VITAL SIGNSrnMILITARYrnEnemies Foreignrnand Domesticrnby William J. CorlissrnAcynic once observed that in times ofrnpeace nations make war on themselves.rnNowhere is this phenomenonrnmore manifest than in the United Statesrnmihtary, where the onslaught of politicalrncorrectness has resulted in the lowestrnmorale in memory. As American ArmedrnForces recently geared up for anotherrnengagement with Iraq, a troubling consensusrnarose among officers in the PersianrnGulf; neither the hearts and mindsrnof the servicemen nor the material forcernstructure were in readiness for successrnwith a minimum of casualties.rnWhy was this not more widely reported?rnThe answer lies in the modusrnoperandi of political correctness, whichrndemands unhesitating conformity of behaviorrnand opinion while imposing irrationalrntaboos on the discussion of certainrnsubjects.rnOutside of religious orders, there is norninstitution that demands so much in thernway of obedience and conformity as thernmilitary. Precisely because the imperativesrnof political correctness are so frequentlyrncontrary to human nature, therneifects on a comparatively closed societyrnlike the military are devastating. Andrneven though the national defense of thernrepublic is jeopardized thereby, many officersrnremain silent, as Elaine Donnellyrnof the Center for Military Readiness hasrnexplained, out of a well-justified fear of arncareer-ending mistake.rnWhen Lt. General Victor “Brute”rnKrulak, USMC (Ret.) appointed me tornthe post of Deputy-in-Chief of StrategicrnReview, the venerable quarterly of thernUnited States Strategic Institute (USSI),rnhe did so because he recognized a needrnfor a full hearing on controversial topics,rnparticularly those falling under the headingrnof cultural politics. Privately exasperatedrnofficers, from all branches and allrnranks right up to general, immediatelyrnrallied to our banner, telling us that thernreason uppermost in everyone’s mind forrnthe current readiness crisis is the deliberaternfeminization of the military.rnAs I argued in an editorial publishedrnin our fall 1997 issue, if political correctnessrnis to be combated in the military,rnGongress and the military should dispatchrnimmediately the feminist demandrnthat women be integrated into combatrnunits. Gontrary to popular misperceptionsrnand the bureaucratic redefinitionrnof combat criteria, the exclusion of womenrnfrom combat remains the clear intentrnof the law, codified in the Women’srnArmed Services Integration Act of 1948.rnThat is why we are sometimes told thatrnmaneuver warfare and over-the-horizonrnweapons have rendered all members ofrnthe military “combatants.” At otherrntimes we are told that certain posts whichrnpreviously appeared to be involved inrnmortal combat do not qualify as “direct”rncombat postings. By one gloss or another,rnI argued, the Pentagon Pharisees willrnhave their way, and “intent” be damned.rnBecause of this editorial, I was summarilyrndismissed from my post. I wasrntold that the Institute’s official positionrnon integrating women into combat unitsrnhad already been written some time agornby General Krulak. When I found thisrnprevious editorial, a weak demurrer torngender integration, I noted the by-linernwas not of General Krulak but of thernthen-deceased chairman of the USSI,rnArthur G.B. Metcalf. There was norntelling what might have happened insidernthe Beltway should someone have suspectedrnthat the opinion of GeneralrnVictor Krulak was also that of his son —rnGeneral Gharles Krulak, the currentrnGommandant of the Marine Gorps.rnThat incident merely hints at what isrntaking place inside the military and therndark night of self-censorship concealingrnit. It is no coincidence that when ABG’srnNightline (February 10, 1998) chose tornexplore the new rules of “men, womenrnand sex in the workplace,” the lead segmentrnby Dave Marash zeroed in on thernmilitary. Speaking from the DefensernEqual Opportunity Management Institutern(DEOMI), which Nightline incorrectlyrnidentified by the less chargedrnname of the “Military Management Institute,”rnMarash briefly let slip the truth:rn”But when talk moves from what shouldrnbe to what is, in today’s American armedrnservices, the word you hear again andrnagain from these military managers isrn’scared.'” A male officer is then shownrnworrying aloud, “I feel scared sometimesrnbecause I’m afraid that I might do somethingrnthat I’m going to regret, and thenrnnext thing I know I’ll have a reportrnagainst me for sexual harassment.” Apartrnfrom that glimpse of reality, ABG deliveredrncover-up coverage designed to inflamernthe public against seemingly irrationalrnmales.rnHere, in contrast, is how feminist activistrnLinda Bird Francke describes thernmission of the same institiite in her bookrnGround Zero:rnThe DEOMI subjected male studentsrnto sexual harassment in arnrole reversal exercise known asrnMeat Market. “Bend over. Touchrnyour ankles. Hmmm, good pair ofrnbuns,” female students murmuredrnabout a male shident in one classroom.rnIn another, a female studentrnordered a male to lie down onrnhis back and hold his legs open inrnthe ongoing tradition of the “legspreader.”rn”We want the males tornfeel truly uncomfortable,” says onernof the trainers watching the exercisernapprovingly fi-om the central,rnone-way glass control b o o t h . . . . AtrnDEOMI the simple answer to genderrndiscrimination was the eliminationrnof the combat exclusionaryrnlaws. The complex answer lay inrnthe purging of biases and stereotypesrningrained in the white malernChristian heterosexual culture.rnThe complete portrait sketched byrnFrancke resembles nothing so much as arnremake of The Manchurian Candidate.rn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn