A radical feminist dream is quietly coming true–and it’s a dream that could in the long run be a nightmare for the U.S. military. The dream is women in combat, a goal cherished by those who’ll never be placed in harm’s way and who, truth to tell, care a lot less about military preparedness than their ideological agenda. 

An article in National Review by military expert Mackubin Owens, who is on the faculty of the Naval War College and served as a Marine in Vietnam, blows the whistle on this. Owens reports that the Army is likely to redeploy to Iraq mixed-sex support companies collocated with combat units. “The move violates not only Defense Department regulations, but also the requirement to notify Congress when such a change goes into effect,” writes Owens.

The indefatigable Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Preparedness is the one who spotted this surreptitious move to send women closer to the front. The idea of women in combat is backed by feminists who claim, erroneously, that women can’t rise in the military unless they are placed in combat. Advocates also plan that the nature of modern warfare means that distinctions between the jobs of male and female soldiers are meaningless. (“As former congresswoman Pat Schroeder famously remarked,” recalls Owens, “a woman can push a button just as easily as a man.”)

Owens refers to an Army spokesman’s recent remarks to Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times that the policy of refusing to allow women into ground-combat formations is obsolete. The spokesman said that the threat is “asymmetrical… There is no front-line threat right now.”

“I’m sure the soldiers and Marines who just took Fallujah would beg to differ with those who claim there is ’no front line’ in Iraq,” writes Owens. “The threat they and the support troops collocated with them faced as they carried out their mission of ’closing with and destroying the enemy’ was qualitatively different from that of support troops not so collocated. Putting women into the vortex of combat so vividly illustrated by the savage fighting in Fallujah would undermine the effectiveness of our ground-combat units by undercutting the unit cohesion critical to achieving victory in war.”

Because women are smaller and report sick more often, their presence helps destroy the unit cohesion that is so crucial in combat. There’s also another problem that can lead to complications in combat and loss of American lives: soldiers fall in love with each other.

“Unlike philia (the brotherly love or comradeship that promotes unit cohesion), eros is individual and exclusive, manifesting itself as sexual competition, male protectiveness, and favoritism,” writes Owens.

“Those who deny the impact of eros on unit cohesion are kidding themselves. As the eminent military sociologist Charles Moskos has commented, ’When you put men and women together in a confined environment and shake vigorously, don’t be surprised if sex occurs.’ Mixing the sexes and thereby introducing eros creates the most dangerous form of friction in the military, corroding the very source of military excellence itself: the male bonding necessary to unit cohesion.

“Feminists, of course, contend that these manifestations of eros are the result only of a lack of education and insensitivity to women, and can be eradicated by means of education and indoctrination. But all the social engineering in the world cannot change the real differences between men and women, or the natural tendency of men to treat women differently than they do other men. Unfortunately, far too many senior U.S. military leaders have bought into the idea that men and women are interchangeable and that future war will be neat and tidy. Fallujah suggests otherwise. What is the Army leadership thinking by tempting nature in the midst of war?”