Of course, none of them are among the payroll patriots that run things in Washington. But The Weekly Standard dug in to the story and found out where the neanderthals who resist this shiny progressive bauble of an idea hang out.
As it happens, they are, or were, in ground combat units. To be specific, in the infantry (although how you can be a tanker or artillery crew member — note our use of politically-correct, sex-neutral verbiage — without being able to toss 100-lb. shells around like footballs is beyond us, too).
One is Sergeant James Robert Webb, who served as an infantryman in Ramadi in 2006 and 2007. The 31-year-old son of former Democratic senator, secretary of the Navy, and Vietnam war hero Jim Webb took to his blog to describe how the change would harm combat effectiveness and unit cohesion. The Marine explained that a noninfantry convoy unit engaging in combat if attacked—returning fire and getting to safety—is different from the infantry fulfilling its mission to “close with and destroy hostile forces.” Furthermore, the infantry demands the utmost from Marines in terms of physical strength, endurance, attitude, and group loyalty and bonding. “More to the point, if the calculus is altered, our people, my peers, die,” wrote Webb.
“The major concern is with women in infantry units,” Webb tells me in an email. “This is a subject which comes up every time I get together with combat veterans—from any branch of service. The message is an unequivocal ‘No, this should not happen.’ I have yet to receive an email, comment, text message, etc. from anyone who has served in a combat unit who supports this decision by DoD.”
The public supports the change—66 percent, according to a Pew poll—but the view from inside the infantry is very different. “The overarching opinion is one of confusion and disillusionment with the decision, not just in my age group, but among those who fought wars before us in Vietnam as well,” Webb reports. “Guys just don’t understand the rationale behind it, and moreover, there’s a general feeling that those who have been fighting our wars weren’t consulted on the decision.”
We’ll go with Webb. The Standard goes on to show how the military is already gaming the supposedly “gender-neutral” standards so that the term is a Newspeak style self-refutation.
Another of the former servicemen (and some women) who are fighting this is California Rep. Duncan Hunter. Hunter fears that the standards will slip to meet the political mission, and plans to offer an amendment requiring such standards as may be set to be universally applicable:
“There’s going to be extreme pressure to lower the standards to make sure there’s a quota met in these combat units,” says Hunter. “I think that’s unavoidable. I think that pressure is going to exist, and our military leaders under this administration are going to acquiesce to that pressure.”
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has already suggested standards might be lowered if women can’t meet them. “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” Dempsey said during a January 24 press conference.
No one who’s seen Dempsey in action over the last few years is under any illusion that he has the slightest reservoir of moral courage, or the least inclination to resist any brainstorm of his political lords and masters. He used his talents at toadying to rise to the top of his profession, where he finally had some authority but couldn’t exercise it, because the character of a toady was imprinted upon him, soul deep.