We’ve got several interesting comments on The Other Charlotte’s blast at the military for its plan sneakily to move female personnel, who are barred by law from serving in combat units, up to the front lines anyway, as “support” personnel (see A Fatal Betrayal of Military Women, Jan. 14).

From J.R.: 

“In conflicts like Afganistan and Iraq without ‘front lines’ and where ‘the enemy’s all around you,’ the military can be expected to ‘collocate’ units of various types – including support elements with pure-combat formations. Most recent American casualties are sustained in isolated ambushes and in paramilitary raids on small fixed positions. Support units are easily hit, their members often hurt or killed.

“Look at the ages and unit designations of fatalities listed in press reports. When folks being killed are in their 30s and 40s and are assigned to reserve and National Guard units and outfits labeled as playing support roles, one quickly realizes that the ‘enemy all around’ has learned to strike repair, transport, supply and other softer targets. Younger soldiers from Marine and army combat infantry, armor and airborne formations are popularly expected to be in more direct contact with the enemy, but in the ‘war on terror’ the adversary knows to avoid ’em when they can. Which is a lot.

“This is a very low-casualty conflict for our side, of course; only about one-half of 1 percent of U.S, forces have been killed. But women, all of them in support roles by law, have died in fairly large numbers, simply because those support units are soaking up a disproportionate, unplanned-for degree of the punishment the enemy is dishing out. Smart enemy, but moving support units around to bring ’em closer to pure combat forces won’t reduce female casualties. Might make women safer, actually.”

And from J.P, commenting on TOC’s remark, “Feminists have long wanted to put women in combat, but military women apparently don’t want to give their lives to satisfy the feminists. They don’t want to die to bring about the feminist paradise.”
J.P. remarks:

“Well, no. I think I would agree that the ‘feminist paradise’ is about dead last on the priority list of most women in the military. And there are legitimate operational reasons to limit what women are allowed to do, but Elaine Donnelly [head of the Center for Military Readiness, which opposes women in combat] is intent on portraying women as victims, and you seem to be buying into it. She talks to a woman who feels ‘betrayed’ but does she talk to the one who enlisted as an MP in order to circumvent the rules against women in combat roles? Apparently not.

“Read the quote…above and think about what it says. Die for feminists? Is that really the only way this question can be expressed? Women can’t, possibly, be patriotic? Just because someone is against those pushing a feminist agenda doesn’t mean that they are right.”

Hmm, both J.R. and J.P. raise intriguing issues–any more thoughts from readers with exposure to women in the military?

Reader M.C. blasts my take on New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd’s whinge that high-achieving men would rather marry their housekeepers and secretaries than ideological whiners like Maureen Dowd (see Maureen Dowd’s “Staff Support” Problem,” Jan. 14):

“I agree with some of your comments and disagree with others. First, in Dowd’s defense, it’s courageous of her to even address issues of singleness, given that she is, as you point out, middle-aged and single. That takes a lot of guts. I disagree with her, though, that smart men don’t like smart women. I think she’s missing the bigger picture: Smart people–male and female–often have a tougher time finding someone to relate to precisely because they are smart, which reduces the number of people with whom they have a lot in common.

“Lastly, Maureen’s column was listed as the ‘most e-mailed’ NYT story for a couple of days after publication. One has to face it: She gets at things people care about. And, as usual, she does have sort of a point: I also saw the movie Love Actually and didn’t realize till she pointed it out that, indeed, in every case, the guys were falling for women in support spots. So, you can’t say she’s entirely wrong in what she’s seeing.”

I agree, M.C.: Even though it’s politically incorrect, most feministas, even Maureen Dowd, down deep in their hearts want to get married. And it can be tough for smart people of both sexes to find other smart people to hook up with. And in my experience, most men–honest!–want wives they can talk to. But what they don’t want is for their home to turn into a National Organization for Women battleground every time the garbage needs to be taken out. They don’t want to be taunted as “sexist” for expecting their wives to cook dinner. So it’s no surprise that the Maureen Dowds of this world have a few extra problems on the husband-hunting front.

Furthermore, who says that housekeepers, nannies, administrative assistants, and so forth are too dumb for a smart man to want to wed? One reason why professional feminists like Maureen Dowd have had so much trouble recruiting less educated women to their ranks is that they insist on looking down their noses at every female who hasn’t gone to the Columbia journalism school, Harvard Law School, or whatever.   

Now, a fan letter from “Fausta” for my reprise of Jonathan Rose’s fine article in City Journal deploring the current trend of assigning inner-city students supposedly relevant comic books instead of the classics in English classes (see What Low-Income Kids Crave: Real Literature, Jan. 13).

Fausta, who has her own blog, Bad Hair, writes:

“[Your post] brought to mind Harold Bloom’s book, The Western Canon. I posted about it today. Thank you for your great blog!”

And do read Fausta’s post. As a native of Puerto Rico, Fausta points out that she has nothing in common with the Roman aristocratic poet Ovid, but she finds that his words continue to speak powerfully to her.

And finally, reader K.J. comments on my post about an overblown three-part Washington Post series that manufactured out of Laci Peterson’s murder a “trend” of slayings of pregnant and new mothers (See Maternal Homicide Hype, Dec. 22):

“I would like to thank you for your article regarding the misinformation (disinformation?) contained in the media regarding statistics about the rates of women being murdered during pregnancy. This is just one more scare tactic the liberal media and radical feminists are using to force the misandric Violence Against Women Act to be renewed.”

Ah, could be.