Women-in-Combat after the Terrorist Attack on America:
The Intersection of America's Culture War and the 'Shooting War'
Copyright
by
Dr. Gerald L. Atkinson CDR USN (Ret.)
11 November 2001

Introduction
       Women have been serving in America's combat arms since President Clinton lifted their exclusion from such roles in 1993. He accomplished this fait accompli on the back of the Tailhook '91 scandal in spite of the fact that a Presidential Commission under President Bush in 1991 recommended that females continue to be excluded from combat roles, including assignment to combat ships. At the present time women are flying combat aircraft in the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. They are serving aboard U.S. naval combatants and all Navy ships other than submarines. They even serve in our Special Operations Forces but in non-combat roles. The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) in the Pentagon has strongly recommended that women be assigned to fly SOF helicopters, which insert and retrieve Special Forces ground troops on combat missions. Indeed, our nation's military has been 'feminized' during the 1990s beyond belief.
       Combat veterans of World War II, the last war America fought against a non-Third World country are nearly unanimously opposed to the 'feminization' of our combat arms. They know what it takes to fight a resourceful, determined, and powerful enemy - one with men and equipment nearly as capable as our own. Combat veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War are not generally in favor of the concept. Those who have served in these wars but did not see combat up close and personal and those who served later in our armed forces in non-combat roles have become ambivalent toward the radical feminist inspired movement that insists on the 'right' of women to serve in combat roles. Why do radical feminists push for placing women in combat? So women can pierce the 'glass ceiling' and become future admirals and generals. It is a CAREER thing. It is in reality a political POWER thing.
       A vast number of civilians who have never served in the military don't see any reason why women should be 'discriminated' against and would like to see them serve in combat roles
if they so choose. More than a few New Age military officers, many graduates of our premiere military academies, subscribe to this doctrine. Most of these officers are of the Boomer generation  - those who are either retired or now in the mid-level, field grade ranks. They, and their flag-rank superiors comprise the officers who have presided over the largest purge of the 'warrior ethos' from our armed forces in our nation's history. It is they who have generated the 'command climate' that was so despised during the Clinton years by those who walked and the 'warriors' who remain. It is they who have caused the stampede out of the ranks by young 13er generation Americans (the Gen-Xers in pop culture terms) who joined the military to fight and win America's future wars. The introduction of women into combat roles and the subsequent reduction of qualification and training standards was the subtext cause of this exodus - in Betty Friedan's terminology, the exodus that 'has no name.'
       All of this occurred in the climate of an unparalleled economic boom. A skyrocketed Dow Jones with expectations of going to 30,000 - and without cyclical downturns. An economy in which America produced little but consumed everything. An economy in which the Federal Government protected only financial services, Hollywood movies, software 'intellectual rights,' and legal services. An economy that traded life-long jobs for temporary employment - even for the life-blood of a constitutional republic, the middle class.
       All of this occurred in the cultural climate of the 'end of history,' that is, Fukuyama's belief ('The End of History,' 1992) that Western civilization, and in particular, American civilization (after winning the Cold War) had rendered all other ideological models of governance obsolete. All this in spite of the warning by Samuel P. Huntington in his 'Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order' that globalization had not changed the chaotic march of history - always subject to the failings of human nature. Warnings that Islamic, Sinic, and Western cultures were still at loggerheads and would most certainly clash with violence in the future went unheeded.
       All of this occurred in a culture that increasingly downplayed the Christian foundation of our constitutional republic. Indeed, the Boomer elites in our universities and public K-12 schools have attempted to cut future generations of Americans off from their own history - choosing instead to emphasize 'multiculturalism' and the importance of 'diversity.' All of this occurred in a culture which substituted 'ethicists,' New Age priests of a new state-sponsored religion -- secular humanism -- for America's traditional Christianity. We now have 'ethics' being 'preached' by counselors, English teachers, and others in our nation's high schools - in the name of
values clarification. We now have 'ethics' being 'preached' by professors in English, Literature, History, Economics, Business, Biology, and other you-name-it curricula on our nation's campuses. We even have new 'ethics' courses in our premier military academies - in particular, the Navy, Air Force Army, and Coast Guard Academies. All taught by the New Age 'preachers' and 'priests' with PhDs in 'ethics,' behavioral science, or psychology. America is rapidly losing the foundation on which our constitutional republic stands. In the words of our second president, John Adams (Mella, Philip E., 'In God We Trust,' Wash. Times, 6/26/01), "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other." And, of course, that religion was Christianity.
       All of this occurred in a political climate that nurtured myopic political self-interest, purposeful divisiveness aimed at alienating vast numbers of minorities, ethnic groups, religious institutions, groups defined by their sexual behavior, classes, and even individual men and women - because of their sex and/or race. It culminated in a President who threw caution to the wind in pursuit of prurient interests that led to his lying to the American people and a court in our prized judicial system. William Jefferson Clinton, as the Chief Magistrate of the land, flaunted the rule of law for personal and political self-preservation. Whether or not he 'failed to deliver' on his vast political promise (as his modern liberal defenders now claim) or never possessed anything of promise to offer (as his conservative critics claim), he and his political minions have been a disaster for America.

What Changed After the Terrorist Attack on America?
       One might have thought that this great flight from reality in which Americans have indulged themselves during the 1990s would have been interrupted by the savage Islamic terrorist attack on the symbols of American economic and military power on 11 September. That fantasy world in which America, the world's only 'superpower,' had no 'enemies,' no threats to its survival, was based on confidence in our economic, technological, and military power relative to the rest of the world. Since then, we Americans have sent high-tech missiles to bomb buildings, bunkers, caves, rocks and obsolete military hardware in the mountains of Afghanistan to take the war to Osama bin Laden, while the terrorist 'enemy' has sent letters in our mail containing anthrax to strike fear in the hearts of Americans at home.
       We strike the enemy who has no center of gravity. They strike us at our weakest and most unexpected vulnerable points. And we have such vulnerabilities beyond count. One of those vulnerabilities, which may become apparent only too late and with a potentially catastrophic consequence, is the 'feminization' of our nation's combat arms. Indeed, the war against terrorism in the aftermath of 9-11 has not abated the headlong rush to further feminize our nation's military.
       For example, during the week of 29 October 2001, two national magazines announced diametrically opposing views on the subject of women-in-combat. The U.S. News & World Report (10/29/01, pp.2) reports that "As the Pentagon brass begins the Afghan ground war, the administration is reconsidering - and will most likely kill - Clinton-era proposals to put women into battle zones...That's all changing...
Front-line units won't involve women...What's more, Bush appointees are planning to sideline the organization that fought to put women closer to the front lines...'They will slowly be minimalized and marginalized,' says the Pentagon official about the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). The switch comes at a critical time, since the Army is creating new reconnaissance and surveillance units open to women, despite a tradition of keeping female troops out of firefight zones. The change represents a victory for brass who opposed the Clinton rules..."
       One may have thought, given this report, that the Bush administration had found its senses and started America back on the path to a first-rate fighting military. But this report only served to stir up a maelstrom of radical feminist angst in the nation's press.
       During the same week of the USN&WR report, Newsweek magazine published a propaganda piece written by Susan H. Greenberg, a resident radical feminist, ('Get Out of My Way,' 10/29/01, pp. 34). "Stationed aboard the USS Carl Vinson, LT Ashley [says], 'What you see on television is what I see for real.' Once her F-14 Tomcat [fighter aircraft] takes off, concentration edges out fear. On her first combat mission this month, she flew over northern Afghanistan at 15,000 feet, looking for her assigned targets." The article depicts her dropping bombs on enemy targets and returning to land on the aircraft carrier.
       Immediately after the Newsweek story, the British press ('Literary agents clamor for rights to story of female U.S. Navy pilot,' London Sunday Telegraph, Washington Times, 10/29/01) picked up the line that Ashley was an English-schooled U.S. citizen who had opted to join the U.S. Navy and become a Navy fighter pilot. "The former Home Counties schoolgirl flying bombing missions over Afghanistan is being feted by publishers and agents lining up to tell her life story and secure rights to the Hollywood film of her exploits. Ashley, a 26-year-old U.S. Navy pilot, has captured the imagination of the world after her exclusive interview in the Sunday Telegraph last week. As she rested between missions, Ashley, who flies the F-14 Tomcats featured in the film 'Top Gun,' revealed a childhood spent in the pony clubs and private schools of Kent and Surrey."
       "Almost immediately, publishers were vying to secure the rights to her life story. Some literary agents were hinting at advances running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, and others were suggesting Hollywood films starring the likes of Meg Ryan...They are always saying they are looking for strong female roles. I don't think you could get much stronger. She's a bit of a superwoman...She is now one of only 10
front-line female pilots in the U.S. Navy." Question: Is this the same front line that is discussed in the USN&WR story? The same front line that the Bush administration said was out of bounds to America's women - our sisters, our daughters, our mothers?
       "Ashley's mother, Carolyn, has e-mailed her daughter to tell her of the offers. Ashley was due to get the message when she returned from her latest bombing mission on
Saturday." The day, Saturday, may be of significance for other information discussed below.
       Ashley is obviously a radical feminist's dream come true. The superwoman. The Amazon warrior incarnate. The icon of radical egalitarianism in New Age America. The backbone of U.S. military might.  Yes, the fantasy world of radical feminism is alive and well even after the terrorist wake-up call on 9-11.
       An article in the Washington Times, published the same day, ("U.S. strikes over Kabul go awry, kill 13 civilians: Pakistan voices concern, urges 'short and targeted' action," 10/29/01) reveals that "U.S. air strikes meant to punish the Taliban spilled over yesterday into residential neighborhoods of the Afghan capital, killing 13 civilians - the second time in
as many days (the Saturday that Ashley finished her mission before her mother called and the Sunday after)." If this report proves true, it has implications for women-in-combat.
       This does not imply that our heroine, Ashley, dropped one or more of the bombs that produced 'collateral damage' on Kabul. Let us hope that she did not drop the errant bombs. It is more likely that, if the report is true, and if pilot error was involved, it can be blamed on radical liberal activists such as Jesse Jackson, Hilllary Rodham Clinton, and others who visibly and emphatically campaigned to close down the Vieques, Puerto Rico practice bombing range to Navy strike aircraft over the past two years. Without adequate practice with live munitions, our Navy pilots cannot adequately prepare for the deployments to hostile areas, including Afghanistan.
       These kinds of accidents and mistakes, however, simply happen in wartime. They are unfortunate. They are a fact of life in combat aviation. And they can happen to anyone. But there is one salient difference here. They happen to someone. If LT Ashley, indeed, released the errant weapons and killed innocent civilians, the modern liberal media and Hollywood world will most certainly never know of it. And if they do become aware of it, they would never tell us. The radical feminist propagandists, including those in our modern liberal news media, need a heroine so badly in this 'moment of truth' concerning women-in-combat that they will go to extraordinary lengths to fuzz the story with mystery if she indeed was 'at fault.' A male pilot would have no such protection from the truth. And the truth is precisely known. It is in the 'gun camera' film that records every bomb dropped on Afghanistan. That is the kind of film we see hitting targets 'dead center' on CNN every evening on the news with breathless 'gee whiz' commentary.
       And what happens when the truth is covered up - especially at the highest level?  One need look no further back than LT Kara Hultgreen's (one of the first of two female Navy F-14 fighter pilots) fatal accident aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in October 1994 to find out. The Navy covered up the cause of that accident (pilot error vs. engine failure) all the way to the top when the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Jeremy 'Mike' Boorda, led a campaign to hide the truth from the American public. And it remained covered up for at least three years before the truth came out. What happened as a result?  TRUST was broken, double standards were implemented, and 'warriors' voted with their feet on the 'command climate' and left the Navy. The combat readiness of the fighting force was drastically diminished. And the fantasy world took over. Illusion became king. Reality was scoffed at. Until?  Until the huge 200-foot broadcast antenna on one of the World Trade Center buildings slowly sank into the implosion of the building as its steel structure melted and it collapsed catastrophically into itself. In near slow motion - in a few tens of seconds of disintegration -- into dust. This visual metaphor is appropriate to the subject of women-in-combat. More on that later.
       In addition to the drumbeat of radical feminist propaganda that surrounds their new heroine, LT Ashley, the Newsweek article quotes a female Air Force pilot, Captain 'Charlie,' who flies the A-10 Warthog, a lumbering air-to-ground
attack airplane, "Now people talk about you and you're a fighter pilot - not a female fighter pilot, just the fighter pilot."
       Newsweek follows this mis-nomenclatured utterance with the propaganda pitch that "Women's integration into the U.S. military has been quite a success story. Since Desert Storm, the proportion of women in the armed forces has grown from 12 to 16 percent. Today women compose about 15 percent of the Army, 13 percent of the Navy, 19 percent of the Air Force, and 6 percent of the Marines. And the proportion of jobs open to them ranges from 91 percent in the Army to 99 percent in the high-tech Air Force. 'Their inclusion in the military has been quite seamless,' says Carolyn Becraft, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defense under Clinton. 'There have been ups and downs, but they now are a larger percentage of the military and they have higher ranks, and, by all accounts, they're performing very well.'"
       Still, the radical feminists are not satisfied. Their agenda is to get women into EVERY job category in the armed forces - even ground combat. Newsweek continues, "Some key units remain off-limits to women. Though the laws banning women from combat have been repealed, each service can dictate its own restrictions. The Army doesn't allow women in the infantry, artillery or armor units, and women are prohibited from the Navy's submarines. There are no women allowed in any of the prestigious Special Forces, including those now on the ground in Afghanistan. The tough physical requirements for those teams exclude most men - but
women aren't even permitted to try. Still, it's only a matter of time, says Becraft, before women are commanding aircraft carriers. Female recruits tend to have more education and better test scores than men. And as technology continues to advance, so will women."
       So we find that the sole criterion on which women-in-combat is to be judged is the advancement of the radical feminist agenda. That is, that women will break the 'glass ceiling,' punch the proper tickets, command aircraft carriers and attain flag rank. The agenda is straightforward - to build CAREERS. And thus, to attain political and cultural POWER.
       Newsweek reaches into the depths of such fantasy by quoting a prominent radical feminist to make their case. "'[U.S. military] superiority is in our intelligence and technology,' says Linda Grant dePauw of the Minerva Center, a military think tank. People who remain skeptical of having women fight for their country 'act like we're still attacking with fixed bayonets.'"
       Just who is Linda Grant dePauw, Newsweek's appointed authority on how our future wars will be fought? And how does her view stack up against the reality of a low-intensity conflict, nontrinitarian warfare in Afghanistan pitting Special Forces teams against bands of mujahedin guerillas on the ground - in caves, behind rocks, in uninhabitable mountainous terrain? Such a conflict will most likely include hand-to-hand combat in addition to fixed bayonets.
       Linda Grant dePauw is the founder of the Minerva Center [which Newsweek mis-describes as a 'military think tank'], the most RADICAL of radical feminist propaganda organs in existence. The H-Minerva network is a chat room for radical feminism in America. It was founded by and still moderated by Linda Grant dePauw. I have met her, talked to her in person, and exchanged books with her. Through the Minerva Center, she promotes the radical feminist agenda. You may read her biography at:

                                                           http://www.minervacenter.com/depauw.htm

There you will find that Linda Grant dePauw was born in New York City in 1940, received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and, in 1964, a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. For more than twenty-five years, she focused on developing a new field within the Women's Studies program at George Washington University -- women's military studies. She is proud of the fact that she 'supports the work of other scholars, especially those with no academic affiliation' [read, no authentic academic credentials -- propagandists].
       Linda Grant dePauw is the author of 'Baptism of Fire,' a science-fiction novel that glorifies a "...young female officer in a space Navy in which 'gender prejudice has disappeared from memory.'" I have read this book. Don't bother. It is in the post-modernist (deconstructionist) genre of rewriting history and placing women in the central role of the John Paul Jones and other male heroes of our past. It is mythical fantasy -- pure and simple. It portrays a dream world. It is radical feminist propaganda.
       Linda Grant dePauw is in the mold of other radical feminists, such as Sara Lister (who was relieved of her post as an Assistant Secretary of the Army for publicly calling Marines 'extremists') and Dr. Nancy Sherman who designed and implemented the New Age 'ethics' program at the U.S. Naval Academy in the mid-1990s.
       But women-in-combat isn't the only agenda that Linda Grant dePauw pushes. If you dig deeper into her background, you find that she is a self-professed Sorceress -- you've got it -- one who practices sorcery, magic -- a witch. If you visit her 'Silver Swans' Web Site at:

