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Annie Gets No Gun

Women in combat? Give peace a chance. But what about Clinton's contribution? Plus: Howie in W.Va. Trump. Finger Politics. Newsweak. ETS etc. And much more.

5.23.05

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COMBAT BOOTS
Re: George Neumayr's Does Bush Care?:

Sincere congratulations to George Neumayr for showing some courage of clear speaking. Women in combat, what a blasphemy. As a WWII participant, it turns my stomach. Neumayr's comments are entirely correct. What needs to be added is the fact that, for each one woman in combat, one male soldier will be required who is either interested in her as a woman, or otherwise feels obliged (logically so) to protect her from harm. In either case, the soldier's attention will not only be directed at the enemy but also toward protecting the female "soldier." Here I put soldier on purpose in quotes since she does not belong near the front lines. Her duties in health care, communications, and other activities way behind in a theater of operations make more sense, and there they are valuable.
-- Niels de Groot

Thank you for more documentation of the fraud that is G.W. Bush.
-- Mark Fallert

George Neumayr's article about President Bush's push to place women closer to combat was truthful and refreshing. I blame the so-called conservative media, especially talk radio, for continuing to look the other way when George Bush (and other GOP RINOS) veer to the left, which is often.

Conservative pundits especially like to champion President Bush as being a strong and caring commander-in-chief, yet after four and a half years in a time of war we still have a Clinton-size military and it's even getting smaller. Our wartime president is cutting back on an aircraft carrier and F-22 aircraft to save money (for his big spending domestic programs). In addition, the Bush administration has been steadfastly refusing to increase the military recruitment quota ceiling despite the fact that our combat strength is way too small. Even super liberal John Kerry correctly called for more troop levels. (Even a broken clock is right twice a day). Unfortunately, the White House's endorsement of pushing women closer to combat is just the latest Clinton-like policy regarding the military

About 15% of our shrunken military are women, who by their very nature are not equipped mentally or physically to become warriors and becoming a warrior is what every soldier should be capable of. Training females to become warriors (by reducing basic training standards) is like trying to change a lamb into a tiger and placing them in or close to combat is like leading lambs to slaughter.

In addition, many women soldiers become pregnant over and over again, so they are very disruptive to military readiness and cost much more than their male counterparts. Instead of phasing out females by recruiting only less costly males, who are truly capable of combat, the White House continues to recruit women and then expects 100 lb. girls, like Jessica Lynch, to become true warriors. This is a left wing pointy-head solution that in the real world dilutes our true fighting capability and in time will destroy our military.

Even now in Iraq we are losing lives as the war drags on because of too few male troops. There are not near enough combatants to secure Iraq's borders, thus allowing a safe haven in Iran and Syria, where terrorists can freely come and go. We used to be able to fight and win two major wars simultaneously; now we can't even win decisively against a gang of thugs. Yet conservative talking-heads are strangely silent about our weakened military, while young girls creep towards combat to pick up the slack.

If John Kerry were president and emasculating the military the conservative outrage would be loud and unrelenting. For the sake of our nation and our brave soldiers it is time for real conservatives to stop the partisan spinning and call for a much bigger military across the board and part of this is a return to an all-male military.
-- Lou Venticinque
Jamison, Pennsylvania

Your observation has a laudable goal, but for many reasons the cats already out of the bag.

With most of the nations that we may engage in combat sometime in the future, almost all have theatre capable nuclear and/or non-nuclear missile delivery systems. Such delivery systems make the concept of "rear area" as a non-combat zone moot. I need only point to the SCUD attack on Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1991 to lay waste to the idea.

Congress itself pretty much set the stage for women in combat with the nonbinding vote (354-24) on support of the Equal Rights Amendment of 1971. To benefit the young conservative reader, the ERA as written would have removed any distinction between the sexes, to the extent that 18yo women would have to sign the Selective Service card like their male counterparts. I have seen nothing in Congress's actions that have modified that view since, sans it not being writ into law.

