An Equal Opportunity to Die - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
An Equal Opportunity to Die
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The Washington Times reports that terrorists “in the Abu Musab Zarqawi network in Iraq are specifically trying to kidnap an American female service member” to rattle America into pulling out of Iraq. What is Zarqawi’s assumption here? That American leaders will treat the abuse of female soldiers differently from the abuse of male ones? Hasn’t Zarqawi heard that the only aspect of the war in Iraq the Democrats won’t question is the exposure of women soldiers to violence there? The death of women soldiers in Iraq is proof of progress for them — not a reason to pull female soldiers off the battlefield but to place more of them on it in the name of equality.

Look at the liberal reaction to Lori Ann Piestewa’s death. She was an Army private first class that an Iraqi thug shot and killed in early 2003. Liberals used her death to advocate more female soldiers on the front lines. “The Best Way To Honor This Warrior-Mother Is To End An Outdated Combat Ban,” ran the headline over a piece by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette national bureau chief Ann McFeatters. She argued that no restrictions on American women in combat in Iraq should exist. “It’s an outmoded vestige of a bygone era that only hurts women who want to serve by keeping them from getting the promotions they should have a chance to earn.”

Piestewa was a single mother with two preschoolers back home. But her death didn’t even make the left reconsider the wisdom of exposing moms to the risk of capture. On the contrary, Piestewa’s death was regarded as some sort of monument to egalitarian liberalism and self-actualization. McFeatters praised her “for both supporting her children and following her dream.” Stanford University’s Peggy Drexler reported with perverse pride that “it was a mother who was the first U.S. woman soldier killed in the war,” and that “mothers in risky professions are establishing new roles for women that we must finally accept and even embrace…Only when we accept that the mothers can keep the home fires burning and fight oil fires in Iraq will we truly honor motherhood.”

Under the insane cultural conditioning of the left, Americans aren’t supposed to blanch at the brutalizing of women soldiers in captivity. To do so is chauvinistic. Those public service announcements about “Violence Against Women” don’t apply to war. Then enlightenment requires that society not care if women are exposed to a culture of violence. And if you do, you are a chauvinist who fails to see that violence against women in war is an acceptable consequence of equality.

Liberals rejoiced when Les Aspin, Bill Clinton’s hapless defense secretary, eliminated the phrase “substantial risk of capture” as a consideration in determining where the military could place women on the battlefield. The debate over placing women on the battlefield actually turned in part on an issue Zarqawi evidently hopes to exploit: that exposing women to abuse and death could demoralize a nation and lead it to turn against war at a critical moment.

The left pooh-poohed this possibility. Liberals argued confidently that Americans would learn to accept with equanimity the sight of women in captivity and women returning from the battlefield in body bags or as amputees. Americans, they said, could be conditioned out of their chauvinism, just like male soldiers trained not to feel distressed when women are brutalized in captivity next to them.

“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 body bags, 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,” said trainers at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training center at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, in testimony before a presidential commission studying the issue of women in combat in the early 1990s.

Exposing female GIs to the Zarqawis of the world is an experiment in equality the left won’t abandon no matter what that savage does in the coming days.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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