America’s Wake-Up Call:

A Metaphor for Women-in-Combat©

A Pictorial Essay



There are at least ten books out now, mostly illustrated volumes that record in full color the horror of and heroism in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Sales are brisk. Major newspapers ponder the fascination that Americans have for these pictures. The Wall Street Journal (Bukowski, Elizabeth, 'See It All Again, This Time Between Covers,' 12/14/01) ponders whether or not people can look at these pictures without feeling a bit of discomfort, that is, "...sweep words like 'exploitation' and 'voyeurism' from their minds...[Some] say the books are selling because people are trying to comprehend what happened...[The author suggests that] the main reason for these books' popularity may be a widespread desire to memorialize. We are at war, and these books remind us why...'I knew no one personally on that fateful day,' wrote one reader on 'I bought this book for a keepsake for myself, my children and grandchildren so we will never forget those lives lost and the strength, courage and closeness our nation achieved because of it'...Memorials usually take the shape of statues or architectural structures in public places. This time, they are made of paper and are found in hundreds of thousands of homes across America."

The Washington Post (Kennicott, Philip, "Bringing Death Back Into The Parlor," 12/16/01) intones a New Yorker's view that "It's impossible to make a book of pictures about the World Trade Center that traffics only in the mild sadness of something once beloved now lost...[Some of the books] make the building complex feel oddly human, as if it were a celebrity who died tragically young...There's an obvious reason for this metaphorical substitution of building for body that has haunted us since the collapse of the World Trade Center. We have no real bodies. Maybe a handful of corpses, but mostly just ash and dust. And that seems to have troubled us more than we might have thought it would...[Some images], the shadow of a church against one of the buildings; a local church graveyard covered in paper and debris; the 'gothic church' of the twisted steel remains after the collapse. The easy interpretation says, simply: At a time like this, we need God."

Most of us who saw on TV, as it occurred, the catastrophic, complete collapse of first one and then the other of the Twin Towers, stood in slack-jawed, shocked disbelief at the sudden cascade that reduced a colossus of glass, cement, and steel to twisted beams, ashes and dust. It simply could not be happening. It was beyond anyone's wildest imagination that what we were seeing with our own eyes was indeed real. How could this be?

What appeared at first to be a crash of airliners into structures with a few hundred casualties (a tragedy of some dimension) on the floors of the buildings in the immediate vicinity of the points of impact became in only 12 seconds or so a plunging, crushing death knell to thousands of innocent civilian victims. The enormity of this realization came with stunning weight.

I have bought two of the books mentioned above. "Day of Terror" contains vivid pictures of the attack and its affect on the World Trade Center buildings. The other, "America's Heroes: Inspiring Stories of Courage, Sacrifice and Patriotism," addresses only the 'positive' aspects of the event, including stories of the heroes in the Fire Department, Police Department, and others (including Rick Rescorla, the chief security officer of Morgan Stanley, who escorted all but a few of the company's 3,700 employees to safety before losing his life in the collapse of one of the towers). All inspiring stories of courageous heroes. Both books are well worth having as paper memorials to why America is at war.

These pictures are not only a 'good in themselves' as a memorial, but inspire contemplation of other aspects of American civilization of which one can gain insight by studying the vulnerabilities that the terrorists took advantage of in the attack on the World Trade Center. In this context, I have developed a metaphor, based on the terrorist attack, to be applied to another possible vulnerability in America's future -- women-in-combat in our nation's armed forces.

What is a Metaphor?

A metaphor by definition is ‘a figure of speech in which a term is transferred from the object it ordinarily designates to an object it may designate only by implicit comparison or analogy, such as the evening of life. It is a powerful language tool in describing by example what is known in one domain of knowledge and applying it to that which is unknown in another domain and thereby using analogy to shed light on what might become known in the ‘shadow’ domain by analyzing the similarities in the two domains. It’s utility reaches far beyond describing or explaining by example. It has a profound use in discovery as well. Much of the progress in science has resulted from applying this technique to discover the essence of that which is ‘mysterious’ in one domain from that which is ‘known’ in another domain which has analogical parts or characteristics.