Last, we now possess a volunteer armed force. Men and women make the choice to participate up to and including the risk knowingly that you may be placed in a situation that could unfortunately terminate your life. We are a nation that has pride in and encourages our citizens to make the choices that fulfill their "pursuit of happiness." Should I or Rep. Hunter make the presumption to know better? I think not.

We need to face the fact that in modern war there are no non-combat zones for any solider. The women serving in uniform today have shown both courage and dedication; let's acknowledge their sacrifice and the fact that it is their choice. But Rep. Hunter's proposal is not the way to do it.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

No. George Bush doesn't care about the issue of women in combat. But what were you expecting? He spoke many times of the political capital he earned in the election, and that he intended to use it. On Social Security reform?

He hasn't spent one dime of that capital supporting the pro-life movement. Why in the world would he spend any of it to oppose the feminization of our combat units?
-- unsigned

See this page for follow up.

The reality is, I think, that women are self-selecting their way out of the military. Although enlistment rates for women rose dramatically through the '90s, abruptly after 2001, they have begun to drop. There is a lag, due to enlistment contracts holding people in, but I predict this next year, there will be a bigger drop in women in the military, especially the Army and Marines. It would be interesting to see how much the current problem with meeting enlistment quotas is due to failure by women to enlist.
-- Eddie

The political issue of women in military combat is framed around older military doctrine assuming "safe" or "secure" interior lines of communications; our largest planning failure in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Original tactics having failed us; equipment and personnel assumptions that this "behind the lines" or "safety in the rear mentality" was finally no longer working -- we have had to quickly adjust our training, tactics, and vehicle protection, but NOT, however, for unknown reasons, our personnel practices of keeping women in direct lines of fire.

Such military luminaries as Ralph Peters, foretelling much of our current Iraq situation in his 1999 book Fighting for the Future addresses many of the deficiencies of the Army's fleet of over 100,000 fighting and logistics vehicles being unsuitable for 21st century urban conflict; our deficiencies in training and our Army's lack of enthusiasm for urban battlegrounds. He (Peters) speaks of a new enemy, a warrior class who will oppose us asymmetrically; mercilessly watching and waiting, on their soil, in their cities, streets and alleyways -- seeking out our weakest points and vulnerabilities. Our greatest weakness -- not being able to crush such a 21st century warrior class -- because we have an Army trained to fight against SOLDIERS -- and a political atmosphere that will not permit necessary steps to visit violence upon a non-uniformed warrior class who blends into the population. We have become the Redcoats fighting militias and frontiersmen of the 21st century.

Women soldiers in this environment have no safe haven. Whether a member of a maintenance company ambushed in convoy; a HEMTT driver delivering bottled water hit by an IED, a helicopter repair person mortared or rocketed at her "secure" base -- women cannot be protected or have a lesser threat given to them by battlefield location or job title. All support soldiers are equally vulnerable to the asymmetrical threat.

Having watched our forces leave Vietnam under a cloud of political confusion in the 1970s, our current enemies want to duplicate a scenario of an unending volume of body bags returned to the United States. A snag in their agenda -- is that our soldiers in this war are all volunteers. Apparently, draftee casualties invoke a political anti-war "tipping point" more quickly than causalities from a volunteer force. Such was observed not only from the Vietnam conflict, but also the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. Voices on the anti-war American left have served us a diatribe of military service being a forced decision of economic necessity -- but such arguments failed to assist John Kerry in 2004. Even his threat of a draft couldn't push the anti-war message across.

It is not beyond reason that the left insists we keep women in combat to speed up an anti-war tipping point. A public assaulted by everyday violence -- mostly among males -- is slow to react politically to more of the same. Deliberately exposing women to combat caused casualties is yet one more strategic factor the left is using to sway anti-war political opinion -- while they gladly divert the argument to other tactical issues of readiness, combat effectiveness or gender discrimination.

