Family on the Front Lines
In the past four years, our nation has witnessed a parade of governmental and judicial policies that have assaulted traditional moral and spiritual values. Almost every day, a disturbing new development comes to light. President Barack Obama promised during his first campaign to bring "change" and "transformation" to America, but he didn't tell us how he was going to do it. Now we know. His administration has marshaled grievous attacks on religious liberty, on the sanctity of human life, on the military, on the traditional family, and on the principles that made this nation great. What began as a snowstorm in 2009 has become an avalanche in 2013.
This past May, Newsweek named Obama "the first gay president," after he announced that his views on same-sex marriage had "evolved." 1 Numerous radical decisions continue to flow from that repositioning.
Recently, for example, the President, the U.S. Attorney General and more than 200 Democrat leaders began putting pressure on the U. S. Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8, which was supported by more than seven million California voters in a statewide ballot. This amendment to the State Constitution declared that the institution of marriage was henceforth defined exclusively as being between one man and one woman. It was a great victory for the family. Then the lawsuits began to fly.
Proposition 8 was struck down by a liberal judge, who is a self-acknowledged homosexual, and his decision was upheld by the California Supreme Court. 2 Now the case is before the U.S. Supreme Court. The future of this 5,000-year-old institution known as marriage, which has been honored in law and custom everywhere humankind has taken root, now hangs in the balance. If President Obama and his Attorney General have their way, voters who supported traditional marriage in 30 states will be slapped down.
Whatever happened to Abraham Lincoln's proclamation in the Gettysburg Address that ours is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people"? One hundred and fifty years have passed since Lincoln uttered those immortal words, and we have become a nation "of the government, by the government, and for the government."
Outrageous policies continue. Several weeks ago, an order was handed down from a federal official that required prisons in Arizona to begin releasing hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of felons in that state. 3
The doors swung open and hardened criminals walked out on their own recognizance. Potentially violent and dangerous prisoners were released into the general population without ankle bracelets, parole oversight, or monitoring of any type. No one knows today where these men are or what they are doing.
I wonder how long it will take for them to create havoc among law-abiding citizens in Arizona and elsewhere. And get this: the Department that made this ridiculous decision is called Homeland Security. At times it seems as though our elected and appointed leaders are trying to destabilize the country.
The parade continues. Many of us were shocked by a comment made three weeks ago by the most respected investigative reporter in American history, author and a liberal, Bob Woodward. He said, [The President is exhibiting] a "kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time." 4 I think he is right.
Something akin to insanity is not only emanating from Washington, but it seems to be sweeping the country.
In February, Colorado state representative, Joe Salazar, explained why he thought women on college campuses have no need for firearms for self-protection. He said even if women believe they are being followed and fear they might be raped, they could be misjudging a man's intentions. 5 "So please," he said, "put the guns away, ladies."
In other words, women are too stupid to defend themselves even when threatened. There's more. Salazar said at a legislative hearing that if a woman thinks a man is about to molest her, she should blow a whistle or use a call box! Perhaps she should say, "Excuse me, sir. I'll be right back. I need to go find a call box." Is this what the Representative would tell his wife, mother or daughter when danger lurks? What an utterly ridiculous position for a legislator to take.
Now we come to a matter that is uppermost on my list of concerns. A few weeks ago, outgoing Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, announced that for the first time in U.S. history, selected military women will be assigned to ground combat roles. This decision has profound implications for families and for the welfare of women.
I asked my friend, Elaine Donnelly, to address this issue. She is one of the nation's authorities on military issues and is the president and founder of the Center for Military Readiness. She was also appointed to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, and served as a member of the Defense Advisory Committee of Women in the Services (DACOWITS) from 1984-1986.
This is what she wrote:
Dear Dr. Dobson,
Families in America − especially those with sons or daughters in the military − should be very concerned about the renewed drive to force (not "allow") women into the infantry and other "tip of the spear" units that attack the enemy in direct ground combat.
On January 24 lame-duck Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the administration's intent to eliminate military women's exemptions from direct ground combat units, such as Army and Marine infantry, armor, artillery, Special Operations Forces and Navy SEALs.
These are small fighting teams that locate, close with, and attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action and a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force's personnel. Their missions go far beyond the experience of being "in harm's way" in a war zone, where our military women have served with courage before and since the attacks of 9/11.
Wrapped in Secretary Panetta's camouflage-disguised package is a legal time-bomb that gives new meaning to the phrase "war on women." Unless Congress intervenes, a future court will impose Selective Service obligations on unsuspecting civilian women, on the same basis as men.
