Friday, January 21, 2005

Abu Ghraib: Blame Women in the Military

An organization in Livonia, Michigan called the Center for Military Readiness says that the Abu Ghraib scandal can be traced back to the pernicious practice of co-ed basic training in the Army. It appears (according to CMR) that co-ed basic training, "imposed on the Army in 1994," produces soldiers with less discipline. "The irreplaceable process of 'soldierization'--which transforms immature young people into disciplined soldiers--must compete with hours of 'sensitivity training.'" It gets worse. "Drill sergeants have to spend time keeping the boys and girls apart"--I am not making this up--"and distracted trainees fail to learn essential lessons about respect for legitimate authority and restraints on military power." Read it for yourself.

CMR is a non-profit organization that focuses on military personnel issues. It believes that "the armed forces should not be used for political purposes or social experiments that needlessly elevate risks, detract from readiness, or degrade American cultural values." (For the uninitiated, "social experiments" and "cultural values" are strong code words.) To be more specific, CMR opposes allowing gays in the military. (It called the admission of gays, some of whom were later dismissed, into the Defense Language Institute to study Arabic an "unconscionable waste of time and resources.") It also opposes equal opportunity for women in the military.

That there is an organization opposed to women in combat is understandable. Even feminists are divided on the issue (although feminists' reasons for opposing women in combat would ordinarily differ from those advanced by CMR). What is not reasonable is using the Abu Ghraib scandal in an effort to score points in an ongoing debate over the role of women in the military. It would be laughable if what happened at Abu Ghraib did not absolutely foreclose the possibility of laughter. Instead, it is simply absurd.