False dichotomy

At a time when the Army and Marine Corps are struggling to fill their ranks, many conservatives are determined to limit the ability of women and gays to contribute to the war effort. Are they more concerned with winning culture wars at home or winning the war on terrorism abroad?

Even as women have taken on roles once reserved for men, the disastrous consequences predicted by naysayers have not come to pass. In 2000, the late Col. David Hackworth wrote: “What the British longbow did to the French army at Crecy in 1346, the failed military policy on gender integration has done to the U.S. armed forces at the end of the 20th century: near total destruction.” Yet in the last five years, “near total destruction” has been the fate not of the U.S. armed forces but the Taliban and Baathists they have battled.

Far from being crippled by the presence of women, the military has found that female soldiers can perform some jobs that men can’t, such as searching Iraqi women. As long as standards are not compromised to allow women into jobs beyond their physical capacity, I don’t see why we should reverse the trend toward greater opportunities for women.

The short answer, of course, is that conservatives wish to win the culture war at home while winning the so-called war without hampering the military with divisive, low-quality elements that will destroy unit morale and reduce operational efficiency.

Women in the military are a complete disaster. The finest aviators can’t land on carriers without killing themselves, the mechanics can’t even carry the tools they require for their jobs and they regularly make use of the pregnancy option to render themselves undeployable. The last sentence is particularly ironic, as almost every element of Army training has been severely compromised in order to avoid having to eliminate 90 percent of female recruits.

Hackworth’s point is still spot-on. The USA has defeated a third-rate military without an Air Force. So what? Defeating Israel – which no longer allows women in combat units – or the numerically superior People’s Liberation Army might support this joker’s point, but when you’ve got tactical and numerical superiority, air supremacy and a three-generation technological lead, you should win even if your combat troops are Girl Scouts.