                                                              http://www.silverswans.org/depauw.htm

you will find that she "...was identified as profoundly gifted at age 3, began efforts to be 'less intimidating' at the age of 13, and rediscovered her gifted identity at the age of 61."  On that site, you will find that she is certified in advanced Neural Linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy practice. More on that later. Hidden in the text on that site, you will also find a nondescript looking link to the
Magical Godmother - Ms. dePauw. If you 'double-click' on that link, you open up a whole new world of Newsweek's so-called authority on the future of low-intensity conflict, nontrinitarian warfare, Linda Grant dePauw. Not only does she know absolutely nothing about this type of warfare (based on the writings of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun-tzu) but she knows absolutely nothing about any type of warfare.
        I'll save you some time. Just 'double click' on the URL:

                                                                      http://www.magicalgodmother.com

and you will find that Linda Grant dePauw sells a practice of MAGIC. She states, "I am a retired university professor and author who has studied magic, journaling, and meditation for more than thirty years...I am certified in advanced Neural Linguistic Programming, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, and I am a member of the American Board of Hypnotherapy. I am currently working on three nonfiction books -- 'Stichcraft: Counted Cross-Stitch for Magic,' 'Spiritual Growth and Healing,' 'Beyond Nudity: The Magic in Human Adornment,' and 'The Magic Book: The Power of the Word,' and a novel entitled 'Sea Changes.'" It is hard to believe that Newsweek would tout such a person as an authority on combat, women-in-combat in particular, in defense of the argument for the feminist cause. The witches are riding their brooms in the Newsweek skies. Indeed, the inmates are running the asylum.
       What is Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP) in which Linda Grant dePauw is a licensed practitioner? I am familiar with it because it relates peripherally to understanding the workings of the brain as it pertains to Neural Network computer programs which I taught and helped develop applications for in the Artificial Intelligence track that I designed and taught for military officers and engineers at the Naval Air Test Center -- under the Florida Tech Master's Degree program in Computer Science.
       According to the book (James, Tad, and Woodsmall, Wyatt, 'Time Line Therapy and The Basis of Personality,' 1988, Meta Publications), Neural Linguistic Programming is a method by which changes can be made at the 'deepest level of personality' of a human being.' It starts with the premise that 'we are nothing more or less than our collection of memories. If we change the memories, using Time Line [therapy], then we can change the person.' By this, is meant 'we can change the behavior of a person,' change his or her entire world view.
       NLP, pop-psychology to some but most certainly an established national and international cult-like movement, is said to be powerful stuff in the hands of those who are trained in the art of manipulating people. It has been taught in seminars and university courses over the past 20 years or so -- mainly in therapeutic practices, but also in teaching salesmen how to communicate with potential customers through the primary mode of the customers' methods of receiving information. If the salesman finds that you experience the outside world primarily via visual, auditory, or touch, etc., he will couch his sales approach to that channel of communication. It is highly manipulative.
       But NLP is much more than that. NLP practitioners believe that they can use these techniques to 'change [a person's] personal history.' They attempt to go deep into your psyche and actually change your perception of your own personal living experiences. In so doing, they try to change your VALUES, your WORLD VIEW, indeed, your whole frame of reference to the outside world. Why? To MODIFY YOUR BEHAVIOR. You are being programmed.
       On a larger scale and in modified form, this technique has been used by academics in our universities via the post-modern (deconstructionist) rewriting of America's history over the past thirty years. We have all seen evidence of this -- that is, if we read the leading national newspapers. It is even at the U.S. Naval Academy. How? Reread the January/February 1999 'Shipmate' magazine (the official U.S. Naval Academy alumni Association publication) to see the quote by Aine Donovan, a radical feminist and one of the new 'ethics' professors at the Academy, who stated that her [their] goal was to "...change the soul of a 20-year-old.
       Newsweek glosses over the downside of women-in-combat. "...worries over public reaction to female casualties have proved unfounded; 11 women were killed in the Gulf War and two aboard the USS Cole, and the public handled it just fine. 'It's been a non-issue,' says Becraft [the Clinton spokeswoman]. As the country grows accustomed to female warriors, women are increasingly viewing military service as a legitimate career option." Of course the cognitive dissonance in this statement jumps right out at a discerning reader. The female soldiers killed in the Gulf War were NOT 'warriors.' They were noncombatants killed by a stray Iraqi Scud missile which hit a mess hall - bystanders in the same sense as the civilian Afghanis killed recently by errant bombs dropped by American airmen over Kabul. And the notion of women making a career of combat is absurd, even by the lowered standards implicit in the Newsweek story. Read their version of the reality of a 'career' female 'warrior' in the U.S. armed forces
       "For American servicewomen, leaving their...loved ones behind is a wrenching but understood risk of the job. All
single parents and dual military couples are required to establish 'family care' plans in case they are deployed. While she waits to be called up, Gualtieri, 40, of Milwaukee, maintains the daily routine, making sure her 8-year-old son goes to soccer practice. Her husband, Bob, is also in the Air Force Reserve, and they go out of their way to be frank but reassuring with the boy. 'We talk to Robbie a lot,' she says. 'We explain that Mommy and Daddy have to go away, but it's OK to miss us and it's OK to be sad.'" This is psychobabble nonsense in the new therapeutic age of America under the stewardship of the Boomer generation elites. It is beneath contempt that any child is forced to undergo this kind of future - solely for the mother's quest to break a 'glass ceiling.' For a career.
       Newsweek continues the story. "Still, the prospect of separation triggers plenty of heartbreaking conversations. 'You know how kids are always changing what they want to be when they grow up?" says U.S. Army M/Sgt. Kelly Tyler, referring to her 10-year-old son. 'The other night he told me he wanted to be a war protester so I wouldn't ever have to leave him.'"
       Can you imagine a nation with such a callous attitude toward its children that it would expose them to the most dreaded loss a child of that age can imagine - that an only parent or both parents will leave him or her, maybe forever. A nation with such disregard for the well-being of its children cannot survive.
       Maggie Gallagher, a nationally syndicated columnist, has insight into this malady. She tells us ('Ultimate sacrifice at home,' Wash. Times, 10/27/01) of
14-month old Kody Kravitz who "...has shared [what? Shared? Is it not his home?] a Pennsylvania apartment with his mom and dad, his half-sister Shaiyann, and their pet snakes. His father is a G.I., and his mother joined the Army Reserves while she was still in high school. So now, Kody is parentless, at least for the duration. His home has dissolved - with his half-sister packed off to her mom's house, Kody will go and live with Grandma. Kody, of course, has no idea why his mom and dad and sister suddenly disappeared. 'There is no way to explain this to Kody; he's just too little to understand,' his mom, Jaime Strathmeyer, told the New York Times. 'By the time I get home, he'll be calling my mother Mommy and my father Daddy.'"
       "Kody is not alone. Suzanne and Mary Connolly are 2-year-old twins. Daddy has been deployed, and their mom, in the Navy Reserves, struggles with what will happen when she is called. The plan is to send the girls to her brother in Milwaukee, whom they have never met."
       "Arlene Innis is a 27-year-old
single mom who joined the Army a year ago so she could better provide for her two kids, Shante, 7, and Sharica, 4. Now she is trying to figure out how to explain they might have to 'go to Grandma's house for a while.' Like six months, or a year. In other words, for a small child, an eternity."
       "These are just a few of the thousands of children who are being asked to make pretty much the ultimate sacrifice, from a child's point of view; to risk losing not only one parent but both parents, or the only parent they have. In World War II, David Blankenhorn points out, the country agonized and debated before sending
married fathers to fight and die for their country. Now we send single mothers off to war, and nobody even raises a peep of concern or discussion."
       "It is not easy to find out how many children are so affected. [We might ask why this is so.] According to Brian Mitchell's 1998 book, 'Women in the Military' (Regnery), there are 24,000 single moms and about an equal number of single custodial dads, plus more than 50,000 dual-service couples, who must arrange to leave children with friends or relatives when called up. Conservatively, call it 50,000 American children."
       "The effects of long-term separation from both parents (or a child's only parent) are themselves deeply traumatic. It is an immense, unremarked toll of suffering that children are being asked to pay [for women in the military]. Here's my question: Why? If it were necessary, then of course, it would be different. If it were necessary, toss me an AK-47 and I would figure out what to do with it. But is it necessary? Are we as a nation in such desperate straits that we must ask
single moms to fight and die for our country? Do we feel good about asking Kody and thousands of other young kids to risk [losing] both of their parents, or their only parent, for us?"
       The answer, of course is obvious. It is not and never has been necessary to place women in combat roles. It is not necessary for military readiness. It is not necessary for military efficiency. It is not necessary - period. The radical feminist agenda of radical 'egalitarianism' and careers is not only bankrupt in the real world of Islamic terrorism; it is morally wrong! It is now, and has always been so!
       Nevertheless, the feminists continue their assault on reason. Anna Quindlen writes in Newsweek ('Uncle Sam and Aunt Samantha,' 10/05/01), "It's simple fairness. Women as well as men should be required to register for the draft...One out of every five new recruits in the United States military is female. The Marines gave the Combat Action Ribbon for service [ask a World War II combat veteran what he had to do to earn this once-prized combat award] in the Persian Gulf to 23 women [none of whom actually participated in combat]...Women have indeed served in combat positions, in the Balkans and the Middle East. More than 40,000 managed to serve in the Persian Gulf without destroying unit cohesion or failing because of upper-body strength." Of course she neglects to add that 90 percent of the soldiers who served in the Persian Gulf War have left active service.
       Quindlen continues, "It is possible in Afghanistan for women to be treated like little more than
fecund pack animals precisely because gender fear and ignorance and hatred have been codified and permitted to hold sway. In this country, largely because of the concerted efforts of those allied with the women's movement over a century of struggle, much of that bigotry has been beaten back, even buried." Ms. Quindlen's utopian view of an androgynous society where men and women are interchangeable, equal in all respects, and absent roles dealt to them by mother nature misses an important point.
       Had Ms. Quindlen listened to Saria Shah's report ('Inside Afghanistan: Behind the Veil,' BBC, 6/27/01) on her covert journey to Afghanistan to talk to Taliban women, she would have been informed of a fundamental difference between the Western and Islamic cultures. A Taliban woman told Shah (a British citizen of Afghani descent), "You women have only two or three children. We have eleven or more. And most of them will grow up to fight and kill the infidels."  It's demographics, Ms. Quindlen. Not ideology. Not agenda. Not radical egalitarianism. Not careers. History tells us that Ms. Quindlen's 'fecund pack animals' of the Balkans out-produced the Serbs in Kosovo, a province of Serbia, by a ratio of 7 children to 2 over many decades, which resulted in violent expulsion of the Serbs from their own territory during the latter part of the 1990s by the Islamic horde.
       These are the same kind of women who are the subject of Rudyard Kipling's famous poem, 'Young British Soldier':
                                                    'When you're lying out wounded on Afghanistan's  plains,
                                                    'and the
women come out to cut up what remains,
                                                    'you roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
                                                    'and go to your Gawd like a soldier.'

This is not a comfortable image for Ms. Quindlen's young female 'warriors,' the LT Ashleys whose feminist mothers dream of multi-thousand dollar book advances, Hollywood movies, and radical feminist fame for their young daughters. The mothers of the enemy dream instead, of 'breeding' for strong, resilient, enduring young boys, who, when they become men, will relish the killing of our young women in combat. The mutilation of their corpses will be left to Ms. Quindlen's 'fecund pack animals.'
       This eventuality has not gone unnoticed by our Navy combat pilots. A correspondent on the USS Carl Vinson reported (Vogel, Steve, 'Over Afghanistan, Gantlets in the Sky,' Wash. Post, 10/29/01) a pre-flight ready room briefing for strike pilots in F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats. "The pilots donned their G-suits and survival vests. Buzz packed a survival map in a leg flap and a 9mm pistol in his flight bag, in case he ended up on the ground in Afghanistan. Another pilot, Edge, reminded Buzz to pack two clips for the pistol: 'Otherwise you're going to have to throw it at them,' Edge said." It is clear that these guys are prepared to kill Ms. Quindlen's 'fecund pack animal' mothers before they can 'cut up what remains' if they are ever shot down over enemy territory - and live to be rescued by American helicopter crews.
       Compare the environment in which young Afghanis are raised and that for the average American household. The New York Times reports (Bragg, Rick, 'Afghan and Pakistani Tribe Lives by Its Guns and Honor,' 10/21/01) that "When a male child is born in a Pashtun village, gunfire is the first sound he hears. Pashtun men celebrate the birth of a brand-new
warrior by firing their rifles into the sky and the lead falls back to the powdery earth like drops of hard rain. The Pashtun, who are the dominant tribe in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province and make up about half the entire population of Afghanistan, have done this since they first robbed British dead of their muskets two centuries ago."
       "This is a tribe that anthropologists consider one of the oldest on earth, bound by a common language, but also by millennia of marriage, and by blood...A proud, almost arrogant people who fought Alexander the Great, they have fought among themselves for centuries, as families do...The first thing the male baby hears is that sound of a bullet...The second thing he hears is the name of God, from the mullah. And the third thing he hears is the voice of his mother speaking as she gives him a lesson of humanity. She sings a song and recites the deeds of his forefathers, and the values of his clan...The [Pashtun] are farmers, shepherds - and warriors...In the wild tribal areas, near the border, every man carries an automatic rifle. Thes are the Pashtun who will more likely answer the call for badal - as they did against the British and Russians."
       If this is not sufficient contrast to understand the stark difference in the personal world view of the Afghani 'warrior' and the civilized raising of our sons, just imagine the contrast of their young men and America's young women - those our radical feminists want to participate in hand-to-hand combat on the
front lines. Those who wish to exercise their right to choose. The London Sunday Telegraph tells us (Lamb, Christina, 'Taliban defector in Pakistan tells of torture tactics,' Wash. Times. 10/01/01) about how Taliban men are trained to treat Afghani women who violate the Taliban's rules. Rules that prohibit watching videos, playing cards, or, bizarrely, keeping caged birds. Men without long enough beards were to be arrested, as was any woman who dared venture outside her house. Even owning a kite became a criminal offense.
       One can hardly imagine the primitive brutality that Taliban men, trained to fight and kill the infidel, will visit on America's women-in-combat, should they fall into the hands of the enemy in Afghanistan. This treatment will most likely fall into the abyss described by the London Sunday Telegraph in a story about the instructions of the commandant of the Afghan secret police to his new recruits. "Anyone can do beatings and starve people. I want your unit to find new ways of torture so terrible that the screams will frighten even crows from their nests and if the person survives he will never again have a night's sleep."
       One Afghani recruit, for example, one who might be tasked with torturing our young women who are unfortunate enough to be captured by the Taliban says of his past experience, "...we would beat them with staves soaked in water - like a knife cutting through meat - until the room ran with their blood or their spines snapped. Then we would leave them with no food or water in rooms filled with insects until they died. We always tried to do different things: We would put some of them standing on their heads to sleep, hang others upside down with their legs tied together. We would stretch the arms out of others and nail them to posts, like crucifixions."

