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The Feminist Assault on the Military

Posted By David Horowitz On January 28, 2013 @ 12:30 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 62 Comments

Editor’s note: With the Pentagon’s recent elimination of the ban against  women serving in combat, Frontpage editors have deemed it important to reprint an article written by David Horowitz twenty years ago that now, for obvious reasons, proves extremely relevant to the issue at hand. [David Horowitz, "The Feminist Assault on the Military," Center for the Study of Popular Culture, October 5, 1992.]:

For nearly two decades after the Sixties, the U.S. military remained the one institution that had withstood the baleful influences of the radical left. Now that the cold war is over, this immunity appears to have ended. A series of relatively trivial incidents – a joke about women’s sexual excuses, a skit with sexual innuendos mocking a female member of Congress – and a drunken party at which crotches were grabbed in a gantlet ritual, have triggered a national hysteria and a political witch-hunt – referred to in the media as “the tailhook scandal” that is threatening the very foundations of the military establishment.

Already, the witch-hunt has terminated or blighted the careers of a Secretary of the Navy, four Admirals, a military aide to the president, and three “top gun” flight commanders. A question mark has been placed over the careers of thousands of naval and marine officers. And every male in the navy judged guilty under the draconian law of the new puritanism before the fact – has been condemned to eight hours of re-education in “sensitivity training” classes, designed – as in a latter-day Salem-to purify their souls.

The dimensions of what is happening are only dimly appreciated by the American public. The case of three-star Admiral John H. Fetterman Jr., a naval aviator with thirty-seven years of service, provides some clues. A family man with conservative moral values and a reputation for honesty and integrity, Fetterman had earned respect as the “people’s Admiral,” for his concern for the “little guy,” and for his advocacy of a wider role for women in the Navy. Capping his long and distinguished career, he had headed the Navy’s air forces in the Pacific before being appointed chief of naval education and training, the Navy’s number one shore command. A month after the Tailhook revelations, Fetterman was busted in rank. Days later, he took an early retirement.

Fetterman’s crime? He had been accused over a harassment “hotline” of shielding an aide from naval investigators. The aide, a chief petty officer, had made a pass, while drunk, at another enlisted man. In less fevered circumstances this incident might have slipped by without notice. But in the wake of Tailhook, the furies of sexual purity demanded blood. (One female officer, among the hundreds who rallied to Fetterman’s support, told the San Diego Union in horror, “They’re going after the wrong admiral. This shows you the whole world is upside down.”)

In justifying an otherwise incomprehensible act against one of its most respected commanders, the Navy hierarchy reached for the blunt instrument of innuendo. In an official statement, the Navy said that the relationship of Fetterman and his wife with the chief petty officer, “appears to have been unduly familiar.” In a poignant defense to his commanding officer, Fetterman replied:

That conclusion is based upon observations that my wife extended the courtesies of our home to the chief in question. In response, I must note my wife is a caring and gracious person. She has always made all members of the Navy family feel like they are part of our family. That particular attribute is one of her greatest strengths and one for which I will not apologize.

Then he warned that the measures being taken to root out sexual harassers might end up doing “irreparable damage to the military.”

For the past few months, we have seen the reputations of honorable men and women tarnished by innuendo, falsehood and rumor. Enough! Our Navy is populated by decent, honest and dedicated people. They need to be recognized as such.

But it will be a long time before the Navy’s honor is restored and the American concept of innocent until proven guilty is respected again in military quarters. The movement which has led to the current witch-hunt is far from spent. It began in earnest a decade ago, when the army attempted to introduce a sex-neutral system to test the physical strength of recruits. Designed to match individual abilities to military requirements, the Military Enlistment Physical Strength Capacity Test (MEPSCAT) provoked objections at the time from feminists inside and outside the military, who feared that sex-neutral standards might cause women to be barred from certain roles, particularly combat roles, which were the keys to military status and advancement.

Although the Air Force held out, and maintained the objectivity of the test, the Army and Navy caved in to their feminist critics. As the feminist objections were met, the MEPSCAT test was reduced to little more than a “guidance tool.” The double standard had taken its first step in becoming a way of life in the military as it has in other institutions of American life. The only area where a true standard remained in force was combat itself. Now, ten years later, combat has become the issue, and with incidents like Tailhook ripe for exploitation, the pressure to surrender to the feminist levelers appears all but insurmountable.

