The Washington Post calls it “The New Reality.” Today, women aren’t just flying fighter aircraft or serving on ships, away from action on the ground: They fight in ground combat units, lose limbs, and die in battle. Amputee Lt. Dawn Halfaker, the main subject of the Post’s article (“Limbs Lost to Enemy Fire, Women Forge a New Reality,” by Donna St. George, April 18), says that old folks sometimes ask whether pushing women into combat roles is appropriate. She offers the tough-dame, feminist answer: “Women in combat is not really an issue. It’s happening.”
Since we launched our “War on Terror,” 60 women have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, 34 of them in combat. Almost 400 have been wounded; 11 are amputees. Historians have concluded, the Post reported, that our war in Iraq has produced America’s first women amputees, and certainly our first women killed in battle (while serving in roles other than nurses).
Under pressure from the feminists for the last 30 years, the Pentagon has “co-located” women in “non-combat” units, such as military police, perilously close to front-line action; because the war in Iraq has no front lines, many women have been grievously maimed or killed.
Sadly, no one seems to care, particularly not conservatives—not the professional conservatives inside the Beltway; not the pro-family congresspersons on Capitol Hill; not the compassionate conservative in the White House.
Top Pentagon brass accomplished this quiet revolution by allowing women to creep into jobs that made them indispensable to units that would eventually deploy with women and, therefore, could not deploy without women. So, despite official policy, women became de facto combatants. According to the Post, sociologist Charles Moskos, a member of the failed Presidential Commission on Women in the Military (on which I served as a staff member), explains:
“On the whole, the country has not been concerned about female casualties.” . . . Politically, Moskos said, it is a no-win issue. Conservatives fear they will undermine support for the war if they speak out about wounded women, and liberals worry they will jeopardize support for women serving in combat roles by raising the subject.
Thus, the sexual revolution has peaked. Conservatives and liberals agree: In America’s wars, women must die next to men.
Halfaker’s story is emblematic of the “new reality.” Though the West Point graduate could not be a combatant under official rules, in April 2004, she earned a Bronze Star commanding a six-hour firefight at a police station in Diyala. Two months later, she was riding in a Humvee when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded behind her head and blew off her right arm. Halfaker, not yet 30, faces a grim future for a woman the Post describes as wanting a husband and presumably a family.
The media have promoted the idea of women in combat for some time, and, with military or political cooperation, they have peddled a number of tall tales.
Operation Just Cause, our comic invasion of Panama, was the scene of the apocryphal martial feats of Capt. Linda Bray, commander of the 988th Military Police Company. This modern Athena supposedly crashed through the gates of Manuel Noriega’s guard-dog compound in a jeep, her .50-caliber machine gun blazing. Supposedly, three enemy soldiers were found dead after a three-hour battle. Feminists everywhere bugled Bray’s bravado. Even the White House joined the chorus. But the story was false. It was a ten-minute fight; no one was killed, except 25 caged dogs; and Bray wasn’t there. More recently, we heard about the alleged heroics of Private Jessica Lynch near Nassiriya in Iraq. A convoy of her 507th Ordinance Maintenance Company took a wrong turn; the enemy attacked; and Lynch, according to her hagiographers, played Custer to the Iraqi Indians. Fighting to the last bullet, she was shot, stabbed, and captured, after which she was beaten in captivity. Again, it was another story seemingly scripted for Hollywood, and, again, it didn’t happen. Lynch did nothing heroic. She did not shoot anything and was not shot or stabbed. But the Pentagon let the tale balloon, until someone poked it with a pin.
Lost in these fantastic stories about heroic women is a simple truth: Almost all women are unsuited to physical combat, and, the more women the Pentagon inserts into those positions, the more all troops are endangered. Lt. Kara Hultgreen was the Navy’s most famous aviatrix before her demise while landing her F-14 on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The Navy unbosomed a complicated explanation about her F-14 malfunctioning, but the truth was that Kara Hultgreen was an incompetent pilot. She repeatedly made errors that would have grounded a man, including the very mistake that killed her, which she had made twice before. But the political pressure on her commanders to put her aboard a carrier was overwhelming. Hultgreen was a fatality for feminism.
Hultgreen’s death surprised no one who heard or read testimony from the Presidential Commission on Women in the Military. Instructors from the Top Gun fighter school told commissioners they had to pass unqualified women—or else.
But facts don’t matter to the feminists, congresspersons, or media. They ignore physical reality because they want to impose the “new reality,” which goes well beyond female amputees or women in combat: It is the permanent sexual revolution. The question has never been whether women can fight; apart from a few Amazons, most cannot. Everyone, feminists included, knows this, regardless of what they insist publicly about the physical prowess of women. The question has always been whether women should fight, and how their fighting, which would alter how women are perceived and treated, would affect the social order.
A Christian society, governed by real men, would never contemplate using women in combat. We, however, live in an anti-Christian society that views women differently from how it once did—not just a century ago, but even 40 or 50 years ago, when the thought of women in combat would have outraged politicians on both sides of the aisle. The revolution’s success depended on changing not just how women view women but how men view women. Mission accomplished. Today, men see women as their equals, unworthy of their protection, which includes exemption from combat duty. Significantly, nutty leftists such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan did not achieve victory alone; men helped. Men ran the universities that peddled feminist propaganda. Men ran the courts that legalized abortion and no-fault divorce. Men ran the military when it marched women into combat.
Consider some of the letters I received after I wrote a column about a young mother who enlisted in the military after September 11, leaving her infant behind. In addition to being called “pond scum,” a “communist,” and an “ignorant liberal,” I received the following comments from three different men:
What difference does it make that a woman goes off to war? How is that any different than [sic] a father doing it?
Us [sic] in the military do not distinguish between male and female.
Moms deserve the right to serve the country in any way the nation needs them. No one should be excused from the front lines.
Meet the gelded American man.
Yet the sexual revolution has created more than women amputees and brainwashed castrati. News reports about the lubricious larks of military women are legion. When I worked for the Presidential Commission on Women in the Military, an aide to an admiral told me that a woman stationed on an aircraft carrier earned $100,000. You don’t have to wonder how this wench of the waves did that, and, despite the Navy’s confident claims that “leadership” would control carnality aboard unisex ships, 36 of 360 women deployed on the U.S.S. Arcadia during Operation Desert Storm wound up pregnant. The Arcadia was dubbed the “Love Boat.”
These sexcapades pale beside those in Iraq. The war there has offered the heroics of Lynndie England, the woman who sexually tormented Arab prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison (commanded by a lady general) then returned home pregnant by a prison guard. The atmosphere at Abu Ghraib was so sexualized that one lady sergeant permitted a handler’s dog—used routinely to intimidate inmates—to lick peanut butter off of her breasts. When the dog handler was court-martialed, the Baltimore Sun published a photo of the lady sergeant leaving the trial, carrying a book entitled Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.
The feminists have scaled their Suribachi. The revolution has triumphed. Welcome to the new reality.