Strength, Stamina, and Endurance are Required in Combat - Including Combat Aviation
       This, of course, raises the issue of whether or not muscular strength, endurance, and size make a difference in the combat arms. There is a feminist fiction that in our high-tech military these attributes are minimized to the point of irrelevance. Fortunately, this view has not invaded the fighting ground forces. For example, the Pentagon has resisted the feminist DACOWITS committee's push to open Special-operation forces to female aviators to operate their Black Hawk and other helicopters (a specialty open to females in the other service branches).  The Defense Department refused, saying in a letter ('Female warriors kept off ground for special-operations missions,' Wash. Times, 10/24/01), "There is public reluctance for women to be in positions involving direct (hand-to-hand ground) combat. Most women would not meet the physical qualifications for some rigorous career fields (Rangers, Seals, Special Forces) or the physical requirements for close-in, hand-to-hand combat in other career fields."
       This reluctance is well-founded. Christopher Gallagher informs us ('Running out of gas: U.S. military faces crisis of morale, dignity,' Wash. Times, 7/23/01) that "Fifty-six years ago the USS Indianapolis sank in the sought Pacific...The ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank in 12 minutes...those not immediately killed would spend five days floating under hellish conditions that few could imagine. Injury, exposure, desperation, fatigue and hundreds of sharks relentlessly attacked the small groups of survivors, exacting a horrific toll. Of the 1,196 sailors on board only 316 survived the ordeal."
       Physical strength and endurance is also required of our air warriors. A friend of mine was blown out of the sky over Laos during the Vietnam War.  He ejected from his flaming jet and landed in a dense underbrush beneath a growth of very tall trees.  He hid in the thick undergrowth.  The enemy was quickly nearby, searching the thick brush for him.  Beating the bushes.  Shouting to each other.  Shooting.  The next day, after a night of evasion, he called in the helicopter rescue team on his hand-held radio.  In time, the UH-34D rescue helicopter hovered overhead and lowered its long 150 foot 'rescue cable' into the pilot's vicinity.  The Pilot was in radio contact, directing the helicopter to his position.  Just when the rescue 'horse collar,' on the end of a steel cable, was within a short distance of the downed pilot's position, he jumped up from his hiding position in the bushes on the side of a hill and ran to grab it.  He "...
sprinted down the hill and leaped as high as he could.  He thrust his right arm through the collar but could not get his left arm into it. In desperation he locked his left hand over his right wrist and hung on with all his strength."  Just then the enemy started shooting at the helicopter.  The downed pilot hung on to the collar for dear life.  As the helicopter beat a hasty retreat, the enemy filled the sky with automatic weapons fire as the pilot, with only his upper body strength, maintained his precarious hold on the collar.
       The helicopter with its dangling human load climbed to 500 feet, then 1,000 feet, 1,500 feet and finally 2,000 feet while both the pilot and the helicopter were being shot at from below.  Automatic AK-47 weapons fire was zinging past both the pilot, hanging on the collar for his life, and the helicopter.  The rescue crew did not have the time to wind the rope upward into the helicopter to pull the pilot to safety, as is the normal procedure.  If the pilot's
upper body strength had failed him, he would have fallen hundreds of feet to a certain death.   He held on with one arm and was rescued.
       Female naval aviators have passed through a military training system wherein the physical standards, including upper body strength, have been substantially reduced ever since they entered the U.S. Naval Academy and other officer training programs in 1976.  As a group, women do not have the same physical endurance, stamina, and strength as their male counterparts.  Indeed,
physical strength is still a requisite for survival in naval aviation combat.
       Another example.  A shipmate of mine, LT Dieter Dengler, was shot down in Laos while flying his A-1H Skyraider from the deck of the USS Ranger in 1996. He was imprisoned (Dengler, Dieter, 'Escape from Laos,' Presidio, 1979) in a jungle Pathet Lao prison camp, Hoi Het, for five months. There he lived on rotten rice and thin gruel. He and six others escaped and fled into the jungle. He and another American, a U.S. Air Force pilot, paired up and wandered through almost impenetrable terrain with little to live on but the rice they carried in bamboo tubes, snakes, iguana and water they drank from streams.  During the 23 days that he wandered around trying to 'walk to the ocean' and 'back home to the USS Ranger,' they both picked up malaria, worms, fungus, and other infections that took a terrible toll on their strength, endurance, and stamina.
       But one event, related to the importance of these physical qualities in 'combat' situations, is as follows.  While stealthily making their way through tangled underbrush, outlying trails used by Laotian villagers, and mountain streams, Dieter and his friend became very weak, desperate, and drained of stamina.  Dieter had to half-carry, half-drag his sick friend through the brush, over karst (a hard, crumbly gray rocky material which forms vast sharp cliffs and perilous craggy ridges. These karst landscapes rise out of the heavily forested Laos countryside) ridges, and along cold streams.
Male-level strength, stamina, and endurance were the major attributes in his and his friend's ability to survive.
       Finally, one day as they rounded a bend in a trail, they stumbled upon a child and his dog.  Immediately thereafter a villager appeared, waving a machete over his head.  Dieter and his friend knelt, too weak to run, cupped their hands in prayer, and begged the villager to do them no harm. Heedless, the villager hacked Dieter's friend in the groin with a fierce blow. The second swing severed his head from his body, blood spurting in bursts all over the participants. As Dieter moved his hands forward to protect himself from a mortal blow from the machete, the villager suddenly turned and ran -- fearing what he perceived as an offensive maneuver by the
Americali.  Dieter ran and evaded his pursuers in the jungle.  Later that night, maddened by what he had witnessed and hallucinating from severe malnutrition, Dengler went back to a thatch village and burned it to the ground.
       Twenty-three (23) days after his escape, Dengler was miraculously rescued by a chance sighting of him by a lone Skyraider pilot flying a 'familiarization' flight up the ravine in which Dieter had spread himself on a rock to die. After his six-month ordeal, Dengler weighed only 90 pounds -- 70 pounds down from his normal 160 pounds. He was so weak that he had to be carried to the bathroom.  Indeed, strength, stamina, and endurance are prime requisites for combat pilots. Their combat survival depends on it.
       Proponents of women-in-combat agree that strength, stamina, and endurance may be factors that render women unable to perform infantry combat duties but deny that women cannot perform combat aviation and combat shipboard duties as well as duties in artillery and armored vehicles.  This flies in the face of past U.S. experience in warfare.  An Air Force medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam POW, Lance Sijan, is one such example (The Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, "Women in Combat: Report to the President," pp. 69, Brassey's, 1993). "
In the short time it took him [Sijan] to parachute to earth, he would travel from the relative security of the twentieth century's most advanced military technology to a jungle where the rules and conduct of combat had not undergone any major alteration since Neolithic times." Indeed, Dieter Dengler's escape-and-evasion story is a telling reminder of this truth.
       Louis Morton, who wrote the official Army history of the Philippines campaign in The Fall of the Philippines, described a situation wherein the Japanese destroyed two-thirds of the American planes in the Philippines on December 8, 1941.  This forced fighter pilots and ground crews to fight as
combat infantry during the fall of Bataan and Corregidor.
       Evidence mounts for high physical strength even during the Gulf War. If assigned to combat positions on an equal basis, women aviators would have had the responsibility to rotate into Air Liaison Officer (ALO) positions with Army ground combat units.  According to Air Force Captain Ron Gaulton, who flew A-10s in the Gulf War (The Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, "Women in Combat: Report to the President," pp. 69, Brassey's, 1993), "
When Desert Storm kicked off, [some pilots] were immediately sent down to the 24th Infantry Division...and were shipped over, and they spent the entire Shield/Storm on the ground with the forward forces, and those were the guys that actually directed the A-10 strikes in [to the target]...So they lived out of the Army, they're right on the front lines, and they are...for all intents and purposes...Army people."
       An Air Force fighter pilot has testified that "..
The physical demands encompassed in this area are tremendous.  The high speeds of the modern aircraft...the high rates of turn that require the high instantaneous G-loads that literally makes your body shake or may put you in G lock..the current requirement for sustaining consciousness is strength and endurance, and to us that is overall stamina."
       Modern fighter aircraft have control surfaces which are completely driven by hydraulic and electrical systems.  The 'stick,' with which the pilot controls the aircraft's flight, is artificially given spring-driven forces so that the pilot doesn't inadvertently over-control and overstress the aircraft with large, rapid stick movements. In fact, stick-force-per-g is a design factor that purposely imposes a muscular force by the pilot on the stick so that the aircraft cannot be damaged by pilot input. These stick forces are fairly light for normal flying but in combat they can be quite high -- up to several tens-of-pounds per g. This force doesn't require extraordinary pilot strength but in a combat dog fight, under very high-g loads (both positive and negative) and vigorous stick-maneuvering by the pilot, high stamina is a very important requirement. For those with low arm-strength, this force, required over a relatively long period of time, drains one's stamina. Consequently, those with relatively low stamina (females in particular) are disadvantaged in combat maneuvering against a determined enemy.
       Females are disadvantaged in both strength and stamina in flying fighter aircraft in combat.  An experienced Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) flight instructor told me that the first few females who were trained in fighter aircraft in the East Coast FRS had to be sent off-base to special weight-lifting and strength training in order to meet the physical rigors of air-combat maneuver training.  They simply did not have the strength or stamina to accomplish prolonged combat maneuvers without this extra special physical training.
       CAPT Dennis McBride, a brilliant naval officer with an advanced degree in Neuroscience, told me (phone conversation 2/17/99) that, as the officer in charge of Medical Science and Technology at the Naval Research Laboratory, they had uncovered evidence that females could not handle the full range of combat requirements for flying the F/A-18. The question was, could females pull the ejection seat handle (40 pounds pull required to go past the ejection detent) successfully? Of 149 females tested, only 59 percent succeeded. Of course, the principle investigator concluded that this was just fine.
       In addition, the study revealed that females, in general, could not hold their head up to see the Heads up Display during high-g force maneuvers. They could not pull high-g turns and turn their hear around to visually acquire a bogey in a dogfight. They found that 30 percent of men could not be assigned to Tactical Air for this same reason. But females are waived from this requirement. They also found that there is only a 10 percent overlap between the strength of men and women. That is, the strength of the strongest 10 percent of women in the Gaussian distribution overlaps the weakest ten percent of the men's strength distribution.
       Jerry R. Cadick, a retired Marine fighter pilot, who has seen war first-hand, tells us that "...
Anybody who says technology levels the playing field, and gender matters not, has never been in sustained, life-threatening combat.  Technology matters not a whit. The human response that gripped our ancestors' stomachs and made them want to vomit when they crossed stone axes was, I betcha, identical to mine diving into the hell called North Vietnam ... Fighter pilots, above all else, know who among their peers are 'hunters' and who are the 'hunted.'  They absolutely will not fly into a known tough combat situation with a wingman they don't trust, and not all men make the cut.  Something akin to bonding has to occur in this ancient ritual called war.  The few female Naval Aviators are complaining about being on the outside looking in.  The media are starting to tar and feather the Navy for lack of zeal in the stampede toward political correctness. Where we work is a vicious place ... You're in a machine that is so fast and powerful that you instinctively know that if death comes, it will be full of hot fire ... you will be shred into bits and pieces.  Worst of all, you'll be alone in a fierce place where your comrades cannot hold on to you while you die ... We buried one out of four who tried to make a 20-year career ..."  So much for the female Navy 'combat pilots' (e.g. LT Carey Lohrenz - see her story below) who publicly longed for a 'network' of women with whom to commiserate. 'Real' Navy Jet Fighter Pilots get used to it. When pilots die in combat aviation, they will most likely die alone -- engulfed in flames and in 'bits and pieces.'
       In a comment delineating the difference between peacetime training and actual war, Cadick observes "...
Citizens, or [Congress] believe that women can be Fighter Pilots ... Politicians weave tales wherein physical differences, being moot in the cockpit, make that an ideal place for a woman.  They say that if she can complete the training, then ... she is qualified.  In 26 years in the USMC, some of the most skilled officers in the five units I commanded were women.  I knew some female Naval Aviators and they were pilots as good as can be found in the nose of any American passenger airliner.  If we talk about flying (the art of) from point A to Point B, then many humans qualify handily ... But we ain't talking flying here. We gotta get down to basics, like where we evolved from and some real hard natural selection rules ..."
       Cadick goes on to observe about women-in-combat, "
Guess what, you are bumping up against millions of years of genetic conditioning.  Good F---ing Luck!   The only test of who can function in combat is combat. In war, first order of business, throw damn near all peacetime training rules overboard. All combat veterans know of plenty of situations where someone was eased into a non-combat function on account of not having what it takes.  What it takes wasn't written anywhere, but we knew."  This veteran 'warrior,' tested by the trauma of real war, has it right.
       Combat aviation is not the only situation where strength, stamina, and endurance are important.  The same physical requirements are obvious to anyone who has served aboard a combatant naval vessel.  A recent documentary (NOVA, PBS TV, 8:00 p.m., 4/19/94), "Aircraft Carrier," revealed the endurance required of sailors operating around the clock while deployed, often with only four to six hours sleep.  If a sailor with a critical job is not attentive, it could result in death, his own or that of a pilot or other crew-member dependent upon his performance of duty.
       One does not have to be reminded of myriad studies comparing strength, stamina and endurance of men versus that of women to know that women are disadvantaged in these measures.  Anyone who has grown up in a mixed-gender environment knows this common-sense revelation by practical experience.  Only in the 'elite' non-serving elements of America would we expect this to be even the subject of serious discussion.  The fact that these are primary requirements of a military combatant, wherever deployed; in infantry, armor, artillery, air, or ship is also universally known to those who have experienced combat.
       In 1976, General William C. Westmoreland, former Army chief of staff said (Binkin, Martin, "Who Will Fight the Next War?: The Changing Face of the American Military," pp. 33, The Brookings Institution, 1993) "
Maybe you could find one woman in 10,000 who could lead in combat, but she would be a freak and we're not running the military academy for freaks...The pendulum has gone too far...They're asking women to do impossible things.  I don't believe women can carry a pack, live in a foxhole or go a week without taking a bath."  He was backed up by retired Brigadier General Elizabeth P. Hoisington, a former director of the Women's Army Corps, "In my whole lifetime I have never known ten women whom I thought could endure three months under actual combat conditions."  These opinions are born out by the record of modern combat.
       LTG Binford Peay, U.S. Army, has testified to the Presidential Commission on Women in Combat that "
In fact, technology has made today's battlefield a more lethal, violent, shocking and horrific place than it has ever been.  Paradoxically, the [Gulf War] may have, to external audiences and the uninitiated, appeared clean and very easy.  We need only to contemplate for a single moment man's inhumanity to his fellow man and the irrational nature of ethnic conflicts today to get an appreciation that the face of battle has not changed.  It is just that we recently have not been involved in the horror as it passes before us on the nightly news..." Other 'warriors' with more direct and recent hand-to-hand combat experience support this view.
       Sgt Maj Harold Overstreet, USMC told the Commission what ground combat involves on a personal level:  "
We say 'Combat is combat is combat.' I'm here to tell you, it is not.  First of all, I'm here to tell you that it is one thing to be in a combat area; it's another thing to be in a combat area and to have rounds coming in on you.  It's even another thing to send rounds down range.  But it's a little bit different when you know that you are the guy that is going to have to seek out, close with, and do whatever it takes to kill the enemy.  You.  You're going to go out there and confront him, one on one.  You realize that this is no game, there is no second place, and if you are second place, you don't come back."  He might as well have added that "...this is also not just a career -- a job a with bureaucratic job description."
       Sgt Maj Overstreet went on to describe what he had experienced in Vietnam. "...
this is two Marine companies that has run into a North Vietnamese regiment.  No sooner than they had made contact than six NVA soldiers come dashing right through the lines, and where did they come dashing through to?  To the young company commander by the name of Captain Stackpole, and his radio operator.  They ended up in the same fighting hole as he did.  Well, when six NVA soldiers show up in your fighting position, there is not a lot of time to negotiate.  So, immediately, Captain Stackpole pulled his .45 and shot the first two coming into his position.  They fell in the hole.  About the time they fell in the hole, there's four other individuals in the hole with him and his radio operator.  While they're thrashing around in the mud and the blood and the fog of battle, Captain Stackpole loses his pistol.  Now, what does he do?  With arms and legs and AK-47s thrashing around all over the area, he pulls his K-bar knife, the only thing that he could find at the time.  He pulls his K-bar and finally gets a hold of one of the NVA, sticks him in the groin, and rips him all the way to his appetite.  While thrashing around, he grabs a hold of the third one, cuts his throat.  At the same time, the radio operator cleaves the next one in the head with an E-tool, and Captain Stackpole then stabbed the sixth one to death in the fighting hole.  Now, that does take a little bit of upper body strength; it does take a little bit of aggressiveness, as you can obviously see."
       Radical feminists today point to the 'fact' that warfare is becoming more of a computerized push-button endeavor where the physical strength and stamina, as described above, is not a factor.  The surprisingly short duration of the Gulf Storm War enforced this 'virtual reality' version of the nature of future warfare.  This rationale has been presented to support the entry of women pilots in combat aircraft units.  This rationale is not and has never been supported by the facts.
       The Presidential Commission provided expert combat-veteran testimony, such as that presented above, concerning the pre-eminence of strength, stamina, and endurance in combat.  Unfortunately, this testimony was not placed in a prominent position in the report.  In addition, Congress and the Clinton administration completely disregarded the commission's cautionary report while authorizing women to participate in combat roles in aviation and aboard some combatant ships.  The Pentagon's special Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) advised against (Scarborough, Rowan, 'Advisory board never OK'd plan for women in combat,' Wash. Times, 9/3094) allowing women to serve in field artillery, special operations aviation fields, and a string of other near-combat positions in forward-deployed headquarters. Nevertheless, Army Secretary Togo West proposed opening such positions to women.
       After extensive research, Canada has found little evidence to support the integration of women into ground combat units.  Of 103 Canadian women who volunteered to join infantry units, only one graduated from the initial training course.  Closer to home, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Barry Bell, who served as a combat engineer during Operation Desert Storm, illustrated these points in his testimony before the Commission.  "
My rucksack when I went in weighed 75 pounds.  And I walked 12 miles from the border to the mine field.  If you're not in peak physical condition during this type of environment, you're not going to be able to perform.  And, unfortunately, we weren't in peak physical condition...it kicked our butts...we were bent over, our backs were killing us.  The weight was just way too heavy for us, let alone a female Marine or female soldier...Physically, they are just unable to do it.  If we were almost unable to do it, I know we would have a hard time pulling the female Marines up to where we were at. Physically, they are just not capable of performing everything we are able to do..."
       Army LTC Douglas Tystad, an M-1 tank commander, told the Commission: "
My view is that the physiological requirements, the strength requirements, are extreme.  The stress over time, stamina is required.  In my experience, limited though it may be, I've met very few women that I believe could handle the stress, coupled with the physical requirements that we have.  At this level, you are down at what the military psychologists and sociologists call the primary group.  A crew is a primary group, and we believe that in combat motivation you fight for the primary group.  And the group is only as good as its weakest member..."
       For the issue of women-in-combat, we disregard the voice of these expert witnesses at our peril.  If we persist, we will have an armed force that either will not fight or cannot fight.  Our national security depends on us to make wise choices in this area or we will perish.
       Fast forward to 2001. "Earlier [in July], a female Marine officer at the U.S. Southern Command in Miami complained that a physical fitness run is
demeaning. The response to her complaint is all too common and predictable. Pending an investigation, such training runs are, forthwith, cancelled. So rather than challenge our military forces to be all that they can be, we allow them to denigrate into much less. It appears that our military has lowered the bar enough to trip over it...Demeaning? Demeaning is to be in today's military and hear combat-hardened veterans, who participated in the battle on the Korean peninsula or the Normandy invasion, tell us how far we have allowed our legacy to erode...Demeaning is allowing our standards to be dictated by the lowest common denominator and accepting mediocrity rather than aspiring to the time-tested, stoic qualities like those of the valiant crew of the Indianapolis...We are becoming less like the warriors of Homer's 'Illiad' and more like the buffoonish Homer Simpson."
       Mona Charen tells us ('Military combat roles for women?' Wash. Times, 1/23/01) of a recent British military commission study that examined how well men and women can perform certain tasks. "When asked to carry 90 lbs of artillery shells over measured distances, males failed 20 percent of the time. The female failure rate was 70 percent. Asked to march 12.5 miles carrying 60 pounds of equipment followed by target practice in simulated wartime conditions, men failed 17 percent of cases, women in 48 percent."
       "The American military has of course noticed the same thing - and then gone to great lengths to hide or disguise it. Military tasks that used to be classified as one-man jobs are now reclassified as two-man jobs to make it easier for women to succeed. Basic training was altered, giving more weight to skills like map reading and first aid, so that women would not wash out in such high numbers. Recently, the Center for Strategic and International Studies did a study on the military culture. It found that two-thirds of junior enlisted men did not believe women would pull their own weight if it came to combat. Forty-four percent of junior enlisted women agreed."
       "One of the most demoralizing things to happen to the military on Bill Clinton's watch was the endemic dishonesty that became part of normal operation procedure.
The dishonesty concerned women. Everyone in the military knew and knows that double standards prevail everywhere. Everyone knows women are given special breaks. Yet no one is permitted to say so out loud for fear of having his career destroyed.
       It should be obvious that when an Air Force, Navy, or Marine aviator goes down in enemy territory, for example Afghanistan, it places them in the environment on the ground where hand-to-hand combat may be required - either to survive assault by armed male mujahedin or even Ms. Quindlen's 'fecund pack animal' women with their carving knives, long enough to be rescued by helicopter. This experience of 'out of scenario' combat has been a recurring staple in America's wars - from aviators fighting on the ground on the Bataan Penisnsula in World War II to extinguishing ship-threatening fires and explosions on U.S. aircraft carriers (USS Enterprise and USS Ranger) with heavy, hundred-feet long, 6-inch diameter hoses during the Vietnam War. Women are simply not physically equipped to contribute to handling these extreme contingencies. A nation which depends on women to carry out these functions is in extreme denial - and will not survive a determined, resourceful foe.
       What we are seeing unfold before our very eyes is an intersection of the culture war in America and the reality of a 'shooting' war that could place America's survival in question. We have lived with this culture war during the period of post-Cold War fantasy and found it relatively benign. But now, after the wake-up call on 11 September, we must open our eyes to the reality of the absurdity of placing our women in our nation's combat arms. This must not stand!
       The final blow to reality in the Newsweek article is the quote, "Because we are so few and far between, everything we do is in the limelight,' says LT Ashley. Yet she maintains that she is judged not by her gender but by her skill in the air. 'You do good work and they accept you,' she says. Just ask top gun LT 'Shorn,' who has flown alongside Ashley. '
I'm a man in her Navy,' he says."  Just as expected in a 'feminized' Navy where reality is scoffed at and illusion is king. Meanwhile, the 'warriors' have mostly walked away.

