The New World Order promised by George Bush is turning out to be something like a unisex barbershop that can buzz off a woman’s locks while giving male customers a wave and a perm. Over and over we have heard the phrase “our men and women stationed in the Gulf.” As the war went on, we even learned that women were piloting combat helicopters (as they did, apparently, in Panama); in fact one woman pilot was killed. We were also informed that a woman had been taken as a prisoner of war. Eventually, reporters began to speak of “men and women in combat.” The use of women in combat is, as we all know, forbidden by law, but this law is quickly assuming the status of Boston’s statute against frequent bathing—more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Women in combat ought to be a source of unease among old-fashioned Americans who until recently believed it was a man’s duty to protect the women of his family and nation. One prominent conservative recently told me that he was glad that he opposed the war, because he could not live with the thought that he supported a campaign in which women were risking their lives to protect millions of able-bodied men back at home. No one, in or out of the Armed Forces, ought to have any illusions over why so many women have been sent to the Gulf. They have been sent there to get us used to the idea that women can die for their country as well as men, and if that is the sort of country we are fighting for—a country willing to sacrifice its sisters and daughters for the New World Order—then there is no place in it for what used to be called a gentleman or for anyone raised in the Christian faith.