Women in combat: But don't girls just wanna have fun?

Yes, ladies, you’re in the Army now. Photo: We're in the Army now

WASHINGTON, DC, January 30, 2013 - Now that we’ve skipped over “an orgasm in every bed,” to “a woman in every foxhole,” it’s time for some serious thinking.

There is still a generation out there that thinks of women as “sweethearts,” that is to say, girlfriends, wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

Asking us to make the switch from sweethearts to combat soldier is shockingly the same as asking us to wash the socks and have dinner ready on time.

We just Can’t Handle The Truth, or rather this truth.

Can women be strong? Not physically as strong as men (unless they’re playing softball, field hockey and soccer).

Can women be brave and heroic, as much as men? Any day. Any time.

Can women be nasty, tough and even cruel? Have you watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills lately, or The View?

First of all, this is not so new, this news from last week that the ban’s been lifted on women serving in combat positions. Yes, ladies, you’re in the Army now.

President Clinton nodded his okay back in 1994.

Times change. Have you? Have I?

As for me, I still don’t know.  If you were to ask me for a quick yes or no I’d still say no…but stand open for further discussion. Some time ago, I wrote the piece that follows and re-reading it, part of it gives me the willies. Was I really that silly, that sexist only a few years back? But remember the context.

We were at war in Iraq and women were serving, in one capacity or another. Two stories made big headlines.

One involved Pfc. Lynndie England and those gruesome pictures of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. That took place a decade ago when England was convicted for abuse, in case we think “Zero Dark Thirty” is something new under the sun. (The difference is that Kathryn Bigelow showed us a serious woman doing a serious job, whereas there was too much pleasure in what took place at that moment at Abu Ghraib.)

The other big war story, also a decade ago, concerned Pfc. Jessica Lynch. She was captured by the enemy in Iraq and rescued by United States Special Operations Forces, marking the first recovery of a POW since Vietnam, and the first rescue ever of an American female soldier.

So it was under those conditions that I wrote the following, and it is under today’s conditions that I wonder if I’ve grown up enough to change my mind.

You be the judge, as per the following, from what I wrote that long ago:

That smirking soldier-girl of ours, Pfc. Lynndie England, in all those Abu Ghraib “prisoner abuse” photos, well, that’s another story—partly. The first part is that we’ve had enough of that wall-to-wall coverage of how BAD we are, when in fact 99.9 percent of our military is heroic, honorable, and decent.

Also, we didn’t bring this war to them, they brought it to us, and when it comes to abuse, brother, we’re the amateurs at their profession.

But the second part is why I called this meeting to order. In my innocence, I always believed that men go off to war for the safety of their women back home. Sure, it’s all for Duty, God, and Country, but it’s still about protecting Mom, Sis, and Sally Next Door. There’s also a pretty standard belief that guys should always be heroic and never be cowardly, and that there is no such thing as a cowardly woman.

Childbirth, by the way, is something no man could possibly endure. Raising a family is beyond the courage of most men.

Women are heroic for just being women. (Jewish tradition has it that women are not required to attend synagogue because their prayers have already been answered.) It’s different with men. We’ve got to constantly prove ourselves. So, off we go into the wild blue yonder. That’s one means to authenticate our worth. But what the hell are American women doing on, or near, the front lines? Things go wrong when you mix women with men-at-war. Sex happens.

Pfc. England, who’s been reassigned from Abu Ghraib, is pregnant. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

If it’s too politically incorrect to say that women belong in the kitchen, okay, girls, run a corporation, make yourselves doctors and lawyers, but stay out of our foxholes. That’s why God Created Men. If you’re out there with us in the same tank or jeep, what have we got to protect? Who’s taking care of the kids? What are we fighting for if there’s nobody home?

Women do belong in the military, just as men belong in the kitchen…far away! Women excel in behind the front-lines valor, and that’s where they belong.

Still at this moment, even after those books and movies, the “heroism” of Pfc. Jessica Lynch comes with an asterisk. Actually, when Lynch was returned to us, my first sigh was of relief, my second sigh was: What the hell was she doing there? Same goes for Pfc. England at that Iraqi prison camp. What the hell was she doing there?

Back in 1994, Bill Clinton decided that “A Few Good Women” weren’t enough, so, heeding the feminist agenda, he flung open the doors of boot camp to what used to be called the fairer sex and issued executive orders allowing women to “engage in all but direct battlefield combat.” That’s vague enough to put women in harm’s way. Lynch was part of a supply unit when she was captured—and abused.

Let’s not even try to imagine the abuse Lynch endured, or the tortures reserved for women who fall into the hands of our savage enemy.

Already one of those Iraqi mullahs has issued some kind of a fatwa, a demand that his followers seek out our girl soldiers for use as “sex slaves.”

Women in battle fatigues—was this the deal when God Created Woman?

Apparently no fan of Clinton’s “gender quotas,” or of a more “sensitive” military, is this particular woman, Elaine Donnelly, of the Committee for Military Readiness, a private organization that examines personnel issues in the armed forces. She says: “Young mothers are being sent off—is this really the way we ought to be running our military?”

Who can argue with that cry of dismay, unless you’re someone who believes that men and women are exactly the same, except that women have longer hair?

Most women who enlist never think it will lead to going to war. Army Specialist Shoshana Jackson, another Iraqi captive, wanted to be a cook, just as Lynch probably thought she’d be pushing papers in some safe preserve. Most women sign up for desk careers and seldom imagine themselves dodging bullets. It’s only their feminist sisters, and leftist enablers, who insist that girls become G.I. Janes for the sake of “gender equality.”

It’s a terrible switch in our conditioning to imagine girls otherwise, as being trained to spit, cuss, burp, and shoulder a rifle with a company of grunts, as is being promoted by the feminist dogma that seeks to neuter the military and everybody else.

Cyndi Lauper had it right: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I think that’s how most guys think of girls, as the better side, the sweeter side, of our lives.

They are ours to love, honor, cherish, and protect, not the other way round.

If I do keep referring to women as girls, well excuse me, but that’s how it was when girls were sweethearts.

Let’s get it straight. War is hell. That’s no place for a girl.


Jack Engelhard is a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba DeadlineThe Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and  Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, bring his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe.


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Jack Engelhard

Jack Engelhard enjoys international fame as a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, which was turned into film starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir Escape From Mount Moriah has been acclaimed for excellence and a movie version was an official selection at CANNES. Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer. Engelhard’s journalism covers all topics, with special focus on  the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe. He can be contacted at www.jackengelhard.com


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