America's Culture War with Itself Has Intersected the 'Shooting War'
      The culture war has, indeed, intersected our 'shooting war.' The radical feminist agenda is at work in other related aspects of our nation's military. The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) which, along with the Citadel, have produced many outstanding military officers, who have distinguished themselves and their institutions in America's wars, is again under attack. The value of these institutions, formerly all-male, has been attested to by LtGen. Harold G. Moore, USA (Ret.) and Joseph Galloway in the best book ever written about the Vietnam War, 'We Were Soldiers Once...and Young.' They exclaim the leadership and heroism of Citadel and VMI graduates in the hugely successful Ia Drang Valley battle in November 1965.
       Woody West, an associate editor of Insight magazine ('Politically Correct Pregnancy at VMI,' 8/20/01) reveals that "...VMI is, again, fighting a rearguard action. It is almost inevitable that the historic military college will be defeated, as it was in the long struggle to remain an all-male institution, which ended with the Supreme Court ruling that females had to be admitted."
       "VMI is seeking to maintain a certain standard and sensibility despite the feminist dogma that says any sexual distinction is intolerably discriminatory. Thus, the institute is fighting a guerrilla war against an ideological army mopping up the last pockets of traditional resistance. What ignited this latest furor? The state-supported military college in Lexington recently announced that...it would dismiss any cadet who became pregnant or was the agent thereof. The national military academies are more understanding: Being with child merely can delay a lass from becoming an officer and a gentlewoman, pregnancy in the student body apparently being just one of those things."
       But at VMI, a spokesman said, "One cannot be a cadet and a parent at the same time. To be a good parent, you don't leave and go to school and be somewhere else from the infant." The rapid-response force of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hardly missed a news cycle when the VMI policy was disclosed. 'The no-preggies/no-impregnators initiative,' the ACLU rumbled, 'would violate federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972'...this law provides that any school receiving federal money must not exclude any student from participating in its educational programs or activities, including extracurricular activities, based on the student's 'pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery from such termination.'"
       "The current flap at VMI is reminiscent of the political firestorm the then-commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Carl Mundy, ignited in 1993 - a year in which the leftist/feminist blitzkrieg of gender equity essentially had triumphed. Mundy decided the Marine Corps would enlist only single recruits because the growing number of young married Marines was a significant impediment to the Corps' instant readiness to go to battle and also involved vast expense for what amounted to baby-sitting and diversion of administrative energy (both huge costs in all branches of the military service). The reaction must have made Mundy feel as if he were staked out on a hill of fire ants."
       "No institution can maintain a tradition or a set of standards when a powerful segment of the citizenry - or a very loud one, which is much the same in a relentless media environment - vehemently is opposed, while the majority is either acquiescent or indifferent."
       "What is going on here, with VMI serving as a template of a martial way of life, is that the military is changing - largely has changed - from a war-fighting or warrior institution into something that increasingly resembles an occupation - an organization more than an institution, though both elements always have been present. Charles Moskos, a sociologist who extensively studies the military, contends the occupational model implies the priority of self-interest rather than the primacy of the institution."  This is all true. A military that prioritizes self-interest - careers and promotion - rather than the 'warrior ethos' is certain to fail in carrying out its vital task. It cannot protect and defend the Constitution. It cannot assure the survival of American civilization from enemies, foreign and domestic.

What Are We Missing in Understanding the Present?
       Novelist Mark Helprin, 54, is one of the brightest lights in American letters. He is a frequent contributor to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. In an interview with The American Enterprise Institute, in answer to the question, "Having served in the Israeli Army, and written about the U.S. military, what's your view about women in the armed forces?" Helprin forthrightly answered. "People have a mistaken view of the Israeli Army. Feminists in Israel are trying to make the army into a copy of ours. Women fought in the Israeli War of Independence, but it was because there was such a shortage of manpower, and women didn't fight as much as the myth-makers would have you believe."
       "I served in a security unit that protected a base on the Lebanese border filled with female radar operators, and I never say any of them touch a gun. They were very feminine. My commander-in-chief was Golda Meir, and I was happy to serve under her. She was more of a man than Bill Clinton will ever be."
       "I am not against women in the military, but I am against women in combat. Period. They
can fight, although generally not as well as men. Mainly I'm against it because it's a question of what kind of country we want to be. Any country that sends its mothers and daughters to war is a sick country. But politicians are afraid to say this because women vote, and the politicians cater to their narcissism, which now includes the idea that they should be able to lead a ranger recon squad. They'll be of that opinion until there's a really rough war where they get sent home in body bags. Then they'll change their minds, as they should."
       Of course, Helprin is absolutely right. But how can a frenziedly permissive society with very little experience in and understanding of warfare be made to realize this truth? And I include a vast number of retired military officers in all branches of the armed forces in this category. How can we ascertain what may be required BEFORE we find ourselves in a
really tough war?
       The answer rests in understanding the nature of the wars in which America has been engaged over the 20th century - the period during which most people living today have some connection to their past through 'oral' history. This is the kind of history which most people, ordinary people, receive through discussions with living family members, television and other mass media 'sound bite' sources, and conversations with contemporaries. Since very little history of American culture, including our military history, is taught today in our K-12 public schools and on our college and university campuses, 'oral' histories are the primary sources of information today. Each generation of Americans alive today are products of the 'oral' history of their life span. Consequently, these are far different histories for each generation.
       Let's start with where we are today and go backwards in time. We started bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan, primarily with carrier-based attack and fighter aircraft armed with high-tech weapons from 15,000 feet - out of range of surface-to-air weapons of the enemy. This is the same delivery technique we used on targets in Kosovo only a few years ago - in order to eliminate the risk of casualties in a war that the American people were judged not to be in favor of if casualties were suffered. We started in Afghanistan with Special Forces troops on the ground, but in small numbers and used primarily as liaison with potential allied forces and as target 'spotters' for our high-tech airborne delivery systems. These include incredibly accurate laser-guided and satellite-guided weapons.
       The difference in these two forces, those carrying out the air war over Afghanistan and those Special Forces warriors on the ground, illustrates the stark difference between the men who fought and won World War II and the men and women who are dropping bombs on buildings, bunkers, caves, tents and rocks in Afghanistan. This difference is not only illustrative, it is transcendent.
       What I am about to say is not intended to impugn the commitment, courage, bravery, honor, or character of those who are now bombing Afghanistan from the air. I wish, simply, to make a clear point of reference. This point is vividly illustrated by a conversation I had several years ago with one of the most intelligent, brave, and knowledgeable warriors I have ever met - COL Carl F. Bernard, USA (Ret.). He is a founder of the Soldiers for the Truth Web Site and an authority on the psyche of the grunt, the foxhole soldier - from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam wars in which he served with distinction and heroism. Carl served as a Marine in China during the last stage of WWII, as a platoon and company commander in Korea with Task Force Smith, and as a founding member of the Green Berets and advisor to a province chief in South Vietnam.
       COL Bernard was awarded the Army DSM for taking out two enemy tanks in Korea with hand grenades thrown into their hatches while the crews were reloading their machine guns to fire on his company. His troops were surrounded and many captured by the enemy (and forced to endure the long march under the yoke of the brutal North Korean Major, nicknamed the 'Tiger')' to prison camps on the Yalu River. Carl managed to fight his way free and escape the enemy encirclement on foot and return to fight again. Oh, lest I forget, Carl also has a PhD in International Relations from the University of California, Berkeley.
       Carl is fond of describing the ramrod steel spine and mindset required of a 'grunt' - a foxhole soldier on the ground. He speaks of the "
uncommon self-control required of one crawling on his belly toward some poor wretch with a machine gun firing at you, determined to take your life." In this context, he calls those of us who fought in the air war in Vietnam - draft dodgers. Carl is the only one on earth from whom I will suffer such an 'insult.' Why?  Because in the end of ends he is right. He has hit upon the core of what we have become since World War II. And by WE, I don't mean just the American people. I mean many who are in our armed forces now, many retired officers who have spent 20 to 30 years in uniform and never fired a shot at an enemy and have never been fired upon by one, and many who are now firing on an 'enemy' who cannot fight back.
       If we remind ourselves of whom we have engaged in combat over the past two decades, we begin to see the problem. Primitive Islamic fundamentalists in caves in Afghanistan, civil wars in Kosovo and Bosnia against a nation, Serbia, which has descended into Third World status, a 100-hour war against a rag-tag Iraq, a warlord in Somalia, a drug lord in Panama, and a 'nothing' in Grenada.
       More importantly, we have fought and are fighting these 'wars' with high-tech weaponry that has evolved from our experience in the Vietnam War. What was the incentive for developing such weapons, such as the 'stand-off' weapons which we see being delivered on CNN every evening news cycle? The incentive was to save lives. The Alpha-strikes which were often conducted by the entire air group aboard an aircraft carrier on Yankee Station off the coast of North Vietnam were devastating - both to the enemy and to our Navy carrier attack and fighter pilots. Many times we found that the enemy, somehow, 'knew' we were coming and amassed huge anti-aircraft firepower against the incoming raid. It was common to lose up to five or more pilots (out of 100 launched from both carriers) on such strikes.
       While on the USS Ranger, I never participated in these strikes but flew reconnaissance missions in the RA5C Vigilante in their aftermath - and been fired on by the enemy's residual anti-aircraft weapons. That was bad enough to make the hair on your neck crawl. But I have seen and talked to Alpha-strike pilots (A4 Skyhawk and F-4 Phantom drivers) after they returned. They would describe a sky full of lead, explosions in the air that rocked their aircraft, and SAM missiles zipping by with ominous results. With ashen faces and eyeballs that were nearly all white, they recounted the gravity of facing such an onslaught. Those who conducted Alpha-strikes on the Than Hoa bridge were especially grave during their debriefs.
       It was in answer to this problem that the military developed the stand-off weapons we see on TV today. The 'gee whiz' stuff of modern age 'combat.' The weapon could be released at altitudes over 15,000 (out of the range of most anti-aircraft fire) and delivered to the target by laser or satallite-based guidance from the cockpit and the crew would be free of risk to their lives. An unintended consequence of this development in advanced weaponry was that it took much less airmanship and skill to deliver the weapon on target. The old fashioned 'airmanship' skills (diving from the proper altitude, dodging anti-aircraft fire, putting the pipper on target, releasing at the proper altitude and dive angle and pulling out above the minimum escape altitude) morphed into penny arcade 'computer game' skills for the modern combat aviator who releases at 15,000 feet and watches, while moving the designator to the designated ground zero. 
       Coincident with this development came the Culture War element of radical egalitarianism - and the concomitant lowering of training and qualification standards. And finally, women-in-combat became a reality. This does not mean that the standards were lowered for everyone, although that has occurred in the case of a few men as well - LCDR Stacy Bates, for example, who lost control of his F-14 Tomcat in a climb out from the airport in Nashville, TN, crashed and killed several civilians. All to show off before his parents. The good ones, however, are every bit as good as the best of yesteryear. But, in order to meet politically imposed mandates (quotas) for females, the standards were lowered for those at the bottom of the qualification scale. And the weak ones have leaked through the screening sieve. Remember, for every female who is flying in Navy and Air Force jets in our airborne combat arms, she is
not in ADDITION to a qualified or more qualified male - she is there IN THE PLACE OF a qualified or more qualified male.
       This, of course, is not only due to the failure of America's young men to take on the responsibility of participating in our nation's defense through the all-volunteer force. It is primarily due to the fact that there is no longer a draft to force young men, many like those of us who chose naval aviation and other challenging combat specialties rather than be drafted into the Army during times of crisis. This failure is due to the lack of foresight and leadership of our political and military figures who are supposed to be 'out in front' of the people on these important national security matters. There are many superbly qualified men who would answer the call if there were a draft in place. But America's 'leadership' did not have the political courage to persuade the people of this truth.
       There is still another truth that escapes those whose 'oral' history goes no farther back than the days of the counter-culture revolution in the mid-60s. I will take an example from events in the 1990s. Recall that ADM Stan Arthur, USN (Ret.), who was the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations under ADM Jeremy Boorda in the mid-1990s. During the Navy's headlong dash to implement President Clinton's order to lift the exclusion of females in Navy fighter aircraft, ADM Arthur became a 'folk hero' in naval lore due to his grace in handling ADM Boorda's treatment of him in essentially hiring a failed female Navy helicopter pilot, LT Rebecca Hanson, and dropping support of ADM Arthur for the coveted post of Commander in Chief Pacific (all U.S. armed forces in the Pacific region).
       ADM Arthur exemplified more than that, however. He was the embodiment of a true war hero. He commanded naval air forces during the Gulf War and had been awarded 11 Distinguished Flying Crosses during his 500 missions over North Vietnam as an A4 attack pilot. Just think of it. Five-hundred missions. How in the world could anyone - even Superman - fly 500 missions in such a hostile air environment as Vietnam, and still live?  Ahhh!  But there is a point. One that is vital to the discussion here. It is a point that those of us with 'oral' histories that go back to the time of the G.I. generation know. But a point of which generations afterward simply are not aware.
       All who flew over the North in the Vietnam War knew that the A4 attack pilots often flew three flights a day, some during nighttime, in the Vietnam War. Each launch cycle of one-hour and forty-five minutes meant they were in the air for nearly six hours every day. This was a very exhausting routine, one requiring a strong constitution and substantial physical endurance (more on this later, regarding flights over Afghanistan). Many of these pilots, all volunteers (not draftees, I might remind you), served two or three one-year tours of duty in the Vietnam War. That is how one flies 500 missions over Vietnam.
       There is, however, a more important point to be made here. It is not just flying 500 missions over North Vietnam that is important. SURVIVING 500 missions over North Vietnam is THE POINT. How could anyone SURVIVE so many missions?  The answer is that the air defenses over North Vietnam, while concentrated and deadly in heavily defended target areas, were essentially absent everywhere else. If one flew above the range of small-arms fire (which was deadly below 3,000 feet), one had only to worry about surface-to-air missiles. And the latter were used by the enemy only when they saw massed attacks coming their way. I flew 'Iron Hand' missions as a 'decoy,' flying unescorted by fighter cover over suspected SAM sites at 3,000 feet and 1.1 Mach (680 knots) in full afterburner in hopes of luring the enemy to turn on their tracking and 'lock on' radars so that A4s on the deck with anti-radiation Shrike homing missiles could pop-up and take them out. The North Vietnamese would not go 'active' unless they either saw a mass attack in the air, saw a 'sitting duck' fly overhead, or were in danger of coming under attack themselves.
       It was this relative absence of air defenses over much of the target area of North Vietnam that allowed anyone to SURVIVE 500 missions there. Compare this number with the 50-mission limit imposed during World War II on flight crews of bomber and attack aircraft in the air in the European theatre. Yes, 50 missions was the limit. You flew your 50 and you went home. Why? Because the air defenses over ALL major targets in Europe - the Ploesti Oil Fields, Dresden, etc. were so massed and horrific that the life expectancy of a crew member after 50 such raids was so near zero that he was either dead or all of his contemporaries were dead. The fear was that after that limit the crewman would be close to being a basket case and relatively unreliable as a crew member. So he was sent home.
       The fact that stares us in the face is of paramount importance. All of the little 'conflicts' that we have called 'wars' since the Vietnam War have been less and less 'demanding' in the general sense described here. And the Vietnam War, as horrific as it was on the ground (every bit as horrific as previous wars from the standpoint of the 'grunt' on the ground) was not nearly as demanding as it was in World War II (both in Europe and in the Pacific). Recall that President Johnson imposed a 12-month limit (13 months for Marines) on the service in-country for draftees in the Vietnam War. During World War II we saw General George Patton slap a 'shell-shocked' soldier in a hospital in contempt of his 'cowardice' for not being back on the front lines. There was no such time-limit during World War II. You were there for the duration.
       What is the point of all this? It is precisely this. We Americans have lowered our standards and our expectations for our armed forces over time - imperceptibly, and with little recognition of that fact - because we have lost sight of the truth that we must be prepared to fight a foe someday of nearly EQUAL manpower and technological capabilities (the iconic image of such a foe is a technologically 'modern' China).
       We have eroded the standards that were in place during the major wars of this century as the foes we faced became less sophisticated, less technologically advanced, more Third World, more tribal, until now the foe is a hard, radical, tough, resourceful, dedicated, fanatic living in a tent, cave or a stone hut with primitive means and primitive needs. Fighting in HIS environment (maleness purposefully used), aided by their women only in their role of 'fecund pack animal' mothers (who will 'carve up the remains'), will require our 'warriors' to be trained in the 'warrior ethos' of old (not just World War II, but warriors who Victor Davis Hanson describes in the ancient Greek tradition) - all MEN. Rough hewn MEN with a will to fight and win our nation's wars, including the war against Jihadistan.
       Why do we need such men? I will not go through all of the arguments already made before by others about the physical and mental differences between men and women. But I will provide an example of the 'unexpected' circumstances that face us in the bombing of Afghanistan. It illustrates an important point. Our attack and fighter aircraft, including our large super-carriers, are magnificently flexible weapons of war. Who would have imagined when the USS Kitty Hawk was designed and built that it would be outfitted with a complement of attack helicopters and their Special Forces combat teams for insertion into Afghanistan - as opposed to an air group complement of fighter, strike, and support aircraft?
       Who would have imagined that the F/A-18 strike fighter and F-14 Tomcat fighter would be utilized to fly to targets so far inland, refuel eight times in flight, stay on station for four hours, and return to the carrier after an eight-hour flight and land aboard ship at night? No one! But it is happening.
       I can remember back in the late-50s that the A1 Skyraider, a single-engine propeller airplane with one crewmember - the pilot - was used as a nuclear weapons delivery aircraft. I remember training missions those guys flew which lasted 14 hours - 7 hours out, including low-level terrain-hugging navigation in the mountains and 7 hours back to the ship. They landed back 'home' at night. I can remember talking to those guys who were given 'uppers' (probably what is now called 'speed' in the drug parlance) by the flight surgeon and directed to take one or so an hour before recovery so they would be sufficiently alert - actually awake - to complete a night landing after 14 hours sitting on a hard parachute pack in a cramped cockpit. That took ENDURANCE. That took STAMINA. That took FOCUS OF ATTENTION.
       It seems as though we are going back to those times when MEN were MEN - by necessity, not design. It has much to do with the versatility of our naval air assets - the carrier and its complement of attack and fighter aircraft. But it is much more important than that. It has more to do with setting qualification and training standards for flight crews so very high that only the best get through.
       To understand this point, read an account ('Over Afghanistan, Gantlets in the Sky,' Wash. Post, 10/29/01) of a typical mission by F/A-18 strike pilots flying missions over Afghanistan from the decks of the USS Carl Vinson. "On the
steamy flight deck, Buzz climbed into his jet...It was like a sauna inside the cockpit, with the canopy closed and lengthy launch preparations underway. Flight deck crews hooked the jet to a catapult, and Buzz saluted, signaling he was ready. The catapult slung the Hornet forward at 150 mph, and he was aloft. In the air he met up with Beacon...and together with two F-14 Tomcats that completed the 'strike package,' they flew north at 4:30 p.m. The sweat soaking Buzz's flight suit quickly cooled as the jet climbed, and he fought off chills."
       "The jets reached land in less than half an hour. They followed designated routes over Pakistan, and then southern Afghanistan loomed below, desolate and extreme. Once in Afghan airspace, all jets fall under the control of an AWACS aircraft. The surveillance plane, communicating with the air war operations center at Prince Sultan Air Base near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, controls where the jets go and what they do. Buzz and Beacon were just inside Afghanistan when the AWACS radioed with instructions to forget the Taliban tanks - a better target had emerged."
       "'We've got some immediate tasking for you - stand by,' the controller said. Beacon was not surprised. Of the 10 missions he had flown, only once had he gone to the target discussed during the brief. The controllers keep finding targets they like better...'That increases the stress, whether you like it or not,' said Moby [the squadron Executive Officer]. 'If they give you a new location, you haven't had the luxury of doing that map study and photo study, and that makes it more difficult.'"  He might have added that without 'live fire' practice on the Vieques bombing range in Puerto Rico, it makes it much, much more difficult. But that is our politicians' fault, not the Navy's.
       "Hunting targets from high altitudes...can be difficult. Without reviewing satellite imagery beforehand, it can be risky...Unlike Bosnia and Iraq, Afghanistan has no integrated air defense network, only individual elements operating independently. On many missions, the pilots draw antiaircraft and sometimes shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles."
       "Early in the campaign, some bombs were falling short, and others were not exploding. 'The first few days, they weren't performing the way we would have liked,' said Moby. Not all the fault lay with the weapons; pilot error was also responsible. 'As the campaign has worn on, the number of errors has decreased,' Moby said. No jets from the squadron are known to have caused civilian casualties, commanders said."
       "It's pretty intense," said Moby. "At that point [when taking fire from the ground], you're going on reflex and training. You don't have a choice. If you bottom out too low or too slow, they can shoot you. Thing is, you don't want to spend too much time down there."
       "Beacon and Buzz and the two Tomcats [were] monitoring the position near Kandahar. 'They described a place and told us to find it and report any changes in its status,' Buzz said. 'We didn't have anything to report.' For hours, Buzz watched the site through night-vision goggles. He and the Tomcat took turns going to an Air Force tanker for fuel. Buzz would refuel
eight times during the course of the mission. At the target, all was quiet. The AWACS controller finally told them to return to the ship."
       "Carrier missions over Afghanistan often last six hours or more, three times longer than Buzz had previously flown. By now - his 6-foot-3-inch frame, immobile for hours atop a hard ejection seat - it was
painful to be in the cockpit. The toughest job still lay ahead: landing a jet on a carrier at night. Pilots do not worry so much about crashing: Every landing is graded, with the score posted on the ready room wall for their peers to see."
       "'In that last hour or so when you're flying back to the carrier, you're at your most exhausted,' said Buzz. 'You've already been to a hostile nation, you've concentrated the whole time, you've spent a lot of energy. Now you still have to produce equally intense amounts of concentration to land on the boat. But you're already sapped.'"
       "Approaching the carrier, Buzz popped peppermint candy into his mouth....At 12:25 a.m., the deck directly over the ready room shook. A closed-circuit television showed Buzz's jet catching a wire and coming to rest on the deck. He had been in the air
eight hours, a personal record. After a classified debriefing, Buzz walked into the ready room. His body was hunched and stiff, and he was exhausted.
"There was no time to dwell [on the flight]. In a 36-hour period, Buzz would fly 15 hours. In less than 10 hours, he was scheduled to brief for the next combat mission." Such is the life of a Navy combat pilot flying strike missions over Afghanistan. Such missions were not on the drawing board when the F/A-18 Hornet and F-14 Tomcat were designed. But the flexibility of these aircraft, along with their supporting elements, have allowed them to fight in environments that were not anticipated when they were built. Afghanistan was the last place in the minds of the planners when these aircraft were on the drawing boards over twenty years ago. But they are flexible in their mission only by virtue of the stamina, endurance, and energy of the pilots who fly them. The completely unexpected nature of the combat mission, the extended duration of the mission and the complete flexibility to 'plan and execute on the run' strains the pilot's abilities to the maximum. That is why we must always train and qualify only the BEST, not those who serve in the name of affirmative action, politically motivated quotas. For
every female who serves in a combat role or on combatant ships, there is an equally qualified or better qualified male whose place she takes. This situation should cast shame on those males who have left the defense of our nation in the hands of women and it is dishonest and a travesty for women to claim otherwise.

A Metaphor
       Most combat veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars who oppose women-in-combat have given up trying to turn back the political tide that made it happen. They warn in grave tones that one day America will wake up. They believe that when the 'body bags' start coming home with America's daughters, mothers, and sisters inside, then America will wake up, understand and make the necessary changes. But life is never that simple. Events spin out of control and what might appear to be a disaster from which recovery is difficult but certain may not be survivable.
       A metaphorical example is illustrative. Suppose the tallest of the twin towers of the World Trade Center buildings, the one with the huge, thick 200-foot antenna on its roof, is taken as a metaphor for America's experiment with women-in-combat. Let the building in its entirety be the analog of the U.S. military. Then postulate that the concept of women-in-combat is a part of the design of the building - part of its internal structural integrity - in military parlance, its cohesive force (that intangible 'unit cohesion' that is so often invoked by 'warriors' who have known combat).
       Before their destruction on 9-11, these buildings became the symbols of what is great about America. Their majesty above the New York skyline gave New Yorkers (indeed, many Americans across the country) a sense of pride, of awe, symbolic of our economic and technical superiority over any 'culture' in the world. They were a marvel of new construction techniques. They were designed to withstand 150-mile an hour hurricane force winds and the shock of being struck by a Boeing 707 airliner without either toppling over or collapsing to the ground.
       It turns out that the twin towers had a serious structural design flaw (See the TV program, 'Building the World Trade Center,' The History Channel, 10:00 p.m., 10/17/01). Its state-of-the-art modern construction techniques discarded the more solid, internally structurally sound, and more costly 'box beam' design and substituted a design in which all of the internal structural integrity was maintained by a skeleton of steel beams on the exterior perimeter of the building. The 'skin' of the building, that is, the glass and cement structural materials on the outer layer of the building were designed to maintain a more 'flexible' structural integrity.
       Given the nature of the terrorist attack, a direct hit with a fully fueled Boeing 767 (much larger than the 707 and loaded with 24,000 gallons of jet fuel), this design was a colossal mistake. The burning fuel reached temperatures of 2,500-2,700 degrees Fahrenheit and the outside steel beam structures reached their plastic limit, and buckled - thus destroying the structural integrity of the entire building. As floor after floor of heavy materials caved in on the center of the building, it simply imploded in on itself. There was no interior structure to hold it back. The potential energy of this implosion was converted into kinetic energy of falling materials and the building was reduced to rubble - and dust. The visual scene of that building crumbling and turning to dust is a metaphor for the women-in-combat issue.
       What you don't see in the picture is the weakening of the interior structure (the internal 'cohesion' of the building) - a metaphorical analog to the 'cohesion' of military fighting units. Women-in-combat not only weakens but destroys this unit cohesion in a combat unit. As the first external visual evidence of this failure, the huge antenna begins to fall into the middle - straight down, almost as if in slow motion - into the void in the middle. You then see the antenna disappear into the interior as the upper floors cave in and then - floor after floor - the building crumbles into dust. It is too late to take any corrective action. There is nothing that can be done. Down, down, down comes the structure as the cloud of what once was construction materials (and human beings) becomes powderized dust by the conversion of potential energy unleashed by the falling debris until, finally, there is nothing left standing. Only a billowing cloud of dust remains of the glorious symbol of America's economic strength.
       This metaphorical collapse is, indeed, the externally apparent and obvious result of the loss of 'unit cohesion' - the structural integrity of the 'building' - as some future unanticipated, unexpected event occurs which renders our armed forces vulnerable, built on the feminist fantasy that women and men are completely interchangeable and equally capable in fighting America's wars. America's survival depends on the structural integrity of its 'building' - its fighting military forces. And those fighting forces depend on maintaining the 'structural integrity' of its steel beams, properly assembled. Women-in-combat destroys this 'structural integrity.' The collapse of our military could very well be as catastrophic as the collapse of the North Tower building. It may disappear before our very eyes when faced with some unexpected challenge. And, just as with the collapse of the North Tower building, we may have absolutely no warning of its coming. It will be the result of an unintended consequence of policies taken with the best of intentions by some - by devious design of others. And there will be nothing we can do about it after it occurs. There will be no warning. There will be no 'graceful' failure. There will be no time to 'redesign' the 'building.' The consequences for America will be grave. The survival of American civilization is at stake. Women-in-combat is a very bad idea.
       Where do we find miniature examples of this 'badness?' There is one example that leaps out at a discerning reader of the news. Take the
343 ('Death toll in NYC falls by 1,400,' USA TODAY, 10/05-07/01) 'missing' New York Fire Department firemen in the Trade Center buildings. Of this number, there was not one single female. That is why we can say FIREMEN instead of the more politically correct term forced on us today, FIREFIGHTERS. On this point, we see complete silence from the New York and national press. But it is true. You can look this up on the FDNY Web Site. There is a complete list, by name, rank and battalion of the 'missing' on that site. All 343 are MEN!
       It is a fact that from 5 to 10 percent or more of the fire department personnel nationwide are women. Given that New York City is in the vanguard of the 'equal rights for womyn' movement, it would be expected that at least 10 percent of the FDNY is comprised of women. Where were the women when it came to answering the call to the World Trade Center Buildings? Why were they not there? Even the homosexual lobby takes credit for one of theirs in the death toll - the beloved chaplain of the FDNY. But complete silence on the women 'firefighters.' Could it be that the female firefighters were not called to duty because it was too dangerous to go? Could it be that the female firefighters were simply incapable of carrying 60-70 pounds of gear up tens of flights of stairs, wearing heavy firefighting suits, boots, hats, etc.? Could it be that they would have been a liability in trying to carry invalids, some able to walk, others in wheelchairs, down tens of flights of stairs to safety - as did the male firemen? The answers are obvious. They are answered in the asking. They were not competent to meet the demands of the crisis at hand.
       This example has some relevance to the metaphor we are discussing here for the U.S. military. When push comes to shove - who can tell us that the women-in-combat will 'answer the call?' Who is it in the command structure who will 'hold the weak ones back"? Who is it with experience in such situations can we trust to give us a straightforward, honest answer?  Now! Not after the catastrophe occurs. NOW!
       I will give you a few examples to show that those whom we expect to give us the straight answers may not show up. They may take a walk. They may obfuscate. They may hide. For many different reasons. And they are represented by themselves and others as our 'leaders.' At the highest level, we have the Bush administration officials who are quoted in the U.S. New & World Report as saying, "...
Front-line units won't involve women." But we see LT Ashley flying an F/A-18 strike fighter, delivering weapons on targets in Afghanistan. Does this mean that naval aviation is no longer a front line unit? Does this mean that, once being 'feminized,' it is no longer thought of (in the minds of our leaders) as a first rate, front line, fighting force? A rational person would conclude that this is so - at least in the minds of our political leaders. If it is, indeed, in their minds, it is only a matter of time that the young 'tigers' in our nation's cadre of young men who seek the ultimate challenge - those who in previous wars joined naval aviation for just such a challenge - will not choose naval aviation. If, then, such a thought is not in the mind of our political leaders, why are women still assigned to combat positions in the U.S. Navy? They cannot have it both ways. It is either one or the other.
       I will give you other examples. One is taken from conversations I have had over the past year or so with naval aviators, most of whom have roots in the U.S. Naval Academy, who are at the tail-end of the Boomer generation. They were born in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Most are Academy graduates of the classes of the early 1980s (the first classes which graduated female officers). As such, they are expected to be career 'warriors,' those who, at this stage of their chosen profession (O-5 through O-6), the so-called field grade officers, are expected to display the 'warrior ethos' leadership at the squadron commander through air wing commander leadership ranks.
       Conversations with these 'warrior' leaders are posted on this Web Site and are available at the link to the
Hollow Force Debate. A summary of some of their thoughts is presented here:
One, Mike, says that World War II leaders, those who graduated from the Academy in the early 1940s, such as RADM C.A. 'Mark' Hill, Jr. USN (Ret.), who are in opposition to women-in-combat, are "...woefully  out-of-touch grads [who] sputter and rail against the Naval Academy." RADM Hill, a submarine officer during WWII, a carrier aviator during the Korean War, and commander of the USS Independence during the Cold War, has essays published on his 'corner' on this Web Site. Visit it and decide for yourself who is 'out of touch' with reality. But, of course, one could expect nothing better from a member of the 'elites' of a generation, which, during the counter-culture revolution of their slightly older contemporaries of the 60s, said, "Don't listen to anyone over thirty."

