Former Defense Deputy Undersecretary Jed Babbin takes aim at Leon Panetta’s cowardly and disgraceful decision to put women into combat roles.
Panettaâ€™s action will probably complete the destruction of the warrior culture on which the success of our military depends. That culture, developed over the past two thousand years or so, is not uniquely American but our brand of it is. Our warriors take pride in what they do because they do it for America and because they do it better than anyone else. Thus, one of the most important parts of that culture is the objective standards someone has to meet to qualify to join the combat arms.
Every Marine in a rifle platoon, every pilot in a squadron, every special operator has had to meet the standards set for all the others. At least they did until the services began to cave under political pressure to enable women to join combat units. …
Eleven years ago I wrote about the danger of â€œgender neutralizingâ€ the objective tests for entry into combat arms. That article reported on a British Ministry of Defence study authored by Brigadier Seymour Monroe. In that study, Monroe reported that when the British were trying to fit women into combat roles, they â€œgender neutralizedâ€ â€” i.e., lowered â€” their standards so that women who couldnâ€™t qualify under the menâ€™s standards did so under their own.
Who can doubt that the Obama Pentagon will do exactly the same? Why should the men accept anyone â€” woman or man â€” who canâ€™t make the same grade they did? They shouldnâ€™t, and they wonâ€™t. It will destroy unit cohesion and pride.
That is the principal objection to what the Obama Pentagon is up to. And it will have two effects, both of which are a threat to our national security.
First, by pushing standards down to enable women to qualify, Obamaâ€™s Pentagon will reduce the unitsâ€™ ability to fight. Our guys â€” and I use the term with malice aforethought â€” win because theyâ€™re better trained and more capable than the enemy. Whenever you reduce the qualifications, you reduce the level of capability and the unitâ€™s ability to win. To lower standards is to increase the risk of defeat.
Second, whether or not standards are relaxed, allowing women into combat arms will break the spirit of many of our warriors whether they be ground pounders, airmen, or sailors.
Our guys do what they do â€” and do it so well â€” in part because theyâ€™re guys who are members of the most exclusive club in the world: the warriors, the real 1%â€™ers. Their clubâ€™s membership has been 100% men since before Thermopylae. These men understand that they are different â€” mentally and physically â€” from women and want to stay that way. They have wives and girlfriends at home. They donâ€™t have them as fellow warriors who they train and fight alongside.
To put women among them would force them to break with their ancient customs, traditions, and beliefs. In short, it would fundamentally change what they are and how they function in combat. The price will be paid in resignations, in declining re-enlistments, and in lives and battles lost.
Thereâ€™s one more aspect to this, which is the strain Panettaâ€™s act will put on military families. When he decided to allow women to serve on submarines, a lot of Navy wives were really angry. They know their men, and they know that our elite submarine force would become a fleet of submersible Love Boats, and, in too many instances, they have.
What higher price will more military families pay when women are allowed into the rest of the combat arms, serving in remote places in tough conditions with the men beside them?
Panettaâ€™s decision has to be stopped by House Republicans. They can do it if they bar the use of any authorized or appropriated funds for DoD to implement the Panetta policy, a provision that should be in every bill they pass until it becomes law. If they donâ€™t, we should throw the lot of them out.