February 03, 2016
Be careful what you wish for. That's the message from Marine Corps leaders about the president's phony push for women's "equality" in the ranks. Yesterday, Senate Armed Services Committee members heard plenty of sobering testimony about the repercussions of opening up combat jobs to females -- and none should sicken Americans more than the news that drafting our girls is next.
Sixty-five hundred U.S. girls turn 18 each day -- and every one of them will be eligible for selective service if the Obama administration gets its way. Unfortunately, that's all but inevitable after Defense Secretary Ash Carter's decision to ignore the advice of his military chiefs and bring women into the most dangerous, grueling roles in the service. As our own Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin pointed out, the military can't have it both ways. When the Defense Department removed the barriers to women serving in all positions, it removed most barriers to drafting them as well. Pure equality, the Army has said, would demand it. Of course, the idea of parity probably sounds great until you're putting your daughter on a bus to boot camp. Sadly, this is just another consequence of the problem Obama created when he started using the military as a pack mule for his social agenda instead of its actual purpose: fighting and winning wars.
At yesterday's hearing, there was plenty of concern to go around, as senators listened to a stone-faced Marine Commandant, General Robert Neller, offer few reassurances about how this latest experiment would work. "We will see where the chips fall. And again, our hope is that everyone will be successful. But hope is not a course of action on the battlefield." He should know. His branch put together an exhaustive survey about the serious problems of integrating women into the infantry, only to have it ignored by the president's political appointees. Among other things, the research showed the move would devastate retention and unit effectiveness, making the Marines a less-efficient fighting machine overall. And the women, whom the Left pretends to champion, would face much more serious injuries from the physical strain and combat violence.
Yet Mabus, who's overseen seven years of the president's extremism, dismissed the findings without even reading them. That fact didn't escape Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who blasted the Navy Secretary for downplaying the research's significance. "So you, with a straight face, make claims that the Marines' study was flawed and biased, even if you did not even go see the study being performed?" McCain went on, "I am concerned that the department has gone about things backwards," he said. "This consequential decision was made and mandated before the military services could study its implications and before any implementation plans were devised to address the serious challenges raised in the studies."
Of course, we watched this same recklessness with the Left's other crown jewel: the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Then, as now, political operatives openly rejected the opinion and authority of military leaders with battle-tested experience, who cautioned that we were opening up our troops to grave danger. Five years of sexual assaults, suicides, recruitment woes, and low morale later, we see they were right. In 2010, Congress was assured that opening the military to homosexuals wouldn't pave the way to transgender service -- another promise now broken. Yet still we're supposed to believe the Pentagon when it says that throwing women into combat wouldn't lead to gender quotas, lower standards, or decreases in readiness? Americans know better.
At the very least, Army General Mark Milley said, "It should be a national debate, and I encourage the legislative body to look at that." When it does, perhaps it should ask: what kind of nation forces its sisters, daughters, and granddaughters onto a battlefield against their will? That's not progress. It's the worst kind of cowardice. And what good is "equality" if it's only setting women up for disaster and failure? As a Marine and the father of three daughters, I think the most pro-woman decision America could make is sparing them from policies that order them into harm's way.
"The Corps' job... is to kill people and break things," wrote veteran Tom Neven in a compelling piece for the Federalist. "Every second of training is geared toward that ultimate end. It is not a plaything for social justice warriors and political hacks, especially those who have not and probably could not earn the title 'Marine' the old fashioned way." In the meantime, at least the nation is beginning to realize: nothing is a greater threat to our military than the administration in charge of it.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.