Another, Stewie, who has had command of a fighter squadron says, "We won the Cold War, one that you did not."  Of course, what this Boomer does not understand is that the Korean War, fought at a time before his birth and the Vietnam War, fought when he was still in his childhood years were the only true 'battles' of the Cold War. He and his cohort missed out on those wars. Just being alive at the time and flying in Navy jets during the 1980s does not support his braggadacio, "We won the Cold War." His is a phony bravado.

This same former squadron commander reveals his contempt for those of us who fought in the Vietnam War, just as those Boomers who demonstrated against the war did (and still do), by saying, "I know it must be hard still fighting the ghosts of your past, it's too bad you are still fighting a war gone by - one that YOU never won..."  This is consistent with the propaganda that his generation's activists promoted during and after the war. That is, America lost the Vietnam War. He has never been informed that the Korean War and the Vietnam War were the only major battles that were fought during the Cold War against communist expansion. It is those who fought in those 'battles' who won the Cold War. He still doesn't understand that the U.S. military never lost a battle in the Vietnam War. It was 'lost' by the activism of those in his generation (the Clintons, Strobe Talbotts and 8 million or so others who are about 10-years older than he) who 'joined' Ho Chi Minh in the propaganda war at home, demonstrated against that war, and turned public opinion aginst it. America lost the propaganda war for the will of the American people due to the activism of young draft dodgers in his own generation. It would seem that a naval officer who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy would understand this - unless he was taught by anti-war activist professors there.

This same squadron commander reveals his juvenile view of his chosen profession by saying, "...my generation of proud Naval Aviators, servicemen and warriors... prefer to discuss in our Ready Rooms, our OK-3s, what's for Midrats, Gun Kills,  Roll Ems, next liberty port, last liberty port, the target we shacked, beating brand-x into the break, the latest tactics, etc..." This fantasy world, envisioned before the 9-11 terrorist attack on America, is the 'peacetime' environment in which our current Navy mid-level leadership inhabits. It is no wonder that the young 13er generation officers, those in the LCDR and below grades, have left the Navy in droves under this kind of Boomer generation 'leadership.'

And to let you know that this Nintendo game attitude toward the profession of naval aviation, and presumably the other 'warrior' specialties (except our Special Forces and the Marines), is not confined to anonymous conversants in the Hollow Force Debate audience, here is another example. CDR Edward Pollister Carroll, II is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1982. He is currently an 'ethics' instructor at the Academy, in charge of the Behavioral Sciences Masters Degree Program for Executive Office officers (O-3s and O-4s) who administer the Midshipman Brigade there. Of course, Behavioral Science - a new field of study introduced in place of much of the 'hard-science' curriculum, formerly emphasized at the Academy, is the 'therapeutic' entre to the naval service. This 'science' had its beginnings with Wilhelm Wundt of the University of Liepzig in the 1870s (Lionni, Paolo, 'Liepzig Connection,' pp.2, Heron Books, 1993). It was founded on the principle that, "...man is not accountable for his conduct, which is said to be caused entirely by forces beyond his control." Wundt is known as the 'father' of modern psychology.
Ward, as he is fond of being called, is the 'Anonymous' correspondent in the Hollow Force Debate posted on this Web Site. I chose to keep his identity confidential in that correspondence in view of his position at the Academy. He is highlighted here because he is typical of what I call the 'elites' of the Boomer generation - a significant minority of whom now serve in our armed forces. I changed my mind concerning his anonymity one evening (6:25 p.m., Wednesday, 10/31/01) when I saw him on Fox News, Channel 5, in the Washington, D.C. area - an active-duty naval officer in civilian clothes - voicing his support for President Bush's strategy in bombing Afghanistan (which is certainly admirable). But, and this is a huge but - he was there touting his new book, 'Punk's War,' published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press. Bret Hume devoted a full 30-seconds to touting CDR Ward Carroll's new book.
       I have read a synopsis of that book in the U.S. Naval Institute 'Proceedings' ('Punk's War,' pp.74-77, May 2001). Glowing reviews of CDR Carroll' book have been published in the Academy Alumni Association's 'Shipmate' magazine ('Punk's War,' pp.40, June 2001) and in the U.S. Naval Institute 'Proceedings' ('Books of Interest,' pp.85, June 2001). The book purports to 'tell it like it is' in today's naval aviation. It deals with "...the attitudes, outlooks and prejudices of junior officer flight crews, a self-seeking squadron commander, an unqualified ticket-punching CAG, an incompetent air operations officer and a surface warfare battle group commander ill-served by his staff." Its action-packed format includes "...plane crashes, liberty parties, [which] stir up drunken brawls...sniping at Air Force officers ashore [who] make a mockery of joint cooperation when overworked, overtired pilots are in desperate need of help." All of this has been experienced in previous decades by naval aviators who flew off carriers all over the world - in the '50s, '60s, 70's and in Ward Carroll's 1980s. There is nothing new here.
       Younger naval officers (part of the 13er generation cohort) criticize 'Punk's War' as being technically inaccurate in many respects (concerning the operation of a naval task force command center). In addition, the book makes these officers 'angry' because ('Punk's War,' LCDR Gregory V. Contaoi, pp.28, 'Proceedings,' September 2001) "...it looks as if everyone not living in a junior officer aviator bunkroom has had their brains and spines removed." In conclusion, the young naval officer critic concludes that CDR Carroll [and presumably his Boomer generation cohorts] have '...been watching too many Hollywood versions of the military. He's become part of the problem rather than being part of the solution." Maybe it is time to scrap the 'Top Gun' movie, starring Tom Cruise who can't even fly an airplane of any type, much less a Navy fighter jet. Or better yet, maybe it's time to send into early retirement those who purport to be 'warriors' in naval aviation (the Hollywood, Tom Cruise types) and step them aside for a younger, more practical and hard-headed cohort of real warriors.
       It is of interest here that CDR Ward Carroll acts typically like those ten years or so older in his generational cohort (the counter-culture revolutionaries of the mid-60s whose rallying cry was 'don't listen to anyone over thirty') by denigrating the knowledge and wisdom of previous generations' military leaders. For example, CDR Carroll excoriates GEN Charles Krulak, USMC (Ret.), former Commandant of the Marine Corps, in a commentary in the USNI 'Proceedings' ('The Debate on Ethics Must Continue,' pp.16, January 2001). "If there are any so-called [bad guys] eroding the moral fabric of the Brigade [of USNA midshipmen], they couldn't have asked for a better ally than the General. He has led the charge away from any real issues...the General chose to use a Washington-area Naval Academy Alumni Association luncheon as the forum for the airing of his criticism, an action that many on the faculty took as a signal that he was not as interested in effecting change at the Naval academy as his rhetoric might have suggested. He was, however, interested in creating an effort that would look to him as spokesman, which makes his statement that he has 'been associated with a portion of the ongoing debate' grossly disingenuous. He hasn't been associated with the debate; he's almost single-handedly conducted it...I agree with General Krulak that leadership is best taught by example and suggest the example he set during the debate speaks louder than any explanations he may offer about what he was really trying to do."
       Can you imagine this arrogant tirade from a Boomer 'elite' naval officer toward a distinguished and widely respected Marine General? Do you see why I have chosen to highlight CDR Ward Carroll as an exemplar of the 'elite' Boomers who are now in the mid-level command positions in our nation's military - why I choose to 'put a human face' on the radical feminist COLLABORATORS in the uniformed services? Here is CDR Carroll with absolutely no - repeat no - real warfighting experience admonishing a combat veteran (ground combat, I might add - the real warrior kind), a widely admired former Marine Corps Commandant who has more character and leadership in his little finger than CDR Carroll has in his whole being. This behavior is more typical of a Clinton-led, elite Boomer counter-culture revolutionary than of a traditional 'warrior' in the naval service. CDR Carroll exemplifies a small but vocal cadre of 'elitists' in today's military - and just think -- he is a product of the widely admired and venerated U.S. Naval Academy.
        Disgusting as this behavior is, it is not the major criticism of Ward Carroll's view of a 'warrior' in his Navy. The major criticism is
what he left out of his novel - and why. There is absolutely nothing new in his novel. The only BIG change that could and should have been addressed in the book is the inclusion of women in combat roles. This is the most significant change in naval combat aviation from decades prior to CDR Carroll's experience in the 1980s and 1990s. 'Punk's War' does not, however, even mention this all-important subject of the '90s - the 'feminization' of naval aviation, including women-in-combat cockpits in Navy fighters and strike aircraft. This must be a purposeful omission.
       This one important subject that 'Punk's War' fails to address is what Stephanie Gutmann ('The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America's Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars?, 2000) has called the nine-hundred-pound gorilla in the services' living room. She says, "It's a reason that tends NOT to show up on official data-gathering radar screens (government surveys, for instance)...because it is intangible, abstract, qualitative) and (and this is a big 'and') very politically incorrect in the very politically correct world of today's military."  I would add that this is true in the environment of Ward Carroll's 'Punk's War.' It is the command climate under which the military leadership - at all levels above O-4 - has acquiesced to the 'feminization' of the nation's combat arms. In the words of one 'super-fine' naval aviator she interviewed on the USS John Stennis, "...age 37 and only six years away from locking in a military pension, honestly...insisted  his [decision to leave the Navy] was 'not a money issue.' I joined the Navy with the intent to fly. Money wasn't a factor. I felt I made plenty of money for what I did, and I didn't stay in for so long because of the money but because I was enjoying what I did, but unfortunately I've seen the way that it's going and I'm like 'I don't want to do this!' My reasons for leaving just show the state of the Navy and why people are getting out.' The nut of what drove him out, he said, was 'the overall pressure of senior leadership saying we should be politically correct. It's
no fun anymore; we can't be men.'"
       So, there you have it. The men, the real 'warriors,' have been getting out, leaving in droves because they 'CAN'T BE MEN.' The 'feminization' of the U.S. military is, indeed, destroying our nation's combat capabilities. If Stephanie Gutmann can find this truth by visiting a deployed aircraft carrier in today's Navy, what keeps CDR Ward Carroll (who is much closer to the day-to-day operating environment aboard ship) from drawing the same conclusions. If he knows it, why doesn't he tell it? That is the dilemma for today's field-grade officer in all of the services. They must buy into the radical feminist agenda or face career ruin and eventual dismissal. But hard times require hard men.
       We may not find many such hard men in the Boomer generation cadre of officers, even those at the tail-end of the generational cohort. I could never even imagine having the time to write a book when I was on active duty - either ashore or deployed. We were far too busy training for and fighting our nation's wars. Now we see active duty Navy officers, in civilian clothes, on national news programs shilling for the sale of their books which are written to boost the morale of fellow naval aviators while at the same time currying the favor of their superior flag-rank officers - the same ones who have visited the political correctness plague on our nation's 'warrior spirit' in the first place. I guess they figure they can do this because they have seen many books published by female naval aviators or their mothers extolling the virtues of women-in-combat. If the Navy leadership allowed the women to write books and sell them through the Naval Institute 'Proceedings,' why not encourage men to do so? It appears as if the radical feminist agenda of 'female careerism' in the Navy has carried over to a sizeable number of 'elite' Boomer male naval officers.
       Another insight into the Ward Carrolls [the radical feminist COLLABORATORS] of our current Navy is provided by an article he wrote for the Norfolk Virginian Pilot ('Only at Tailhook,' 9/06/01). It is a brilliant morale-building piece on the 'New Navy' as it was welcomed back to the Tailhook convention. "...when my publisher sent me to this year's Tailhook Convention to sign copies of my new novel I went with an eye on the attitudes of the junior naval aviators, arguably the caste most traumatized by the pendulum swing over the past ten years. This year promised to be a good barometer: The secretary of the Navy had recently reestablished official ties between the Navy and the Tailhook Association, so active duty officer participation was once again blessed. And with that came the support of the defense industry. Tailhook officials related that they anticipated pre-scandal attendance figures." What is left out of this rah-rah piece is that fully one-third of pre-scandal Tailhook members left the organization forever because it would not stand up and defend the Navy's 'warrior' culture - it had acquiesced to the 'feminization' of naval aviation.
       It is also strange to have an active-duty naval officer sent to a convention to shill for his new book. Not only did the pre-terrorist-attack Navy have time and money for such frivolous pursuits, it seemed to believe that this is the reason for certain naval aviators' existence - public relations. This was, indeed, a fantasy world.
       CDR Ward Carroll continues, "I'd heard more than one admiral say recently, 'Pilots are having fun now; it's just different fun.' I know what 'fun' meant when I was a junior officer. What did it mean now? The second night in Reno (the convention has moved from Las Vegas) I ventured up to the hospitality suites to experience this new fun, fully expecting a series of bland and ill-attended receptions populated mostly by old guys. Instead I was witness to an esprit that struck me as more sincere and intense than anything I'd experienced in my heyday as a junior officer and
Cold Warrior."
       Here they go again. These guys, born after the Korean war was over, and young children during the years of the Vietnam War (the only true 'battles' in the Cold War) referring to his cohort as Cold War Warriors - as if they had actually participated in combat. These guys may have fought in the 100-hour Gulf War, flew no-fly-zone missions over Iraq, dropped standoff weapons from 15,000 feet altitude on targets in Kosovo and other 'wars' with Third World countries, but they did nothing in the Cold War except be alive and in the naval service at its end in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.
       Nevertheless, our self-appointed 'Cold Warrior' continues, "Any remnants of culture shock caused by the presence of female aviators were rendered moot by the
sea stories they confidently related.  They'd been on the tip of the spear and proved themselves on the terms carrier aviation established, not those of a congressional cabal. Even the most testosterone-fueled of their male counterparts had to respect that. Hotel security made their presence known, but that seemed unnecessary. The vibe was celebratory and directed, neither the mosh pit of old nor the staid tea party most feared would emerge from the trauma of political correctness. Everyone ! looked to be having, dare I say it... fun."
       Ah yes. This grandiose icon of the Boomer generation Navy 'warrior,' now at the stage in his career to lead 'warriors' into combat acts, indeed, as an instrument of the politically correct radical feminists who have undermined our military and rendered it weakened at just the time when it should be strong. Tip of the spear, indeed. Proven themselves in carrier aviation, indeed. In the 'powder-puff' environment of wars against primitives, warlords, Third World nations, in which CDR Ward Carroll has gained his 'combat' experience, and yes, indeed, in which the females have 'proved themselves.' But that is in a peacetime environment in which our potential foes are Third World or less. CDR Ward Carroll and the superiors to whom he genuflects are gutting the 'warrior' spirit that will be required when America comes up against a foe with huge manpower resources and a technology and industrial base nearly equal to our own. One has only to have been alive and observant over the past ten years to know whom that potential opponent is - China.
       The fact is that the versatility of the super-carrier in its ability to flexibly house complete Special Forces combat groups with their accompanying insertion helicopters is proving to be even more effective than the strike-fighter air groups to find and destroy ground targets from above 15,000 feet in places like Afghanistan. Such wars will be fought and won on the ground - not from the air. In that context, Ward Carroll and his misconception of his and his female companions' role in such a war is not transcendent. His role should be that of thinking ahead to the time when U.S. Navy carrier aviation will be called on to fight a first-rate world power in a war that will be more analogous to our World Wars than those which he now faces. Such a war could likely come over our defense of Taiwan. CDR Ward Carroll and his 'girls' had better be ready.
       The fact is that Ward Carroll and his 'girls' will never be ready for such a war. Their 'oral' histories do not go back far enough in time to know what is required. They denigrate World War II veterans such as RADM 'Mark' Hill, Jr. USN (Ret.) with catcalls of 'dinosaur,' 'out of touch,' 'anachronistic,' and worse. But they know not of what they speak. They know not what they do. In time, they will. But will it be too late for the rest of us?
       The close of CDR Carroll's article in the Norfolk Virginian Pilot states, "Ward Carroll is a commander in the Navy who teaches English and ethics at the Naval Academy. He's the author of Punk's War, a novel about carrier aviation and patrolling the no-fly zone over Southern Iraq." Isn't this a reassuring message to Americans who expect our 'warriors' to protect us from our enemies; the mujahedin, the Taliban, the terrorists who attacked the USS Cole, and those who wait on the ground in Afghanistan to 'come with their knives to carve up the remains.' And, lest we forget, the billions of MALES in China who will fight fiercely for their nation's hegemony in Southeast Asia.
       One last point on CDR Carroll, lest I forget. In an e-mail to me dated 12/15/00 with subject; Re: Part I, My defense of the New Age 'ethics' program at USNA, he wrote, "Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I like your allusions re: fighter pilots and our attitudes. You're dead on there, and you should be heartened by the fact that fire still burns in those with their hands on the tillers of today's Navy. I will also always share the view that to celebrate masculinity is not inherently at the expense of femininity."  If Ward Carroll and his part of the Boomer generation now at the helm of our fighting units in naval aviation really have this view - if interpreted positively in terms of those of us who oppose women-in-combat - then there is some hope. The fact that they cannot express this openly within the command structure and climate of their flag-rank leaders is symptomatic that our armed forces are in grave danger of collapse. The fact that CDR Ward Carroll will not speak this truth says volumes about the lack of courage, honesty, and integrity for those in this 'elite' Boomer cohort of naval officers. Such men cannot lead in hard times!
       Another active-duty naval officer, one who works in the Pentagon on the external terrorist threat, provides an interesting insight into what was on another 'elite' Boomer naval officer's mind that day. For anonymity's sake, let's just call him 'A Guy.' On the very day that the Pentagon was struck by the Islamic terrorists, 'A Guy' wrote me an e-mail defending the Federal Government's preparedness (or lack thereof) for such attacks. "I must say that your insinuation that 'our nation's leaders' (blew off) all these (obviously clairvoyant) newspaper articles and books and - therefore - were apparently derelict in acting to head off an episode such as this appears to me to be  gross grandstanding. I'm United States Navy, a Company man.  [I wish, instead, he would have said, 'I am an American.']... despite the 'D.C. bureaucracy,' I've Never, Ever, thought of 'our nations leaders' (I assume you mean the Congress/NCA) as derelict. [Did this guy vote for Clinton?] Unfortunately...neither you, nor I, nor - I assume - your other addressees have ever served as an 'elected' official. You've never had to worry about 30-somethings who are hounding their staffs 18 hours a day over their 72 year old grandmothers who can't afford medicine at the local pharmacy. You've never had to worry about kids who can't read well enough to take the SAT. You've never had to worry about prompt garbage collection every Tuesday afternoon. Or burning churches. Or the Estate Tax. Or the danger of cop pursuits. Or 17 year olds being driven by their 23 year old boyfriends to an abortion clinic without her parents' approval.  Or the price of gas at the Piggly Wiggly."
       This is unbelievable. This guy whose 'work place' has just been attacked by Islamic terrorists is concerned about congressmen's constituent handling, children's education, garbage collection, burning (?) churches [this guy must be a Clinton clone - black churches on fire across the land - NOT], his estate tax, and the danger of those mean ole' police who chase you if you steal an automobile and try to outrun them. And abortion clinics? My God, this guy has just lost friends in the Pentagon attack and he is worried about the price of gas at the Piggly Wiggly. It is hard to take these 'elites' of the Boomer generation seriously.
       It is clear that the 'hard hat' contemporaries in CDR Carroll's and 'A GUY's' generation - those who voted in the 'red' portion of the 2000-year election - and their younger contemporaries, the 13er generation cohort whom the 'elites' will have to 'lead' into battle, have a very different view of the 'warrior' world of military service. One of them, an active-duty naval officer, responded to 'A Guy's' comments as follows [in a message to me]. "You Sir are a great American! I visited your site from a link off of a recent email you sent to a USNA classmate and have just spent a few hours reading some of your dialog and other essays. The ones with "Stewie-Baby" had me howling!   Very presumptuous of him to claim 'our generation won the cold war.' Your facts about when the conflict started and who fought in it were of course correct."
       "In a nutshell, you are a breath of fresh air and I will be back to read more.  I have been branded as a wild man for saying some of the things you say.  They really thought I was out there when I semi-audibly sang songs to myself and overtly looked around the wardroom and day-dreamed during the post-Tailhook 'training' (which I properly referred to as 'reprogramming'), which we were all forced to go through."
       "Your discussions about the feminizing of the military, moral bankruptcy of our leadership, and loss of warrior spirit are all right on the mark. Though everything I read tonight was aviator related, I can assure you that the same stuff is going on out in the surface Navy, maybe more so."
       The problem is that it is not only the 'elites' of the Boomer generation who have 'gone soft' and allowed the 'feminization' of our nation's combat arms. A significant minority of those in previous generations have also contributed to this dilemma. Many in the Silent generation appear to be either ambivalent, confused, or lost in their logic concerning this important subject.
       Having given one example of the perfidy of an exemplar of the Boomer generation naval 'combat' officer [a COLLABORATOR], I follow with one of a retired Marine officer [a PASSIVE]. This example reveals the ambivalence of some in the retired officer ranks on the subject of women-in-combat. COL Bruce F. Ogden, USMC (Ret.) is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1953. I use COL Ogden as an example (rather than an anonymous label) because it helps to put a human face on the mind-set of many in the Silent generation who share his ambivalence toward the 'feminization' of the nation's combat arms. COL Ogden had a distinguished career as a field artillery officer in the Vietnam War and has combat awards that prove his 'warriorhood.' He fired at and received fire from a determined, resourceful enemy in combat. Ogden has served as a trustee-at-large of the Academy Alumni Association. He was made known to me by a retired flag-rank naval officer who stated that 'Ogden was strongly opposed to women in combat roles.' This flag-rank officer said that Ogden was fully in accord with our position on women-in-combat but had to play a 'quiet hand' because of the sensitivity of his position. That is, he could not 'go public' with his position on the matter without jeopardizing his At-Large Trustee post. Nor could he, presumably, be seen as concerting with those who
publicly opposed women-in-combat.
        It has, indeed, been affirmed by Ogden in many e-mails to his contemporaries and his supporters over the past several years that he had argued forcefully within the system, taking on the Superintendent of the Academy at the time on the issue of women-in-combat and other such issues - all to no avail.
       I have met COL Ogden in person, once - at my book signing for 'From Trust to Terror: Radical Feminism is Destroying the U.S. Navy,' conducted at the Barnes & Noble book store on Saturday, January 24, 1998 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in Annapolis, Maryland. I did not know that Ogden would attend. It turns out that he did. I met him after the signing and we engaged in friendly conversation on the subject on which we both agreed -- combat roles should not be open to women. He was accompanied by a young Marine (surmised by his close cropped haircut), who I presumed was either a family member or close friend. Ogden introduced himself and sat with me as I ate lunch in the book store cafe. We discussed the subject of women-in-combat. He aligned himself directly with my view on the subject, as did the young Marine. We had an amiable conversation. He did NOT, and I stress this important point, did NOT get up and leave the book signing presentation; either by himself or with others before it concluded.
       Strangely, Ogden's account of his part in my book signing differs radically from mine. In a message, Ogden to an alumnus, of 28 September 1999, Ogden states,
                              "I have witnessed one of Atkinson's public tirades that he conducted at the
                              Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Annapolis last year.  His verbal assault on the
                              leadership of the Navy, in particular Naval Aviation, was so offensive to [two
                              others] and me, that we 3 left in disgust."
This account appears strange given the facts of our meeting. Beside the fact that Ogden's statement is not in accord with the facts, his account is contrary to everything that he purported to be arguing against in the 'private' confines of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association and to his contemporaries. The facts are that [the flag-rank officer] got up and left to catch a commercial flight [as he had told me in a prior conversation that he must do] and another, a disgruntled Marine officer who had been forced to resign after 8 years on active duty, was 'told to leave' [he did] the book signing because he had tried to disrupt the event. COL Ogden did not get up and leave. He and his young Marine companion stayed to the end, sought me out afterwards, and carried on a civil and supportive conversation about my efforts to oppose women-in-combat.
       All of this is prelude to the final event - COL Bruce Ogden's e-mail message, dated 10/01/01, to his contemporaries,
arguing in support of women-in-combat. The subject line of the e-mail was, Re: Women in the Navy. This message stated:

