What is there about war that appeals to women? Men have engaged in war for millennia and the lesson history teaches on this phenomenon is, as Plato first stated, ‘Only the dead have seen the last of war.’ That is a statement that stems from the inherent ‘fallibility’ of the human condition. The ancient Greeks recognized this from the experience of their daily lives. It has not changed in the millennia of recorded history. Mankind has chosen its most celebrated leaders from the pantheon of ‘heroes,’ its ‘warriors’ in battles for the survival of a group – families, identifiable entities (according to tribe, ethnicities, religious beliefs, etc.), and nation states. History dotes on these ‘leaders’ and reserves a special place in a civilization for the celebration of those who participated in its wars. The young are imbued with a spirit of ‘altruism’ in service of the preservation of that entity. Young men are accultured by appeals to their natural aggressive nature, their yearn for adventure, as well as challenges to their courage, bravery, and patriotism to shoulder the physical and mental burdens of war. Some are motivated by fear, for example, the Iraqi soldier (above) who was roasted alive as he sat in his vehicle during a battle in Desert Storm. Whatever the motivation, there is (for many men) an appeal to take the risks associated with such an end as a challenge to his personal character – to see if he ‘has what it takes’ to be a man. But why would a woman search out such challenges?
What is there about war that appeals to young girls? Young boys naturally gravitate toward the artifacts of war as they negotiate the early stages of their development toward manhood. The youngster at the right is (albeit, here, portrayed in a manner that propagandizes the tendency of the Muslim Arab world toward Jihad – holy war) playing his culture’s version of ‘cowboys and Indians.’ More generally, he is only displaying behavior engaged in by young boys the world over who eventually navigate their cultures’ steps toward manhood. But why is this a picture of a young boy? Why not a young girl? Just spend a few hours observing your own young children or grandchildren and you will know the answer. Those who would attempt to force their young sons to play with dolls and foreswear toy guns usually find that the youngsters end up either throwing the dolls away and pointing at faux targets with their hand in a position mimicking a pistol (or a stick pointed so, or the doll contorted into a ‘shooting’ position). Whereas their young daughters will nearly always seek out a doll baby rather than a more ‘masculine’ toy. It is not culture which produces such a result (although culture may reinforce it). It is nature – the genetic disposition toward the more aggressive forms of physical behavior observed in males.
What kind of a civilization pretends that women are the equal of men in fighting its wars? We have seen propaganda that depicts women in martial gear marching in formation with modern weapons (Iran proudly displays its female ‘Brigade’). At the right we see Iraqi propaganda purporting to show women shouldering weapons and even using old women to show the depth of ‘commitment’ their people have to the defense of their homeland. The unintended consequence of such propaganda is that it reveals the absurdity of the notion that warfare entails merely the shouldering of a weapon (or in this case using it as a crutch to stand up) – regardless of the sex of the person involved. If the average man can perform a task, then ‘some’ women can also accomplish it. If ‘some’ women can ‘do the job,’ then they have the ‘right’ to it. Egalitarianism run amok is at work here. From whence did this ‘new idea’ come?
Although not appreciated by most Americans, the world in which we can expect threats to our nation’s survival are primitive and dominated by the notion that masculinity is the aspect of the human condition that prevails in any contest for survival. The territory and terrain on which most future conflicts will likely arise are those which favor the more ‘primal’ attributes of mankind. For example, in America’s wars on its own soil, it depended upon a hale and hearty youth accustomed to hardship and physical deprivation conditioned by life on a farm. During WWI and II, we likewise depended on youth conditioned to such hardship, although not entirely. As decades passed, president after president worried about the physical condition, strength and toughness of America’s youth.
But an aspect of American culture that has not been fully appreciated is its ‘feminization.’ The picture at the right is NOT an idealized Jihadist’s dream of heaven wherein he is immortalized and attended to by 72-or-so virgins as a result of the sacrifice of his life in a holy war against the infidel. It is, instead, intended as a depiction of the ‘feminization’ of American culture over the decades after the Civil War. Some would characterize it as a consequence of the Industrial Age and its successor, the Knowledge Age. Others would say that it is a consequence of the growth of an advertising industry which has consumerized a market based on female conveniences and tastes and male attraction to female attributes (‘sex sells’). Nevertheless, in spite of disagreement over its origin, the ‘feminization’ of our nation’s institutions (education, churches, judiciary, mass media, etc.), including our military, has progressed to the point that one wonders where and how our leaders lost their minds.
For example, we now have women in near front-line billets who wear their children’s pictures in their ‘combat’ helmet (look left). Females are pursuing ‘careers’ in a military which favors them as a ‘preferred’ group. For example, the efficiency reports on which superiors judge and grade their more junior officers for promotion have a place for grading the officer’s readiness and demonstrated performance in furthering and promoting the ‘careers’ of females. This has reached the point of absurdity in today’s military. For example, a retired Navy Captain tells of a son (a naval aviator) who was to be awarded a special letter of commendation for the performance of an important administrative function (having nothing to do with the flying of his aircraft). His commanding officer, in the interest of promoting ‘equality’ in the new multicultural work force, demanded that the aviator’s female crew-member also be awarded the prize. Why? The ‘feminization’ of the U.S. Navy in the aftermath of the Tailhook ’91 bacchanal and the subsequent introduction of women into combat positions.
We have ‘military families’ with small children whose parents are both called to deploy away from home, leaving their offspring with grandparents, other relatives, friends, neighbors, (you name it – anyone who will take them). Just at the time when little babies require their mother and young boys need their fathers, both are taken from them and they are shoveled off into a new and sometimes foreboding environment. In their young minds, their parents have deserted them – the most primal fear of a young child. And we sanction this situation in the name of the narrow interests of a radical feminist agenda imposed on the military by political fiat.
