- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 2004

‘Arrant nonsense’

“An Army spokesman recently told Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times that the policy of prohibiting women from serving in units supporting ground-combat formations is outdated. Today, said the spokesman, the threat is ‘asymmetrical. … There is no front-line threat right now’ since all soldiers, support or combat, face rocket, mortar, and roadside-bomb attacks, as well as ambushes.

“This is arrant nonsense. I’m sure the soldiers and Marines who just took Fallujah would beg to differ with those who claim there is ‘no front line’ in Iraq. The threat they and the support troops collocated with them faced as they carried out their mission of ‘closing with and destroying the enemy’ was qualitatively different from that of support troops not so collocated. Putting women into the vortex of combat so vividly illustrated by the savage fighting in Fallujah would undermine the effectiveness of our ground-combat units by undercutting the unit cohesion critical to achieving victory in war. …

“Unfortunately, far too many senior U.S. military leaders have bought into the idea that men and women are interchangeable and that future war will be neat and tidy. Fallujah suggests otherwise. What is the Army leadership thinking by tempting nature in the midst of war?”

Mackubin Thomas Owens, writing on “GI Janes, By Stealth,” in the Dec. 27 issue of National Review.

Propaganda power

“Now that government is so massive, and interferes in virtually every aspect of our lives, being a journalist means acquiring a large portion of the information that is used in daily news reporting from the government. If you are a foreign affairs correspondent, then most of your daily information comes from the State Department. If you are an environmental reporter you rely crucially on information from EPA bureaucrats. Farm state reporters depend on the U.S. Department of Agriculture bureaucracy. …

“This is why there is no longer an independent press — or genuine freedom of speech — in America. Any reporter who reports truthfully about the scandals, illegal acts, and downright failures of government will be shut off from his information sources and his career ruined. Those who become mere lapdogs to the powers that be will thrive. …

“Freedom of speech is incompatible with Big Government. What we have in America today is a system whereby ‘the will of the people’ is largely manufactured by our rulers, with the help of the permanent propaganda class known as ‘the media.’”

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, writing on “The Free Speech Myth,” last Wednesday at www.lewrockwell.com.

Pain-free childhood

“[T]oday’s playground [is an] all-rubber-cushioned surface where kids used to skin their knees. …

“Then there are the sanitizing gels, with which over a third of parents now send their kids to school, according to a recent survey. Presumably, parents now worry that school bathrooms are not good enough for their children. …

“Behold the wholly sanitized childhood, without skinned knees or the occasional C in history. ‘Kids need to feel badly sometimes,’ says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. ‘We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope.’

“Messing up, however, even in the playground, is wildly out of style. Although error and experimentation are the true mothers of success, parents are taking pains to remove failure from the equation.”

Hara Estroff Marano, writing on “A Nation of Wimps,” in the November/December issue of Psychology Today

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