SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Stanley McChrystal, a retired four-star Army general and former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, said in an interview Thursday that it’s a “mistake” to waste talent by banning capable transgender Americans from military service. In response, Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center, made the following statement:
“Gen. Stanley McChrystal has lent his distinguished voice to the military chorus stating that we cannot afford to undercut our readiness by denying patriotic Americans the freedom to serve simply because of who they are. There is simply no rationale whatsoever for a transgender ban, and asserting otherwise is nothing but politics and prejudice masquerading as military necessity.”
Gen. McChrystal’s interview, which was conducted by David Axelrod on his podcast, “The Axe Files,” included the following remarks: “If we have people who want to serve, if they have the desire, the capacity to serve, I think it’s a mistake to lose that talent. I also think it’s a mistake to send any message that says that somebody with those attributes, the willingness and the capability to serve, not being welcome, is a negative message to send.”
In October McChrystal signed an amicus brief by 33 retired officers and senior defense officials stating that it would “weaken our security” to “exclude entire groups from military service based on generalizations and prejudice.”
All five military chiefs of staff have stated that inclusive service—which has now been policy for more than two and a half years—has been a success, with JCS Chairman-designate Mark Milley reporting ‘precisely zero’ problems.