Thursday, January 24, 2013

Resisting G.I. Jane

IT'S BEEN SAID that there are only 36 basic plots in literature. Similarly, a certain narrative against civil rights is retreaded whenever intolerance is forced to confront fairness. For example, antediluvians (a polite term for clueless traditionalists) have dependably employed "the Army is not a sociological laboratory" argument to resist equal rights in the armed forces. The Army leadership used the aforementioned quote in 1941 to justify why it wouldn't integrate African Americans into its ranks. Letting blacks fight alongside whites would pose "a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale," warned spokesman Col. Eugene R. Householder one day after Pearl Harbor. Today, 165 years after women demanded suffrage at the Seneca Falls Convention, the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles. Cue the tattered playbook. “Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America. “This kind of a social experiment is a dangerous one,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness. "The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment,” said retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council. “Is the social experiment worth placing this burden on small unit leaders? I think not.” Ignorance of history invites its repetition every time.

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