Military personnel strength planners are having their hands full right now with recruiting problems and declining availability of our reserve forces to face continuous activation. The military's current dependence on females to make its' end strength numbers presents yet another challenge -- this one political -- on our ability to wage war upon Islamofascism. Our enemies would have it no other way!
-- Mike Horn
LTC, Military Intelligence, US Army, Ret.
Combat Simulations and Modeling Manager
PARKS Reserve Forces Training Area
Dublin, California

"It is hard to imagine conservatives sitting on their hands if Bill Clinton's military had begun embedding women in combat brigade units"

And yet, they did. The current makeup of the armed forces cannot be blamed on President Bush any more than the New Deal could be blamed on President Eisenhower. It happened before his watch and he has to deal with what he inherited. Secretary Rumsfeld had it right when he said that you go to war with the army that you have, not the army that you wish you had. The army that we had was drawn down and rebuilt by Clinton with almost no public debate.

The generals that Clinton promoted had to pay homage to his diversity agenda. Throw in the military's goal of reducing the "logistics footprint" by diminishing the number of "iron mountains" (forward deployed stocks of ammunition and equipment) and you end up with much more of a burden placed on the Combat Service Support branches, which are where the greatest numbers of female soldiers are found. Diminished recruiting of males due to a variety of factors also forced the military to accept more women in what were previously restricted positions. The few officers who objected to these changes found themselves running afoul of an equal opportunity program that defined any expression of gender differences that impacted on missions as a form of sexual harassment. A soldier who pointed out that females didn't have to do the same number of push-ups to pass a PT test as he did would be counseled for sexual harassment, even though the observation was true. In a climate where the commander of the Blue Angels was denied promotion for merely attending the Tailhook convention, nobody was going to say anything.

The reason that this is becoming apparent now is that we're actually at war, and the makeup of the military is more obvious when it's being deployed en masse. During Clinton's pinprick responses to terrorism and his peacekeeping missions, no one outside of the military noticed the changes and those within were not about to end their careers by drawing attention to it.

The irony is, the women that are serving in theater are doing a magnificent job. It's entirely possible that if this were debated now, openly, the army could adopt a policy that makes more sense than the one currently in place, but which recognizes the realities of our force structure and manning issues, and which would afford female soldiers the opportunity to advance in the ranks. It's the refusal of Democrats to debate issues openly that has created this crisis and complicated its resolution.
-- Name Withheld

ALMOST HEAVEN
Re: The Prowler's Debate and Delay: Drowning Dean:

Arizona's governor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, refused to meet with Dean recently. That ought to be a signal to Democrat politicians everywhere.

Not so, apparently, in West Virginia. Dean recently announced a grant of $174,000 to the state Democrat Party. He's slated to meet Wednesday with Democrat Gov. Joe Manchin and others. That's interesting. This state was even redder in the recent re-election of President Bush than in 2000.

But here's yet another Northeastern elitist coming to a state that matches none the elitist's moral, cultural and political sensibilities.

Dean and the governor, and the state's Democrat Party, should know far-left-of-center Dean and what he represents won't sell here. After all, he's on record being anti-Southern, anti-working-man, anti-faith (especially Christianity), anti-military, anti-patriotic, pro-gun-control and pro-abortion. West Virginia is none of these.

Personally, I hope Dean remains the personal envoy of the hate-filled, visionless core of the Democrat Party. Let him continue to represent George Soros, Moveon.org and Tinsel Town. He can only make 2006 and 2008 even more devastating for the donkeys.

That's why, though, Howie's about to get the anvil-around-the-neck treatment. Poor fellow. He asked for it, though.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

TRUMPING THE BUSINESS DISTRICT
Re: Paul Beston's Raise High the Roof Beam, Donald:

Donald Trump could be correct about everything from the origin of life to predicting the winning number in next week's lottery, and I still wouldn't want to see a drop of ink or a byte of bandwidth spent covering him.

Dammit, now he, and you, have got me doing it! Such is the insidiousness of the man.

