With National Guard enlistments down and with orders to extend currently serving guardsmen and other service personnel beyond one year of duty in Iraq, there are some who apparently want to use the need for more personnel to ram through their social objective of placing women in combat.
For all of the reasons argued against such a policy in the past, including unit cohesion, increases in sexual harassment, rape and pregnancy, and the social revulsion most feel about seeing women wounded or killed in combat (or tortured or beheaded by the enemy) - not to mention that these are policies that should be set at the top and not by lower ranking military and civilian authorities - overturning restrictions on women in combat will weaken our military and weaken its effectiveness in fighting and winning wars.
When Congress returns, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees should hold hearings on this issue and call the briefers and Lt. Gen. Campbell (and any others who were at the briefing) to testify about whether a change in the rule governing women in combat is being contemplated. If necessary, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be asked whether he and the president plan to continue the policy approved during the Clinton administration, or whether they will permit the policy to be altered by people without the authority to do so.
There are enough challenges to our military at the moment. Changing such a significant policy banning women from direct combat, especially during a time of war and with no input from those who have the power to set policy, is a bad idea that is not in the ultimate interest of women, men or the strength of our armed forces.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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