                           "For the record, my son is attending Weapons Training Instructor
                           Course at MCAS, Yuma, the Top Gun equivalent for USMC helicopter
                           pilots. The first USMC female pilot student (a USNA grad) is a member
                           in this class. As
could be fully expected, my son reports that her performance
                           at the halfway mark is "great". He also reports that
her close friend is the first
                           female pilot also attending the fixed wing Top Gun Course at MCAS, Miramar.
                           These 2 female pilots have been selected for these 2 most prestigious Naval
                           Aviation combat schools as having demonstrated superior pilot and leadership
                           skills within their highly demanding professional warfare specialties. My
                           son, in whose judgment I place special trust and confidence, reports that
                           they have the unified support of their fellow pilots.
                         
Who are we to contest whether or not the DoD policy that provides the
                          opportunity for them to be there is correct, particularly at this time of
                          national emergency? Any policy consideration in that regard is OBE as of
                          9/11/01. All of
our warriors deserve our unstinting public support now and
                          for the duration. Anything less is unworthy of the U.S. Naval Service
                          profession."

My goodness. This Marine father, a self-professed opponent of women-in-combat for all the right reasons for at least a decade before the terrorist attack on 9-11 has (as the young Top Gun Navy pilot said of LT Ashley) 'joined
her Navy.' What kind of twisted thinking is this? If you grant that COL Ogden's behavior before 9-11 may not have been devious and give him the benefit of the doubt - that he was simply confused - his abrupt turnaround after 9-11 is truly bizarre. If women-in-combat was a bad idea in peacetime, it is a terrible idea in wartime - for all of the reasons advanced in this essay. Anyone who would change his mind in the face of our current 'shooting war' is not only confused, but has been rendered PASSIVE just as were 80 percent of our Korean War POWs, young, poorly educated, and poorly equipped soldiers were rendered PASSIVE by their Chinese indoctrinators during the Korean War.  This kind of thinking will only place America in further peril.

Who Will Tell Us the Truth?
       If we cannot depend upon the COLLABORATORS, the 'elites' of the Boomer generation, to tell us the truth and we cannot depend upon the PASSIVES in the Silent generation to tell us the truth, then whom can we trust to give us the straight word? It is clear that we cannot depend on the mass media - the national newspapers, television news broadcasts, and national magazines to tell us the truth. They are all in the hands of the 'elites' of the Boomer generation. For example, NEWSWEEK magazine ran a story in 1997 by two 'elite' Boomers, Evan Thomas and Gregory Vestica ('Falling Out of the Sky, pp.26, 3/17/97) which dealt with the fatal accident of one of the first female Navy F-14 fighter pilots and the radical feminist reaction to her death. The article focused on LT Carey Dunai Lohrenz, a contemporary of the pilot lost in the accident and her plea for a 'network' of women with whom to commiserate. The article was nothing more than a radical feminist propaganda piece for women-in-combat. If these two females did not measure up to traditional standards, then the answer (according to the radical feminists) was to have more women in combat roles.
       An egregious example of lack of knowledge in reporting on military affairs was Evan Thomas, the Washington Bureau Editor for NEWSWEEK magazine, who parroted the radical feminist line on women-in-combat (promulgated primarily by lawyers) in both NEWSWEEK and on the CBS-TV political talk show, 'Inside Washington' (CBS-TV, 11:00 a.m., 3/09/97).  He presented the reasons (
the Navy set them up to fail) that the first five female combat-trained Navy carrier pilots failed on their first deployment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and were removed from carrier aviation duty. I rebutted the arguments made by the two 'elite' Boomer authors in that article. This rebuttal is repeated below.