Is there no place safe? Is there no Trump-free zone left to us?
-- Chuck Vail

PASSING ANGER
Re: Shawn Macomber's Get a Life, Then a Book and George Neumayr's Newsweek Blows Smoke:

Oh, that your correspondents are correct in their assessments of the American public's outrage over the "Newsweak" malfeasance. My fear is that most mainstream media outlets will ignore it, blame the White House, or discover some other deep dark agent of the right to blame. Why not the new pope? They're already skeptical of him because of his insistence on following the precepts of his faith.

No, their outrageous disregard for the truth must be kept in the public eye by believers in the American system, such as your readers. The average Americans in the street just don't seem to have the willingness, the inner strength to maintain their anger and outrage, their concern about America's future, especially when it is needed the most. They need constant reminding.

As an active participant in a conflict of another era, Vietnam, I am concerned over the results a second war with media anti-military sniping will have on our ability to maintain a continued effective national defense. I bailed out on Newsweek, Time, and the major networks along with some of the other regular suspects beginning thirty years ago. I see no need to go back.
-- John R. Martin, USAF, Ret.
New Braunfels, Texas

GO FINGER
Re: David Holman's Commencement Gags:

Aaaah, Indra Nooyi. My response:

Actually I am glad to be of the middle Finger!

We had to give the middle Finger to the British (twice) and we won out. We had to give the middle Finger to the Germans (twice). To the Japanese. To the Spanish (three times). To the terrorists (twice) and The Finger appears to be winning.

We have given The Finger to the world for so long that to paraphrase Winston Churchill -- "Never in the field of human endeavors has one Finger given so much to so many in the defense of liberty." The Finger has been stuck into the eye of every tyrant since its inception that it almost feels it belongs there! Wherever The Finger goes liberty spreads.

Long live The Finger, may it wave proud and true.

The lady needs diversity training.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Ms. Nooyi has every right to her own opinion and the right to express it. But after reading her speech I do not agree with her statements or the general tone that is set.

This is one of the rare cases that I can personally take action against someone that has really ticked me off. When I make my weekly trip to the grocery store each Saturday morning I won't be buying any PEPSICO products.
-- Jim Tecson
Virginia Beach, Virginia

AGENDA-BASED TESTING
Re: Lawrence Henry's Meet the Educational Testing Service:

Mr. Lawrence Henry has me grinning with glee as I type this, immediately upon concluding his "Meet the Educational Testing Service" column. You see, just last night I picked up my latest Weekly Standard, issue of 23 May. And (eyes agog) I read the same advertisement.

I see two possible explanations, both of an appropriately "conspiratorial" nature (tongue firmly in cheek here):

1. As good I.F. Stone leftists the ETS is "boring from within," seeking to subvert, seduce and mislead conservative readers while dangling money before conservative publishers. Or
2. A closeted conservative at ETS's advertising house has urged them to spend their money on our publishers to gain strong returns, and, not knowing any better, ETS bought the ad campaign.

Cheers!
-- David James Hanson
Fayette, Iowa

I applaud Mr. Henry's commentary on the ETS. He probably will need some bodyguards to, among other things, start his car each morning. After 38 years of teaching, I find out that I had it all wrong. I should have been emphasizing diversity, social justice, fairness to "underrepresented groups," and ethnic sensitivity. I am bereft at having wasted my life on worthless pursuits such as analysis of literature, construction of literate understandable paragraphs, and correct usage of the English language. What's even worse -- I've marked and corrected all of those papers IN RED INK!!!!!

I read recently about a college which was taking the applications of all qualified students and admitting them by lottery rather than going by their standardized test scores. A few more revealing articles from Mr. Henry, and this could become a trend. Didn't President Clinton say something once to the effect that every American should be able to go to college? Oh, and by the way ETS, so social engineers get to wear one of those cool railroad hats?
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

CRISIS, AGAIN
Re: Tom Bethell's The False Alert of Global Warming:

An interesting fact rarely mentioned re: Global Warming is that earth has experienced global warming numerous times in the past; most, if not all of these warming periods occurred well before humans had any effect on global weather patterns.

