Carey Roberts
August 30, 2006
Double-standards cripple the fight against terrorism
By Carey Roberts

It is a sign of cultural confusion when the most-heralded account of individual bravery in the Iraqi war centers around a teenage girl who did nothing that could be considered heroic.

When her convoy made a wrong turn behind enemy lines, 19-year-old Jessica Lynch passed out during the ensuing ambush. For that she was rewarded with fawning media coverage, an official biography, and a made-for-TV movie.

PFC Lynch didn't thwart the enemy attack, save anyone's life, or even fire a single shot. So what amazing feat of valor qualified Lynch for the Bronze Star? Get ready for this: she fell to her knees and started to pray. And then she smiled for the camera.

The chivalrous adulation that greeted Lynch's return covered over a dirty truth: Feminist double-think permeates the military more than any other institution in our society.

It's what Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, calls DSIW: double standards involving women. That dual standard now threatens the readiness and morale of our military services which must now cope with the surging threat of Islamofascism.

Women have long played an important and indispensable role in the military. And 20 years ago, different requirements weren't a concern when women were assigned mostly to nursing and stateside desk jobs. But shortfalls in military recruitment goals and demands by Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado to assign the "real plum jobs" to the gals changed all that.

Soon women were being tapped to work as pilots, ordnance handlers, and grease monkeys — just like their daddies used to do. Everything seemed to be on track for the imminent arrival of the gender utopia.

Then the 1990 Gulf War came around and 40,000 females were ordered to report for duty. That's when the ladies began to rediscover their inner-mom. Long-barren women became rapturously pregnant, and military mothers were suddenly the reincarnation of Madonna-with-child.

Newspapers wailed because "thousands of American mothers are saying good-bye to their families to face the unknown dangers in the Gulf." Some G.I. Janes claimed their recruiters had promised they would never be sent to war.

Gender-integrated basic training, which came along three years later, proved to be an even bigger jolt. The Sergeant Furies wondered how the female trainees would be able to survive, much less pass, the hand-grenade exercise, given the fact that most women couldn't heave the thing beyond its 35-meter burst radius.

Soon the requirement was changed so just dumping the grenade over a cement wall gave you the green light. After all, grenade-throwing is simply a confidence-building exercise, and the key is to try your hardest, right?

Battle-hardened drill sergeants were ordered to remake themselves in the manner of Mister Rogers, and obstacle courses were modified to resemble a Romper Room set. Navy trainees were urged to wave a "stress card" to settle frayed nerves. And mothers were consoled with infant nursing breaks and assorted child-bonding activities.

Despite all the gender-norming and hand-holding, Stephanie Gutmann documents in The Kinder, Gentler Military that women in training suffer 2-3 times more stress fractures, back sprains, and broken ankles. And at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., last year's female candidates washed out three times more often than the guys. []

George Orwell once wrote, "if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." That aphorism rings true in many of the official statements on women in the military.

"All soldiers, regardless of gender, train to a single standard, the Army standard," proclaims one regulation. "Differences in performance requirements between the sexes, such as Army physical fitness testing scoring, are based on physiological differences and apply to the entire force."

How's that for twice-around-the-block double-talk?

Then we have those politicians who gush about "the men and women in uniform who are fighting for our country." Apparently these well-intentioned souls don't realize that a woman who slings an M-16 over her shoulder for a couple hours of guard duty does not qualify as "fighting."

And remember Lt. Kara Hultgreen? Her jet crashed and burned on the USS Abraham Lincoln because she approached the flight deck at too sharp an angle — an error she had committed twice before. Then Navy officials tried to pin Hultgreen's death on "engine failure."

Put that one in the "cover-up" category.

Six years ago Stephanie Gutmann asked, "Can America's gender-neutral fighting force still win wars?" Some found her question to be provocative; to others it was merely amusing.

As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, it's time that we seriously ponder that question.

© Carey Roberts


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Carey Roberts

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism... (more)

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