For example, computer science has developed search techniques based on physically known processes which allow one to solve practical problems. Neural network computing tools have been developed which match patterns in much the same way that a human’s neurons and synapses encode a representation of life’s experiences. I have had students develop such neural networks and train them to recognize radar images of various classes of ships, resulting in recognition of an ‘unknown’ ship’s radar image with 99 percent accuracy.

Genetic algorithms have been developed based on the analogical process of evolution involving reproduction and mutations to search for patterns in data that would not appear in other search algorithms. Fuzzy logic algorithms have been developed which give answers to search problems with ‘fuzzy’ data. Many modern washing machines have such fuzzy logic controllers.

All of these practical scientific applications are based on using an appropriate metaphor for a search technique that solves difficult practical problems. They use analogy to a physical process that is known from human experience to find a solution in a completely different but ‘connected’ problem domain.

The scientific use of metaphor differs from its use in rhetoric and/or debate of the so-called ‘soft’ problems human beings face. For example, in the ‘soft’ domain of political argumentation, metaphor may be used by giving an example and examining the similarities of the two problem domains. If the similarities are clear, a debating point may be gained. But if the opponent attacks the analogy by highlighting dissimilarities in the two domains, he may gain an advantage by showing that there are more and/or more important dissimilarities between the two domains than similarities. This is not the sense in which I use metaphor here. I am interested here only in using a metaphor to make a point that can be debated pro and con but which highlights the fact that knowledge in one domain — the ‘known’ — can be used to either highlight or explain the possibility of analogous situations in the ‘unknown’ domain.

The Problem

The experiment with women-in-combat was initiated by then-President Clinton in 1993 in spite of the fact that a presidential commission report in 1991 advised against opening combat positions to women. This Web Site hosts several essays which deal with this subject. In spite of the fact that women-in-combat is a political reality, its full ramifications have not been assessed based on experience to date. Women-in-combat was not a military necessity. It was politically mandated for political gain. The ultimate test, the effectiveness of ‘feminized’ combat units in a large-scale battle and/or protracted war, has not yet occurred.

If we are to believe the avalanche of radical feminist propaganda affirmatively reinforcing the concept of women-in-combat since the terrorist attack on America on 9-11 (see the essay on this subject at the link W-I-C After 9-11), one would be led to believe that women have proven themselves to be just as ‘warrior-like’ as men in all categories in which they have been assigned — in Afghanistan as well as the Gulf War in 1991. But, as delineated in the essay above, the experiment has not been completed. And substantial problems have arisen (pregnancies, single-parent mothers, love-nests aboard ships, lowered qualification and training standards, lowered morale leading to a huge exodus of male pilots, leading petty officers, and supervisors, low retention rates, unmet recruitment quotas, and most importantly the ‘loss of the warrior ethos’ in our nation’s combat arms).

The only combat units which have not experienced these problems are those which have excluded women — submarines, special operations forces, deployed Marine expeditionary units and Army Rangers, infantry, armored, artillery, and other ‘front line’ Army units. Consequently, the problem to be addressed here is whether or not opening all of our combat forces to women generates a vulnerability that can be exploited by a future enemy to the point of major catastrophe for the United States of America. The problem is addressed here by applying a metaphor.

The Metaphor: The World Trade Center and Women-in-Combat

The metaphor addressed here involves the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9-11. We all know what happened, how it occurred, who did it, and the end result. All of the facts in this knowledge domain are known. They will be described here and illustrated by pictures taken of the significant events.

The domain that will be assessed using analogy to the World Trade Center is the status of our increasingly ‘feminized’ military to effectively preserve American civilization in a clearly dangerous and increasingly unstable world — especially where weapons of mass destruction can be used on our forces and our homeland by nation states, rogue states, international terrorist networks, and even sophisticated drug combines, all of which can be identified as having sufficient resources to acquire such weapons.

