Military-readiness advocate Elaine Donnelly warns that the Obama administration’s decision to put women in ground-combat roles amounts to “social engineering to achieve a political end in the name of diversity.”
She adds that the policy shift means “lives could be lost unnecessarily, not just women, but men.”
Donnelly’s organization, the Center for Military Readiness, released a 42-page report earlier this week exploring the unintended consequences of putting women on the front lines.
“It will do great harm to women in the military, especially those who will find themselves in the infantry -- something there’s no indication they wanted,” Donnelly said Wednesday in an exclusive Newsmax interview. “It will harm men and the mission of the infantry as a whole.”
Donnelly objected that the U.S. Marine Corps has been conducting a detailed study of the affect of blending women into front-line infantry units. But that research has never been released, she said.
“Why is the Secretary of Defense just ramming this on through?” Donnelly asked. “Well, we know why, because the administration has a pattern of irresponsible actions like this using the military to advance a social agenda.”
Donnelly said there was no justification to rush the decision prior to congressional hearings. She noted the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is announcing the move even as he prepares to leave his post at the Pentagon. “Congress is being shut out of any deliberative process here. It is most irresponsible,” she said.
“This kind of a social experiment is a dangerous one,” she added. “The Secretary of Defense had his mind made up, certainly indicated in February of last year this was their intent.”
In February, Obama administration endorsed the 2011 Military Leadership Diversity Commission, which called for the Pentagon to use gender-based “diversity metrics.” Donnelly sees such metrics as “another word for quotas.”
“It is social engineering to achieve a political end in the name of diversity,” she said, predicting women who don’t want to serve in an infantry-attack role will eventually be required to do so.
About 200,000 of the nation’s 1.4 million active-duty personnel are women. In November, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of four female soldiers who are seeking to serve in combat. Now, it appears women could be cleared to participate in ground combat operations as early as May.
The current policy forbids women from serving in forward positions on the battlefield. But that distinction was not of much use in Iraq and Afghanistan, which involved counter-insurgencies. That fact hit home early on when Army private Jessica Lynch, a truck driver, was taken hostage.
The Military Times reports that about 2 percent of the U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq were women.
Democrats see women in combat as an opportunity issue, and say it will open up hundreds of thousands of jobs. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hailed the decision Wednesday as a “historic step for equality.”
But Donnelly disagrees.
“The problem is to treat women equally, when they are not equipped the same as men to deal with what it means to be part of an infantry battalion -- to treat unequals equally -- is basically unfair,” she tells Newsmax.
“It’s unfair to the women, it’s unfair to the men, it’s problematic for the readiness and efficiency and effectiveness of infantry battalions. It’s the policy makers who are to blame – not the women or the men. It’s the policy makers, people like Secretary Panetta. He makes a change like this and goes out to the West Coast. He doesn’t have to deal with the consequences.”
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