That pressure is embodied in the “Schroeder Amendment,” which would open the door to allow women to fly in combat. The Amendment is named after its sponsor, liberal Democrat Pat Schroeder, who appears to be the aspiring Senator McCarthy of the current investigative frenzy {I have in my hand a list of harassers…) In a July 9 letter to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Schroeder put the Pentagon on notice that “Tailhook ’91 is a symptom of a larger problem” and that the resignation of Navy Secretary Garrett does not begin “to address the problem.” To do just that, the Congresswoman wants investigations and prosecutions that will enable the navy to purge itself of sexual miscreants:

The Navy’s inability to complete an accurate investigation and the failure to identity and prosecute the attackers….sends a clear message…

In addition, Schroeder demands (and has succeeded in getting) re-education classes – “sexual harassment training [for] all personnel” – to cleanse the navy of existing bad attitudes.

Schroeder’s bill to allow women in combat (which would also make women eligible for a future military draft) is the other face of the feminist juggernaut. It is seen by supporters as a “wedge” measure that would lead to expanded combat roles and true institutional equality for women. A Presidential Commission has been appointed to review the issue and is scheduled to make a recommendation in November.

While the primary concern in making such a decision ought to be its possible impact on military capabilities, many of the advocates of change and many of those who will actually decide the issue have shown little interest in the maintenance of an effective defense. Schroeder, for example, was an anti-war activist before entering the House where, as a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, she has been a longtime proponent of reductions in America’s military posture. Serving alongside her on the Committee are feminist allies Beverly Byron (who has demanded that every officer merely present at Tailhook be thrown out of the service) and California “anti-war” liberal Barbara Boxer. Another ranking Committee member and ardent Schroeder supporter, is radical Congressman Ron Dellums, a recent camp follower of Fidel Castro and other U.S. adversaries, an opponent of U.S. military interventions over the last three decades who denounced the Carter White House as “evil” for opposing Soviet aggression in Afghanistan, and a legislator who every year has sponsored an alternative defense authorization bill mandating crippling cuts in Americas military forces.

When New Left radicals, like myself, launched the movement against the war in Vietnam, we did not say we wanted the Communists to win – which we did – we said we wanted to give peace a chance; we wanted to bring the troops home. By persuading well-meaning Americans to take up our cause and by forcing Washington to bring the troops home, we accomplished our objective: the Communists won. With disastrous consequences for Vietnam and the world.

Examples of this kind of double agenda abound in the current feminist campaign and can be found in testimony before the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. Dr. Maria Lepowsky, a graduate of Berkeley and an associate professor of anthropology and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin, provided testimony in support of a combat role for women. Then Professor Lepowsky asked herself: “What would be some possible consequences… – if women were put in combat – on American cultural values and American society…?” And then she answered her own question: “I think there might be increased concern about committing troops to combat, also perhaps a good thing…”

In other words, Lepowsky was advocating that women be put in combat roles because to do so would make it more difficult to commit troops to combat! This kind of candor is unusual for the left.

The feminist movement, which supplies the ideological framework for witnesses like Professor Lepowsky and advocates like Pat Schroeder is typical of those in which radicals have played significant roles. It is a coalition of different voices in which radicals set the political agendas and in which not all the agendas are on the surface.

Moderate feminists generally are seeking modest reforms in American society. Technological developments in the 20th Century have dramatically changed women’s social roles. Women no longer risk death in the normal course of childbirth, and can choose whether to become pregnant or not. Together with labor saving devices in the home, which have reduced the demands of maintaining a household, these technological advances have freed women to consider careers in the world at large, including careers in the military, where they have historically made significant contributions.

Naturally these changing opportunities for women have required some adjustments in the culture, particularly since many of the developments occurred in a relatively short time span. The development of contraceptives alone, for example, would have been a catalyst of important changes. When women entered the work force in unprecedented numbers, attitudes had to be adjusted and laws had to be changed; some traditions had to be modified and others abandoned.

