The face of war is never pretty, but the war in Iraq has given us images never seen before. It has shown us pictures of mothers being sent into battle against one of the cruelest regimes in the world.
What is the matter with the men of this country - our political and military leaders - that they acquiesce to the policy of sending mothers of infants to fight Saddam Hussein? Are they the kinds of men who, on hearing a noise late at night, would send their wives or daughters to confront an intruder?
Three young women were part of the U.S. Army's 507th Maintenance Support Company that was ambushed March 23 near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. Fortunately, Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson, 30, has been rescued, thanks to an Iraqi who told U.S. soldiers where American POWs were being held.
In the joy of reconciliation, let us not forget the shame on our country that this single mother of a 2-year-old daughter was assigned to a position where she could be captured. Johnson, whose family immigrated to the United States from Panama when she was 6 years old, didn't volunteer to serve in combat. She volunteered to be a cook.
Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, didn't volunteer for combat. She wanted to be a kindergarten teacher and joined the Army because jobs were scarce in West Virginia.
Lynch was rescued by U.S. troops thanks to an Iraqi who was disgusted by the way her captors were slapping around a wounded prisoner. Even that Iraqi understood how a female POW is different from a male POW.
The third woman, Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, a Hopi Indian from Flagstaff, Ariz., didn't make it back alive. Her body was discovered by U.S. troops in a shallow grave.
Piestewa, 23, whose father served in Vietnam, was the single mother of a 4-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. Did the Iraqi threat to U.S. national security really require those two children to sacrifice their only parent?
The reason these sorry things have happened is that the men in our government and in the U.S. military lack the courage to stand up to feminists and repudiate their assault on family and motherhood.
Johnson, Lynch and Piestewa were the victims of trickle-down feminism. While it is the female officers and militant feminists who demand the "career opportunities" that come from combat duty, it is the privates who get the dangerous assignments.
The pictures of a terrified Johnson being interrogated by her Iraqi captors and of Lynch carried on a stretcher show war's toll on women and mothers. How about the cost to the little ones left behind?
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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