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Brave New World

The New American Army

Suddenly one moment, women were eligible for combat duty at the front line: no congressional vote, no national bipartisan panel with white papers of pros and cons, no in-depth Pentagon study, no national dialogue. There was an executive order -- and that was that.  Get over it.

Why then are women not eligible to play in the NFL or the NBA? Or are they, in theory? Yet something tells me that we will see a 140-lb. female SEAL in hand-to-hand combat with a 220 lb. Pashtun tribesman before we will see a female quarterback dodging defensive ends.

Are enemy linemen more dangerous than the Taliban?

Or is the assumption that women can in theory both play quarterback and go mano-a-mano against Mullah Omar’s thugs, but whether they do depends on whether they can meet male standards? One moment we had assumed that most men had about 30-50% more body strength than do women, and perhaps in most cases a more venomous aggressive streak. In the next blink, all that mattered not at all -- or was it the sort of sexist fact that we kept silent about?

What is in store for those Neanderthal frontline infantry who object to the new rules? Apparently male reactionary combat soldiers of small units who for various reasons are not willing to entrust their lives to women at the front line are dead wrong. And they are so dead wrong that they can leave the military if they don’t like the new statutes.

And if they leave the military, their presence either won’t affect combat efficacy, or will in fact improve it. Really?

Because we have effective and aggressive female Blackhawk pilots who risk getting shot down and killed or captured, de facto we must have no problem finding female SEALS who can rip the throats out of jihadists with no more difficulty than pushing the fire button in the chopper above. Yet we suspect that some of the female soldiers who can’t quite meet the existing male standards of physical prowess for combat units will argue that the bar is set artificially too high and is an irrelevant construct, given that 21st century knives, kicks, and choke holds are so passé and just the sort of artificial talking points that the sexists erect.

We all expect that in the near future there will be gender equity lawsuits, and sexual harassment writs -- and we fear lurid stories of captured and killed women at the front that will shock us in the years to come. And we will continue to sleep, in the manner that we will soon whisper: “Wow, Iran finally got their bomb, after all”; or “Hmmm, that Korean missile got sorta, kinda close to Maui”; or “Wouldn’t you know it -- they’re back to hanging female doctors from light poles in Kabul”; or “Whoa -- 550 shot in Chicago this year?”