- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

One of the terrible ironies of the so-called women's liberation movement is its discriminatory antics, which are playing out on the battlefields of Iraq and the U.S. homefront.

Old-school women's libbers, for instance, are riled up about the Augusta National Golf Club's all-men's membership policies. Augusta, which next month will again host the Masters Tournament, is a private organization that asks neither you nor me to send tax dollars. Yet, for months, the National Organization for Women continues to pressure Augusta to go pink that is, feminize its membership rolls.

These are the same feminists who pushed Congress into resurrecting an incomplete statue of the so-called founding mothers of the suffragist movement. The memorial is of suffragettes Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Staton and Susan B. Anthony. The missing face is that of their contemporary, Sojourner Truth. The memorial should be removed from the Rotunda of the Capitol and never seen again unless and until Sojourner Truth's likeness is added.

The libbers also are raising the "V" for victory sign for another of their causes female combat soldiers. In a March 24 opinion piece of feminist fatuity, the New York Times characterizes the capture of Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson as a victory for women's rights. The article, "The Pinking of the Armed Forces," says the fact that Operation Iraqi Freedom can claim the first-ever female prisoner of war "serves as a reminder of how the American military has evolved." It then goes on to compare the necessary realities of the "glass ceilings" in the U.S. armed forces to role-playing in La-La Land. "Servicemen remain barred from the roles that Hollywood would cast with Tom Hanks or Bruce Willis Navy SEALs, special forces, short-range artillery or tank operatos and infantry. The present war with Iraq …. could change much of that by debunking the arguments fully employing them."

Let's hope not.

Spc. Johnson and the service men and women are not playing roles; they are fighting with their lives and trying to preserve ours. They are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. They are flesh and blood heroes not imaginary ones earning millions of dollars pretending to be soldiers.

Spc. Johnson is a 30-year-old single mom. Her daughter, who is 2, is staying with family, who pray daily, as we all should, that she safely returns home. There is doubt that might happen since her captors are not regular Iraqi army. Her captors are called irregulars, men loyal to Saddam Hussein who have nothing to win or lose by treating her humanely, let alone releasing her. In other words, Spc. Johnson is a hostage.

The 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces voted down using women in combat. One of the reasons and there were many reasons was because male captors will have their way with women.

A generation ago, we might have imagined a war in the deserts of the Mideast, but we certainly did not imagine two against Iraq. And never would we have conjured up the terrified face of Spc. Johnson, who knew fellow soldiers had been killed by her captors men who use violence against women as a way of life, men whose culture would have encouraged them to rip the tongues of Sojourner Truth and Mott and Staton and Anthony.

When the vast majority of the boots that hit the ground in Iraq return home, U.S. officials just might revisit the issue of women in combat. Presently, women make up 15 percent of U.S. armed forces, which isn't bad at all when you consider where women were a generation ago. Still, let me go on record and add my voice right now to those who have said and will say, "Women must have limited roles in combat."

I hope Congress and the Pentagon don't go wobbly.

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