Jewish World Review April 10, 2000 / 5 Nissan, 5760
Yet the year after the alleged incident, according to the New York Times, Kennedy apparently alluded to it in an ABC News interview when she said she had experienced sexual harassment but had turned the matter over to her boss and ". . . was very impressed with the way it was handled. . . . it was investigated carefully, and there was a very positive response on the part of the Army."
Unfortunately for the supposed harasser, last year he had his name put forth for a high level promotion, at which point Kennedy seems to have changed her mind and decided the issue needed to be officially revisited. An appalling about-face by its chief woman warrior? The Army isn't saying so. Doubtless, they don't want to appear insensitive to women.
Meanwhile, Commander Kathleen McGrath is the first American woman to take a warship to sea, this one to the dangerous waters of the Persian Gulf. In training for the mission she recently directed her crew in backing the U.S.S. Jarrett into port in San Diego. Docking the ship was a tense affair, TIME magazine reported. But Commander McGrath soon got her reward. Her recently adopted two and three year-old children ran up the gangplank into her arms as she asked "Did you see mommy's ship come in?"
Then there's the U.S.S. San Antonio. A Marine troop carrier currently under construction, it's the first to have a woman's touch. As TIME reported, key electrical systems will be lower to accommodate the average 5-inch height gap between genders. And it turns out women need more toilet paper than the men (on other ships they hoard the stuff) so the TP storage units will hold seven rolls instead of two. The women's bathrooms will have more ventilation "due to hair spray," along with more outlets and mirrors "for hair and makeup."
Nothing is overlooked. Those industrial grade washing machines that are murder on the undergarments of the women warriors? The new ones will be built with "gentle" cycles.
Yep, it's not your father's military anymore, to paraphrase General Kennedy herself. She's right: It's no longer lean or mean. So, is it still a fighting machine?
"No" says investigative reporter Stephanie Gutmann in her devastating critique of America's newly feminized armed forces, "A Kinder, Gentler Military." Gutmann meticulously chronicles the problems of rampant sex and pregnancy in the "new military," the extraordinary lengths the services must go to in order to accommodate an influx of women and the push to fully integrate them into combat roles. (No one figured, for instance, that large numbers of women would develop urinary tract infections on those long desert marches because they were too embarrassed to relieve themselves in front of men.) And she finds extensive evidence of double-standards between servicemen and women in physical abilities and other areas.
An even more basic issue may be the question of whether a civilized society should even allow women to voluntarily, deliberately, and unnecessarily risk their lives fighting for their country --- in the place of men, a task they are incapable of surviving as well as men.
Elaine Donnelly is president of the Center for Military Readiness and a former member of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, and she put it this way: "The people moving to fully integrate women into combat positions in the military are in effect saying that violence against women is OK --- as long as it is at the hands of the enemy."
So, ironically, America is outraged over the rape and torture of civilian Bosnian women in that conflict, yet at the same time is apparently willing to unnecessarily subject American women to what would be that and worse in a time of war. All in the name of "equality of military career opportunity."
Yes, women have always served admirably in important support roles in our military. And some have lost their lives doing it. But never before has America been so determined to deliberately, foolishly and gratuitously put significant numbers of women squarely between our worst enemies and the men back on the home front they are defending.
We should be ashamed of
04/05/00: Confessions of a soccer mom