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National Review | The military’s not the best place to conduct social experiments

The Obama administration has doubled down on its social-transformation agenda, unilaterally deciding to overturn longstanding policy and integrate women into combat roles in the military. Give the administration this much: Unlike the question of gay marriage, the issue of women in combat was never something that Barack Obama felt obliged to pretend to be against until it was politically safe to evolve on the matter. As a candidate in 2008, he signaled his intention to change the rules if elected president.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta draped his announcement in the all-too-familiar language of “diversity,” but the U.S. military is neither a social-justice project nor a laboratory for feminist innovation: Its job is to secure the national-security interests of the United States, and neither Secretary Panetta nor the president nor any member of the administration has offered a single serious argument that this measure will increase our armed forces’ ability to do their job with maximum effectiveness. On the contrary, there are many reasons to believe it will accomplish the opposite.

The administration has promised that there will be no reduction of physical standards to accommodate women in combat roles, but that promise almost certainly is false — and Senator McCain, who has endorsed the move, should know better than to pretend otherwise. The political mandate to integrate women into the military had disastrous consequences for standards at West Point, as Walter Williams documented the last time we had this debate. The use of “gender-specific” physical standards meant that female candidates were given passing marks on tests when underperforming their male counterparts on such common benchmarks as push-ups, sit-ups, and running 1.5 miles.


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  • RepackRider

    I am an Army vet.  E-5, Honorable Discharge. 

    In the ’40s, when Harry Truman integrated the Army, we heard the same complaints.  The Army survived.

    I served in the sixties, when it was ILLEGAL to be gay.  We had gay soldiers in our outfit, because the draft got everybody. 
    It wasn’t a secret who was gay, but everybody just wanted to do their
    service and get on with their lives.  The only incident I recall was the
    guy who got beat up by other members of the platoon for harassing a
    couple of gay soldiers who were more popular than he was.

    The Army has survived plenty of gay soldiers.  Now it’s the turn of women to be equal and I couldn’t be happier

    Funny that we hear a lot about this from people who never wore a uniform. 

    Get over it.  It’s the 21st Century.  Women can be elected governor and run for president too.

    • socon

      Yeah, but we will never have the upper-body strength of men.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

      But hell, what’s the big deal about more dead soldiers on the front-lines in your holy quest for the vaunted "equality?" It’s what you SOBs wanted anyway.

      • RepackRider

        When you refer to military veterans as you SOBs," it doesn’t reflect well on your patriotism.

        My military service is my patriotic statement.  I am happy to have defended your First Amendment right to insult patriots like me and millions of others who served honorably, but I won’t buy you a drink or drink with you.

        • socon

          You’re no patriot if ‘equality’ is more important to you than the lives of our soldiers.

          Your ideology trumps your patriotism.

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