And such families exist in all branches of the service. Many such ‘families’ are not families at all. There are 24,000 single parent males and 24,000 single parent females in our armed forces. When deployed, their children are shoved off onto the nearest available caregiver. Can anyone realistically imagine that the father, who is seeing his wife off to deploy aboard a U.S. Navy combat ship for six to nine months in a hostile war zone in the Middle East, is what the baby in his arms needs most at this infant stage in his life? What does this say about the utter moral depravity of a culture which would use its young mothers this way, all to satisfy a narrow political interest in furthering the radical feminist agenda of ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ of opportunity for women? What does it say about the narrow interests of our politicians, our leaders, and ourselves?
We have female naval officers who have worked their way up through a naval career to become commanding officers of naval ships which may, in the future, return to their ‘ancestral’ missions of forcibly ‘boarding’ and searching vessels carrying terrorists and their contraband on the high seas. We thus have commanding officers who have no background in nor idea of what is required of a naval combatant in a major war scenario (i.e. WWII). We have a national mass media which propagandizes the role of women in combat in Afghanistan and all over the world. They misrepresent facts, undecipherable by a gullible public.
We have female Air Force officers who must wear four-inch platform heels to reach a normal speaking position at a standard size lectern. The national media tout her as a ‘fighter pilot’ when she is only qualified to fly the A-10 Warthog attack aircraft. The major agenda item for this officer, shown here delivering a speech to a radical feminist lobbying organization, is to set the rules and regulations by which U.S. military officers must abide while serving in an allied Arab country as a courtesy to that country. For example, LtCol Martha McSally refused to wear clothing similar to an abaya (see picture, left) while traveling off-base in Saudi Arabia unaccompanied by a male escort (presumably, for her own safety). She sued the Secretary of Defense in an effort to raise the issue of ‘equality’ for women in a land which practices no such equality. And now she claims ‘unfairness’ when her efficiency report records this behavior and set of personal priorities over that of her service and her nation. Indeed, the radical feminization of the U.S. military has run amok. This nation cannot fight and win a war with a hardened and determined enemy with such a military.
Finally, we have the visual absurdity of the ideal young female representing America’s experiment with women-in-combat. We see our young front line soldier asleep in her cot in a tent in some far-away place cuddling up to her psychological support – a little Teddy Bear. Compare this image with that of ‘Hoot Gibson,’ the Delta Force warrior in the movie, Black Hawk Down, as he readies himself to go back into the heart of Mogadishu after having run the ‘Mogadishu Mile’ under heavy enemy fire to return to base after the completion of the operation. His rejoinder to the young Ranger who had just been ‘saved’ from Mohamed Aidid’s urban guerillas was, “Hey, kid. Just think. It’s Monday. We made it through another week!”
Such timidity, some might call it a result of the ‘socialization’ or ‘feminization’ of our nation’s conventional combat arms, has been criticized by SecDef Rumsfeld who “wants their focus on the war on terrorism. They aren’t responding fast
enough.” Thus, he is now taking initiatives within the Pentagon to make the U.S. Special Forces command in the theatre a “lead player in the war on terrorists by letting it conceive and conduct its own covert hunt-and-destroy missions in some circumstances.” This initiative would cut the ‘feminized’ conventional force commanders out of the picture and return it to the ‘warriors.’ This is in complete accord with Victor Davis Hanson’s commentary on how the West has always turned to its ‘warriors’ during time of grave wartime peril. The Grants, Shermans, Forests, and Pattons were found who could fight and win battles. Instead of listening to the advice of senior military commanders (Clinton appointees) of our conventional armed forces, he is taking a page out of Thucydides and preparing an armed force that can fight
and win the war against terrorists of global reach. There will be no women in the ranks of such combat forces. Instead of the ‘ticket punching’ careerists who primped and preened in the mirror during the Clinton years, we will have men who, in the words of Maj. Gen. Wm. F. Garrison, the commander of Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu during the raid on Mohammed Aideed’s compound, enjoy “taking a [dump] in the woods.”
states that after his re-supply helicopter crashed and exploded in Afghanistan, Marine Capt. Douglas V. Glasgow pulled his injured co-pilot … from the burning craft and then, despite back injuries, made several trips to rescue other injured crew members while the helicopter burned and ammunition began ‘cooking off.’ “But the report criticized Capt. Alison Thompson, commander of the lead helicopter, for flying back to base after incorrectly concluding there were no survivors. [She] made the decision to leave after determining it was too risky to land near the rocky crash site, according to the report. The survivors were spotted by cameras in an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Army helicopters two hours later. Thompson’s decision was ‘contrary to training’ and prolong[ed] the suffering of the air crew survivors and expose[d] them to risk and capture,’ according to an addendum to the report, inserted by Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. A copy of the report will be sent to her superior officers. The Marine helicopter was on a re-supply mission for troops attempting to search for and destroy remaining Taliban and al Qaeda forces.”
What is the true nature of war? War is about killing. War is about death. This is graphically illustrated in the picture (at left) in Afghanistan. It is illustrated as well in that Asian hell-hole, Vietnam (see picture below, right).
learn. For those who survive, the victors and the defeated, the battle lives on in their memories and nightmares and in the dull ache of old wounds. It survives as hundreds of searing private memories, memories of loss and triumph, shame and pride, struggles each veteran must refight every day of his life.”
So, what do young men receive in return for their participation in the horrible combat experienced in their nation’s wars? It has never been expressed more eloquently than by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, authors of the best book ever written about the Vietnam War. It is depicted by the picture above and the words below: