For weeks, maybe months, in 1966 while my mom was shopping for groceries I was at the soda fountain in the Muir’s drug store with my father listening as Barry Saddler sang the “Ballad of the Green Berets.” One of the lines is “These are men who jump and die.” But the times are a changing. Now you have to sing, “These are men and women who jump and die.”
Have you noticed that how since the First Gulf War everyone from politicians to pundits to journalists go out of their way to refer to the men and women who are fighting for us?
The gross “unfairness” that only men get to sacrifice their body, health, and life to defend their country – never mind that only women get to do the same in regard to raising up the next generation – was first addressed in the 80s when President Reagan changed the physical fitness standards. The military adopted a double standard for men and for women. This changed somewhat in 2012. There would be one standard for combat arms units and if women could meet that they could serve in most areas. Now this past week 2 women graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School.
Thirty-nine years ago this week, I graduated from Ranger School. I would like to think that it was harder than and no women could have done it. But in my class 98/208 (47%) were awarded the Ranger tab. In last week’s graduating class 94/381 men (25%) received it, and 2/19 women (10%). So perhaps their class was harder. Mine was longer 67 days; theirs 62 days. However, the 2 women took 4 months to finish being “recycled” several times. Don’t think that makes them wimps. Everyone in my Ranger class dreaded the thought of being recycled. I failed a patrol by 3/10 of a percent and could have been recycled through the Mountain Phase, but was allowed to go on to the Jungle Phase.
But the issue is not whether or not a woman can do all the requirements. The issue is should they? When my son wrestled in high school, I told him he should not and would not wrestle a girl even if that meant forfeiting and his team losing. It was not that he might lose to a girl, but that he might win, and something much bigger would have been lost.
Ashley’s War is a 2015 book about the U.S. Army’s secret program in 2010 to place female soldiers with Ranger and Special Forces units to talk and search Muslim women and children. I took away two things from this book. First, even today, a woman dying unnerves everyone more than a man dying does, and this is a good thing. Second, and here I paint with a very wide brush, the millennial male thinks it’s a matter of fairness and so believes he is championing the oppressed when he encourages women to go into combat roles. They equate being able to do something with the right to do it.
ISIS (and the Viet Cong before them and the Nazis before them) enlists children to fight. Some are very good. Just because they can doesn’t mean they should. The millennials – at least in this book – think they are forward thinking when they cheer their wife, their girlfriend, their sister on to sweat, suffer, and sacrifice like a man. I think they are being backward. A mark of an advanced society is women and children NOT going to war. The mark of an oppressive, domineering, and desperate society is sending them.