- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2005

Honorable women warriors

I offer rebuttals to three claims in Robert Maginnis’ “Women on the front lines?” (Commentary, Tuesday).

Mr. Maginnis says that “young women have two-thirds the cardiovascular fitness and half the upper body strength of the average man.” Combat conditions do indeed place unusual physical demands on soldiers, but cardiovascular conditioning is more important for combat than pure strength. The military’s own training programs reflect this. They are designed to train the body for the way it will be used in combat. Most of that usage centers on endurance, not strength.

When young men and women are placed in close living quarters over extended times, they may have physical relations with one another. The enemy here is not political correctness, but prudish American morals.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) reflects these prudish views and is horribly out of date with respect to sexual relations.

Under the UCMJ, a legally married couple can be prosecuted for having consensual sodomy. Do such relations degrade morale? There is no evidence it does.

In what sense does allowing women to serve in combat indicate that we no longer value their role as “bearers and nurturers of future generations.”? Don’t future generations have to be safeguarded and protected in order that they might be born and nurtured? How is that duty solely a male function? Men who serve in combat are still revered as fathers; does our society regard fathers as expendable but not mothers?

To claim that women can join the military but should be free from risk is disingenuous. Women in the military today accept the risk of service by their own volition.

Let us not dishonor the sacrifice of those women who have bled for their country in Iraq by claiming their suffering was pointless. Their sacrifice is every bit as noble and praiseworthy as that made by men. Their deaths and injuries are tragic but no more so than those of men.

Warriors are defined by actions and abilities, not gender.


Norman, Okla.

Debating the filibuster debate

Count on the hapless Republicans to allow themselves to be suckered (“7 Republicans abandon GOP on filibuster,” Page 1, Tuesday). Have they not learned Democratic tricks after all these years? “Extraordinary circumstances” are the only ones that would allow the Democrats to filibuster a nominee, so the deal says.

Oh, please. That’s like allowing partial birth abortions if “the health of the mother” is at risk. It never really is, but it’s always invoked. Works every time. I would be willing to bet that “extraordinary circumstances” will arise within days.

Both the GOP and the minority seem to be having trouble getting their minds around the simple idea of “to the victor goes the spoils.” One party has won the confidence of the voters for some time now; one hasn’t. Yet somehow it’s the losing team that is trying dictate to the winners.

I should set up a vendor booth outside the Senate chamber and sell backbones to all Republicans.



Republicans once again have shown their spinelessness in the face of political difficulty. The Senate compromise, which gives Democrats everything they really wanted and Republicans nothing they insisted on having, is a slap in the face to the judicial nominees who won’t get a confirmation vote. Future nominees will fare no better if they aren’t acceptable to liberal extremists, and Republicans have shown they won’t stand up when it counts.

It’s incredible that the Republican majority continues to act as if they were the minority party. They had better get used to it; I won’t vote for a Democrat, but I can’t vote for these fools anymore.



Once again, the “moderate” Republicans in the Senate have allowed themselves to get rolled — and in the process to let the Democrats run over President Bush and the rest of us, too.

They offer an object lesson in how to surrender from a position of strength. Their disgraceful cave-in on the issue of judicial nominations and the use of the constitutional option just proves what many of us have long suspected: that these morally bankrupt pols were somewhere else when the backbones — and principles — were handed out.

I hope all of their constituents remember this the next time they run and find a real Republican to challenge them for the party’s nomination. As a Virginian, I am sure that if Sen. John W. Warner runs again, he will do it without the support of much of the party base in the Old Dominion.



So, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, believes the White House “has to more closely collaborate with the Senate.” Perhaps Mr. Graham would care to point out where in the Constitution it says that the president of the United States has to kiss the ring of the Senate before he is entitled to have votes cast on his nominees. The filibuster by the whiny-baby Democrats was bad enough, but the caving, once again, of the Republicans is disgraceful. The whole affair was pathetic, and we the people deserve much better than what we’re getting.


Mariposa, Calif.

Thank you for your editorial deploring the so-called deal entered into by seven Republican senators over judicial nominations (“55 minus 7 = GOP defeat,” Wednesday). I agree with your assessment that an opportunity was missed by the actions of these maverick senators to ensure that all President Bush’s nominees for judicial positions receive a vote from the Senate.

The ultimate responsibility for not keeping enough of these seven senators in line to assure passage of a motion to do away with the 60-vote margin required to avoid a filibuster belongs to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. As Harry S. Truman famously said with regard to leadership, “The buck stops here.” As majority leader, Mr. Frist failed to bring about an end to the unprecedented Democratic filibusters.

He still has an opportunity to regain control by rejecting this unauthorized “agreement” and insisting that 50 or 51 senators vote to return to majority rule for releasing nominees from committee for a vote by the full Senate.

Please hold Mr. Frist’s feet to the fire by continuing to cite the magnitude of this failure of the Republican majority that caved in to a weak Democratic minority. Mr. Frist has to step forward now before this “agreement” begins to be set in concrete.

The Times should also profile the seven senators who rejected the will of the people. We need to be constantly reminded who these people are, and how and why they failed their Republican constituents.


Bethany Beach, Del.

Most conservatives felt immediate dissatisfaction with the Senate “deal.” Purportedly a new power center has emerged in the Senate gaining its power from a written agreement that allows Democrats to avoid a dead-end loss and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for Republicans. Stalin, I think, when queried about the influence of the pope on a decision, asked, “How many divisions does he have?”

How much influence do these centrists really have? These senators spend every hour of every day planning how to get the greatest number of supporters behind them. In the end, I think Republicans may get all of their judges. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and some others may get their press coverage and weaken Sen. Frist’s drive for 2008. And Democrats in red states may disguise themselves as victims.


Seabrook, Texas

The face of poverty

Two weeks ago, Mexican President Vicente Fox reportedly told a group of business leaders in Mexico: “There is no doubt that Mexican men and women ? full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work ? … are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States” (“Fox ?regretted’ remark on U.S. black labor, Page 1, May 17).

It’s pretty clear to me that Mr. Fox meant ? and his choice of words is significant ? that Mexicans are taking jobs that poor Americans refuse to take. Since then, there have been calls for an apology from the Mexican president. As an African American, I couldn’t care less whether Mr. Fox apologizes for his remarks. Apologies are too often empty words spoken in response to political pressure. What I do care about is that the face of poverty in America is black even though the majority of poor Americans are white.

It also concerns me that unless they are involved in racially controversial issues, such as gentrification or Mr. Fox’s remarks, poor people have disappeared from our media’s radar screens. Hence, Americans don’t know much about them.

In a commercial media culture obsessed with celebrities and the rich, and in a political culture obsessed with the middle class, Mr. Fox’s ignorance about poor Americans is shared increasingly by millions of Americans and foreigners alike. We can and should do better.





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