A federal lawsuit brought against the Department of Defense over its exclusion of women from some ground combat positions has nothing to do with discrimination or the protection of the nation from its enemies, contends a decorated general who now works with the Family Research Council.
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, who served in Delta Force and brought down warlords, war criminals, despots and dictators from Panama to Colombia, Vietnam, Iran and Mogadishu, told WND the lawsuit aims to undermine the last great American institution that represents hard work, personal responsibility and courage: the military.
“Part of the agenda is to reduce the military from being the anchor of our society,” he said. “[The anchor] should be the church, but the church has been compromised.”
He said the military has maintained rigorous standards, noting, for example, it’s still against military code to commit adultery.
The antagonists, Boykinin insisted, “cannot change American society totally as long as there is some entity that people can see on the horizon that shows what our society is supposed to be.”
“Look in the military’s Uniform Code of Military Justice,” he said. “There’s the work ethic there. There’s courage. There’s personal responsibility.”
He said the legal action is an attempt to reduce the military’s standards.
Boykin, whose book “Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom” discusses how his faith intersected with his military service, was commenting on an action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several women.
They are challenging the military’s ban on women in some specific ground combat units.
A statement from the Service Women’s Action Network, or SWAN, said the plaintiffs are in the armed forces and have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the document claims their “career opportunities have been drastically limited.”
“Combat exclusion is an archaic policy which does not reflect the realities of modern warfare, the values which our military espouses, or the actual capabilities of our service women,” said Anu Bhagwati, executive director of SWAN. “Rather than enforcing a merit-based system, today’s military bars all women regardless of their qualifications from access to prestigious and career-enhancing assignments, positions and schools, and is thus directly responsible for making service women second-class citizens.”
The plaintiffs include Maj. Mary Hegar, a combat helicopter pilot who flew combat search and rescue missions in Afghanistan.
“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be an Air Force pilot, and I have proven that I can do the job,” said Hegar. “The ability to serve has very little to do with gender. It has everything to do with heart, character, ability, determination and dedication. This policy is a disservice to those women who put their lives on the line for their country.”
Boykin said women already are in combat positions and have been for some time.He said the combat exclusion isn’t based on whether a woman can perform the job or not.
In fact, the Washington Times reported just days ago that only two of some 80 eligible female Marines recently volunteered for the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course. And they both washed out of the program, one on the first day along with 26 of the 107 men trying the course, and the other two weeks later for medical reasons.
That effort had been launched after the Pentagon opened to women another 14,000 jobs in the military that could place them closer to front lines.
“The crux of the issue is the conditions under which people on the front lines have to line,” Boykin said. “If our society is willing to at least recognize some privacy for certain aspects of day-to-day life, what we’re doing [by advancing women into those specific roles] is putting an extraordinary burden on commanders.”
He said, “The commanders should be focused on accomplishing their mission and protecting their troopers and bringing them all home alive” not “worry about where soldiers do their personal hygiene and normal body functions.”
Boykin said the potential complications from putting hormone-charged 20-somethings together in living situations were so obvious as to not even need mentioning.
Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, who battled against dropping the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that banned openly homosexual service members, joined Boykin’s comments.
“Once again, the ACLU is trying to misuse the federal courts to impose their own liberal agenda on the armed forces. They have done this several times before, on behalf of men trying to impose Selective Service obligations on young women. In each case, the courts correctly deferred to Congress and the Executive Branch, the branches of government that have the authority under the U.S. Constitution to make policy for the military,” she said.
“The ACLU, apparently, does not understand the meaning of direct ground combat, which goes beyond the experience of being ‘in harms’ way.’ The plaintiffs deserve respect for the injuries they suffered, recognized by the Purple Hearts they earned, but their experiences do not fit the definition of direct ground combat. ‘Tip of the spear’ infantry battalions, which currently are all-male, engage in deliberate offensive action against the enemy, as in Baghdad in March 2003 and Fallujah in November 2004,” she continued.
“According to numerous studies and tests conducted over the past 30 years, in the direct ground combat environment, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive. The armed forces are not subject to ‘EO’ laws, and there is no equal opportunity to serve in direct combat. Contrary to allegations, women in the military have been promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.”