America is a remarkably open society, with remarkably responsive institutions and these changes have taken place with consequent alacrity. And they are still taking place. The best and most constructive way for them to take place is deliberately, with careful consideration of possible consequences, and special respect for consequences that maybe unforeseen. As the inhabitants of the former Soviet empire discovered, at great human cost, revolutionary cures can often be worse than the diseases they were prescribed for.

This is a lesson lost on feminism’s radical wing whose ideology has been described by philosopher Christina Sommers as “gender feminism.” (Sommers contrasts this with “equity feminism,” a moderate position that really means getting a fair shake.) When advocates of reform speak of “gender integration” of the military, they are often invoking the ideas of the radical feminists without necessarily recognizing them for what they are.

Gender feminism is a bastard child of Marxism. It is the dominant ideology of women’s studies in American universities and of feminist groups like the National Organization of Women. Gender feminism holds that women are not women by nature, but that patriarchal society has “constructed” or created them female so that men could oppress them. The system that creates females is called “gender-patriarchy.” As the source of their oppression, it must be destroyed.

Radical feminists are social engineers in the same way that Communists are social engineers. They deny that there is a human nature, and they deny that there is a female nature, that human biology in any way fundamentally influences who or what we are. The solution to all social problems, conflicts and disappointments in life is to manipulate laws and institutions so as to create liberated human beings – beings who will not hate, have prejudices, exhibit bad sexual manners, get into conflicts, or go to war. By changing institutions, especially powerful institutions like the military, and using their administrative power to brainwash people into adopting attitudes that are politically correct, these radicals believe that the problems that have plagued mankind since the dawn of creation will be miraculously cured.

Social engineers like the gender feminists have little interest in questions of Americas national security not because they are in the pay of foreign powers, but because they believe that America is a patriarchal, sexist, racist oppressor and that its institutions must be destroyed or transformed beyond recognition, if women and other oppressed groups are to achieve their “liberation.” Of course, the gender feminists are not so naive as to admit their radical agendas outside the ideological sanctuaries of Women’s Studies departments. In testifying before presidential commissions what they sound like are equity feminists. They will say that placing women in combat positions is merely an extension of women working outside the home, and of expanding equal opportunity

But placing women in harm’s way and training them to kill one-on-one is not a mere extension of working outside the home. Furthermore, there are definite limits to equal rights and equal opportunity when biology is involved. Do I, for example, as an American male, have a right to bear a child? Do I have an equal opportunity with women to do so? Do they have an equal aptitude for combat? Ninety percent of the people arrested for violent crimes in the United States are, and always have been, male. From this statistic alone it would be possible to conclude that males have a distinct advantage over females when it comes to mobilizing an existing instinct for aggression for the purposes of organized combat.

One of the leading military advocates of equal roles for women and men is Commander Rosemary Mariner, a nineteen year career naval officer. In June, Commander Mariner testified before the Presidential Commission that women should not be excluded from combat because “separate is inherently unequal.” Perhaps. But so what? The founding documents of this country recognize the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They do not recognize the rights of short people to be tall, of less intelligent people to have higher intelligence, of less aggressive people to be more aggressive, of physically weaker people to be stronger, of men to bear children or of women to be deployed in military combat.

Men and women are different and unequal in various abilities. That, to all but gender feminists, is an obvious, indisputable fact. The question is, what are the consequences of that fact?

The difficulty in answering the question is the emotional element that is introduced into the discussion by the moral and political claims of the feminist left. Mariner’s testimony before the Commission – a testimony infused with radical nostrums is instructive:

As with racial integration the biggest problem confronting gender integration is not men or women, but bigotry. It is bigotry that is the root cause of racial and sexual harassment. From common verbal abuse to the criminal acts of a Tailhook debacle, sexual harassment will continue to be a major problem in the armed forces because the combat exclusion law and policies make women institutionally inferior.

