An email from a young veteran who's a friend of TWS:

I've always found the gory details argument persuasive. But for some reason, it doesn't deter. The submarine debate brought out detailed explanations of how limited space requires gynecological exams to be done on mess hall tables and the like. But "progress" always marches on.

I was in the second co-ed class at VMI, after we lost the court case. The silent poison here isn't fitness standards. The ethos is the real casualty. It mutates from aggressive to defensive. "How do we bring out the best in these men?" turns to "how do we protect these women?" Rather than creating a hostile culture that challenges and designs obstacles to be overcome, administrators pave a safe road forward that steers past the perils of lawsuits or a hostile editorial from the New York Times (those lauded military experts!). Adversary and aggression, the wonderful fires that forge boys into men, become fairness and equality - credos that are utterly useless in combat.

It happened to VMI, it will happen to the infantry. Only at the Institute, we marched aimlessly around with dummy rifles and weren't expected to win wars!

Oh, and postscript—the fitness standards did change. The idealistic "one corps one standard" for both men and women made it a few years at VMI, but were ultimately relaxed to make it “fairer” for women.

Give the combat arms branches a few years of peacetime, and the standards will ease there too.

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