Read Read

Economic Strength The World Trade Center Military Superiority

on the left on the right

For the sake of simplicity, let us suppose that the World Trade Center is a SYMBOL of America’s economic strength, vitality, and global impact. For New Yorkers [1], “...the twoness of the trade center struck the right chord in a city that rewards hubris above all else. The unmistakable [twin tower] profile became New York’s unofficial trademark for the last quarter of the 20th century.”

Also for the sake of simplicity, and for the purposes of our metaphor, let us likewise suppose that the same structure is a SYMBOL of the unparalleled military superiority of America’s armed forces over any nation on earth — a military worthy of the worlds only remaining superpower. A military which has won every war in its nation’s history, including the Cold War has evolved into an all-volunteer force that now has approximately 15 percent female members, some serving in combat roles.

The Unexpected

The Event

In a surprise equal in opacity to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Islamic terrorists planned and carried out an attack that required coordination, secrecy, and specialized training that turned our own civilian air liners into cruise missiles with the explosive punch equivalent to that of a one kiloton nuclear weapon. No one in the U.S. could possibly have expected covert cells of foreign terrorists to hijack three civilian aircraft using only box cutters and plastic knives and turn these low-tech machines into weapons of destruction via suicide missions into the two world trade center buildings and the Pentagon. The elements of surprise and unpredictability led to our vulnerability to this attack.

The elements of surprise and unpredictability are likely to be just as opaque in the military aspect of this metaphor. That is, an enemy in the future will most likely strike at a time of its choosing and in a manner that is just as unpredictable as was the Islamic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The one parameter that will, however, be the same is that the enemy will know and take advantage of our military vulnerabilities. We will vaguely be aware of these vulnerabilities and they will be as self-imposed as were those that allowed the hijackers to learn to fly our airliners in our own flight schools, board the civilian airliners at nondescript points of entry, take them over after takeoff and fly them with little warning into their targets. We will be just as unaware in the military analogy.

Now, suppose we tighten our metaphor and consider as the SYMBOL of our discussion the North Tower building of the twin towers. This is the building which supported the huge antennae on its roof. Let us suppose that this building had certain design features which inadvertently rendered it disastrously vulnerable to collapse after suffering the insult of a direct hit from a Boeing 757 aircraft loaded with 24,500 gallons of fuel. These design features were not known to be a vulnerability twenty years or so ago when the building was planned and constructed. The building was a marvel of new construction techniques. It was designed to withstand 150-mile an hour hurricane force winds and the shock of being struck by a Boeing 707 airliner without either toppling over or collapsing to the ground.

It turns out that the twin towers had a serious structural design flaw (See the TV program, ‘Building the World Trade Center,’ The History Channel, 10:00 p.m., 10/17/01). Its state-of-the-art modern construction techniques discarded the more solid, internally structurally sound, and more costly ‘box beam’ design and substituted a design in which all of the internal structural integrity was maintained by a skeleton of steel beams on the exterior perimeter of the building. The ‘skin’ of the building, that is, the glass and cement structural materials on the outer layer of the building were designed to maintain a more ‘flexible’ structural integrity and also provided most of the structural integrity of the entire building. It was not sufficient.

The North Tower Starts to Collapse The North Tower The Military Metaphor

Given the nature of the terrorist attack, a direct hit with a fully fueled Boeing 767 (much larger than the 707 and loaded with 24,500 gallons of jet fuel), this design was a colossal mistake, given the nature of the attack. The burning fuel reached temperatures of 2,500-2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, the outside steel beam structures reached their plastic limit, and buckled – thus destroying the structural integrity of the entire building. The relatively lightweight steel trusses holding up the reinforced concrete floors sagged in the heat and failed first when the connections that held them to the tightly spaced palisade of steel columns on the outside of the building gave way [2]. As the connections around the outside of the floors failed in the fire, the whole floor buckled and fell. In the picture, we see the affect as the huge antennae starts to settle into the void as the topmost floors of the building collapsed.

