A rightie at NRO supports the troops — from a distance — but only the male ones. NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez clucks with disapproval at this Washington Post piece by Anne Hull, “When Mom Is Over There.”
“[Y]ou really need to get yourself Women Who Make the World Worse to see how we got to the point where we’re deploying moms to Iraq,” sniffs Lopez, referring to a new book by celebrated right-wing airhead Kate O’Beirne. Lopez links to an interview with O’Beirne, who calls women serving in war zones “a disgrace.”
The Mom at War is Master Sgt. Angela Hull, Anne Hull’s sister-in-law. Anne Hull writes,
Angela is chief controller of the air-traffic control tower at Kirkuk Regional Air Base in northern Iraq. She did not graduate from the Air Force Academy or come from a long line of military heroes. Angela was 22 and working at the Stouffer’s frozen-food factory in her home town of Gaffney, S.C., in 1987 when she rebelled against the smallness of her life and joined the Air Force. She advanced the slow, hard way, from refueling aircraft at 30,000 feet to learning air-traffic control to commanding towers. In Kirkuk, she supervises 10 controllers in the base tower while serving as first sergeant to a squadron of 48.
But “women can’t and don’t meet the male physical standards,” says Kate O’Beirne.
I’d like to see O’Beirne explain physical standards to Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester of the 617th Military Police Company, who was awarded a Silver Star last June. According to the American Forces Press Service:
Hester’s squad was shadowing a supply convoy March 20 when anti-Iraqi fighters ambushed the convoy. The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. Hester led her team through the “kill zone” and into a flanking position, where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 grenade-launcher rounds. She and Nein, her squad leader, then cleared two trenches, at which time she killed three insurgents with her rifle.
When the fight was over, 27 insurgents were dead, six were wounded, and one was captured.
Kate O’Beirne finds Sgt. Hester disgraceful, even though her physical standards seemed perfectly adequate.
I realize we ladies are smaller and have a reduced capacity for upper body strength compared to men, and I have no doubt there are many war situations in which women generally would be at a disadvantage. I also realize that it’s hard on a family for Mom to be away. But isn’t it hard on a family for Dad to be away? Do O’Beirne and Lopez believe that husbands and fathers play a less critical role in family life than wives and mothers? I thought conservatives were into fatherhood these days.
I believe we should leave it to the military, not Kate O’Beirne or Kathryn Jean Lopez, to decide who is qualified to be a soldier and who isn’t. I’m told that our military activities in Iraq require smarts as much as brawn, if not more so. And in the past year the military often fell short of recruitment goals, causing the Army to lower its standards on aptitude tests. Are we supposed to replace smart, well-trained women for (possibly) less smart and less-well-trained men in order to satisfy Kate O’Beirne’s sense of propriety?
And if Ms. Lopez wants women serving in Iraq to be replaced by men, she could start by kicking her colleague Jonah Goldberg in his lazy butt and telling him to enlist.
Further — if we don’t want moms and dads going to war, maybe we should be a little more circumspect about starting wars, hm?