The basic elements of the radical view are all here. Sexual relations between men and women are to be understood in terms of racial relations between blacks and whites. The problem of sexual harassment is analogous to racism and is unrelated to the different biologies and sexual drives of men and women. At the root of the problem is institutions. “Tailhook ’91,” wrote Schroeder in her letter to the Secretary of Defense, “is the symptom of a larger problem: institutional bias against women.” In feminist terms, the social construction of women that renders them different from men is made possible by a patriarchal system of institutions that causes them to be perceived as inferior. In the eyes of the gender feminists, the exclusion of women from combat is a keystone of this system. If women were to be included in combat (and thus treated as the equals they are), if gender roles were to be abolished, then sexual harassment would cease to be a “major problem.”

Consider the proposition: For five thousand years men have been more aggressive sexually than women. Recognizing this, societies have universally established different (unequal) sexual rules for men and women. And for all that time, men (but not all men) have failed to heed those rules and have overstepped the boundaries of decent behavior. But according to the gender feminists, that is “merely” the past. Now the U.S. military has a chance to solve this problem once and for all. By passing the Schroeder amendment. By removing the barriers to women in combat. As soon as the “exclusion law” is changed, women’s self-esteem will rise, men’s respect for women will increase, and mirabile dictu sexual harassment will cease.

It is difficult to believe that rational human beings could propose such nonsense, let alone a commander in the U.S. Navy or a U.S. Congresswoman. But this is the fundamental idea that feminists – from the ideological professoriate on our benighted campuses to such public “spokespeople” as Gloria Steinem and Pat Schroeder promote from their pulpits ad nauseam. And to which our military brass and political leadership are kowtowing at a frightening pace. It is an instructive example of how radical ideology, given the chance, can glue up the human brain. If anyone were seriously looking at the question of military effectiveness, they would see that the greatest threat to military morale today is being created by the onslaught of half-baked feminist ideas that are making every man Jack in the military – from the highest brass to the lowliest grunt – guilty before the fact, guilty just because he is a male.

Item: This summer, Jerry Tuttle, a three-star Admiral who had been nominated by the President for one of the 12 top posts in the navy, was subjected to public humiliation when the President was forced to withdraw his nomination. Why? Because a newsletter for which he was responsible printed the following joke: Beer is better than women because beer never has a headache.

Item: Three “top gun” fliers were relieved of their commands because of their participation in, or witnessing of, a privately shown skit in the annual Tom Cat Follies at the Miramar Naval Station. The skit lampooned Congresswoman Schroeder.

What is going on in America that a three star Admiral can be denied a promotion over a lame joke that he didn’t even make? Or that seasoned fliers can have their careers terminated because of possible offense to a politician? How could a Republican President and Navy Department cave in to pressures like this, and why isn’t there national outrage over the injustice and stupidity of it? And, finally, what is the problem with feminists who can’t handle this kind of trivia? And yet want to enter a war zone and engage in combat!

There is a big problem out there and it is this: We are fast becoming a nation of hypocrites and liars in our unseemly haste to humor ideological bluenoses like Mariner and Schroeder, and to submit the lives of honorable and dedicated men like Admiral Tuttle and the Miramar commanders to the tender mercies of the feminist thought-police.

Thanks to Representative Schroeder, her supporting wolfpack and the weak-kneed defense brass who won’t stand up to them, the men in our armed services are now guilty for being men: for having encountered women who have used headaches as an excuse for not wanting sex, for suffering the abuse of a vindictive Congresswoman in silence, and for making lame jokes to ventilate their frustrations.

But it is not only men who are guilty when the radical star-chamber is in session. Women who are not politically correct are equally suspect. Thus Commander Mariner: “As with racial integration, the biggest problem confronting gender integration is…bigotry. ..Bigotry…is the root cause of racial and sexual harassment.”

Anyone who even suggests now that it might not be a good idea to include women in combat, is hereby put on notice that they are, at the very least, encouraging bigotry and most likely bigots themselves. Studies conducted at West Point have identified 120 physical differences between men and women that may bear on military requirements. Yet the US Naval Academy has been criticized for not moving fast enough to increase its female enrollment on the grounds that this is mere prejudice. Senator Barbara Mikulski has demanded “an attitude change” at the Academy, and an official Committee on Women’s Issues headed by Rear Admiral Virgil Hill has called for the “immediate dismissal of senior officers who question the role of women in the military.” To question – to question – the role of women in the military is now regarded as bigotry by the military itself.

