Sunday, January 27, 2013

Getting More Women Killed For “Progress”

The Department of Defense announced that it will end its ban on women in combat.

I don’t oppose putting women in combat because I believe women are incapable, I oppose sending women into combat because I believe in civilization.

As someone who’s been rejected from all four major branches of the armed services (maybe I should have tried the Coast Guard), I’m the last person who has the right to catalogue the horrors of war or detail military service with any first-hand war experience. I spent most of the Iraq war typing angry libertarian screeds against foreign intervention or denouncing George W. Bush from the comforts of various New York bar stools, so if you ask me what combat credentials I have, I have none.

No one questions that women have served with distinction in uniform and many women are capable fighters. If I’m blessed with daughters, I will certainly teach them how to shoot. The responsibility to defend the country ultimately falls on every citizen, male or female.

But being put into front-line combat is not the same thing, and the government’s move to put women into combat could indicate two very troubling things: either our military is stretched so thin that it’s throwing women into the relentless deployments into the Middle East or our President is so ensconced in his own vision of himself as a progressive hero that he’s abandoned any serious leadership as Commander in Chief.

Of course the supporters of this policy are trotting out all kinds of medal-laden Pentagon brass to reassure us that this is a thoughtful policy and how dare we question the contributions to women in our society, etc. etc. All the false cultural battle lines will be drawn and manned by the same predictable caricatures.

I’ll take my lumps as a sexist civilian villain and retreat to the confines of science, biology and knowledge of the world at large. Sure, men are more likely to be trigger-happy meatheads, but a man cannot get pregnant. Of course many women are capable of the grueling endurance needed for difficult missions, but women are more likely to be raped. We can’t stop our own servicemen from raping women in the armed forces. How is it a tribute to women to put them into the hands of our enemies?

This policy separates the people who live in reality versus those who prefer their own progressive version of it.

I hope we can all agree that men and women should be treated equally under the law. The disabled and the elderly should be treated equally under the law, but we don’t send the disabled and the elderly into combat, even though I’m sure there are senior citizens and paraplegics who are crack shots with a rifle. That’s not “ageist” or “able-ist,” that’s just damn common sense.

When women, the old and the infirm are on the front lines of combat, it means the country sending them into battle is close to defeat, when its population of military-age men has been depleted by the ravages of war.

What kind of country would send women into combat when it didn’t have to? A self-defeating one, a nation so obsessed with identity politics that we’re blinded to the cold hard facts of life and death.

This policy is a sad, sad mistake. It confuses the value of treating all people equally under the law with a mandate to wipe away any meaningful standards that acknowledge differences between the genders. That’s not progress, that’s self-satisfied ignorance at the expense of women’s lives. 

(Image taken from Reuters.)

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