Women in combat isn’t just a women’s issue.
Sorry, feminists, but it is a men’s issue, too, because putting women in the thick of battle also will affect the way men fight and live or die.
First off — and I can’t believe what I am about to say is now considered controversial — combat on the front lines requires qualities associated with manliness. Those include physical strength, courage, sacrifice, and an ability to engage in necessary brutality.
Women have always been able to make fine careers for themselves in the U.S. military. That is as it should be, and women have sometimes been caught up in front-line perils and behaved admirably. But we have never before set up a system that intentionally sends them into the slaughter fields same as men.
There are several reasons for this and, when those reasons are ignored or denied by people on an ideological mission, soldiers (both men and women) will die unnecessary deaths.
The Center for Military Preparedness (CMP), which opposes women in combat, managed to obtain through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, an Army study that showed that women were injured at more than double the rate of men during combat training. This discrepancy applied to women in basic combat but also in vehicle maintenance for combat and front-line engineering jobs.
Ah, you say, but the military will hold women to the same physical standards as men which will alleviate any such concerns. Don’t bet on it, especially after some ambitious feminist launches headline-grabbing litigation.
On the matter of physical standards, General Martin Dempsey, retired Chief of the Joint Staffs, had this to say: “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the [Defense Secretary], ‘Why is it that high?’”
Does that sound like women will be held to the same physical standards as men? A woman soldier is more likely to need rescuing than to be able to carry a 250-pound male soldier in heavy equipment off the field.
A wounded female soldier poses a special conundrum for the male soldier. Does he rescue her, even if it means turning his back on several wounded male soldiers, or does he let her die? When men leave women to die — even, or especially — to save their own skins, we just as well throw overboard what is left of our decent values regarding the treatment of women developed over centuries.
People were shocked and dismayed in 2012 when the ship the Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Tuscany, and craven men shoved aside women and girls to get on the lifeboats. This will be normalized if we preach that women must be deployed on battle fields and subjected to the greatest violence against women that can be conceived. If chivalry is dead, why would a man step aside for a woman on a sinking ship?
New Englanders today have a far less intimate relationship to military service than my region, the South, which has long been overrepresented in the military. A Heritage Foundation paper in 2009 noted that southerners made up more than 40 percent of new enlistees. Texans are eight times more likely to sign up for the military as New Yorkers. We have been represented beyond our regional population at West Point since there was a West Point.
I can’t imagine the men I grew up with allowing a woman to perish on the battle field. Even if her situation was impossible and there were wounded male soldiers who could be easily saved, the typical southern man would die trying to save her.
The imposition of ideologically motivated rules putting women (and men) in grave danger is a poke in the eye to men who hold onto ideals of male honor. I can imagine that this development could signal the end of southern overrepresentation in the military. And here’s the thing: you’re going to miss them when they don’t sign up.
Privacy and personal hygiene are impossible on the front lines. Soldiers often have no way to avoid relieving themselves in full view of other soldiers. This unpleasant reality because all the more unpleasant when members of the opposite sex become involved. I can imagine that many men considering military life would find other professions rather than be a part of this new reality.
And, before you dismiss requiring young women to register for the draft as a mere formality, unlikely to be employed in the era of the all-volunteer military, remember all the dirty tricks that history has played on frivolous nations and peoples. Our country shouldn’t carelessly or for the sake of political correctness make decisions about our nation’s defenses. The stakes, for all of our women and men, are simply too high.