The word “bigot” has resonance. It is meant to invoke the specter of racism and, simultaneously, to appropriate the moral mantle of the civil rights movement for the feminist cause. This feminist attempt to hijack the civil rights movement has always struck me as spurious and offensive. Women, as a gender, were never oppressed as American blacks and their ancestors were oppressed. It is the big lie of feminism to speak of “patriarchy” as a system of oppression comparable to slavery, and to see women’s restricted role in society as fundamentally unrelated to restrictions imposed by their biology and the state of technological development.

Black people were enslaved for centuries. Their slavery was justified by whites who judged them to be less than human. “Three-fifths of a man.” That was bigotry. That was racism. Sexism, by contrast, is an inane and meaningless term invented by Marxist radicals to stigmatize their opponents. Its primary function aside from abuse, is to appropriate the moral legacy of the struggle against racism. No western civilization, let alone western democracy, has ever regarded women as inferior beings in the sense that blacks were considered inferior. None has ever failed to value and cherish them.

Despite the fog of feminist propaganda that has enveloped the nation, we don’t need elaborate studies to prove this. Men’s feelings for women have been richly recorded in Western culture. Homer’s Iliad, which gives expression to the informing myths of Hellenic society, and is a founding document of Western civilization is about a war over a woman. Even the most dim-witted ideologue can see that there is power in womanhood there.

As for more recent attitudes, anyone who thinks that before The Feminist Mystique, women in America were denigrated as mere bodies without character or brains, should catch the next showing of any Katherine Hepburn film on American Movie Classics. In Adams Rib, to invoke but one example, Hepburn and Tracy play husband and wife lawyers who wind up on opposite sides of a major case. The wife wins. Only in Betty Friedan’s febrile imagination was the American family a “comfortable concentration camp” before the advent of NOW.

Yet the argument is still pressed that the decision to put women in combat is somehow crucial to women’s self-esteem and to men’s respect for women. It is a constant theme of the Presidential hearings. In discussing the inclusion of women in combat, Professor Lepowsky had this to say: “There might be a significant impact…on female self-esteem, especially for young girls and young women, the idea that male fraternity and male respect of women was possible.”

On what planet is Professor Lepowsky living? Including women in combat would give women the idea that male friendship for and respect of women was possible} If men don’t respect women, why do women fall in love with men and marry them? Is there something wrong with women? Are they so brain deficient or brainwashed as to be involved intimately with a species that doesn’t even respect them? Only a feminist ideologue could come up with such malicious lunacy. It only serves to confirm the suspicion that behind every radical feminists concern for what women might be, lies a profound contempt for who they are.

And yet this is the kind of thinking that is being factored into the future of our armed forces.

What is truly worrying about all this is that there is now an atmosphere of intimidation in the public sphere that prevents any candor on these issues. Jobs can and are being lost, careers are being ruined, reputations are being tarnished because of politically incorrect views; because of bad attitudes; because the party line is not being observed. These are disgraceful times in America. And they are fraught with danger where national security matters are concerned.

In its Washington session in June, the Presidential Commission also heard testimony from William S. Lind, former defense advisor to Gary Hart. In his testimony, Lind referred to the suppression of information vital to the decisions the Commission was going to make. According to Lind, the Army Personnel Office had detailed information on problems encountered with women troops in Desert Storm, which had not been released to the public. They included the fact that the non-deployability rate for women in the Gulf was many times higher than that for men. Specifically, when the troops were called to battle, between three and four times as many women per enlisted personnel were unavailable for duty. The inability to deploy women troops apparently caused an immediate turmoil with negative effects on unit cohesion, which is a primary component of combat effectiveness. Another piece of important information that was not made public was the fact that despite rigid measures taken in the field, there was no drop in the pregnancy rate through the period of deployment. (Pregnancy rates in the military are now 10-15%.) Pregnancy during Desert Shield was the primary reason for non-deployability.

Why is this information on the back burner? Where are the famous investigative reporters from 60 Minutes and the Washington Post, ever vigilant against the evils of military censorship? Perhaps a politically correct media lacks interest in information that could sow doubts about the case for “gender integration”. Even if the suppression of that information might jeopardize our men on some future field of battle.

