When politicians on both sides of the aisle imbibe a heady swig of political correctness and boldly come out swinging in favor of requiring women to register for the draft, it represents the triumph of ideology over biology.
Feminists have long pursued the goal of putting women in direct combat with the enemy on the front lines. Doing so, however, ignores a simple fact: ordinary women who sign up for careers in the military are unlikely to want to sacrifice life and limb on the altar of feminist ambitions.
Of course women today and throughout history have played a critical role in keeping the nation safe. More than 200,000 American women proudly serve in our military today, most in medical, administrative or other support roles.
But combat is a bloody, nasty business that demands manliness. This virtue that dare not speak its name includes the readiness and aptitude for extreme brutality, including the slaughter of another human being face-to-face. A society that forces women to do this dirty job is a society that has lost its way.
Putting women in combat was an initiative of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who last year opened all military positions to women, including positions heretofore limited to men. This was the precursor to requiring women to register for the draft at age 18 (precisely, to register for Selective Service) as all men have traditionally done.
Last week, the Obama administration officially endorsed folding women into the Selective Service requirement. A spokesman for the National Security Council explained to CNN: "[A]s old barriers for military service are being removed, the administration supports — as a logical next step — women registering for the Selective Service."
And that is what this is all about: breaking down barriers, loosening gender roles and using the military as a vehicle for social engineering, damn the torpedoes. Requiring women to register for the draft is not about winning wars, helping military women, or advancing civilized values — quite the contrary. All these causes can be sacrificed to achieve a politically correct military.
No one wants to needlessly hold women back from achieving career goals, and indeed there may be exceptional women with the desire and capability to go to the front lines of war. But policy ought to be made for the rule, not the exception. What the Obama administration calls "barriers," are properly called protections. Generally speaking, women are not as physically strong as men, and it's dangerous to both sexes to pretend otherwise.
Proponents of women on the front lines have stoutly maintained that the same physical standards would apply. This is easier said than done, and it wasn't long before we began to get inklings that women might be let off the hook on some of the more stringent requirements. General Martin Dempsey, at the time chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, let the cat out of the bag: "If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn't make it," the general admitted three years ago, "the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?"
It's plain: Women in combat will mean lower standards.
This is unfair to women and unfair to men who will be fighting alongside them. Let's say a wounded female soldier is lying on the battlefield. Would a male soldier specially attend to her, even if it means turning his back on wounded men?
A dogma of perfect equality would dictate instead, that a male soldier give no special consideration to a wounded woman soldier. She may just have to die there.
A nation that teaches men to leave women to die on the field has thrown out the last vestiges of the Western values, developed over centuries, regarding the treatment of women. And just a reminder: If our conflict is with the likes of the Islamic State, a woman left behind is going to be particularly vulnerable.
We intuitively admit this: The Army probably took more risks than it would have for a man when it dramatically rescued then-private Jessica Lynch during the Iraq War. Medical reports indicated that she had suffered sexual assault in captivity.
But let's get back to requiring women to register for the draft: If front-line combat is open to women, it would be unfair that male soldiers have no choice in whether to fight but female soldiers do. If we are to break down barriers and treat women as men, then we can't shield them from the draft.
Fairness and equality won't allow us to say, now that front-line combat is open for women, that it is somehow more optional for them than for men.
Drafting women into combat is the logical conclusion of the dogma that our military must treat men and women the same.
But we know that men and women aren't the same. Let's hope, as I suspect is the case, that Gen. James Mattis, designated to replace Ash Carter at the Pentagon, will recognize this common sense and will say, as generals have been wont to say throughout military history: hell no.