Why are our generals trying to push women into ground combat in Iraq despite Pentagon regulations and congressional law against it? What is it about civilian control of the military that the generals don't understand?
Current Department of Defense regulations exclude women from ground combat, as well as from assignment to forward support units that "collocate - i.e., are embedded side by side with units assigned a direct ground combat mission." Federal law requires that Congress be given 30 legislative days' advance notice of any change to this policy.
Army Secretary Francis Harvey has been skirting this policy by unilaterally rewording it to assign women to forward- support units except when "CONDUCTING (emphasis added) an assigned direct ground combat mission." When a ground-combat unit actually engages the enemy, the women, who are slated to be roughly 10 percent of the forward-support companies, will have to be evacuated from the battlefield.
How many ground and air vehicles, and how many extra men, will this ridiculous plan require? Will the enemy hold fire until the evacuation is complete?
Frustrated by the Army's devious behavior, U.S. Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and John McHugh, R-N.Y., had tried to add an amendment to the military appropriations bill to codify the current Defense Department regulations that the Army seems to have difficulty understanding. Feminists are lining up their media allies to demand that women be forced into land combat situations, while falsely asserting that Hunter-McHugh is "changing" the rule.
Much of the demand for women in combat comes from female officers who are eager to obtain medals and promotions. Enlisted women are acutely aware of the heavy lifting that must be done by combat infantry.
The Army's own opinion surveys prior to 2001 consistently reported that 85 percent to 90 percent of enlisted women oppose "being assigned to combat units on the same basis as men." Women enlistees have a right to expect the Army to obey current policy and law.
Advocates of women in combat say the front line is everywhere in Iraq. They continually try to fuzzy over the difference between being subject to risk, such as being ambushed by a car bomb, versus the task of aggressively seeking out and killing the enemy.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker tried to laugh off the difference by saying that "maybe since we're killing 40,000 people a year on the highways, (women) shouldn't drive. That's very dangerous, too." Comparing the risk of highway driving with engaging the enemy in combat is insulting to our intelligence and common sense.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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