(Suppression of information about women’s actual performance in some traditionally male jobs is not unique to the military. As a journalist I have interviewed policemen who will tell you – off the record – of the dangers they face because of women partners who are not as physically intimidating as men. I have talked to construction workers who will tell you – off the record – of having to carry women the law has forced onto their crews even though they are not physically strong enough to do a full share of the work.)

The suppression of information has provided one “answer” to these problems. “Gender norming” has provided the other. “Gender norming” is the practice of institutionalizing the double standard, so that women are measured in performance against other women, rather than men who can outperform them. “Gender norming” is now the rule at all military service academies. As is the cover-up of the adverse consequences of their new policies of admitting women.

The official position at West Point, for example, is that there have been no negative effects stemming from the admission of women to the Academy. The facts, as revealed in a recent Heritage study by Robert Knight, are quite different. Knight’s information is drawn from the sworn testimony of a West Point official taken in a Virginia Court:

  • When men and women are required to perform the same exercises, women’s scores are “weighted” to compensate for their deficiencies.
  • Women cadets take “comparable” training when they cannot meet the physical standards for male cadets.
  • In load-bearing tasks, 50% of the women score below the bottom 5% of the men.
  • Peer ratings have been eliminated because women were scoring too low.

To appease the heightened sensitivities of women in the present political atmosphere, even the men’s training program has been downgraded:

  • Cadets no longer train in combat boots because women were experiencing higher rates of injury.
  • Running with heavy weapons has been eliminated because it is “unrealistic and therefore unappropriate” to expect women to do it.
  • The famed “recondo” endurance week during which cadets used to march with full backpacks and undergo other strenuous activities has been eliminated, as have upper-body strength events in the obstacle course.

It is one thing to have second-rate professors in the humanities because of affirmative action quotas that lower standards. But a second rate officer corps?

Not surprisingly, resentment on the part of male cadets is high. One indication is that more than 50% of the women cadets at West Point reported that they had been sexually harassed last year.

It is a perfectly sinister combination. Rub men’s noses in arbitrariness and unfairness, and then charge them with sexual harassment when they react. It is also a perfect prescription for accumulating power and controlling resources. Which is what this witch-hunt – no different in this regard from any other – is ultimately about. For every male who falls from grace because he is suspected of sexual harassment, or of defending standards that maybe unfavorable to women, or of not reacting strongly enough to sexual harassment, there is a politically correct career officer or politician ready to take advantage of his misfortune. Rosemary Mariner is a candidate for Admiral; Beverly Byron has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of the Navy; Pat Schroeder has her sights on a cabinet post, perhaps Secretary of Defense.

Who is going to pay the price for these ambitions on the field of battle?

This brings us to another problem raised by William Lind, which is unit cohesion and combat effectiveness. In combat men will act to protect the women and this will undermine the effectiveness of the unit. The male soldier’s protective instinct is heightened by his knowledge of what the male enemy will do to females taken prisoner of war. This is not mere theory. The Israelis, who pioneered the introduction of women in combat during their War of Liberation now bar women from combat. They found exactly this, that “if you put women in combat with men, the men immediately forget about their tactical objective and they move instead to protect the women.”

The Israelis abandoned the practice of putting women into combat positions because it weakened their forces and exposed their fighting men to even greater risks. Is there is a reason for Americans to repeat the Israelis’ mistake just to humor the feminist left?

No amount of sensitivity training, no amount of brainwashing can alter human nature. The Communists proved that at unbelievable cost. They could not make a new socialist man (or woman) who would be cooperative and not competitive under a social plan, who would respond as effectively and efficiently to administrative commands as they had to market incentives, who would be communist and not individualist.

The Communists killed tens of millions of people and impoverished whole nations trying to change human nature, all the time calling it “liberation,” just as radical feminists do. It didn’t work. Social experiments that disregard fundamental human realities in the name of abstract pieties will always fail. But they will cause incalculable social damage and irreparable human suffering before they collapse.

