Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, our Army commander in Northern Iraq, recently got crossways with the screech owls from the National Organization for Women, and, of course, the lefty screechers in the Senate. Why? The good general had the temerity to suggest that a soldier who gets pregnant (or causes one to get pregnant; we think we know how that is done…) has harmed the Army’s ability to do its job. In a war.
Well, Cucolo quickly folded under the pressure like a cheap suit, and will now just reprimand the preggers miscreants. This raises the larger issue: why should women serve anywhere near the front lines in any war?
Because we don’t have the political will to draft men to fight in unpopular wars, and because we are not facing an existential threat (as, for example, Israel is, where women do and have served in combat for decades), we allow women in or near combat for purely expedient reasons.
We can, and do, jigger the physical fitness standards so that women will pass. Hopefully, few if any women will need to carry any of their fellow soldiers out of a fire fight. But I digress. We claim gender-neutrality; at least in theory it doesn’t matter what gender a soldier is, and, in our all-volunteer force, we need all the warm bodies we can get.
But any who think our society truly accepts women in combat should recall the Jessica Lynch story. There is a rather severe double standard when it comes to women. We rightfully know that women are to be protected, but pretend that they are soldiers like any others. Not because they are the “weaker” sex. But because they bear our children and, not to be corny about it, tend the hearth. This is not “discrimination,” it is simple human nature, and has been as long as there have been groups of humans on this planet.
It is true that a very large proportion of women in uniform don’t get anywhere near the pointy end of battle, and that’s a very good thing for our society. But, there are always the screech owls, most of whom hate the military in general, who will shriek that women must do any and all jobs that men do, regardless. Otherwise it is gender discrimination.
Women in the ranks are a risk to good order and discipline for the simple reason that they can, and do, get pregnant while deployed. Look, if two guys go at it hot and heavy after hours, that’s not a good thing, but gay men can’t get pregnant. And if a soldier gets pregnant, it would be far better for her never to have been there.
In simple terms: it hurts unit cohesion when a trusted member betrays that trust by removing herself from service. And I give the benefit of the doubt that a woman in a combat unit will be a trusted member of that unit.
Best solution? No women in combat assignments or deployments in crapholes like Afghanistan or Iraq.