Diana West
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And so it came, the coup de grace. The final "barrier" to "opportunities" for women in combat is no more. With a stroke of their pens, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey decreed that no battlefield mission or military role is off-limits to the female sex. The defense secretary and the general thus liberated mothers, daughters, sisters and wives to kill and be killed in the infantry, commando raids, even in Obama administration "overseas contingency operations." In so doing, they also slashed away at that last institutional protection for the space that separates men and women, where civilization once grew.

It (civilization) has been struggling there for decades, as social engineers and radical feminists -- all heirs to Marx -- have been cutting away at elemental human instinct, social grace, language and thought itself. This overhaul of manners and mores, the family structure and marriage -- even private aspects of the relationship between men and women -- has been successful to a point where the cultural argument against women in combat (women in the military being a lost cause) is rarely voiced, not even on the right. (I watched Fox News on women-in-combat announcement day, listening in vain for just one culture warrior.)

We are left to make only the utilitarian arguments -- body strength and speed, unit cohesion, even urinary tract infections and other hazards that front-line deployment pose to females. These are compellingly logical points, but they are unlikely to reverse an ideological juggernaut. When the secretary of defense says putting women in combat is about "making our military ... and America stronger" and no one says he's lying to further a Marxian ideal via social engineering, the cultural argument is lost, and the culture it comes from is bound and gagged, hostage to what we know as "political correctness."

I still see threads of the cultural argument in emails and some blog responses to the Pentagon's latest whack at creating "gender neutrality." It erupts like a reflex against the conditioning to deny differences defined, at their essence, by muscle mass and womb. Such conditioning erodes the male protective instinct -- which, surely, is what war is supposed to arise from -- and the female nurturing instinct, which surely is what a civilization depends on.

No more. Women with wombs and without manly muscle mass now count as Pentagon-approved "warriors," modern-day knights in Kevlar, soon to be humping 80-pound packs over mountain and desert.

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Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).