What you don’t see in the picture is the weakening of the interior structure (the internal ‘cohesion’ of the building) – a metaphorical analog to the ‘cohesion’ of military fighting units. Women-in-combat not only weakens but destroys this unit cohesion in a combat unit. This metaphorical collapse is, indeed, the externally apparent and obvious result of the loss of ‘unit cohesion’ – the structural integrity of the ‘building’ – as some future unanticipated, unexpected event occurs which renders our armed forces vulnerable, built on the feminist fantasy that women and men are completely interchangeable and equally capable in fighting America’s wars. America’s survival depends on the structural integrity of its ‘building’ – its fighting military forces. And those fighting forces depend on maintaining the ‘structural integrity’ of its steel beams, properly assembled. Women-in-combat destroys this ‘structural integrity.’

Steel beams begin to lose much of their strength at about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. As the thousands of gallons of jet fuel exploded and burned, the temperature shot above 2,000 degrees within seconds. Within minutes, that heat spread by rising air and flames and by conduction through the steel itself.

As the first floor to go fell and took out one or two more, the tightly spaced columns within the aluminum façade, themselves weakened by the fire, had no lateral support. Then all of a sudden the skin of the building became detached and became like a piece of paper [3]. The exterior columns, or skin, then buckled under the tremendous weight above them and the building collapsed in on itself into the structural ‘void’ in the interior of the building.

This is pictured at the right as the building collapsed to its midpoint as floor after floor ruptured and added to the cascade of falling debris. Once the columns on the topmost floors buckled, the rest of the columns had no chance of stopping the collapse. They simply popped out of the way of the avalanche like matchsticks. The collapse front accelerates as it progresses downward. Computer simulations reveal that after the first buckling, the upper floors probably reached the ground almost as quickly as a rock dropped from the same height would have.

Once begun, the avalanche took only roughly 12 seconds to complete its destruction [4]. As one floor fell and tore out at least part of another, it meant that many exterior columns, themselves hot and weakened, were suddenly without lateral bracing for 36 feet or more. The columns then buckled under the colossal weight above them and the avalanche reached its horrible conclusion. As floor after floor of heavy materials caved in on the center of the building, it simply imploded in on itself. There was no interior structure to hold it back. Each floor failure rapidly led to a larger and more serious one until the building plummeted with incredible fury, the upper floors striking the ground at the terminal velocity of falling object — 120 miles per hour. The potential energy of this implosion was converted into kinetic energy of falling materials and the building was reduced to rubble – and dust. The visual scene of that building crumbling and turning to dust is a metaphor for the women-in-combat issue.

The Final Collapse to Dust

Total Time 12 Seconds

Midpoint of the Building Implosion

The evidence for the degradation of the ‘structural integrity’ of our combat forces is presented in the essay on this Web Site at the link W-I-C After 9-11. Perusal of this essay shows that not only has unit cohesion of our ‘borderline combat forces’ been destroyed by the emasculation of our airborne combat arms but the ‘feminization’ of the non-combat ‘tail’ of major Army, Navy, and Air Force has resulted in degraded qualification and training standards for all of these non-combat units — especially in physical fitness. This has not only resulted in low morale in these units, it has rendered them extremely vulnerable when forward deployed in foreign lands to a resourceful enemy who will take advantage of that ‘softness.’ When forward deployed, such units will either be garrisoned behind a fortress (such as the Tuzla base in Bosnia) from which they seldom venture or will require physical armed protection by scarce combat units (manned by males, by the way) that spend time protecting the vulnerable ‘feminized’ units instead of going about their business of hunting, finding, and killing the enemy. Examples of such real combat units are the special forces, rangers, and Marine expeditionary units deployed on the ground in Afghanistan. The politically motivated ‘feminization’ of our armed forces is a potential major vulnerability.