And yet, under the guidance of feminist social engineers, our newly sensitized military leadership marches on. The Air Force has established a SERE program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape), including its own “prisoner of war” camp in the state of Washington to de-sensitize its male recruits so that they won’t react like men when female prisoners are tortured. In short, in their infinite wisdom, Ms. Schroeder and her feminist allies have enlisted the military in a program to brainwash men so that they won’t care what happens to women. That’s progress and social enlightenment, feminist style.

Of course, it is not necessary to gain access to the information that the military has suppressed or to be familiar with military terms like “unit cohesion” to see that America’s war-making ability has already been weakened by the decision to deploy large numbers of women on battlefields overseas, even absent a combat role. Who does not remember the poignant stories which the networks elaborated in lavish detail about the children left behind by their mothers on duty in the Persian Gulf? And in some cases mothers and fathers. (In fact there were 16,337 single military parents and 1,231 military couples, who left anxious children behind during the Gulf War.) In the irresponsibly gifted hands of network reporters, even the family pets orphaned by their owners became objects of national concern. And for some, occasions to oppose the war.

The net result is that an American President now is under pressure to win a war in four days or risk losing the war at home. How many dictators are going to test the will of America s liberated military and compassionate citizenry in future conflicts? These changes have implications for diplomacy and long term national security that are literally incalculable. Yet Schroeder and Co. want them decided on the basis of cheap slogans like “separate is inherently unequal.”

In the summer of 1992, the military establishment has acted like pussies in responding to the all-out assault on America’s armed services by Congresswomen Schroeder, Byron, Boxer, Mikulski et al. In the reigning atmosphere of political intimidation, even an offending skit could send career servicemen to the stake. Among the public figures lampooned in the Tom Cat Follies were President Bush and Vice President Quayle. But it was a rhyme about Representative Pat Schroeder that sent the Navy brass into paroxysms of fear and scrambling for a sword to fall on. When the smoke cleared, three dedicated careers were in the toilet because of this nonsense. Three careers destroyed as a result of Navy hypocrisy and fear of the wrath of one bigoted US Congresswoman. When the history of this sorry episode is written, maybe someone will call it the Feline Follies.

One might well ask what qualifies someone like Pat Schroeder to intimidate the entire American military establishment and to shape its destiny through the next generation? During the cold war Pat Schroeder and her supporters in the Congressional left worked overtime to hobble and disarm America in the face of the Soviet threat. In 1981, when Soviet armies were spreading death and destruction across Afghanistan and the United States had boycotted the Olympics in order to isolate the Soviet aggressor, Pat Schroeder and a group of leftwing House members hosted a delegation from the World Peace Council, a proven Soviet propaganda front, thus providing a KGB operation with a forum in the halls of Congress.

In 1982, with Soviet armies occupying Afghanistan, with 50,000 Cuban troops waging civil war in Ethiopia and Angola, with a Communist base established on the American mainland, with a Communist insurgency raging in E l Salvador, with thousands of nuclear warheads in Central Europe and Warsaw Pact forces outnumbering NATO troops by a two to one margin, Congresswoman Schroeder proposed an amendment to reduce the number of U.S. military personnel stationed overseas by half. (HR6030). If ever a member of the U.S. Government proposed a prescription for national suicide, this was it. Fortunately, three hundred and fourteen Democrats joined Republicans in defeating Schroeder’s amendment on the floor.

In the Congressional Quarterly, Pat Schroeder is noted for her efforts against nuclear testing while the Soviets were still our adversaries, against further development of the MX missile, against proposed funding levels for the Strategic Defense Initiative and the B-2 bomber – and against authorizing the president to use force to stop Saddam Hussein.

Maybe Ms. Schroeder’s Denver constituents approve of the attitudes these positions reflect. For most Americans Pat Schroeder’s credentials on issues of national defense will be cause for alarm.

The military is the one American institution that survived the Sixties intact. Now it threatens to become a casualty of current radical fashions. Of far more concern than any possible injustice that might be associated with the exclusion of women from combat, is the assault on the military that is now being conducted in the name of “gender integration,” the elimination of sexual harassment and the purging of male bigots. The worst crimes of our century have been committed by idealists attempting to eradicate just such “injustices,” stamp out politically incorrect attitudes and reconstruct human nature. Let’s not add the weakening of America’s military to the depressing list of disasters of these Utopias that failed.


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