Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced yesterday that all military positions, including on the front line of combat, will be open to women.  The Marines asked for exceptions for certain positions. Secretary Carter denied the request. The order goes into effect in thirty days.

Women on the front line may be an issue on which I disagree with some of my colleagues here. Just to be clear up front: I'm against it.  

In making the announcement rightly deemed  "historic," Carter said:

“There will be no exemptions,” Mr. Carter told reporters at a press conference. “To succeed in our mission of national defense, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talents and skills. We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards.”

I am not sure that putting women on the front line will be a good recruitment tool. Remember there's that other half of the population: male soldiers. If putting women on the front lines makes the military an even more dangerous calling  than it inherently is,  some men might not want to take on the additional risk.

Women have consistently not measured up to standards men must meet to work in the most dangerous jobs in the military. For example, in November we learned that five female soldiers had failed the physical requirements for Army Ranger School.  USA Today reported:

The five women soldiers in the Army's latest class of Ranger School have failed to qualify for the next phase of training, a Defense official said Friday.

The women were part of a class of 417 soldiers who began the physical assessment phase of training on Nov. 1. Of that number, 199 soldiers — all men — have passed on to the next portion of training.

The caveat in Carter's announcement is that women will be placed in these dangerous positions only if they meet the physical standards. And I have a caveat for Secretary Carter: think of all the agitation around the "need" to have more female firefighters, even if physical standards have to be changed.

David French of National Review writes that with this decision the "social justice warriors have won:"

This decision is indeed historic — a historic mistake. Keep in mind that the Obama Administration makes this decision even after intensive Marine tests showed that mixed-gender units were far less capable than their all-male counterparts. Women were injured “twice as often as men,” less accurate with their weapons, and less able to “remove wounded troops from the battlefield.”

. . .

This decision has nothing to do with combat effectiveness. Indeed, expect combat effectiveness to steadily degrade as the social justice warriors inevitably take aim at physical standards that will exclude the vast majority of women who attempt to join the infantry or special forces.

Radical feminists will find infantry units that are four percent female almost as intolerable as units that exclude women entirely. Even if the standards don’t change on paper, instructors at the various relevant military schools will be put under enormous pressure to pass sufficient numbers of women. Unless the next defense secretary has the courage to reverse Carter’s decision, America will pay a blood price for this insanity. Political correctness kills.

The military was designed to protect the nation. It was not designed as a force for social engineering. Let us hope that this blatant misuse of the military will be short-lived and that it will not make us unsafe.