to request travel reimbursement for any reproductive health procedure, including those not covered under the official plan.

Apparently it’s of little concern to Tuberville and Cline that the senior ranks of the military could be dangerously depleted due to their efforts to force service members to give birth against their will.

“It may not be his intent, but [Tuberville] is effectively accomplishing what our adversaries could only dream of: denying our military of its leadership and degrading our ability to fight and win the nation’s wars,” Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and the Armed Services Committee chairman, said during a floor speech this week. He accused Mr. Tuberville of a “profound assault on the professionalism of the men and women of the armed services.”

“Military promotions are not a political matter and they are not toys for political gains,” Mr. Reed added.

He noted that Mr. Tuberville’s blockade could affect not just the 150 to 200 pending nominations for generals and admirals, but potentially 650 more that are expected over the next eight months — including a replacement for the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“If this policy continues or this practice continues, we are wiping out the leadership of the Department of Defense,” Mr. Reed said.

Neither Cline nor Tuberville has served in the military. So they might want to pay attention to what Reed, a West Point graduate, has to say, based on his background.

He served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer.  He eventually joined the faculty at West Point, teaching cadets about economics and international relations as an Associate Professor within the Department of Social Sciences.  He served as a professor at the U.S. Military Academy until August of 1979 when he resigned from active duty as a Captain.  He continued serving in the U.S. Army Reserves until June of 1991, when he left the Reserves with the rank of Major.  Over the course of his military career, he earned the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Expert Infantry Badge.

Gene Zitver is the editor of ClineWatch.