For 200 years, American fighting men have gone into battle without women. George Washington conquered the British at Yorktown without women. Grant defeated Lee without women. Marines raised the flag on Iwo Jima without women. But those fellows must have been made of sterner stuff than men today. Now, apparently, the men can’t hack it, at least if you believe the captains of the Pentagon, who have assigned lady warriors to combatant ships and are bringing them ever closer to combat duty on land.

Though the Army has not assigned girls to the Green Berets vet, the Navy has gone full speed ahead with plans to feminize the maritime vocation. And those who warned against moving women into combat units at sea arc having a blast saying, “[ told you so.” Things aren’t shaping up quite the way the boys and girls in River City wanted, unless by shape you mean what happens to a girl who ships out to sea with a few hundred horny men.

Consider just a few of the tawdry talcs that washed up on shore earlier this year. As reported in the Washington Post, the canoodling between an enlisted man and woman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was particularly steamy. The sailors were married, but not to each other, and they reportedly videotaped their liaison that took place on a secluded part of the ship. They got caught when the leading man showed the film to his friends, one of whom turned him in. Man and woman were punished, the man a little more harshly.

The article in the Post also reported that 38 pregnancies have occurred on the Eisenhower since leaving our shores a year ago. How many of these babies have the same father we do not know, but according to the Center for Military Readiness, which keeps track of these gestating problems, the Navy evacuated five pregnant women from the ship in January. And 24 other women, the CMR reports, left the ship before it went to sea last fall.

Things are not going much better for the Army, which is also under feminist siege. In February, CMR revealed that a new Army policy for troops in Maiti required fighting men and women to share quarters. Not surprisingly, an Army man’s wife pulled back the covers on the coed tents in a letter to CMR president Klaine Donnelly, a member of the defunct Presidential Commission on the Assignment of women m the Armed Forces. When Donnelly released the letter to Congress and the Washington Times, the Army prepared to battle irate wives and husbands who do not like the idea of a spouse sleeping in the same room with a member of the opposite sex.

The distraught woman’s letter made several points, including the obvious observation that requiring men and women to share quarters would lead to false charges of sexual harassment and possibly even sexual misconduct. But more important to this Army wife was the question of how long any normal man or woman in such an environment could resist the powerful temptation to commit adultery. “The basic fact that humans have been made with strong sexual desires cannot be overlooked. Mow long can we reasonably expect men and women not to act on those desires?” she asked in her letter. “Our military spouses give our country sacrificial gifts by willingly being separated from their mates and actively supporting their mission, hi return, we must honor this gift by not unnecessarily tempting their spouses or ordering them to live in a manner that they cannot morally approve of. . . . The shock of my spouse sleeping in the same room with the opposite sex morally outraged me.”

But those misgivings got short shrift from sympathetic planners in the unisex Army. “They’re soldiers,” a spokesman barked with the authority of a guard dog from the National Organization for Women. “There’s no distinction between male and female.” There wasn’t any distinction on the Eisenhower either, where Navy policy allowed two crew members to betray their spouses. Adultery, pregnancy, and other misconduct aside, there’s another little problem with sending a few women into lonely, harsh conditions with a few thousand men. To the now run-of-the-mill tales of illicit sex, now add the stories of the businesswomen who made a fortune on lonely boys in the Persian Gulf or on Navy vessels.

Titillating as it is, sexual misconduct is just one problem associated with a military overdosing on estrogen. As the Air Force limes reported last November, a study on the nature and amount of women’s medical care showed that half of 222 women surveyed sought treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. The women, who were crew members of the submarine tender Frank Cable, sought medical treatment 16 times more often than men, mostly for orthopaedic problems. But these figures shouldn’t be surprising. When the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces gathered testimony from medical experts, it learned that women were more susceptible to stress fractures and other medical problems during strenuous and even routine training and operations because, well, they’re women. Predictably, President Clinton and the Pentagon threw the commission’s data, all of which showed women were either unsuitable for or incapable of fighting, into the Potomac. Prepare, they said, for an Army and Navy with generals and admirals named Hillary and Chelsea leading men into combat.

In any event, the battle to put women in combat has led to more than pregnancies, porno tapes, and penicillin shots. It’s also led to a reign of terror against men who think it is not only un-American but also un-Christian to send women into combat. Navy Lieutenant Commander Kenneth A. Carkhuff, a 1982 graduate of the United States Naval Academy whose fitness reports have been nothing less than exemplary, got the administrative equivalent of a keelhauling for expressing just such an opinion. On August 24, 1994, Carkhuff was commanding a helicopter unit on a drug interdiction operation off the coast of Haiti. Two women were under his command, which prompted Carkhuff to speak his mind. He told his commanding officer he thought it was morally unacceptable to send women into combat and that doing so would conflict with his religious beliefs, a radical view in the 1990’s. He expressed his concerns in a private conversation and never said he would disobey an order to send women into combat, but noted that as a Christian he was obliged to say something about the matter. Immediately, Carkhuff’s commander removed him from his unit and filed an averse fitness report that said Carkhuff’s “stated beliefs are not compatible with further military service.” He also tried forcing him out of the Navy. The ease is pending.

Military protocol required Carkhuff’s commanding officer to remove him from the mission because he clearly stated he could not fully support it. But the move to discharge Carkhuff from the Navy was neither required nor military protocol. It was arbitrary punishment for expressing a strongly held belief. The cliche for this is political correctness. Of course, one must ask how any Christian soldier, as Carkhuff claims he is, could obey any order he considered immoral. Still, his lesson is instructive: if you are a real man, do not join the military.