In 1981 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of young women's exemption from Selective Service registration, tying it directly to women's ineligibility for ground combat units. (Rostker v. Goldberg) Dropping that exemption invites an ACLU lawsuit like the unsuccessful litigation filed in Massachusetts on behalf of men in 2003. President Obama's recent move to put women into direct ground combat repeals the premise on which that ruling and the Rostker decision were based.
As a result, the judicial branch of government, which is least qualified to make policy for the military, likely would rule in favor of the ACLU. Civilian girls-next-door would have to register at age 18 or suffer penalties for not doing so. And during a future prolonged war, female draftees could be called to fight on the same basis as men. This would divide the nation instead of rallying Americans in a time of true emergency − a result that would weaken our military deterrent and national security.
I know that you care deeply about this issue, which we discussed when I was serving on the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. Established by Congress shortly after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the commission spent a full year researching the subject of women in combat.
During many hearings and field trips, we heard testimony from many experts on all sides of the issue, including men and women of all ranks and branches of service. The commission made many recommendations lending support to military women and families, but we strongly recommended that infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Operations Forces battalions remain all-male.
Defense Secretary Panetta, on his way out the door, ignored empirical data and findings compiled in 30 years of tests and studies in America and the United Kingdom. Amazon warrior myths and popular culture cannot change the fact that in a direct ground combat environment, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive.
Secretary Panetta casually endorsed "diversity" for women in land combat, and set in motion incremental plans designed to blunt opposition with a "frog-in-the-pot" strategy. When asked about Selective Service, Panetta said he didn't know "who the hell" was in charge of that.
Civilian polls and surveys on this subject usually are skewed by use of the word "allowed" in land combat, instead of "required." Many single mothers who joined the National Guard in order to get medical benefits for their young children may be surprised to learn that they could be ordered to serve in direct ground combat units such as the infantry. No matter what their recruiters promised, this will not be a "voluntary" situation.
One reason will be Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey's call for the assignment of "significant cadres" of women in groups, or with female "mentors" to create a "critical mass" in formerly all-male units. Women's "safety" is said to be the goal, even though the administration is encouraging extreme violence against women at the hands of the enemy.
The second reason is a little-known drive for what former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen called "diversity as a strategic imperative." The Pentagon-endorsed Military Leadership Diversity Commission, (MLDC), a largely civilian commission established by Congress, recommends "diversity metrics" (read, quotas) for women in land combat.
The goal is not to improve military effectiveness; it is to increase the numbers of female officers rising to three- or four-star ranks. Enlisted women, who outnumber female officers five to one, will have to pay the price, even though Defense Department records going back decades have shown that female personnel are promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.
Military leaders keep protesting (too much) that tough military training standards will remain the same. That will not be possible as long as "gender diversity" is the primary goal. The tipoff came during the January 24 news conference, when Gen. Dempsey suggested that standards found to be too high will be questioned. "[If] a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn't make it...the burden is now on the service to come back and explain...why is it that high?"
Regardless of what is being said now, these pressures eventually will drive standards down, making them "equal" but not the same as tough, male-oriented standards that exist right now. It is illogical to believe otherwise, since all forms of military training, starting with basic and pre-commissioning training, accommodate gender differences.
As stated by the Marines in a fall 2011 briefing to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, women on average have 20% lower aerobic capacity for endurance, 40% lower muscle strength, 47% lower lifting strength, and 26% slower road marching speed. In addition, female attrition/injury rates during entry-level training are twice the rates of men. To reduce potential injuries, physically strenuous exercises are omitted and standards gender-normed with scoring systems that measure "equal effort," not equal results.
If women become eligible for direct ground combat, these allowances will have to be scrapped.
In the alternative, men's higher standards, re-named "barriers," will be lowered to accommodate women who will feel the backlash of resentment, even though they are not to blame.
Contrary to vague promises and misguided beliefs, it will not be possible to hold women to current standards in tough Army Ranger training, the Marines' Infantry Officer Course, Air Force Special Operations Forces, the Delta Force, or Navy SEALs. In the British Army an experiment with "gender-neutral" training was ended after 18 months due to soaring injury rates among women and reduced challenges for men.
The British Ministry of Defense also decided to retain land combat exemptions for women twice since 9/11, in 2002 and 2010. No other military fighting force in the world, including potential enemy forces with combat missions comparable to ours, has been forced to accept "gender diversity" as a paramount goal.
The Pentagon's redefined "new diversity" would override recognition of individual merit − the key to successful racial integration long before the civilian world. The MLDC recommends that officers who do not support "diversity metrics" goals be denied promotion. And successors to today's Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Marine Commandant General James Amos, will be selected only if they support the president's misguided goals.
General Martin Dempsey recently suggested that placing women in ground combat battalions would reduce assaults of women in the military. Twenty-two years after the same argument was made in the aftermath of the Navy's Tailhook scandal, the opposite has been proven true.
According to the 2012 Army Gold Book report, violent attacks and rapes in the ranks have nearly doubled since 2006, rising from 663 in 2006 to 1,313 in 2011. The Army also reported that violent sex crime was growing at an average rate of 14.6 percent per year, and the rate was accelerating. According to the 2011 report of the Defense Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), reports of sexual abuse have risen by 22% since 2007.
In the Navy, ship commanders and other high-level officers have been fired at the rate of two per month for the past three years − most often due to sexual misconduct across the spectrum from sexual assault to inappropriate romantic relationships that affect everyone else. Empirical evidence drawn from actual experience, not feminist theories, indicates that placing women in land combat battalions will increase resentment and make social problems worse, not better. Military personnel know this, but all are required to follow the orders of President Obama, with no option to disagree.
It's not just women who will be put at greater risk by forced acceptance of Hollywood-style fantasies imagining equality in an "ungendered" military. Young men whose parents taught them to protect and defend women will be out of place. All military men will be affected by less rigorous training exercises and personnel losses associated with pregnancies and sexual misconduct that detracts from team cohesion − an essential quality that is properly defined as mutual dependence for survival in combat.
Members of Congress need to ask an essential question: How will any of these consequences improve morale, discipline, and combat readiness?
Even though the U.S. Constitution assigns to Congress the power and responsibility to make policy for the military, the high-handed administration is trying to cut Congress and the American people out of the process. In May we will hear how the services will keep the president's plans on course toward full implementation in 2016. Congress can still act before incremental steps become irreversible, but nothing will happen unless they hear from their constituents back home.
Parents and concerned citizens should contact their representatives and senators to ask them, What are you going to do about this? Members of Congress need to be supportive of military women, respectful of their courageous service in recent wars, and innovative in establishing realistic policies that actually improve the effectiveness of the All-Volunteer Force.
The only way to preserve high, uncompromised standards in tough training for fighting battalions, and to maintain the legal rationale for women's Selective Service exemptions, is to codify women's exemption from assignment to direct ground combat units. This can be done, but right now members of Congress are only hearing from organized feminists and compliant military leaders who are following Obama's orders.
I hope and pray that your readers will follow your example in showing unfailing support for our men and women in uniform. We need reinforcements in the fight for our military. It is the only one we have, and national security depends on it.
President and Founder
Center for Military Readiness
Well, the limitations of time and space require me to close this letter. I strongly suggest that my readers let their voices be heard by the President, Congressmen, Senators, bureaucrats, and state legislators. They need to know how citizens feel about the foolishness that is pervading this country. Perhaps there is time to save it from social and moral disaster. Family Talk will be working on that objective in the days ahead, and we pray that you will also.
In closing, may I ask that you help Family Talk continue to defend righteousness and sanity in the wider culture? Our contributions in February were alarmingly low. We deeply appreciate those of you who have been able to give us a hand.
Blessings to you all.
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and President
P.S. This letter highlights the "insanity" occurring every day in America, resulting from the dominance of liberalism run amok. My friend, Gary Bauer, reported the following news story in his American Values commentary on March 5th, 2013.
"There has been another incident demonstrating just how dangerous food can be. On the morning of Friday, March 1st, a seven year-old boy in the D.C. suburbs of Anne Arundel County was eating a breakfast pastry. (Apparently Michelle Obama's food police were on vacation that day.) After taking a few bites, the boy noticed that his pastry looked like a gun, and he said, "Bang, bang."
In my world, this should have gone unnoticed as the normal imagination of a little boy. But in the left's world, the boy was suspended for two days. School officials were so shaken by the incident that they sent a letter home to every parent, warning them that food was used by a child for an inappropriate gesture and that child was removed from class. The letter went on to say that school counselors would be available to talk to any children who were troubled by the incident.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Was the pastry a "pop" tart?
On a more serious note, it is impossible to deny the cultural left's grip on our public education system: explicit sex education, American history that is all too often anti-American revisionism; introducing the radical homosexual agenda at the earliest ages; blocking Judeo-Christian values at the schoolhouse door; and gun-free zones that will never stop a killer.
Now hard-left political correctness has made a criminal out of a seven year-old playing with a pastry."
"The only assurance of our nation's safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln
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