Cultural Revolutions

Babes in Arms

U.S. military veterans know firsthand that putting women close to the front lines is not only idiotic but perverse.  Yet that’s been U.S. policy for more than 30 years.  Previously, women served in support roles far behind the front lines.  The only exceptions were some registered nurses, following the tradition of their noble forerunner, Florence Nightingale, in the Crimean War.

In the Vietnam War, more than 58,000 U.S. troops died, but only eight were military women, all nurses: Two died of natural causes, one from shrapnel, and five from aircraft crashes.  By contrast, in the ongoing Iraq war, about 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed, including about 110 women, more than in any other American war.  In the ongoing war in Afghanistan, about 1,400 troops have been killed, including 24 women.  Few in either conflict have been nurses.

In January, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission recommended that girls also be sent directly into combat.  (The new action came on the heels of the outgoing Democratic Congress’s vote to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing open homosexuals to serve.)  Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he expects women will serve even in the Green Berets and other elite combat units.  The report found that “The Armed Forces have not yet succeeded in developing leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve.  Minorities...

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