Most combat veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars who oppose women-in-combat have given up trying to turn back the political tide that made it happen. They warn in grave tones that one day America will wake up. They believe that when the ‘body bags’ start coming home with America’s daughters, mothers, and sisters inside, then America will wake up, understand and make the necessary changes. But life is never that simple. Events spin out of control and what might appear to be a disaster from which recovery is difficult but certain may not be survivable. The collapse of our military could very well be as catastrophic as the collapse of the North Tower building. It may disappear before our very eyes when faced with some unexpected challenge. And, just as with the collapse of the North Tower building, we may have absolutely no warning of its coming. It will be the result of an unintended consequence of policies taken with the best of intentions by some – by devious design of others. And there will be nothing we can do about it after it occurs. There will be no warning. There will be no ‘graceful’ failure. There will be no time to ‘redesign’ the ‘building.’ The consequences for America will be grave. The survival of American civilization is at stake.

An afterthought. All of the 343 firemen who perished in the World Trade Center attack were males. Not one single female firefighter perished. See the essay at the link W-I-C After 9-11 to understand why. Of the 16,000 firefighters in New York City, only 40 are female [5]. Why so few? Tough physical test standards.


To understand how the ‘structural integrity’ of our armed forces has been weakened over the past ten years, please visit the essays on the Women-in-Combat page of this Web Site. The politically motivated ‘feminization’ of our nations combat arms has created a vulnerability that a future enemy will undoubtedly take advantage of in his calculus to do harm. If women-in-combat is part of the design of the military’s internal ‘structural integrity’ – in military parlance, its cohesive force (that intangible ‘unit cohesion’ that is so often invoked by ‘warriors’ who have known combat), it will be weakened by including women in such a way that a potential enemy can take advantage of it in all of its possible dimensions. Evidence of this appears before our eyes just as evidence of lax airport security, on-plane pilot cockpit access, flight schools for aliens in the U.S., and incomprehensibly lax immigration policies were before our eyes long before the hijackers carried out their murderous deeds on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A sampling of the most current of this evidence is provided below.

Lax Discipline and Lowered Standards in Basic Training

Chief Petty Officer Christopher M. Jones tells us [6] “I am a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois. We seem to care more about pushing more recruits through boot camp than getting quality recruits to the fleet. About 50 percent of recruits are lost because they are ‘set back, or dropped from their divisions and sent to a division that formed later. We now are unable to set recruits back for disciplinary reasons because attrition is too high.

Case in point: I sent two recruits to officer-in-charge mast — one for falling asleep on watch three times and one for punching another recruit. Both cases were dismissed so the recruits could graduate. Cases of wrongful use of prescription drugs have been swept under the rug as well.

So recruits who fall asleep on watch, punch another recruit or just do not have any military bearing at all are making it through to serve in the fleet. If you have this problem out in the fleet, you know it started because some of us have lost the tools we need to make a difference at RTC. Recruits know there is nothing we can do to them other than force them to do a few push-ups. Oh, sorry, we cannot do that either until the fourth week of training because we might hurt them.

It also should not be called ‘boot camp’, but ‘tennis shoe camp.’ We have too many people with stress fractures because the boots put stress on the recruits’ feet. Nineteen years ago, we ran everywhere in our boots; today, walking in boots breaks recruits. So we go everywhere in tennis shoes and only drill in boots. Sure hope the tender feet of today’s sailors do not interfere with the next war because of the hard steel decks we all run around on.

Another thing you might notice at RTC is that it is the recruit division commanders who are being graded, not the recruits. Nineteen years ago we were on our own after service week. We were given some trust and held accountable for our actions. We were graded on what we could do, not what the company commander did for us.

Well, trust me, now you have to baby-sit these grown men and women until they leave, because the RDC is held accountable for the actions of up to 94 individuals until the day we put them on the bus. They learn nothing about accountability for their own actions. It seems to be working out well, because they are not held accountable out in the fleet either. The chief is held accountable for that young sailor who does not advance, gets a DUI, or, best of all, doesn’t re-enlist.

