The Blog

Republicans Quiet on Women in Combat

5:53 PM, Feb 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The editors of National Review write:

Women may be ready for combat, but Republicans aren’t. When the Obama administration announced that it would allow women into combat units, prominent Republicans were quick to say that they supported the policy — generally without any reservations or hints that there might be reasons for concern. A party that fought for decades against allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military is now thoughtlessly accepting a much more problematic change in military-personnel policy.

They are doing so on naïve assumptions. The first is that physical standards will not change, and only those few women who meet ones developed for men will be placed on the front lines. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has already breached that defense: “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” Thus were the Armed Forces welcomed to the world of disparate impact that corporate attorneys have already come to know so well.

The second mistaken assumption is that only women who volunteer for combat will ever have to engage in it. It has been reasonably well understood until now that any man who joins the military, whatever his reasons for doing it, becomes the military’s to use as it sees fit. There is no reason to think women will be treated any differently by a military that officially denies that average differences between the sexes should have any impact on its treatment of individuals. (Nor will there be any reason to restrict draft registration to men — as we trust the courts will find in short order once this policy takes effect.)

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers