Concerning the question of sending American women into combat, we have thus far looked at the trajectory of the feminist movement, specifically how it went from advocating basic equality between the sexes to perverting and deconstructing sexuality altogether. There have been two distinct and deliberate effects of this radical feminism: the first being a blurring of the line between masculinity and femininity; the second being the creation of an atmosphere of sexual promiscuity, in which sexual intimacy is no longer ordered to marriage and children. Both effects are already proving harmful to women and families, but are also seriously impacting the ability of our armed forces to succeed with their mission.
The Practical Question of Combat Effectiveness
On a practical level, however, it is important from the outset to consider whether women are capable of the physical rigors of long-term combat operations. One woman who can speak to the question is Captain Katie Petronio, USMC, who was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, where she participated in and led missions in combat zones. Her assessment was firm: “I am here to tell you that we are not all created equal, and attempting to place females in the infantry will not improve the Marine Corps as the Nation’s force-in-readiness or improve our national security.”
After excelling at hockey at Bowdoin College in Maine, she joined the Marines and quickly proved herself a resilient and motivated officer. For five years she kept up with the demands of her units, working 16-hour days as an engineer in extremely rugged terrain. Eventually, months of physical and emotional stress took their toll, and a key concern became obvious. She notes, “I can say with 100 percent assurance that despite my accomplishments, there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement.”
Short-term exposure to such grueling efforts or simulated conditions could not reveal what Captain Petronio learned, because it became a question of longevity. When the pressure of combat turns from weeks to months—even years—one has to concede that women’s bodies cannot endure the hardship and fight effectively. If women with compromised physical abilities are encouraged to persevere because of a social experiment, the men around them will be either endangered or imposed upon to take up the slack. That cannot help the overall mission—or the morale.
Captain Petronio has paid a heroic price for her service already. Besides severe muscle atrophy in her legs, she has also been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome because of what she was exposed to over the course of her deployment. She doesn’t bemoan the loss of her fertility, but wonders who is behind the push for the integration of women into combat units. She is unaware of any female Marines asking for more punishing service options, nor was she aware of any congressional initiatives to that end.
It is evident that civilian special interest groups have driven the agenda thus far, and unfortunately none of them have first-hand knowledge of the military life they are manipulating—which would account for their unrealistic expectations. These ideologues are tinkering with the armed forces without adequate data concerning long-term effects; they are “modifying” essential standards so that women can succeed; and they are ignoring the ultimate good—troop readiness—in order to achieve a perceived good: total sexual parity.
If the United States could be reasonably sure that there were no military entanglements on the near horizon, or if there was a severe shortage of capable men willing to fill the ranks at present, perhaps we could consider a change in policy. In the former case, data could be gathered without endangering lives, and in the latter case self-defense would justify such extraordinary measures. But with willing men able to deploy on multiple fronts against existing foes, this is not the time to experiment with feminist fantasies—because the consequences are fatal and all too real.
The New Androgynous Ethic May Stifle Choice
Considering the androgynous agenda at the heart of feminism—which depends absolute sexual license and birth control for its success—we find that the younger generation has indeed embraced the notion that sexual intimacy is no longer reserved for marriage and children. The predominantly secular culture no longer attaches any stigma to promiscuity, single-parenthood, or cohabitation, and the last vestiges of discomfort with persons of the same-sex are being attacked through legislation and re-education campaigns.
Just this month, the Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court—basing its claim on a memo provided by the American Psychiatric Association—that motherhood and fatherhood are not essential components in creating stable families, and that same-sex couples can provide equally healthy homes for children. If this argument stands, the enemies of complementarity will have shut the door on public recognition of authentic femininity and masculinity for the near future.
If masculinity and femininity are merely social constructs that can be deconstructed and recreated at will, then there will be no legal barriers in the future to the mingling of sexes in all arenas. The androgynists have already stooped to all levels, encouraging preschoolers to explore cross-dressing, young boys to seek entry into the Girl Scouts, girls to try out for all-male sports teams, and young men to run for Prom Queen. While each foray may seem harmless or even amusing, when it comes to the larger thesis—the unique place for motherhood—the looming new world under construction will soon withdraw all protections for maternity itself.
In the classic retelling of the Arthurian legend, The Once and Future King, T. H. White uses a chilling phrase about the familiar trajectory of totalitarian regimes: “Everything not forbidden is compulsory.” Proving the truth in this adage, it was revealed that as early as the mid-1990's, President Clinton asked the Department of Defense to look into having women register for the Selective Service, but no conclusion was reached about its feasibility at the time. Furthermore, US Representative Charles Rangel has initiated legistation four times since 2003 urging the country to institute a draft for men and women, so that the burden of defending the country will be more equitably shared.
While many are not convinced that removing pre-existing bans on women's deployments will translate into including all young women in the future should a draft be necessary, Rep. Rangel's justification for the proposals fits perfectly with the feminists argumentation noted previously: Wars are the result of testosterone run amok; including women's wisdom in the decision-making process will calm the bellicose and enhance peaceful collaboration. (Never mind the stereotypes, they are allowed when feminists want to make a point.) Interestingly, with reasoning like this, even though those who promote an androgynous worldview count on distaste against killing women as leverage against combat as much as giving women access to the battlefield.
The “New Normal” Degrades Women
So where does that leave us? We come to the final point, which is that women are meant to nurture life, to foster growth, to provide sanctuaries from the hostilities of the fallen world. Not only does the decision to send women into battle run contrary to their deepest instincts, but it denies that such a vocation even exists beyond the sentimental imagination associated with archaic religious views.
In the new world order, male and female are anachronistic, motherhood and fatherhood incidental, and chastity a pious token. Those who cannot see beyond such categories will no longer be allowed to direct public policy or influence legislation.
Just days before renouncing the Chair of Peter, Benedict reminded the seminarians of Rome: “And the cross may have very different forms, but no one can be Christian without following the Crucified One, without accepting the martyrological moment too.” The ironies of our “moment” abound. So many women who refused sanctuary to a generation of children will now rush to the gates themselves, forsaking the precautions attached to their inherent maternity. How many will be martyred on the hills of a deconstructed world, seeking the place of men who will stand back to let them fight in their place. How many will delight in offering this sacrifice which has nothing to do with the legitimate sacrifices to which women are called for the benefit of society.
It’s all of a piece, this steady march towards feminine degradation. Morality has been so shredded that authentic purity is rare, many women prefer to be barren, the destruction of innocent life is widespread, and the popular culture has rallied around sirens who preach decadent materialism.
This may sound hyperbolic in response to a simple shift in military regulations, but the change is the perfect illustration of how androgyny has undermined the very fabric of society. As long as this confusion reigns, those who understand the Christian ethic must stand back and refuse to participate. As Benedict exhorts, “Let us pray the Lord that He help us to accept this mission of living as exiles.”
Exiles we are in this madly drifting world, and our isolation grows deeper year by year.