Here is an idea that might save the government millions of dollars. Make Navy boot camp a correspondence course. Then just come up here to get your shots, pass a physical readiness test, take two weeks of fire fighting and one week of seamanship and get sent to the fleet.”

This is just one of many critiques of the current status of our all volunteer Navy — one that could not fight its way out of a paper bag in a battle in which an enemy with modern technology and a blue-sea navy is actually firing at a U.S. Navy ship or battle group. Our peace-time Navy may be ready for a landlocked, primitive enemy with primitive weapons hiding out in trenches, tents, rocks and caves. But it is not ready to fight a real war against a resourceful enemy with modern technology — for example, a ‘modernized’ China.

The Rise in Conscientious Objector Status Inquiries

Since the terrorist attack on America on 9-11, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of inquiries by active duty service men and women of nonprofit groups that assist conscientious objectors in attaining such status [7]. “Before the September 11 attacks, the network [of such groups across the country] was receiving about 2,000 calls a month. The phones were eerily silent for two days after the attacks, but then logged a five-fold increase.” Pentagon officials stress that genuine claims will be taken seriously if service members follow procedures and regulations for application for conscientious objector status.

“Chaplains and investigating officer will try to find out, ‘Is this opportunistic or a long-held belief?’ said Lt. Col Ryan Yantis, an Army spokesman. ‘Is the soldier truly having a crisis of conscience? … [Defense Department directives] date to the Vietnam draft era. With today’s all-volunteer force, officials say it is much less likely that someone with strong anti-war beliefs could end up in the military.”

“Still, because the services recruit young people who are developing values and ethics, it’s possible for service members to develop strong anti-war beliefs after joining up, particularly in the intense military training environment, said Bill Galvin, counseling coordinator for the Center for Conscience and War. Galvin, a Vietnam-era conscientious objector, said he talked to young people who thought they were enlisting for college money and found themselves ‘shooting a weapon at a target shaped like a human being,’ or ‘jabbing their bayonet into a dummy and being told to yell things like, ‘Blood make the grass grow.’”

“In speaking with student groups, Galvin said he learned that many young people had abstract notions about the violent role of the military in society prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. Galvin says many recruiters downplay the go-to-war message, stressing instead military educational and financial benefits. ‘The reality is, the military is presented as a way to get money for college,’ Galvin said. He tries to tell young people that if they plan to join the military, they need to understand it’s ‘all about … fighting war, just like the Postal Service is all about delivering mail.’”

It is astounding that someone, a former conscientious objector at that, should have to explain to active duty military personnel that their mission is to fight and win America’s wars. But the truth is that our all-volunteer military has for the past ten years been recruited, trained, and promoted on the fiction that ‘peacekeeping’ is the mission of our armed forces and that it is just another job, career, and equal opportunity for advancement to flag-rank status. For women it is still promoted as a means to shatter the ‘glass ceiling’ of management in an organization that is ‘Not your father’s service’ but one that is the last frontier of social engineering American society.

This situation has created a vulnerability that has vast potential for exploitation by a resourceful and powerful enemy — every bit as vulnerable as the World Trade Center was to terrorist attack by suicide bombers on our civilian airliners.

Girls Rule

The following e-mail was circulated on the Internet on 6 December 2001. It was written by a female Tomcat RIO (BackSeater) on USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT. The Tomcat is a Navy carrier-based F-14 fighter aircraft which can be configured to drop bombs in a tactical mission. The author was a female Naval Academy graduate (USNA Class '92).

