Time magazine’s March 27 issue sports a lengthy story about Kathleen
McGrath — the first woman ever to command a U.S. warship at sea.

Beginning this week, McGrath will lead the U.S.S. Jarrett in a
six-month mission to hunt down ships smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of
United Nations sanctions.

“Not long ago, McGrath’s breakthrough would have seemed
inconceivable,” Time reports. “Women have served on support vessels
since 1979, but it wasn’t until 1994 that they were permitted,
reluctantly, on warships.”

I’ll tell you what. It’s still inconceivable to me — and to many
others more concerned with the ability of the U.S. military to defend
the country than to turn it into an equal-opportunity employer.

It’s considered unfashionable to make such statements anymore, so I
guess I’ll have to be the one to say it: Women don’t belong on warships,
let alone in command of them. They don’t belong on the front line in any
military capacity. There, I said it.

No offense to Mrs. McGrath. I’m sure she’s a much better sailor than
me. But I doubt very much that no man in the U.S. Navy is better
qualified to handle the responsibilities of the U.S.S. Jarrett. This is
another bad precedent — one which our nation will regret some day when
the stakes are higher than Iraqi oil smuggling.

What do I mean?

Just last week, an official Chinese newspaper described plans by
Beijing to invade Taiwan with a fleet of 200,000 fishing boats and to
frighten the U.S. into staying out of the fight by threatening nuclear
war, selling nukes to rogue states and seizing U.S. assets in China.

Idle threats? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain. Some time,
some day, somewhere soon, the U.S. will find itself at war again. I
don’t mean a one-sided affair like our illegal aggression against Serbia
last year. I mean a real war, where America’s vital interests are at
stake — where Americans’ lives are on the line.

It’s inevitable. It will happen. It’s simply a matter of time.

Imagine if China launched that kind of assault on Taiwan — an armada
of 200,000 fishing boats, manned by 2 million soldiers armed with
bazookas. The newspaper calculated that in such an invasion, China would
lose only 3,000 fishing boats.

I tend to think that China’s costs would be considerably higher. But
if the U.S. is ever faced with such an onslaught, do we really want to
send warships commanded by women?

I ask this question not as a male chauvinist. I have the utmost
respect for women — just ask my wife. In fact, it is partially because
of that respect — the fact that I honor and cherish women as women —
that I think it is nothing short of insane to put women at risk on the
front lines of war.

There are many reasons. The Israeli military discovered that men
behave differently in firefights when women combatants are at risk.
Understandably, men lose perspective on their overall mission when the
lives and welfare of women are threatened. Their first priority becomes
rescuing the women, rather than winning the battle.

Women are simply not as strong as men. We’ve seen the standards
lowered time and time again when they are introduced into the ranks of
the military, police forces and fire departments. We must decide as a
nation whether we want fighting forces that are the best and most
effective, or whether we prefer that they are co-ed. There is no middle

Doesn’t that make sense? But common sense has little to do with the
social-engineering campaign to put women on the front lines.

The Time article suggests McGrath’s appointment is partly the result
of the U.S. Navy’s effort to over-compensate for the 1991 Tailhook
scandal, at which naval aviators were accused of sexual assault and a

The lesson of Tailhook should have been obvious. Introduce women into
the traditionally male military machine and you will inevitably have
problems. But that’s not the lesson the U.S. Navy, run by the
politicians, took away from the scandal.

Today women are assigned to 155 Navy vessels, including 106 warships.
The carrier U.S.S. Eisenhower has 600 women among the 4,700 crew. By
2004, nearly all vessels will be opened to women. The Navy is projecting
an average crew will include 12 percent women.

Time celebrates this as progress. I see it as a potential disaster in
the making.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.