The attempt to bridge the difference between men and women when it comes to combat assignment in the armed services has failed. If Saddam Hussein has served no other earthly purpose we can at least thank him for that lesson.
We recall the tragic wrong turn of the 507th maintenance outfit in Iraq during the push northward that saw several members killed and some captured. One was a Native American woman from the southwest who left some children with her mother. It turned out that she was killed. Another was also a mother who left children with her mother but was rescued alive. In neither case was a father or husband mentioned.
There are an estimated 100,000 women in service who are parents. How many have husbands is not known. Our culture has reduced such vital statistics to the catch-all “single parent” for those who are unmarried, whether through divorce or mere popular convention.
The point is a male serviceman who leaves a wife, or even an unmarried mother of his children, at least leaves a parent for his children. His loss in combat is mourned by a nation, but he at least has somebody to receive a folded flag, and probably a known somebody to parent his surviving children.
Try this out. A woman entrusted with the care of four of her grandchildren when her daughter was deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, in March, is jailed in Waco, Texas, on charges of assault in the beating death of four-year-old Destiny Moore. Army Spc. Tammy Moore had left Destiny and her three other children, girls ages 7 and 8, and a 6-year-old boy, with her mother in Fort Hood when her outfit, the 720th Military Police Battalion, shipped out. The battered child succumbed to blunt force trauma, according to the FBI, on May 13. The FBI says the other children also bore bruises and were placed in Child Protective Services. Spc. Moore returned from overseas this past weekend.
The Moore case is not one of parental combat death, or even capture. It is a case of a woman in service being called from her proper place by the exigencies of war.
The argument does not involve the relative war-faring capability of gender. It does involve the relative damage done when the ultimate sacrifice is made. Women who find the argument sexist are right. We can better afford to kill men than women, simply because of what is left with their passing.