"Well, Gerald, let me tell you about my day yesterday. I started out pretty bummed that back home in Virginia Beach, the Tomcat community was having it's annual Fighter Fling--huge affair at the Marriott in Norfolk. Wearing mess dress, usually degrades to a drink-ex by 3 a.m. We were all missing it. But I didn't stay bummed for long. I went out on a 6.5 hour mission over lovely Afghanistan, met up with a ground FAC [forward air controller] and he directed us towards some nice juicy targets. Sum total between 4 Toms and 2 Hornets: 13 LGBs and 8 MK-82s. My pilot and I (another chick by the way -- chicks rule) were personally responsible for one tank with a GBU-12 and a little airburst love on some troops in the open with a couple of MK-82s. <sniff> It was BEAUTIFUL! I get a tear in my eye just thinking about it.”

“After that we came back to our first beer day (We've been underway for 61 consecutive days without a port call). I woke up still drunk. Now that's the way cruise should be. There certainly wouldn't be a retention problem if they let us do this everyday.”

“In general, the guys are doing some great work. I've passed on the video to those that have given me SIPERNET addresses. Some in particular: A LANTIRN (F-14 FLIR) video of a B-52 dropping a string of about 20-30 MK-82's. Looked like little rabbit turds dropping out of the airplane. After the drop, the LANTIRN slews down and you can see them explode in a line along a road. Pretty cool. Another favorite of the air wing is a TCS (F-14 TV system) video of a GBU falling off the other Tomcat. The TCS follows the bomb all the way down until it explodes on a truck. Another good video was a Marine hornet that dropped a GBU on what he thought was a building that turned out to be a POL facility or some kind of storage facility. That one ended up on CNN the other day when ADM Stufflebeam was briefing the press. The secondaries were freakin' phenomenal and completely unexpected. The shock wave was eye-watering.”

“Lastly, we sent some guys out the other day that found a convoy moving out like they had somewhere important to be. They must have heard the jets because all of a sudden the trucks come to a screeching halt and you can see little white dots making for the hills right before the first bombs roll in and take out about 3-4 of the vehicles. If there was ever a time for Rockeye, that was it. That one made it on CNN for the Admiral's daily briefing as well.”

“I think it was some Toms from the Vinson that got the opportunity to do some actual strafing of troops in the open when a ground FAC was being over-run. I wish I had the video of that. Nothing like peppering the enemy with a little 20mm HEI (High Explosive Incendiary--like tiny little grenades that come out of the gun and explode like popcorn when they hit--way cool). They drove back the enemy advance and the FAC and his team made it through for another day. Go Navy Air.”

“Other than that, it's cruise. Too bad I can't have days like yesterday all the time. As a parting shot, ... I hung out with your boys last night while they played poker. G-Money says hey. Take care all and in another 2 months or so, I should have more fun and games to pass on.”

“Regards, Kristin ll”

On the one hand, this epistle might be perceived as an account by a young ‘warrior’ naval carrier aviator in the midst of a first ‘combat’ deployment — possibly on a first combat mission — waxing energetically about the thrill and excitement of ‘combat.’ In this view, one could take pride in our nation’s young warriors — hard drinking, hard charging youngsters who would protect and defend our Constitution, our way of life, our civilization.

On the other hand, a hardened combat veteran might view this message as self-promotion and New Age braggadocio a la the radical feminist promotion of LT Ashley as described in the essay, W-I-C After 9-11. Or it might be a message from one who wants desperately to achieve ‘warrior’ status but does not quite measure up and knows it. A message from one who talks a grand game but who hasn’t achieved the brass ring because of the circumstances of the situation. What are those circumstances?

If we remind ourselves of whom we have engaged in combat over the past two decades, we begin to see these circumstances. We have been at ‘war’ only with primitive Islamic fundamentalists hiding in caves in Afghanistan, civil wars in Kosovo and Bosnia against a nation, Serbia, which has descended into Third World status, a 100-hour war against a rag-tag Iraq, a warlord in Somalia, a drug lord in Panama, and a ‘nothing’ in Grenada. More importantly, we have fought and are fighting these ‘wars’ with high-tech weaponry that has evolved from our experience in the Vietnam War. What was the incentive for developing such weapons, such as the ‘stand-off’ weapons which we see being delivered on CNN every evening news cycle? The incentive was to save lives.

