President Obama has released a statement supporting Secretary of Defense Panetta's decision on women in combat units! "Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens." Indeed, the president is confident this decision "will strengthen our military, enhance our readiness, and be another step toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals of fairness and equality."
No arguments are provided. But public policy arguments are supposed to be based on reality. The president has no interest in a debate about the biological, sociological, psychological or physiological realities of combat. So it will be up to the rest of us to make the arguments against this irresponsible act of liberal social experimentation.
It's predictable that members of Congress—including many who privately know better—will be intimidated by the forces of gender correctness from arguing against women in harness. It's predictable that the media will unfairly attack critics of women in combat units as failing to respect the achievements and sacrifices of our servicewomen who have served and are serving in harm's way. It's predictable that few in our political and cultural elites will speak up for biology, for common sense, or for decency or honor.
This is therefore a moment of opportunity. The political leader who takes on this fight will be mocked and scorned--almost as much as was Ronald Reagan in 1977, when he challenged the bipartisan elite consensus on the Panama Canal Treaty. As it happens, I suspect this fight will prove more winnable in Congress than the fight against the Panama Canal Treaty. But whatever happens in Congress, will any political leader step up, as Reagan once did, to fight the good fight?