The Thinking 

How “Equality” in the Military Leads to Gross Inequality

January 25, 2013


AT VFR, Henry McCulloch writes:

I have had many years to think about what role women should have in the armed forces. I was a Marine infantry officer and Air Force Reserve fighter pilot in an active capacity for over 16 years. Now, mercifully, I am completely separated from the U.S. armed forces.

During my active service and in the years since it ended, I have seen women over-preferred and over-promoted at every step. Inevitably their presence in any numbers is burdensome to the force and detrimental to combat readiness—even when serving only in support units. No matter what promises about high standards Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey may make, standards will be lowered until enough women qualify that this great social experiment can be declared a success. But the truth will be otherwise and, should the U.S. armed forces have to fight a serious adversary that does not engage in this nonsense, very quickly obvious. Men, and some of these ladies, will pay for this social engineering with their lives.

In the 1970s, I saw the service academies thrown open to women, and male cadets and midshipmen at all three academies ordered not to tell the press anything about the blatant dual standards that prevailed thenceforth—despite command assurances to the public that no standards were being relaxed to accommodate women. So much for the Honor Code. It is not surprising that Air Force Academy graduates of the Class of ‘80 (the first to include women) are among the most cynical men I have ever known.

I saw women offered more chances to overcome physical unfitness and injuries in Marine officer training than any man—even a Naval Academy graduate—would be given. That was in 1980. At least in 1980 an unqualified Marine officerette was never in danger of having to attempt to lead Marines in combat. After 2013, however, all bets may be off.

I saw women offered several chances to repeat flunked check rides in Air Force flight training, when one flunked check ride was almost always enough to wash out a man, even an Air Force Academy graduate. That was in 1984. And at least in 1984, there was not yet any danger that an underqualified Air Force pilotess would have to attempt to fly a tactical aircraft in combat. After 1994, however, all bets were off.

In the late 1980s, I watched uniformed women officers lobbying openly in the Capitol and on national television for the removal of any restrictions on their assignability—engaging in political activity while in uniform that would have earned (deservedly) any male officer a court-martial. These ladies were not lobbying because they wished to fight, but because they wanted more chances at promotion. No senior officer disciplined any of them, and no elected or appointed federal official that I am aware of, either Republican or Democrat, protested their gross breaches of military decorum.

In 1991 and 1992, I watched the careers of many male naval aviators ruined because one woman Navy helicopter pilot, Paula Coughlin, complained about their behavior at Tailhook ‘91 in Las Vegas, where they were celebrating victory in Desert Storm. The high-jinks Lieutenant Couglin and other naval aviatrixes present engaged in were overlooked, while the Chief of Naval Operations stood by and allowed good men’s careers to be destroyed rather than question the very questionable account of one junior, but female, officer.

In 1994 and 1995, I watched as the failed attempt to qualify Captain (“inexplicably” speed-promoted to Major) Jacqueline “Jackie” Parker in the F-16 effectively ruined the 174th Fighter Wing—a unit that had recently distinguished itself in Desert Storm. Parker destroyed several careers along her erratic flightpath, including those of the 174 FW’s Wing Commander, Vice Commander and Deputy Commander for Operations—with whom she had an affair—all the while firing off accusations of sexual harassment to cover her dangerous deficiencies as a “fighter pilot.” (I put that in quotes because a woman can no more truly be a fighter pilot than two homosexuals can truly be married to each other.) Once it became too obvious that the vaunted Parker would kill herself or someone else if she continued attempting to fly the F-16 operationally, she was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and sent to a non-flying job in California. Search the internet: it’s easy to find propaganda lauding Parker as a Pioneer of Aviation. She never paid the slightest price for the devastation she left in her wake.

After 1995, I stopped flying actively because of the demands of my civilian career. While I regretted leaving the F-16 and my fighter squadron, I had no regrets about leaving what the armed forces had already become. In the years since, the armed forces have only become worse—much worse.

And eventually, after considerable reflection, the conclusion I reached is that women should not, for moral and readiness reasons both, serve in the armed forces in any capacity. I might allow a strictly limited exception for nurses in rear-area hospitals; even in that case I’m not convinced that role would not be filled just as well or better by uniformed men or civilians.

As for the other social revolutions liberalism has force-fed into the armed forces, I do not believe homosexuals should serve in the armed forces, period. The same goes for foreign nationals; nobody should be able to buy U.S. citizenship simply by enlisting in the U.S. armed forces.

Whatever the current commander-in-chief and the generals and admirals who advise him may be serious about, they clearly are not serious about America’s having armed forces capable of fighting and winning wars. So while I am disgusted by the decision to eliminate the combat exclusion altogether, I am not in the least surprised by it.

—- Comments —-
Roger G. writes:

Mr. McCulloch is far more qualified than I am to address these matters. For what my opinion is worth, I agree with him completely about everything except women as combat nurses. I have read and heard wonderful things about the World War II nurses, including those right behind the front lines. Apparently men benefit greatly from being tended by women in these circumstances. And in particular, the presence of American girls seems to have meant a lot to the wounded soldiers.

