Special Report

Thelma and Louise in Iraq

Another triumph for combat feminists and their tortured minds.

By 5.5.04

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The feminist cultural assumption justifying women in combat is that violence against women in war and violence done by women during warfare are costs society must accept in order for "equality" to advance. Conservatives were shouted down when they warned that placing women in combat would not only expose them to abuse but could turn them into abusers.

The same champions of feminism who dismissed these arguments out of hand now profess great shock at the images of women roughing up male prisoners at Abu Ghraib. "The behavior depicted in the photos -- which, among other things, show naked prisoners being subjected to sexual humiliation by American women -- defies basic standards of human decency and the accepted conventions of war," editorialized a stunned New York Times.

The image of that female guard, smoking away as she joins gleefully in the disgraceful melee like one of the guys, is a cultural outgrowth of a feminist culture which encourages female barbarians. GI Janes are kicking around patriarchal Muslims in Iraq? This is Eleanor Smeal's vision come to life. Had Thelma and Louise gone off to Iraq -- and sexually humiliated some of Saddam Hussein's soldiers as payback for abuse to Jessica Lynch a few cities back -- the radical feminists could make a sequel.

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness predicted that women in combat would lead to their "coarsening." Speaking to TAS, she asked a question no mainstream newspaper will bother to ask: "Why were women assigned to watch the male prisoners?" The answer lies in the "interchangeability idea" the Clinton military hammered home, she says. The idea was "sexuality doesn't matter," she says. "Men and women are interchangeable."

Whatever male warriors do, so should women. If they rough up captives, why shouldn't women too?

Feminists are good at creating a culture that produces "equal-opportunity abusers," Donnelly says. What happened at Abu Ghraib is also happening in feminist America, she adds, pointing to an Associated Press article from last month on a "disturbing trend around the country. Girls are turning to violence more often and with terrifying intensity."

AP reported that girls, bereft of maternal role models and soaking up pop culture images that lionize female warriors, are catching up to teenage boys in arrests for violence (the boy-girl ratio of arrests for violence was 10-1 a generation ago, now it is down to 4-1. School expulsions bear this out as well.) AP gives such examples as girls pummeling each other at a birthday party, sending twelve-year-old Nicole Towes into a coma, and last May's videotaped hazing session among girls at Glenbrook High School in suburban Chicago.

Perhaps in the eyes of feminists this isn't a crisis but a potential social program and these girls deserve ROTC credits. Perhaps we're not sufficiently conditioned to see that girls will be girls, and that for the sake of a GI-Jane military in years to come we must tolerate a few birthday-party pummelings. Just a few broken test tubes in the glorious experiment feminism has planned for us.

But what about that Clinton-era talking point that women in combat would make the military more "sensitive"? Apart from its ludicrous suggestion that sensitivity was an overarching military objective, the claim was absurd on its own terms, since the whole premise of women in combat is that men shouldn't be sensitive about the exposure of women to the violence of war, either as its victims or its perpetrators.

When Elaine Donnelly explained to the feminists that women in combat would mean the exposure of women to rape and torture in captivity, their response was to say that America could get used to violence against women, and that men could be conditioned out of their chauvinism. And that's what the feminized military endeavored to do, setting up programs to teach male soldiers how to handle being in captivity with brutalized women.

Trainers at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training center at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, acknowledged to Donnelly and others that women in combat would require a conditioning program for average Americans: "If a policy change is made and women are allowed into combat positions, there must be a concerted effort to educate the American public on the increased likelihood that women will be raped, will come home in bodybags, and will be exploited. The consequences of not undertaking such a program would be a large scale disillusionment with the military should the United States get in a protracted military engagement."

Now America needs a conditioning course not on the abuse of American women taken in defeat, but abuse by American female soldiers in victory. The feminists call this progress.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.