Women in the Military
A few years ago, a film entitled Courage Under Fire depicted to American moviegoers a female Army helicopter pilot in Operation Desert Storm. Shortly after, Hollywood made Demi Moore into the title role of GI Jane, a similarly fictitious film that portrays a woman candidate for the elite Navy SEALS whose career is sabotaged by
Chauvinist males. Yet, despite the best efforts of Hollywood screenwriters to convince us that women should serve in military combat units, it is clear that the widespread integration of female personnel into the American armed forces remains a highly troubled enterprise.
Back in the Dark Ages, before feminism and egalitarianism enlightened us, conservatives used to claim that women just aren t suited for life in the military. More recently, after a decade of applying enlightenment to the profession of arms, the Clinton administration told us that the military just isn t suited for women. However it is phrased, it comes out to the same thing.
In recent years, left-wing members of Congress have exerted pressure on the Pentagon to expand the number of military specialties that are open to women. The beginning of this effort stems from the feminist insistence that the military must be held to the same standards of gender equity that apply to any civilian workplace.
Feminist critics scream that the military sits as a conservative male-dominated establishment which is obviously hostile to women. Feminists also state that machismo-laden aggression makes sexual harassment and rape inevitable. However, feminist ideologues overlook the fact that the key to an army s battlefield success derives in the deliberate cultivation of controlled violence within its ranks. War is a violent human activity, therefore it is essential to be belligerent to become an efficient killing machine which has won wars from the beginning of time. If women are unable to cope with the crude sexual harassment that is a part of peacetime life, how will they endure the savagery of infantry combat? Gender equity will do nothing to help a woman when an enemy has a gun pointed to her head.
The lifestyle of a ground combat unit in the field is extremely elemental. If men and women in their early 20s are placed in such conditions for a lengthy period of time, the development of romantic encounters within the ranks is inevitable. During the first seven months of the US Army s deployment to Bosnia, scores of female soldiers were sent home because they were pregnant. An American captain remarked on the widespread sexual activity within US Army s Bosnian encampments, saying: they ve locked us down [in our bases]. What else is there to do?
The passionate nature of romantic love, would make unit bonding extremely difficult. Jealousy and protectiveness would arise in any setting. The unavoidable sexual tensions that would result from the inclusion of women in combat units would merely diminish the military to do its one and only job to defeat the enemy.
A radical reshaping of American society at large will take place if feminist ideologues manage to subdue and remake the armed forces in their own image.
McHugh, Jane. Let s get physical. Army Times. 3 November 1997
O Beirnie, Kate. Girls with Guns. National Review. 14 July 1997
Noggle, Ann. A Dance with Death. 1994.
Jones, David E. Women Warriors. 1998.