Don Vincenzo writes:

What Henry McCulloch wrote in describing the presence of women in the military academies has been validated in my experience by observing over the past 25 years the ever increasing drift toward untrammeled political correctness at these institutions, particularly from one of which my son graduated in the mid 1980s. McCulloch wrote:

In the 1970s, I saw the service academies thrown open to women, and male cadets and midshipmen at all three academies ordered not to tell the press anything about the blatant dual standards that prevailed thenceforth—despite command assurances to the public that no standards were being relaxed to accommodate women. So much for the Honor Code. It is not surprising that Air Force Academy graduates of the Class of ‘80 (the first to include women) are among the most cynical men I have ever known.

One member of the congregation in our parish is a retired Professor of Literature, who spent more than 30 years teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy. Normally a retiring, congenial, and even-keeled man, he becomes exercised and quite adamant about this topic, and insists that once women were admitted to this alleged military institution, previous rules and criteria were thrown to the wind, physical standards were swept aside, and it became unrecognizable. Few dared to buck the administration in Annapolis on this issue.

One case in particular is indelibly etched in my mind: one of the requirements to be fulfilled for anyone to graduate from the Naval Academy involved the candidate diving or jumping off a high diving board. One woman could not fulfill that obligation, and that reckoning was put off until her senior year. When she was told that she would not receive her diploma, she sued in federal court…and won her case. The judge ruled that the Academy had erred in delaying the fulfillment of the requirement until her final year. I do not know for sure, but I suspect that the jumping off the board by women is no longer a requirement at the U.S. Naval Academy.

One would have to be delusional to believe that the military academies today resemble anything that they were as early as two decades ago; if anything, they are worse, far worse. The elixir of political correctness is now imbibed by the entire chain of command in all the branches of the military, and as Mr. McCullough implies, even if they thought what is being carried out is dangerous to our national health, the academies’ leadership is far too timid and cowardly to stand up and say,“Non pasaran.”

To this day, we receive copies of West Point Magazine (my son attended; Class of 1986), published by the Association of Graduates. Their latest edition is illustrative of what has happened to our military academies. Although the entire group of former generals, superintendents of West Point, and civilians shown are white, the rest of the magazine is an example of diversity and affirmative action at work, including the edition’s major article: On the Road to Readiness: Diversity Leadership Conference Develops Best and “Next” Practices.

Sibyl writes:

The whole Western world has gone crazy, and this decision to allow (and encourage) women to enter combat roles is only the latest assault. Another wonderful blogger, Mark Shea puts it brilliantly: There are two phases for each period in history. The first phase is called “What Can It Hurt?” and the second is called “How Were We to Know?” This decision marks our entry into the “What Can It Hurt?” phase, and within only a few years, with the military weakened, the respect for our forces lessened, terrorists emboldened, and women coarsened yet further, you can bet that we will enter the second.

Mary writes:

I am wretched over the decision to allow women on the front lines. Thank you to Laura for tackling it for it is so grave that it’s very difficult to write about it, not knowing where to start being one of the problems. Also it is very painful to see our military become a laughing stock on the world stage. But mostly because it’s pernicious and makes obvious the fact that feminism has triumphed once again. This time it feels like the last nail in the coffin. They have finally dragged women down to rock bottom, with an audible thud. What could be better proof of this than women voluntarily replacing men on the front lines in combat? By this act women do not elevate but terminally debase themselves in status. How sad that these female soldiers have been convinced through some convoluted notion of equality that it is a good thing to be allowed by one’s president to be maimed, traumatized, raped and even killed, to compromise the safety of other soldiers, to leave children motherless – all in the name of being able to play on the boys’ team? If I didn’t understand the mind of the feminist it would be tempting to suspect this is a conspiracy created by men to rid themselves of aggressive women and avoid front line combat at the same time!

This is not an original thought, many have said it before me: the seed of this decision can be found in the educational system. What better place allows universal access to young minds? It seems to me that these days girls from a young age are trained to believe they are an underclass that needs to fight it’s way out from under the bonds of imaginary shackles. They are encouraged not just to be successful and fulfilled in their lives but to break down barriers – to fight to play on the boys’ team – as if the breaking down of barriers is in itself a noble and virtuous pursuit. They are not asked to give a moments thought to whether or not these barriers have any intrinsic value. They are not reminded to remember to value their potential motherhood, nor are they reminded that being able to bear children is a great privilege that boys cannot share. On the contrary, they are taught that it is but a small window in their lives, that they are not defined by the fact of it but by the things that they do. The hole in the logic is filled in with emotion and passion: that is the engine that drives the girls. This latest decision is where it has finally brought them, to the culmination of harmful and illogical thinking: women in combat.

