- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2002

The Army is finally pulling female soldiers out of units likely to be engaged in combat. This will specifically affect newly formed Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) units, scheduled to become fully operational by next year. It was during the Clinton years that politically correct, but militarily dubious, notions of co-ed training and placing women in combat units were first entertained.
Since 1994, the Defense Department has actually had a policy in effect barring women from being detailed to units that perform direct combat roles but PC pressures and bureaucratic inertia left the policy as porous as Swiss cheese. Indeed, as noted in yesterday's editions of this newspaper by reporter Rowan Scarborough, at least eight female soldiers had been training to join the first RSTA units. These female soldiers have now been reassigned.
All of this is welcome news because it means less chance that female soldiers will be killed or wounded by enemy fire and a decreased likelihood, as well, that sexual tension between male and female personnel operating together in close quarters will impede mission readiness or combat effectiveness. Political correctness and feminist dogma cannot efface hormones and natural inclinations particularly when the people involved are often unattached young people in their early 20s, perhaps even late teens. It is simply unreasonable and in defiance of human nature to expect these young soldiers to suppress biology. And it is borderline criminally irresponsible to play politically correct games with these young soldiers' lives.
Elaine Donnelly, a longtime opponent of women in combat and of co-ed units, and who also heads the Center for Combat Readiness, was quoted by Mr. Scarborough as expressing the belief that the new policy came about only as a result of pressure exerted by the Bush administration. "I believe they would not have made the change without direction from above," she said. "This is a real shift in what they're doing."
Regardless of the source, the pressure to cut out the PC experimentation is welcome news indeed. The battlefield is no place to toy around with notions of "gender equality." The military is not an inculcator of "self-esteem." Its job is to fight and win the nation's wars. Period. And that job has been made a bit easier, thanks to some well-timed "direction from above."


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