Women may be fighting side-by-side with men in bloody battles sooner that you thought.

Internal Army documents propose changing rules on mixed-sex units in a way that could put women in ground-combat situations, according to a report in today’s Washington Times.

The Times’ Rowan Scarborough reports that a Nov. 29 briefing to senior officers at the Pentagon advocated “scrapping the military’s ban on collocation — the deployment of mixed-sex non-combat units alongside all-male combat brigades.”

Scarborough writes that the briefing contained these words: “The way ahead: rewrite/eliminate the Army collocation policy.”

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Preparedness has been almost an army of one in fighting the move to put women in the front lines. “Female soldiers, including young mothers, should not have to pay the price for Pentagon bureaucratic blunders and gender-based recruiting quotas that have caused apparent shortages in male soldiers for the new land-combat brigades,” Mrs. Donnelly told the Washington Times.

“It does not make sense to sacrifice the advantage of modular organizations, just to make ideological points about gender equality. Land combat is not fair or equal, nor is it even civilized,” she said.

Because it’s sometimes hard to make the point that women don’t belong in combat in an era when radical feminists are so successful in promoting their agenda, I looked in the IWF archives for a talk Elaine Donnelly gave in 2002 at a luncheon and panel entitled “Women Facing War,” in honor of Barbara Olson, an IWF stalwart who perished in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

Here is some of what Donnelly said on that day:

“Our freedoms and way of life depend on a strong national defense. And yet, for far too long, a minority of feminist women have presumed to tell not just the commander-in-chief, but the secretary of defense, and the heads of all the armed forces what to do to advance the feminist agenda in the institution of the military. In order to do that, they have demanded a politically correct ’ungendered’ military. As a result, morale, discipline, recruiting, retention, and overall readiness have suffered a great deal.

“Military women are not to blame for this. They have no more say about it than the men do. Women in uniform love their country. They serve with distinction and most of them do not support the policies of civilian feminists, who will never face combat. They want nothing to do with mandatory assignments in close combat units — the premiere item on the feminist agenda.

“When I served on the 1992 presidential commission that studied women in combat, I was joined by a majority of the commissioners who supported a simple resolution:  Equal opportunity in the military is important, but if there is a conflict between career considerations and military necessity, the needs of the military must come first. Those who supported women in combat saw it differently. In their view, equal opportunity and career considerations must come first — even at the expense of readiness in the military.

“This is not President Bush’s father’s military. The armed forces are one-third to one-half smaller than they were during Desert Storm. Every person in uniform is more important, not less so.

“During Desert Storm we had a much larger military and when women were non-deployable — at a rate three-and-a-half to four times as much as men — we had extra people to move around. We don’t have that luxury any more. So if you have a pregnancy rate and it’s constant, 10 or 15%, you know that out of 500 women on a carrier at least 50 are going to be unavailable before or during the six-month deployment.

“The military is a resilient institution. Its strength and morale can be restored with sound leadership and sound priorities. It’s a big job, and men cannot do it alone. They need to hear from other women to counter the Pentagon feminists. We need to join the president in restoring the strength and morale of the finest military in the world.”