It was in answer to the problem of saving lives that the military developed the stand-off weapons we see on TV today. The ‘gee whiz’ stuff of modern age ‘combat.’ The weapons which so excite Ms. Kristin in the back seat of an F-14 Tomcat as she watches destruction rain down on the enemy below — with absolutely no danger to herself. She could just as well be on a bombing range in the United States or on the Vieques practice bombing range in Puerto Rico. Or she could just as well be in an arcade of computer game simulations of ‘war.’ We observe our pre-teen and teenage children and grandchildren emoting as enthusiastically over their computer game simulations in video arcades and homes all across America.

The weapons over which Ms. Kristin becomes so bravely ecstatic are generally released at altitudes over 15,000 (out of the range of most anti-aircraft fire — in her situation there is little to none) and delivered to the target by laser or satellite-based guidance from the cockpit and the crew. An unintended consequence of this development in advanced weaponry is that it takes much less airmanship and skill to deliver the weapon on target. The old fashioned ‘airmanship’ skills (diving from the proper altitude, dodging anti-aircraft fire, putting the pipper on target, releasing at the proper altitude and dive angle and pulling out above the minimum escape altitude) morphed into video arcade ‘computer game’ skills for the modern combat aviator who releases at 15,000 feet and watches, while moving the designator to the designated ground zero.

Coincident with this development came the Culture War element of radical egalitarianism – and the concomitant lowering of training and qualification standards. And finally, women-in-combat became a reality. This does not mean that the standards were lowered for everyone, although that has occurred in the case of a few men as well. The good ones, however, are every bit as good as the best of yesteryear. But, in order to meet politically imposed mandates (quotas) for females, the standards were lowered for those at the bottom of the qualification scale. And the weak ones have leaked through the screening sieve. Remember, for every female who is flying in Navy and Air Force jets in our airborne combat arms, she is not in ADDITION to a qualified or more qualified male – she is there IN THE PLACE OF a qualified or more qualified male. These are the circumstances under which Ms. Kristin’s girls rule braggadocio must be judged.

The ‘feminization’ of America’s combat arms has introduced a potential vulnerability every bit as serious as that discussed above in the design of the World Trade Center buildings. It is not Ms. Kristin’s fault. It is the fault of America’s politicians and the flag-rank military officers who allowed the ‘feminization’ of our nation’s combat arms. They are the ones whom we entrust to LEAD, to think ahead, to ascertain the potential vulnerabilities before acting on political motivations that provide politicians with the elixir of their lives — power. They have not led. They have failed us.

Included in this group who have not measured up are those military veterans who have experienced combat in past wars and who did not speak up against women-in-combat, thereby risking the enmity of those females who regard women-in-combat as part of the progressive counter-culture revolution in America — and those who sympathize with this movement. I am speaking of not only the COLLABORATORS, but also the PASSIVE whom I have identified by their attitudes and activities or lack thereof in the essay at the link W-I-C After 9-11. Please visit this link and read the detailed description of those responsible and the corrective action that must be taken.



1) Dunlap, David W., “Towers Lent City a Lift, Adding Postcard Panache And an Air of Resilience,” The New York Times, 13 September 2001.

2) Glanz, James, “In Collapsing Towers, a Cascade of Failures,” The New York Times, 11 November 2001.

3) Ibid.

4) Ibid.

5) Huvane, Sean, “Personal Conversation with FDNY Rescue #5 Member, 14 December 2001.

6) Jones, Christopher M., “Quality Doesn’t Count,” Letters-to-the-Editor, NAVY TIMES, 22 October 2001.

7) Crawley, Vince, “Advocates report jump in questions about avoiding war,” NAVY TIMES, 5 November 2001.


Return to:

Home Women-in-Combat W-I-C After 9-11