Conversation with a Young Woman About Women-in-Combat©


Gerald L. Atkinson

20 October 2001

The subject of women-in-combat does not come up in everyday conversations, especially with women -- and in particular, not with young women. But there are exceptions to this rule when a young woman knows that you oppose this idea.

I am reminded of a conversation conducted with a newly married 30-year-old at a wedding reception. She is a good friend of one of my daughters who had told the young lady of my views on the subject and that I had become an activist in writing for the public on these views.

At the bridegroom's dinner, she broached the subject in a direct manner upon our introduction at the table where about ten of us were seated, enjoying the light banter of celebration and happiness surrounding the occasion. The young lady, obviously very bright, energetic, and delightfully outgoing, said that she knew of my position and did not agree with it. Women had every 'right' as men to enter the military and even engage in combat as long as they were 'qualified.'

She said that she might have joined the military and accepted the challenge in her younger days, but circumstances intervened. She still thought that she had the attributes that would have qualified her for military service, maybe even in a combat role.

As the others at the table looked down at their napkins, not relishing a confrontational episode at such a light-hearted and happy occasion, I accepted her point of view and told her that I understood it.

The next day, as luck would have it, the young lady and her husband visited the groom's parents, at the invitation of friends in whose home we were staying. We, thus, had an opportunity to pursue the subject, in private at the kitchen table, out of earshot of others.

I asked her when and where the idea came to her that she might be interested in joining the military -- possibly even in a combat role. She said that she had always been very athletic, having played on a championship soccer team, basketball, and other sports all during high school and college. She enjoyed the challenge of competition and was very good at what she set her mind to. She was also, obviously, very intelligent.

I told her that I had a daughter (different from the one who introduced us) who had the very same attributes and attitudes. So I was quite familiar with the aspirations, hopes, and desires of young women like her.

When I asked her who had encouraged her in these ideas, she said it was her father and her brothers. They had always been very supportive of whatever she wanted to do. And they would have supported her to the very last if she had decided to enter the nation's combat arms. She said that such a 'career path' had a great deal of attraction for her because it would have given her the discipline that she knew would be required of an adult in today's world and it would be a physical as well as mental challenge that she believed she was up to meeting. It would be a wonderful adventure for a young woman like herself.

I then asked her if her father had ever killed a man. She looked at me with a wide-eyed incredulous, open-mouth facial expression that was close to shock. She was speechless for an instant. Her expression then changed to a forehead-wrinkling, eye-squinting, mouth-pursing eyes-on-the-table-top quizzical expression of confusion at the meaning of the question. But then, after a period of reflective silence, she answered straightforwardly, with a soft 'no' to the question.

I then asked her whether or not her brothers had ever killed a man. Again, her answer was a soft 'no.'

I then asked her if she had ever known anyone in her whole life who had killed a man. Again, the soft 'no' answer.

She was beginning to drift toward the point of my probing questions. I explained that many of us who had for one reason or another found ourselves in our nation's combat arms had little personal knowledge of anyone in our lives who had actually killed a man in combat -- until we entered the nation's combat arms. We then learned what it meant to be a part of the nation's 'warrior ethos.' We were trained to become 'killers' in the name of freedom, 'killers' who took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America against its enemies, foreign and domestic.

The concepts that she recognized as part of our training; the discipline, the self-sacrifice, the unity of cohesion among those who participated was a necessary regimen for our training. But, I explained, one must never lose sight of the fact that the sole purpose of that training is to kill another human being -- with prejudice, with finality, with every means at one's disposal, on command, and with dispatch.

Did she think that she would have the stomach for such a task? Could she take the life of another human being in such a way? Upon a few moments reflection, she replied with some hesitation and uncertainty that she did not know whether or not she could do so. Her present vocation as a nurse, however, had prepared her to devote her life to 'saving' the life of other human beings, not 'taking' a life.

I then explained that I have a daughter with the exact same attributes as hers. This daughter is of the same age, and has the same physical and mental attributes. This daughter could, indeed, be trained to fly a combat aircraft as well as her father had. But this 30-year-old daughter is now the 'stay-at-home' mother of a young family. I told the young woman that even if my daughter could have been trained to become a 'killer' in the name of freedom in her adventurous youth, she could never bear the burden of taking another human being's life after having given birth to three marvelous such human beings. Never, never, ever!

I then asked the young woman whether she intended to have children. She said that she, indeed, did. I congratulated her on this objective and then asked her whether or not, if she had originally committed herself to 'killing' in the name of freedom in her youth, she thought she could ever kill another human being after giving birth to a son or daughter.

She did not hesitate for a second. She, this time, answered with a hard and resounding 'NO!' This is not an exceptional experience when one probes the inner thoughts of our young women today. It is the rule.

This young lady and millions of others like her have been misled by the radical feminist agenda that has captured our universities, our public schools, our churches, our mass media, our courts, our corporate culture, and our political discourse. And now, finally, our nation's combat arms.

The problem is that the issue of women-in-combat has become entangled in the abstract arguments of a radical feminist movement aimed at eliminating 'discrimination' against women and encouraging what Robert Bork labels a radical egalitarianism.

This radical feminist agenda, if completed, would render tens of thousands of years of human nature and thousands of years of recorded history meaningless. The building of a utopia that carries to fruition the dream of their own 'enlightened imagination' is more likely, if we let them, to tragically end the finest experiment in governance known to man -- the Anglo-American way, a constitutional republic, given us by our prescient Founding Fathers. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘..the last, best hope of earth.’

There is a picture that contrasts this dangerous agenda with the most basic fundamental principle of Western civilization -- that is, the God-given nature of woman to bear the children of our species. This picture is one that I have composed to vividly and starkly reveal the contradiction in terms of women-in-combat and our precious American heritage.

This picture is viewable under the heading, 'A Female Fighter Pilot,' Just stare at the picture for at least one minute and then return to the continuation of the text below the picture. You will see the contradiction in two important aspects.

From the View of the Radical Feminist Fighter Pilot

With the picture firmly in mind, try to place yourself in the position of the female fighter pilot ascending into her cockpit to go find, engage, and kill another human being who happens to be the enemy. Or imagine that her aircraft is loaded with lethal bombs that kill and maim in the most brutal fashion as many of the enemy that she can find. Remember, she will have been trained to do just that. With the picture still in mind, imagine what from the beginning and through all history until now, has been a glorious legacy of womanhood that has prepared her mind, body and soul to become -- the sole creature for the propagation and special nurturing of mankind, the human species.

As the above conversation with a young female above reveals, every woman is genetically prepared to serve this role. It is natural. It is overpowering. It is universal. I have never seen a woman, even a young woman, even a young girl who is not completely overcome with a tender smile at the sight of an infant in its mother's arms. They all have an overpowering urge to hold that child. It is their nature.

The picture is intended to remind us of that image. The female 'fighter pilot' is looking down at the reality of her fundamental being. The image of the purest form of love that can be found on this earth. A loving mother with child, basking in the glowing awareness of that reality. The heart of our civilization. The soul of our being. God's gift to our humanity.

The contradiction in roles displayed in this picture is enough to send one's mind reeling. We experience cognitive dissonance in the extreme. In fact, we cannot view this picture in the light examined and fail to become disturbed, disoriented, discordant.

That is precisely what the radical feminists would have us experience as a result of their agenda. When we humans are subject to cognitive dissonance, there is a natural tendency to turn away, to change the subject, to put it out of our minds -- yes, to become PASSIVE to the great harm that the enemies of authentic womanhood are undertaking in the dangerous destruction of civilized cultural norms, in general, and of our armed forces in particular.

And when this occurs, the enemy has us firmly in their grasp. We are easy prey for the taking. We will countenance just about anything -- except the reality of where they are taking us. This is exactly what is happening with women-in-combat in our armed forces.

From the View of the Traditional American Female

Now, go back to the picture above and ponder it for another minute. With this picture firmly in mind, take the view from the aspect of the traditional American mother looking up at the female fighter pilot. This mother knows the role nature has given her and is pleased with it. She observes, however, the role model that the radical feminists hold up to her as an alternative -- a glamorous life as a fighter pilot. An adventure that she will miss if she pursues her natural God-given role.

She is reminded of the McDonald Douglas TV advertisement for the F/A18 Hornet strike-fighter coming aboard an aircraft carrier. The voice over reminds us that the pilot of this aircraft is "..someone's sister, someone's daughter..." as it comes to a perfect carrier landing. One wonders why the announcer does not intone, "...or someone's mother." I guess that would have been much too incongruous to imagine.

Indeed, the radical feminist agenda stresses all of the rhetoric of the disastrous, socialist French Revolution when it intones 'liberty, equality, fraternity' as the new model of the American 'warrior' of the 21st century. With the stress on 'equality.'

So, she looks up and thinks of living the radical feminist dream and accept the challenge of becoming a fighter pilot. The challenge of being at the forefront of a New Age expansion of the role of women into the profession of 'killing' is masked by the goals set for them. Breaking the 'glass ceiling,' being the 'best they can be,' making it in a 'man's world' are goals that pit them against their own nature.

The purpose stated for the introduction of women into combat roles in the Navy is to give them the experience that will allow them to 'command' ships at sea. Without this experience, women will never be allowed to penetrate the highest reaches of command in the Navy. Thus, women-in-combat becomes a 'job' resume requisite for a full Navy 'career.'

This is the worst possible motivating force for any fighting military organization. It may be just fine for corporate ambitions. But service in our combat armed forces ought not in this respect be similar to the world of commerce and industry that most people prefer. Such a force would be cannon fodder for a dedicated, resourceful potential enemy -- two of whom can be identified, Islamic fundamentalism (Jihadistan) and China. And both have an abundance of young MALES who would like nothing better than be pitted against a 'feminized' U.S. military that in combat will necessarily and irreversibly confront the reality it had denied and experience its tragic consequences.

Of course, the entire radical feminist agenda is based on illusion. And, today, illusion is king. The truth is hidden from view. Virtual reality is whatever one can dream. The truth does not matter. The radical feminist agenda is misleading America's women and, tragically, many of America's dads as well, including even those in Congress and senior military leadership.

Our armed forces are being degraded and rendered vulnerable to future enemies by our acceptance of this agenda. And America's young women are being fed a line that is not sustainable -- by either logic, experience or, more fundamentally, by her created NATURE.

If you don't believe this, please go back and take another long hard look at the picture above.

Conversation with a Daughter About Women-in-Combat

The subject of women-in-combat conjures up an image that is close to the experience of those of us who have been called to war in the midst of our lives as fathers of young sons and daughters in a loving family.

There is a young woman of my acquaintance who is '...someone's daughter.' Her children are someone's grandchildren. This young woman is one of the few who has the necessary physical attributes of hand-eye coordination, strength, stamina, and endurance that would have rendered her, in her youth, as capable of becoming a Navy fighter pilot as I was. Her mental faculties were equally competent to so qualify her. Please freeze this picture in your mind for what follows.

Are We America’s Warriors?

Trained to kill another human being in an extremely hostile environment that does not grant privilege or leniency to those who do not ‘measure up.’ No society has ever survived which depended upon its female members to defend it. Nor will our American experiment with a special form of democracy — our unique and fragile Constitutional Republic. Will our willingness to experiment with equality where none exists imperil our nation’s ability to survive the threat of a determined and resourceful enemy?


A Female Fighter Pilot

It is possible that this young woman, '...someone's daughter,' could have been trained to kill another human being in the name of freedom -- just as young men are so trained. That is, the military training that peels the layers of civilized culture away, ring by precious ring, and reconstructs a 'warrior ethos' that transforms a civilized, acultured American youth into a killer, could possibly work its 'magic' on this young woman as it does on so many of our patriotic young men.

That is, if this training and warfighting experience were conducted in her youth, before her role as a mother asserts its natural dominance, she could possibly have become a full-fledged combat aviator.

But if you ask this young woman, '...someone's daughter..,' whether or not she could assume this role after she had given birth to her sons and/or daughters, you receive a prompt, emphatic, and final NO in answer. A woman simply cannot conceive of killing another person's child after having delivered from her own womb one of God's children.

But even if we, as a civilized society, believe that there are women who could do so (without creating a morale problem for the men who are trained in the 'warrior ethos'), let me conjure up another picture for you. In fact, let me conjure up two pictures. One is the picture of the young woman described above, '...someone's daughter,' who, in her early-30s, has given birth to and is in the process of raising the young family pictured below. View this picture, 'Someone's Daughter Before' and remember that this young woman has been trained to be a Navy carrier combat aviator, as described above, and is about to receive orders to fight in a war thousands of miles away.

This is precisely the situation that many of us found ourselves in at about this age before being deployed to Yankee Station on an aircraft carrier off the coast of North Vietnam in the mid-1960s. After having just completed a 9-month deployment in the Mediterranean, our squadron received orders to deploy within two months on a 12-month tour in Vietnam. I volunteered to extend my sea duty for one year so that I could make that deployment -- in spite of the fact that my young family, including a wife and five children, were about the same age as those pictured above.

So, now picture this young woman, '...someone's daughter...' who had made the same decision that I and many others made during our nation's wars. For a man it is much easier to heed the call of his profession and, indeed, even 'relish' the opportunity to participate in this 'adventure' even if it meant leaving his family in the hands of God. This is the circumstance for which he had prepared during every minute of his professional life. It became his 'calling.' Indeed, it is much easier for a man than for a woman to take the attitude that he is going to participate in his generation's war as a matter of personal responsibility. The reasons are obvious and have been spelled out before.

So, rest your eyes on the picture and visualize all of this in the context of an 'outside observer,' one who, as a member of the larger American civilization, is responsible for sending this young woman off to war. Look in the eyes of a young mother who loves her family dearly and would rather be with them than any other place on earth -- and we call her to duty to kill our enemies in the name of freedom.

If you do not feel a creeping sense of guilt in this vision, you are probably in deep denial at what you are allowing in our armed forces of the future -- by passively accepting the idea of women-in-combat.

Now, however, take a look at the picture below, 'Someone's Daughter After.' Visualize in this picture a family whose young mother has been ripped from their presence by a nation which prepared its mothers to fight for its freedom -- and, thus, must depend upon them to do so. Visualize how much these young children need their mother at this vulnerable time in their lives. Look closely at the tear in the left eye of one of the little twin boys. You probably missed this tear in the 'before' picture, but it jumps right out at you and grabs your heart strings as you realize how traumatic such an absence is for a youngster at this age. He needs his mother -- now, at this stage of his young life.

Someone’s Daughter Before

If, in viewing this 'after' picture, you do not experience a twinge of guilt for taking this young woman from her family and sending her to war, you are not only in denial but you lack the moral character that is the very foundation of our American civilization.

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