Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Not Everyone's Gunning for Combat Roles

Tony Perkins

Family Research Council

Some women may be ready for combat, but are their units? A new survey suggests no. Late last week, the Marine Corps released the findings of an internal poll that asked the troops how they felt about including women on the front lines. Of the Marines' 201,157 troops, more than 34,100 (17%) say they would leave the service if the Pentagon moves women into combat roles. Almost a quarter of the Marines would resign if females were given those assignments involuntarily. If the average size of a Marine battalion is 600 soldiers, the military would be losing about 57 battalions--all sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. The Pentagon itself has about 28,000 military and civilian employees, and more Marines than even that would be leaving the force because the President believes his radical agenda is more important than soldiers' safety. But, as we saw with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Pentagon surveys the troops and then refuses to take their response into account. Defense officials are already racing to implement the new policy by mid-May.

Meanwhile, active-duty Marines still have plenty of concerns about the idea. Most men are worried about being falsely accused of sexual harassment or assault--or, in the heat of battle, feeling obligated to protect their female service members. Based on their responses, they're also uneasy about the complications of pregnancies or personal issues that could affect the females in their unit. Women, on the other hand, have other problems to worry about--like being targeted by the enemy as prisoners of war. Enemies will exploit this weakness, writes former intelligence officer Earl Tilford. "Al Qaeda might target women for capture. Imagine these women being tortured, sexually assaulted, and mutilated--live on the Internet." It's a sobering prospect for the Marines, 7% of whom are women.

For now, Congress--which wasn't consulted first--is weighing its options. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is planning to wade into the debate with a measure that would block women from joining certain units like special operations. Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., a Marine veteran who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is taking a subtler approach. Instead of an outright ban, he wants to ensure that the standards for all military specialties aren't watered down jeopardizing the military's mission. "Regardless of where anybody is on the policy, there seems to be a consensus far and wide that standards need to stay [gender] neutral. It is about the individual and the job they train to do, and especially for combat specialties. It's important that we continue maintaining high quality standards." That could, as the Army Times points out, have the same effect as a ban without feeding the Left's anti-woman lies about the GOP.