The long awaited hour-long debate between Sen. George Allen, R-Va., and his Democrat challenger, Jim Webb, on “Meet the Press” was down right embarrassing. Both men want to be known as strong military eaders. However, when host Tim Russert pressed them on the issue of women in combat, both men were swept overboard in a sea of political correctness and grabbed for a lifeboat of feminist ideology.For the uninitiated, feminists don’t see a need for the military, but, if we must have one, they want to run it. It is difficult to climb up the chain of command without combat experience. That’s why it is necessary to perpetuate the myth that men and women are interchangeable fungibles.
Webb knows better; he was a decorated Marine and former Navy secretary. However, he spent most of that “Meet the Press” segment trying to run away from good articles that he wrote on the subject in 1979 and 1997. He rightly apologized for some crass words he used in 1979, but his central points were well taken: There is “no benefit” to women serving in combat units and “their presence at institutions dedicated to the preparation of men for combat command is poisoning that preparation.”
Sen. Allen made a similar point while governor of Virginia when he said, “If Virginia Military Institute admitted women, it wouldn’t be the VMI that we’ve know for 154 years.” VMI is now coed. Allen’s stated concern that if VMI didn’t admit women it might become a pariah school helped defeat a privatization plan, and it isn’t the same institution – not even close.
The training at the nation’s service academies has been relaxed and softened so that women can make it through. Can’t we be honest about this?
Russert to Allen: “Has women at VMI worked?”
Allen: “Yes it has.”
Russert: “So you were wrong.”
Allen: “Yeah, it has worked.”
Worked for whom? At VMI, traditional adversative training is out, gender sensitivity in. Any honest person knows that Allen’s reply wasn’t candid or smart.
Is he trolling for the feminist vote? If so, he’s delusional!
If men and women are interchangeable fungibles, then why didn’t Allen’s dad have any women play for the Washington Redskins? As the nation’s first female television sportscaster, I had a chance to observe professional football up close. Before putting women in combat, put them in the NFL and let’s watch that experiment from the safety of our armchairs.
The men now capitulating to the feminists would be the first to run for the remotes. It would not be a pretty sight!
I am no shrinking violet. I broke barriers for women. I fly planes. I shoot guns and I work out with weights, but I could work out forever and not change the fact that I am no match, physically, for a man.
Under George W. Bush, women are being illegally assigned to units that are co-located with male combat units. Congress has the responsibility for military oversight, but Sen. Allen has not lifted a finger to stop this. Jim Webb gave us no reason to believe he would do otherwise.
It may not be fair that the average man is six inches taller and, more importantly, has 42 percent more upper body strength, but it is reality.
Yet, Webb told Russert: “I am fully comfortable with the roles of women in the military today.”
Russert to Webb: “Bottom line, do you now believe that women can, in fact, provide men with combat leadership?”
To show how much he has changed, Webb pointed to a ride he had with a woman pilot in a CH-46. He called it “The ride of my life.” The CH-46 is a workhorse, not a high-performance aircraft. He could get a better thrill on your average roller coaster.
Yes, women can fly. We don’t need to be patronized, but if an aircraft is shot down in a combat zone, that pilot becomes an instant infantryman.
In 1997, Webb claimed that the effect of gender integration on military culture and standards had not been studied. Where was Webb in 1992 when the President’s Commission on the Study of Women in the Armed Services invited him to testify? I testified; he was AWOL.
Military women have contributed much to this country, but that doesn’t mean they should be trained with men, used in combat units or co-located with combat units. Any reasonable person knows that by doing this, we put women and men at greater risk.
Unfortunately, this is an issue that leaves many otherwise brave men hiding in the tall grass – or behind the short skirts.