Kathleen Parker: The sirens of the Pentagon
WASHINGTON — It must be true what they say about women — that they are smarter, stronger, wiser and wilier than your average Joe.
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How else could one explain the magical thinking that apparently has prompted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to abandon all reason and lift the ban on women in direct combat?
Methinks the boys have been outmaneuvered.
Arguments against women in direct combat have nothing to do with courage, skill, patriotism or dedication. Most women are equal to most men in all these categories, and are superior to men in many other areas, as our educational graduation rates at every level indicate. Women also tend to excel as sharpshooters and pilots.
But ground combat is one area in which women, through quirks of biology and human nature, are not equal to men — a difference that should be celebrated rather than rationalized as incorrect.
Remember, we're not talking about female officers of a certain age pacing the hallways of the Pentagon when we speak of placing women in combat, though perhaps we should be.
We're potentially talking about 18-year-old girls, notwithstanding their “adult” designation under the law. (Parents know better.) At least 18-year-old males have the advantage of being gassed up on testosterone, the hormone that fuels not just sexual libido but, more to the point, aggression. To those suffering a sudden onset of the vapors, ignore hormones at your peril.
Now, hold the image of your 18-year-old daughter, neighbor, sister or girlfriend as you follow these facts, which have been ignored in the advancement of a fallacy. The fallacy is that because men and women are equal under the law, they are equal in all endeavors and should have all access to the same opportunities. This is true except when the opportunity requires certain characteristics. Fact: Females have only half the upper-body strength as males — no small point in the field.