There is another less appetizing way in which men will be men in the presence of women. General Dempsey, apparently with a straight face, suggested that allowing women into combat units may alleviate the military's serious problem with sexual harassment: "I have to believe, the more we can treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally." In other words, if we pretend that women are just smaller men, sexual harassment will go away.
Here is the political program: Inject sexual tension into combat units by mixing genders, which results in an explosion of sexual harassment; then blame the military and insist that it transform itself - not to fight the enemy and win wars - but to fight sexual harassment.
A rare voice of sanity was heard when Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said, "The focus of our military needs to be maximizing combat effectiveness. The question here is whether this change will actually make our military better at operating in combat and killing the enemy, since that will be their job, too."
Should it be their job to kill or to be killed? Retired four-star general Volney Warner said that, "I remain convinced that women are better at giving life than taking it." What kind of society seeks to put its women, it's life givers, directly in harm's way - to endanger that which is most precious to it? The answer is a society that no longer knows what women are or why men fight to protect them. In turn, it asks men not to be men - not to be protectors. What is there left to defend in such a society?
President Obama said, "Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love."
Instinctively, one feels that this sentence should say the opposite - that we can be proud that our military is protecting "our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters" by keeping them from harm, not by placing them in it. One reason this is a "country we love" is that we can keep our women safe here. Obama brings us only one step away from the idea that "our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters" should be the ones protecting our military. This is a proposal that the ancient Greek playwright and satirist Aristophanes could have had great fun with. "Honey, tell the kids that mommy will be late tonight. I've still got some killing to do."
If you want men to have nothing to fight for, this is the way to proceed.
This column originally appeared on Mercator.net.