Sometimes a news story is more noteworthy when it comes and goes without drawing a significant reaction. In a small town, murder is huge news; in Chicago, a single murder is a sign of a good day. This was the case with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's decision to lift the ban on women in combat. Sure, there were some pieces celebrating such an historic step, but on the whole, this incident passed without much notice. The forces of reaction, of which I am a proud member, were mostly silent, as if this formality is just something we will have to accept--which, I suppose, it is.
But that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Sending women into combat isn't just questionable desirable, it's manifestly stupid. Let us count the ways.
1) We've already seen what happens when we place men and women in close quarters. The women get pregnant--or sexually assaulted--and the men fight over the women. The Army's reaction has been to create this helpful website.
It's interesting that while this has been going on for years, our rejoinder is to simply insist that it shouldn't happen, and leave it at that. In the eponymous children's television program, Dora the Explorer tells Swiper: "No swiping." Whereupon, he stops. This is, so far as I can tell, our plan to prevent sexual indiscretions in the military. We must not be saying it loudly enough.
Yes, men shouldn't rape women; but men ought not kill people either. The civilizing force that prevents a man from raping a woman is very similar to that which prevents him from killing a man. But the latter is required in war, and... not without reason are war and rape close companions in the annals of conquest.
It might occur to our utopians that if we can wish away all rape, we can probably do away with war, too.
2) The same things might happen at the hands of enemy forces. If we could get Al-Qaeda to read Jezebel, I'm sure the terrorists would promise to play nice with any women soldiers they happen to capture. On the other hand, if the terrorists rape enough of our soldiers, the feminists who comprise part of Obama's base might stop fantasizing about free birth control long enough to remember that President Peace Prize is still fighting Bush's War on Terror.
3) Standards will be lowered to compensate for the physical discrepancies between male and female soldiers. Oh wait, we already did that. In civilian life, standards are often just convenient ways to weed out undesirable candidates, but in combat, it can be important to be able to carry one's pack, or help lift a wounded soldier to safety. Soon we'll be hearing all sorts of heroic stories about our G.I. Janes. And this time the stories won't be complete fabrications.
One could easily satirize women's ineffectualness in combat, but this would require Oscar Wilde's proverbial heart of stone. It might work better if a female firefighter proved unable to rescue a corpulent cat lady. Okay, so that's not much kinder, but it's certainly more humorous.
Actually, the more practical result, comes courtesy of Steve Sailer:
If more co-ed combat degrades American military
performance, it's not like the Axis is going to win WWII, it's that a
few more brave Americans will get killed in some inconclusive puttering
around in Mali or wherever.
One last point. The reason societies don't allow their women to fight in wars--except in desperate circumstances--isn't just because men are stronger than women; it's because women are more valuable. If you send off your men to die, the women will have to have more children to replace those the tribe has lost. If you send your women off to die, it's very difficult to conjure new family members from the remaining bachelors. Of course, a nation, such as ours, that cannot even be bothered to reproduce at levels sufficient to sustain itself isn't likely to appreciate this point. But I like to think that, somewhere, the ancients are laughing at us.