Children have become unnaturally driven. I believe many girls have been guided by an unseen hand in directions they may not have chosen otherwise, and that parents go along with it all as long as their daughters are generally excelling; parents are kept busy running their children from one activity to the next and don’t necessarily take time to read between the lines and make determinations about the greater effects of these pursuits on family and society. I would advise new parents not to get caught up in the craziness of overscheduling that often comes about without one realizing it when kids are in public school. Children and adolescents’ lives are being dominated and shaped by the public schools rather then their families. Stay home. Live simply. Have wholesome pursuits. It doesn’t have to be this way…

Someone more clever than I can articulate the irony I sense in simultaneosly increasing gun control laws while allowing women to enter combat.

Terry Morris writes:

I cannot yet wrap my mind around this historic development. Two years ago I advised the local Tea Party leader against her (to my mind) overly-zealous, ritualistic, worshipful tendency to ‘honor’ veterans, police, fire (these often overlap) at every turn. I reminded her that these peoples’ salaries and benefits are paid by honest-to-God taxpayers who create real wealth in private industry; that personally I would be more comfortable, as a military veteran, being honored at her meetings as a private industry contractor and real tax payer. This has encompassed the great majority of my adult life, unlike those who get on the government doles fresh out of high school … and stay on it. As Dad used to say, “Just another government welfare-case.”

At this very moment I want nothing more to do with the U.S. military. At the time I thought Bill Clinton was the lowest in a Commander-in-Chief the U.S. could possibly go. But I have since learned that the depths of human depravity literally know no bounds. The excrement that proceeds from Hussein Obama’s mouth to this day still amazes me. Nothing would satisfy me more than to have my name utterly expunged from the military record, including my ‘exceptional achievements’ so called. I have no interest whatsoever in being, in any way, associated with female soldiery.

And by the way, Mister President, valor does know a gender, and it is decidedly male. While tenderness is a decidedly female trait, you idiot!

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Mary’s second paragraph is excellent, especially this: “They are encouraged not just to be successful and fulfilled in their lives but to break down barriers – to fight to play on the boys’ team – as if the breaking down of barriers is in itself a noble and virtuous pursuit. They are not asked to give a moments thought to whether or not these barriers have any intrinsic value.”

This is right on target, and it gets to the nub of what distinguishes a conservative from a radical.  I’m sure everyone by now has seen the bumper stickers that read, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”  This is a singularly offensive and stupid slogan, not least because it suggests that the women who bear forth the next generation of children do not “make history,” but particularly for the reasons that Mary suggests.  It assumes that simply getting noticed is a good thing, in and of itself.  Even to act in a ridiculous and destructive manner is something to be admired, if it “breaks barriers” or “makes history.”  As Chesterton said, the person who does not understand, or even care to ask, why a barrier exists is the person least qualified to insist upon tearing it down.  Nearly all feminists show a breathtaking lack of understanding where social mores are concerned; and I would say yet more, that they are on the whole an incurious lot of savages, being deranged by lust of power and altogether uninterested in the real reasons for such universal human phenomena as the sexual exclusivity of military order.  The person who believes in the destruction of barriers for its own pitiless sake–recalling that barriers are, generally speaking, protective devices–is a barbarian, and an enemy not merely of Western Civilization, but of civilization as such.

As for the irony of banning weapons at home while sending mothers abroad to man the barricades of war, the absurdity of it is manifest.  I’m not sure there’s ever lived the wit who might fully capture it in verse, but Mary does us a service merely by pointing it out.

Pan Dora writes:

Please inform Mr Morris that valor does indeed know both sexes.

Then have him Google the name Victoria Soto.

I hope his local Tea Party leader grants his wish.

Laura writes:

Mr. Morris was articulating a general truth.

AR10308 writes:

Dying for one’s country has been done by 1,326,612 Americans. Of these, 136 American Women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. 16 American Women were killed in Vietnam; 543 American Women were killed in World War II; 359 American women were killed in World War I. So, a few over 1,000 have died for this country in battle. 1,326,612 – 1100 = 1,325,512 American MEN have died in battle. Sounds like you need strap on your helmet and get out there to even the balance.

According to your Femibattle-buddies, Victoria Soto should have had a rifle in her hand, kevlar on her head and wearing an IBA while she hunted down Osama instead of teaching in a classroom. Then maybe she would have been able to fight back against a deranged lunatic. Of course, it would be your Progressive-Feminists who are trying as hard as they can to prevent anyone from being able to stand up to lunatics by their mad-eyed rush to enact treasonous gun control laws.

Unfortunately, your entire point is mute because Mr. Morris only saw fit to point out that “valor does know a gender, and it is decidedly male” which means that the overwhelming majority of people who have died for this country have been male. Not that there aren’t females who have died for this country, but statistically they have been practically non-existent. By the numbers, men are more valorous than women, and they are so stacked that the women of this nation could NEVER equalize the Combat Gender Gap (I’m trademarking this term for a future blog post) owed by women to men.

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