The first line of attack in political battles is language. Getting people to phrase things your way is the first step to getting them to think your way.
In the foggy mess of the debate over women in combat, you will see media references to a “ban” being “lifted.”
Bans are bad. Lifting bans is good. Therein lies the bias strangling this issue in the dominant media culture.
Am I “banned” from the women’s restrooms at work? No, I’m just not supposed to be in there, so that word doesn’t come up. The left has commandeered combat as a rhetorical battlefield, where excluding women is as vile as denying them the right to vote.
Just as allowing gays in the military has become a litmus test for human decency, the argument for women in combat focuses on their self-interest before the nation’s.
We see the same examples of noble service, as if they outweigh the arguments against. We hear scolding references to opponents stuck in some bygone era, steeped in bigotry. We hear no evidence of how this helps us win wars, which is the military’s actual job.
And beyond the damage this will do to military readiness, there is the broader harm done to our culture by permitting women in combat.
Before detailing the specifics of both detriments, there is the required pronouncement of my own high opinion of women and their strengths. Women are amazing people, often with talents and contributions beyond what any man brings to the table. My wife is one of the toughest, most capable people I know. My daughter has been raised to reach for any goal, striving for her dreams with all of the attributes God gave her, taking abuse from no one.
There. Now to the actual issue, which will draw charges of misogyny anyway.
It is because womanhood is special and sacred that we should not send our daughters, wives and mothers off to be killed, maimed or taken prisoner. If anyone is guilty of dealing a blow to womanhood, it is the oblivious souls who do not flinch at the risks of what might happen to them in battle.
But what if the women are willing? Doesn’t that negate that argument?
Far from it. The inspiring eagerness of a woman to subject herself to the hell of combat does not make it a good idea. The risks are not just to her, but to our entire society.
The number of women raring to see the front lines is very, very small. Their voices are not driving this. The engine here is the campaign to neutralize gender differences in all walks of life. This is not a quest for equal rights or opportunity, which is noble at its base; it is a campaign for sameness, an effort to craft a perverse worldview that manhood and womanhood are interchangeable-- in marriage, in parenthood, even in a foxhole.
God himself teaches otherwise.
But one does not have to take the religious path to objecting to this assault on gender difference. Even atheists can be chivalrous. Even agnostics know there is a dynamic to male/female interaction that irrefutably differs from same-sex environments.
This does not require a Norman Rockwell portrait of the little ladies baking pies while the men-folk prop up their feet and watch sports (even though there is nothing wrong with that portrait).
The advances of women have been of vast value to our nation and the world, as their hearts and minds and strengths have enriched corporate boardrooms, high elected office and many walks of military life.
But men are wired to regard women in a manner different than they regard their fellow men. The left may deny it, and individuals may try to thwart their own natures by suppressing it behaviorally, but properly raised men will feel an urge to protect women. Ignoring this central male instinct may be fatal on the battlefield.
A soldier under fire needs to regard his fellow troops with no complicating factors. The woman who was so tough in basic training may need extra assistance under actual enemy fire as a platoon dashes from one location to another.
This social dalliance will have a direct death toll, a fact of no consequence to those pressing for combat as a petri dish of contrived equality.
Combat is physicality at its most extreme. It is idiocy to deny the substantial physical differences between men and women. There are only two ways to shoehorn this policy into practice:
One is to suggest lesser physical requirements for women in combat, which is an admission of willingness to harm our armed forces to achieve a political goal.
The other is to argue for women to meet the same requirements, which is absurd on multiple levels.
First, the women who can match the precise training rigors of the Marine infantry could gather in a very small room.
Second, who in the world believes that standard would last? As soon as 100 or twelve or two actual women met those requirements, the diversity gremlins would swoop into action to lower the bar so that an acceptable number of women could be sent into harm’s way.
Meanwhile, consider the plight of the young lieutenant picking a half-dozen soldiers from his platoon for a demanding mission. Imagine the shrieks of sexism if he dares to bypass the ladies to dispatch the strongest six men, improving the likelihood of mission success?
Isn’t war hard enough? How many burdens must our military bear to satisfy the cravings of the politically correct?
But let us consider the case of a rock-hard, amazingly fit young lady who can match the best male times on the obstacle course at Parris Island. Surely we can send her into harm’s way?
Oh, we can, if we wish to invite the darkest consequence of all.
A soldier has many duties. Among the most important is the resiliency he must maintain if he is captured by an enemy. Enduring torture is one thing, but our enemies know a particularly excruciating tactic is to force captives to listen-- or watch-- as their brothers in arms are beaten and broken.
But we ask our fighting forces to do just that, with lips sealed. Asking them to withstand the horror of a woman raped or mutilated before their eyes is simply too much. Anyone blind to this difference has shut down part of humanity itself.
These are heady days for terrorists. Four fresh years of an Obama presidency and the approaching prospect of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel? Now that’s an Arab Spring.
Do we really want to give our enemies the joy of a new and searing way to mistreat Americans they capture?
Apparently we do, among the ranks of those pressing for women in combat without considering or caring what comes with it.
I would love to know how many people favoring combat for women have told their sons not to hit girls. This lesson is taught because girls and boys are different. One would hope a boy learns early that the behavioral standard around girls is higher, leading to a life where women are respected and honored.
It is that cornerstone of basic decency that is about to be sacrificed on the altar of our equality fetish.
We cannot know how many of our wives, mothers and daughters will be lost, or how many battles, as we engage in these skewed priorities.
But we can know that we will lose a fundamental precept of our existence-- the precious regard for womanhood as something worthy of protection from social experimenters.