My favorite curmudgeon, National Review Online’s John Derbyshire, points today to one good thing that might have come out of the Abu Ghraib scandal: a reexamination (also occasioned by Jessica Lynch’s capture) of the wisdom of mixed-sex units in the U.S. military. Derb writes:

“Surely ‘ surely! ‘ one thing about our own military that this war has exposed beyond any doubt is the folly of mixed-sex units, and of putting servicewomen into combat zones. Two of the incidents of this war that will be long remembered are the capture and rescue of Jessica Lynch, and the pictures of Lynndie England taunting prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Both are embarrassing to the military, though in different ways. No normal person, seeing pictures of the frail, pretty Pfc. Lynch could understand what on earth she was doing in a combat zone. (I don’t mean that it is O.K. for sturdy, ugly women to be there; I only mean that Pfc. Lynch makes the case against women in combat zones particularly strongly.) Nor could anyone contemplating the inanely grinning Pfc. England, and reading the accounts of her high jinks with male comrades, believe that mixed-sex training and assignment is anything but a horrible disaster for those branches of the military on which they have been inflicted.”

Amen. I myself am not against women serving in the military–if they can take the heat and if someone starts to crack down seriously, and I mean seriously, on the sexual funsies that seem to be part and parcel of mixed-sex service these days. Those are two big ifs. But if the U.S. military doesn’t do something to implement them, we’re going to have more captured (and possibly raped) Lynches and more grinning Lynndies. If you don’t believe me, believe Derb.