The Rebuttal to Evan Thomas' NEWSWEEK Article
       I rebutted (Atkinson, Gerald L., 'Letter to Evan Thomas,' 3/13/97), point-by-point, Evan Thomas' description of so-called 'prejudice' of male naval officers in dealing with the first crop of female 'fighter pilots.' It is fruitful to paraphrase that rebuttal here as an example of the complete lack of understanding by the nation's mass media of what combat naval aviation is and is not.
       Mr. Thomas' 17 March Newsweek article, "
Falling Out of the Sky," is the most one-sided, uninformed gibberish I have yet to see in a major media outlet.  He gives himself away when he uses such terms as 'fraternity boys' and 'clubby world' to describe carrier naval aviators and their professional environment.  That may be a part of his yuppy world but that is not an apt description of the profession of naval aviation.
       In addition, it is clear that Mr. Thomas has absolutely no idea of what it takes to be a professional carrier naval aviator. His comment, '
Nuggets [newly minted naval aviators] need extra teaching and training to become accomplished at the precarious business of landing jets at sea," is particularly ill-informed.  Even 'nuggets' are supposed to have demonstrated at least a minimum of aeronautical skills to earn their 'wings of gold.'  After all, by the time a pilot reaches a fleet operational squadron, he or she has gone through and presumably mastered the requirements of many stages of flight training.  In addition to his or her pre-flight, primary, and advanced flight training (about 16-20 months of intensive flying one-on-one with a flight instructor and other trainees), he or she must progress through familiarization, instruments, tactics and carrier qualification training in the fighter or attack aircraft he or she will fly in the fleet before being assigned to an operational squadron.  By this time he or she is not supposed to exhibit substandard flying performance. After all, he or she had supposedly met at least the minimum performance standards at this stage. The epidemic of Field Naval Aviation Evaluation Boards (FNAEBs) (for females and males) in today's Navy is evidence that some of these pilots have not met such standards in their training. This is a stark departure from previous Navy experience.  In fact, I had heard of only one FNAEB conducted in any air group in which I served in over 20 years of carrier aviation.
       Mr. Thomas' comments that LT Lohrenz was treated with little compassion after her friend LT Kara Hultgreen died in a carrier landing accident shows absolutely no understanding of the psyche of a 'real' combat carrier pilot.  For example, he states "
When a pilot is killed, his squadron-mates often take a few days off."  Nonsense!  I will never forget the day when I, as a 'nugget,' assigned to a squadron flying the most dangerous fighter in the Navy at the time, the F7U-3M, was on the bridge catwalk with a friend watching daylight landings on the USS Forrestal 'shakedown' cruise. An FJ-3 'Fury,' flown by one of the best aviators in the air wing, made a perfect landing to the three-wire. The arresting cable suddenly snapped and the fighter 'majestically' rose in a slow arc, and flipped over on its back as it crashed into the sea beside the ship. The pilot had no chance. We watched as the aircraft slowly, softly sank from sight -- carrying the executive officer of Fighter Squadron 21 to a watery grave.
       My friend and I were astonished, aghast. We simply looked at each other, not speaking, in overpowering awe and disbelief at the spectacle we had just witnessed. Then it hit us at the same time.  The pilot had done everything right. And still he died. We flew the
next day, bringing one of the world's most under-powered and dangerous jets, the F7U-3M Cutlass, aboard under the guidance of the old 'paddles' landing signal officers.
       This was the profession that we had chosen.  There was no 'weeping.'  There was no hand-holding. There was no commiseration and support in any conversations with either our ship-mates or our superior officers. At such times, each carrier pilot looks deep into his own soul and asks, '
Do I still want to do this?'  One knows that he has become one of a band of brothers when the answer comes bubbling up from the depths of one's very soul - YES!  A loud, booming, resounding YES!  It is at that moment that a man knows that he has become one of a band of brothers. No one took a vote on it. No one decided for him. He decided all by himself -- YES!  And he became, at that instant, one of a band of brothers. No membership card. No collective initiation. He chooses to become a member of that select group of professional 'warriors.' Each and every one who belongs to such a band of brothers knows immediately upon meeting another that he and the other belongs. It is almost a blood bond. It is almost genetic. It is strong. It lasts for a lifetime. And it is real.
       It is not a band of sisters. And it is not a band of brothers and sisters. It is a primal bond that looks to nature for its explanation. It is a 'civilized' human condition. It is a 'warrior' tradition. It is at the heart of what Western civilization has offered mankind - a fierce determination by its MEN to protect the freedom of its people. In American civilization, this determination is expressed in a professional 'warrior's' pledge to protect and defend our Constitution.
       I have had over 35 friends, shipmates, and fellow carrier naval aviators die as a result of 'peacetime' training and wartime tragedies. Anyone in this profession has had the same experience. We did not need any '
adequate support' as Mr. Thomas decried as being lacking for today's female carrier pilots. We reached down into our own soul for the strength and courage to be a part of a profession that we loved and respected. That is the price we paid. But the benefit we gained was the pure joy of getting out of bed each morning and 'champing at the bit' to meet the day's (or night's) challenge. We loved what we were doing. And we were damn good at it.
       A former squadron commander of mine, CAPT Herb Ladley, USN (Retired), is a World War II veteran. He tells of his first carrier qualification in the F4F fighter on the old 'paddle-wheel' ships on the Great Lakes. He was a bit high on final approach, decided to go around, and his tailhook caught the top of the barrier (a cable stretched across the deck at a height of about five feet to arrest errant landers).  This resulted in the plane slamming down on the deck, becoming partially airborne again and then crashing into the water ahead of the ship. After being fished out of the chilly water, soaked to the skin, he was taken to sick bay, and given a shot of brandy and dry clothing. His squadron commander visited him there and told him to suit up. He was scheduled for a continuation of his carrier qualification that same day. He did. No questions asked. No whining. As any farm boy from the Midwest knows, the best thing to do after being thrown by a horse is to get back on and ride.
       Did LT Carey Dunai Lohrenz meet those same standards? In fact, Mr. Thomas' piece completely by-passed the fact that naval aviation training standards at all levels have been gradually reduced over time. This practice, started in the early 1980s and accelerated today, is destroying naval carrier aviation.
       Other parts of Mr. Thomas' article are particularly revealing. He stated that LT Lohrenz required "
...10 'passes' at landing on the carrier the day she learned her comrade had died," and that she told her RIO in the back seat that "I'm going to have some snakes in the cockpit today." My God! Anyone needing ten passes to get aboard ship is a hazard to herself, her back-seater, and her shipmates. These are simply not the flying skills of a qualified carrier aviator. It is no wonder her 'back-seater' had chilly things to say to her. She probably scared the poor guy to death with her 'snake' talk. Those guys in the back seat are utterly and helplessly dependent on their pilot to bring them aboard ship safely. He obviously knew that LT Kara Hultgreen's back-seater had to eject them from her 'out-of-control' jet at the last fraction of a second and he nearly didn't make it. It was her duty to initiate the ejection. She failed in this task. LT Lohrenz, LT Hultgreen's friend, simply didn't understand her responsibility to calm the fears -- maybe even the abject terror -- of her RIO in being assigned to fly with her.
       Mr. Thomas' revelation that LT Lohrenz became airsick and '
threw up' later on during the USS Abraham Lincoln's Persian Gulf cruise is particularly revealing. He also revealed that LT Lohrenz was "...afraid of a worse fate: coming in too low and cracking up her plane on the fantail." Even 'nuggets' are not expected to become airsick. By the time they reach their first operational squadron, they should be well beyond that point, even if they might have become airsick early in their primary flight training.  I have never known of a fleet aviator, even a 'nugget,' who became airsick while flying. More importantly, fear has no place in carrier naval aviation. I can honestly say that I have never ever had a 'fear' of hitting the fantail. Neither have any other professional carrier aviators I know. We know it happens.  But we do not fear it.
       When flying aboard ship, you are so engrossed in the mechanics of flying the aircraft in relation to the ship that you have absolutely no fear. There is no time or place for it. If you are, indeed, fearful of hitting the ramp, your worst fears will eventually be realized. 'Spotting the deck' is one of the cardinal sins in carrier aviation. That is why sound training and operational experience are so important. You are too busy utilizing your professional aviation skills that there is simply no time for contemplation of 'outside' thoughts. Fear of hitting the ramp has no place in the psyche of a carrier naval aviator. If you have such fear, you do not belong. You will die an early death.
       Contrary to Mr. Thomas' view, we naval aviators did not and do not use '
drink and carousing' to 'conquer our fear.' Fear of everyday dangerous flying tasks has no place in naval aviation. If you have such fear, you are a danger to yourself, your squadron mates, and your ship. You are so busy concentrating on the professional skills honed by a rigorous training and qualification standard that there is simply no place for fear. Contemplation of fear during a dangerous flight is a sure recipe for disaster.  A night catapult shot, a night and/or bad weather carrier landing, a flight through a sky that is exploding with bright yellow fireballs and black puffs of anti-aircraft fire do not end favorably if you are guided and/or driven by fear. Only absolute concentration and an uncommon self-control allow you to negotiate those challenges successfully. Those of us who have successfully met those challenges know that rigorous training standards rendered us ready to face adverse circumstances, even when we were 'nuggets.' We used to joke with each other (once we made the final cut) that 'Given enough bananas, you could train a monkey to fly aboard ship.'  Without those rigorous standards, however, all bets are off.
       Mr. Thomas sympathizes with LT Lohrenz' comment that women need a large network of 'bonded' females in order to be successful in naval carrier aviation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. One's ability to fly a high performance jet aboard a carrier has absolutely nothing to do with '
bonding or fraternal support.' It is just between you, your machine, and the carrier deck. You have either mastered the mechanics of this or you have not. Rigorous daily training and absolute concentration render a naval aviator competent. Nothing else matters. It does not depend at all on some ethereal sense of community.  You either have mastered the skills required or you have not. If you have not mastered these skills, no amount of 'bonding or fraternal support' is going to land that aircraft for you, especially in poor weather, at night, and/or with choppy seas.
       Another point. Mr. Thomas' comment that '
Landing...a warplane on a heaving deck in the middle of the night is extremely difficult. In the clubby world of naval aviators, macho posturing is a way of fighting off fear, drinking and carousing a way of easing the pressure.' Carrier aviation is indeed hazardous. That is part of its appeal. But not all carrier aviators are 'macho' posturers and not all 'drink [to excess] and carouse.' Many of us were quiet, competent, professionals with wives and families who relished the daily challenge of naval aviation. In fact, I have known only a few others who fit the mold of which you speak. But they usually failed. In fact, one such 'macho, drinking, lady-killer,' who constantly bragged of his flying skills during peacetime cruises visited our ship on Yankee Station off the coast of North Vietnam. I asked him, 'Charlie, what in hell are you doing here?'  He said that he was serving as the 'spotting officer' aboard a battleship which was shelling the beach from offshore. His answer.  'I turned in my wings. I just couldn't stand the thought of being shot at.'  Bravado may be the image Mr. Thomas has of naval aviators. But believe me, the good ones, then and now, are those who are relatively quiet, competent, and gentlemanly. But don't get into a fight with them. They are trained to kill.
       Mr. Thomas' NEWSWEEK article, typical of the mainstream media, is full of the whining, excuse-making, and silly drivel of a failed cadre of 'would-be' naval aviators. The fact of the matter is that this group of female combat pilots are representative of the failed 'affirmative action' policies that have weakened the Navy over the past sixteen years. The book, "
The New Totalitarians: Bosnia as a Mirror of America's Future," details this slide to mediocrity of naval aviation and the U.S. Navy at large. Double standards for females and minorities have, gradually over time, resulted in reduced standards for all. Clear evidence of this decline is revealed in the number of FNAEBs which are being convened in operational combat squadrons.
       It is clear that Evan Thomas and others in the media are swallowing the radical feminist propaganda regarding women-in-combat. With the media's ignorance of the military's 'warrior' ethos, how else could it be? The record is clearly showing that this experiment is not working. Training and qualification standards have been lowered. Males as well as females are being 'winged' under reduced standards in naval aviation training. Fighting effectiveness decreases. Morale plummets. We are at increased risk of a catastrophic military failure in the future.
       Mr. Thomas' article reveals a direct media bias for the radical feminist position.  "But the experience of the female fliers aboard the Abraham Lincoln...shows that some deep prejudices will have to be overcome before women can be accepted as top guns."  His bias is revealed when he asserts that anyone who is opposed to women-in-combat is prejudiced, and, presumably biased and chauvinistic. In fact, the U.S. Navy experiment with women-in-combat is not working. And those of us who are opposed to women-in-combat, including a vast majority of those who have actually participated in killing other human beings in combat, can stand on evidence, experience, and reason to back our position. It is not 'prejudice.' It is common sense, backed up by vast experience -- actually over 6,000 years of the latter -- which is at the heart of our opposition to women-in-combat.
       So, if we cannot depend on the mass media to tell us the truth, on whom can we depend to give us the straight scoop? The answer is straightforward and simple. We can go to those who have been there. Those who have seen the horror of a real shooting war with a 'worthy' foe. Read what one such 'warrior' has to say.
       All of this is prelude to the thoughts of a seasoned combat warrior of the World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars. After the last election, he reported on the condition of our military. "The U.S. armed forces could go belly up within the next 10 years just the way the Soviet Union's army did in 1990. As its disastrous performance in the Serbian conflict showed [in Kosovo], our forces would have a hard time fighting a serious campaign. If a rebuilt, even-badder Iraqi army...becomes Mr. Bush's first real challenge, he'll find our forces aren't up to even a half a Desert Storm. Terrible leadership [from the top], who stuck our soldiers in...Kosovo and replaced the warrior ethos with sensitivity values, has taken its toll. Eight years of under-funding the actual costs of running and modernizing the force have resulted in worn-out or near-obsolete equipment and warriors so dispirited that far too many have been hanging on to their helmets and hiking out the front gate."
       "Now, suddenly, [the top brass] are agreeing with their new main man [President Bush]. Funny how that happens among those who've spent their lives making sure they're firmly attached to the right coattails. Of course, if you don't kiss up in today's self-serving military hierarchy, you can kiss your career goodbye."
       "Our armed forces wouldn't be in such a funk if we had straight shooters in charge - the type who put country over career and don't buy into an agenda; gutsy leaders who truly live by the code of duty, honor, country; two-fisted heroes like Matt Ridgway, Curtis LeMay and Arleigh Burke, all of whom would've resigned rather than executing the sorry changes and dumb operations of the Clinton years."
       "Right now, great leadership is what our military needs to get our forces back on track, not bigger bucks, leaders who will always tell you the truth instead of going along to get along. There aren't many of these types in the current crop of generals and admirals, but there's a rich mother lode in the recently retired ranks. You should consider a mass firing of the former and a major recall of the latter. I can think of 50 bull colonels and Navy captains who could immediately put on stars. They'd be politically incorrect, say what they think and might be a bit rough around the edges, even chew, but they can lead."
       This battle-hardened soldier has a word of advice for the President - and all of us. "Then get hold of James Clavell's 'The Art of War,' read it daily and live by Sun Tzu's golden rule:
                                                 'The art of war is of vital importance to the state.
                                                 It is a matter of life and death, a road either to
                                                 safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances
                                                 can it be neglected.'"
I can offer no better conclusion for this essay than to urge all of us to keep this sage advice in mind as we firm our resolve to destroy our enemies and preserve our Constitutional Republic.

Conclusion
       Our military training and qualification standards have been degraded precipitously since our nation's last major war, World War II. These standards and our perception of what is required have been degraded in gradual increments - almost imperceptibly over any single generation's time in the interval - such that we now speak of 'warrior' women dropping bombs from above 15,000 feet (out of range of any possible danger to themselves) on a primitive enemy with primitive needs and with only primitive means of conducting warfare. These 'warriors' drop their bombs in an environment that is more akin to a practice bombing range than a real battlefield. The 'simulated' battlefield has led us to 'simulated warriors.' Contests, which have at stake the survival of civilizations, cannot be won by such a 'fighting' force. American civilization is much too precious, not only to us but to all mankind to place its survival in the hands of those who have degraded our armed forces beyond measure.
       So, what is the solution? What is the way out of this difficulty? How can the design of the structural integrity of our armed forces be reinforced so that it does not collapse like the North Tower of the World Trade Center complex? To find a solution, we must go back to our history and find our way. The solution lies with taking several steps - all aimed at finding the national leadership (political, military, cultural, and economic) with the 'toughness of mind' required to seek the truth, find the root of the myriad problems and implement practical solutions. We must find our next President Truman, our next Generals Grant, Sherman, Patton, and Puller. We must find a way to retire the 'elite' Boomer leadership from all of America's institutions.
       The idealistic Boomers, like their predecessors of the Transcendental generation of the Civil War days, are not capable (on the whole) of leading us out of the abyss. Those that are capable, those who take the attitude of the 'hard hats' of their generation - those Americans who opposed, sometimes with force, the Boomer 'elites' in their youth - will be called on to 'neutralize' their generational brethren. I see this in the huge response to my Web Site, especially the Hollow Force Debate section, by active-duty military personnel who are presumably of the Boomer generation or younger. While the CDR Carrolls, the Guys and a handful of others wax eloquently over their 'joining LT Ashley's Navy,' the 'hard hats' of their generation are reading my essays, commenting favorably among their contemporaries, and encouraging them to 'spread the word' about this Web Site. We are seeing some of this as well in the attitude of hard-headed resolve and commitment by President Bush and his advisors. This must continue through the next decade until the 'elites' of the Boomer generation dissolve into elderhood - out of reach of the reigns of power.
       Who will then be at the helm? The 13er generation, that's who. They are the generation from which the hard-headed leaders with sufficient 'toughness of mind' will be recruited. They will be our next Pattons, capable of bringing victory on the 'battlefield,' be it in the mountains of Afghanistan or the seas surrounding China. The 13ers, the successors to the Lost Generation, which produced such practical leaders, will be able to make the hard decisions required to WIN our nation's wars.
       Listen to what one of them has to say (Meakin, Joe, 'Gen X to bin Laden: Beware,' Letters-to-the-Editor, Wash. Times, 10/24/01) of their generation - now in their 20s and early 30s. "...those who are concerned with the mettle of the generation currently comprising our military forces need a reminder. Gen X [the pop-culture nickname for the 13th generation - the 13ers - since our Revolutionary War] had its formative years in the Reagan era, which was focused on cleaning up the mess left by the baby boomer generation. Gen Xers became the troops of Desert Storm - the war that redeemed the military after Vietnam, and many of them are now military leaders in this new war. The frontline troops are part of Generation Y [the Millennial generation]. Their motivation, just like Gen X, is to be a part of the solution, not the problem."
       "Had this challenge taken place during the 1960s, 1970s, or during the boomer flashback of the Clinton era, I might agree with concerns voiced by [the doubters] that today's generations aren't tough enough. It didn't, however, and Osama bin Laden and his ilk chose the wrong time to attack the American people. Yes, after eight years of focusing on political correctness, O.J. Simpson and the extracurricular activities of Bill Clinton and Gary Condit, Americans now have to change the way they think and feel, but the new generations are ready, willing, and able."
      Indeed, the 13ers and those in the ranks of the young adult Millennial generation (our next Civic G.I. generation) will meet the Social Moment, the current Secular Crisis, that looms before us. It is the job of those 'red map' Americans of the year-2000 presidential election, the 'hard hat' and anti-elite Boomers as well as those in the Silent and what remains of the G.I. generation to hold back the power elites of the Boomer generation until the 13ers can make their mark on our military, social, educational, religious, and political institutions. If we 'old folks' and 'young folks' can do this, America has a chance of facing and defeating her enemies, whomever they are and wherever they may be. And, in the words of President Lincoln, preserve '...the last, best hope of earth.'


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