Eros and Estrogen on the Front Line

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Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?
Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?
Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

This December it will be 42 years since the last male was drafted into combat, but it looks like the fun is just starting for women. Not that they will be going to the post office to register anytime soon. Instead woman already in the military — who thought they were being all they can be by typing 130 WPM or checking PowerPoint presentations for typos — will find themselves assigned to combat arms to meet a quota designed by a wide–load Member of Congress whose most strenuous activity is the Pilates class she makes once a month.

Still, they won’t be seeing the elephant overnight. Right now only a handful of the 203,000 women currently in the military can pass the physical for combat infantry or Marines. When faced with the reality that women can’t pass the test, Congress and Pentagon paper–pushers will change the test until they can pass.

(For details see the shifting metrics that define Obamacare. Currently the administration has ruled that if a patient is able to get an appointment with the foreign–born medical professional she’s stuck with in the new, severely limited health care network — and the doctor doesn’t recommend bleeding as a cure — the program is a success!)

Unfortunately, when you lower standards by definition you get substandard material. This is not to say women as a group are substandard. I’m married to one that’s outstanding, but even in her twenties she wasn’t ready for combat.

The Marine Corps, which I was counting on to maintain standards, is showing signs of going wobbly. CNS News reports the Corps has delayed a requirement that female Marines do a minimum of three pull–ups. The postponement came after 55 percent of females in boot camp couldn’t meet the standard. By comparison, only 1 percent of the males failed.

This test is important for the future of our military’s combat effectiveness because upper body strength is vital both in combat and on the front line where soldiers carry ammunition, lift the wounded, manhandle sandbags and tote weapons.

I suppose we could allow women to push a shopping cart into combat or issue ‘spinner’ luggage. But that won’t work either because after she fills the bag with shoes there won’t be any room for equipment.

The deadline for degrading the combat arm is 2016 and as the date approaches, and the lack of qualified women becomes obvious enough for even a Democrat to see, that’s when the pressure to change the test will be the most severe.

Pentagon mouthpieces may continue to reassure an anxious public that physical standards won’t be lowered to pass females into the combat arm, but recruiters also telling female recruits they can keep their doctor.

What’s really strange in all this is the left’s inability to maintain a consistent story line. On one hand every female recruit is a potential Lt. Ellen Ripley. On the other, current female troops are already engaged in hand–to–hand combat with members of the opposite sex and they’re losing. The female that’s ready to put her life on the line in defense of her country is evidently incapacitated by a pat on the behind.

The Pentagon recently released the results of a survey that showed 6 percent of the women in the military (a total of 12,000) were victims of unwanted sexual contact. This covers everything from rape to following too closely in the chow line. (Maybe the left wants women issued rifles so they can defend themselves when they’re on the receiving end of sexual friendly fire.)

But as The Washington Times Rowan Scarborough has pointed out the Pentagon’s results are wildly out of step with overall US statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey showed that in contrast to the Pentagon’s 6 percent, only “one-fourth of a percent of women ages 18 to 34 had suffered such abuse in 2010. Preliminary numbers for 2012 show a rate of just over four-tenths of a percent.”

The difference in the numbers reflects methodology. The Pentagon survey, so beloved by sexual harassment axe grinders, used email for results. The Bureau survey used 146,570 in–person interviews and follow–up telephone sessions. In–person and telephone interviews are the gold standard of survey research. By comparison if cheap email surveys were accurate, politicians would use them in their campaigns, but they don’t.

The Pentagon survey even manages to have a larger total of victims than the total of completed surveys. One item that was particularly interesting is the 14,000 men that claimed they were victims of sexual assault, which means some men were evidently telling in spite of official policy not to ask.

Of course inaccurate results are no obstacle for leftist social engineers if the numbers can be used to advance an agenda. The Obama administration likes to depict our fighting arms as havens for macho cavemen that need to be curbed. One gets the feeling they are shocked the military, of all places, attracts men with a high testosterone count.

The Soviet Red Army had political commissars assigned to every unit, maybe the Pentagon plans on assigning sexual commissars to tell soldiers how much fraternizing is allowed with your battle buddy. I’m thinking commissars will prove invaluable during those unfortunate times when females are captured by the enemy and the captors are agonizing over the knotty moral question of whether a simple rape or the more inclusive gang rape is allowed.

Leftist social engineers never account for reality in their planning. The enemies we are most likely to face don’t have women in combat slots and they aren’t making the barracks safe for lavender. The fact that no successful military in history has put women in combat has escaped Pentagon HR planners completely. Brunhilde, and Ripley for that matter, were only a myth.

When conflict occurs armies aren’t matched according to brackets or seeds. If that were the case we could volunteer to fight the Isle of Lesbos and leave it at that. The obvious solution for sexual assault in the military is fewer females in close proximity to males or at least a more accurate survey, but with this administration neither is likely to happen.

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Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic, entertaining and funny keynote speaker for corporate, non–profit and governmental organizations. In addition to his speaking and consulting, Shannon is an editorial page columnist for Virginia’s News & Messenger. As consultant to The Israel Project, he has made a number of trips to Israel where he worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their efforts to promote a positive image of Israel. Shannon has also conducted media and message training workshops for MFA and Israeli Defense Forces spokespersons along with representatives of various non–governmental organizations. During the UN Court trial in The Hague, Shannon worked closely with the MFA in its international media outreach. Shannon teaches message development, crisis communication and public relations for The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga Command College, conducts the political advertising and message section of The University of Virginia's Sorenson Institute and he lectures on message development, politics and lobbying for The Police/Fire Labor Institute. He is a regular speaker on political commercials, crisis communication and public relations for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has also addressed the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, National League of Cities, conducted seminars for Information Management and The University of Arkansas – Little Rock and performed as the keynote speaker for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Shannon’s client list includes SAIC; United National Congress (Trinidad & Tobago); Royal Castle, Ltd.; New Generation Imaging; Dry–Clean Depot; Texas Medical Assn.; American Medical Assn.; American Medical Assn. PAC; Indiana State Police Alliance; Minneapolis Federation of Police; St. Paul Police Federation; Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance; The Peterson Companies; Gleaning for the World; various political candidates and elected officials. The work Shannon has done in the radio and television arena has been recognized for both creativity and effectiveness. He is a multiple first place winner in the American Association of Political Consultants Pollie awards. Shannon won back–to–back first place Silver Microphone awards for radio commercials. He is a three–time winner of the prestigious Gold statue at the Houston International Film Festival. Shannon won first place in the Vision Awards for television. He has also won consecutive Silver Microphone awards for best campaign.

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