Subsequent to each and every ice age, global warming caused the ice sheets to recede. The result in each instance was that life on earth found a more hospitable environment in which to thrive. There is a wide assortment of plausible and competing scientific explanations as to what caused these very dramatic climate changes -- available for any layman to read with even the most cursory perusal of online encyclopedias.

What is interesting in researching ice ages is the total lack of politically motivated explanations and the general acknowledgement by the scientific community that they really do not know what caused the climate changes that produced ice ages and the subsequent periods of global warming. These discussions are enlightening because they stick to science and avoid the religious dogma associated with present day "discussions" of global warming.

If science is not certain as to what caused very dramatic prehistoric and pre-human induced climate changes, how can they presume to know what is causing present day changes in climate?

Frankly, I do not know if today's climate/temperature changes are influenced by human activity; however it is abundantly clear that present day "discussions" of global warming are, for the most part, politically motivated and totally lacking in the scientific method whereby theories are vigorously challenged by other scientists in an effort to validate or refute a theory.

Unfortunately the Fascist thought-police have assumed power in the world of climatology and replaced the scientific method with dogmatic group think. Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl would be proud.
-- A. Custin
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

HISTORICAL ISOLATION
Re: Bill Sluis's letter (under "Public Serving Private") in Reader Mail's Oil for One, One for Oil:

Claims that Jesus did not countenance violence neglect what Jesus recommended regarding millstones for those who bring scandal to the little ones and what he recommended for a part of the body that causes a person moral trouble. Scaling that down by taking into account the Middle Eastern tendency to hyperbole and exaggeration in speech, it would seem that Bill Sluis's and others' recommendations for pedophiles and sex abusers are in the spirit of the New Testament.

Theologian Karl Rahner points out that in the early Church the sacrament of penance or reconciliation WAS excommunication. St. Paul hoped that such disciplinary expulsion: 1) would show non-Christians that the scandalous sin was taken seriously by Christians--against whom false charges of license were often made--thus offering the world a purer witness of what Christ's Body, the Church, is; and 2) would possibly shock the sinner into repentance, penance, and reconciliation (as apparently happened in one case).

It was Cardinal Bernardin who suggested the Church might profit from retrieving some form of such public penance that was eventually adjudged in the early Middle Ages to be too harsh. One form now in effect is that Mafia members are disallowed a funeral Mass.

Sluis's idea of a banned community of sex offenders has some resemblance to a practice the Church once had (and still has occasionally) of banishing a priest-sinner to a monastery. It also resembles the Quaker idea of a prison as a penitentiary, that is, a place to do penance --separated from the community; but since pedophiles apparently cannot be rehabilitated, there would not be the Quaker hope or promise that the person would or could be reformed sufficiently to return to society. Indeed, keeping such abusers in prison even after their sentence is over is sometimes practiced even now. Sluis's idea also resembles the shunning and scarlet letters used in some Christian denominations, as does the public dissemination and availability of the names of the offenders.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

NITTY GRITTY
Re: Letters in Reader Mail's Oil for One, One for Oil (under "Adamantly Obstinate"), Coolist Collaboration (under "Back to the Books"), Renew My Cancellation, (under "Investment Opportunity"), Behold the Critic (under "Modeled on Success"), and Preventions and Interventions (under "A Federal Matter"), and Michael Van Winkle's Social Security Psychology:

If you use I-bonds as your pension retirement system then your system is indexed to inflation. The other more common pensions that are indexed to inflation are the defined benefit pensions found in many union contracts. Another more common method to "index" your pension to infliction is to invest in a balanced portfolio of U.S. stocks and bonds. This type of pension fund has historically had returns that far exceeded inflation.

It looks to me like the federal government is a major factor in maintaining the viability of the federal pension system. Just has the private company is a major factor in maintaining the viability of its private pension system.
-- Wade Smith
Fredericksburg, Virginia

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