Women have their place in the military. But they can also cause problems. Here's one problem that would likely never have occurred had women not been there.
I was eating lunch with co-workers the other day, and one of them asked me if I would encourage my daughters to join the military. After what I saw in the US army females in Iraq, I would not encourage my daughter to join. If they wanted to, I responded, I would warn them about a plethora of problems that they would face, the greatest of which is the likelihood that most male military members would think my daughters were there to provide comfort to the male soldiers, if you know what I mean.
When I served in Iraq, it was pretty obvious that a fair number of the females (there were probably 25 in the brigade) were there for more than one purpose. I was embarrassed by a couple of them one time in the base PX as they asked each other loudly in front of me if they would look better in this bra and panty set or that one. I was naive enough to wonder why such outlandish underwear was even available in a war zone.
There are certain situations in which males and females should not serve together. Combat is one of them. I was reading in A Deficit of Deficiency by Zell Miller tonight, when I came across this paragraph on pages 143-144:
Also in Spring 2004 came the unbelievable stupidity of a few American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. Again this proved highly divisive. The sadistic sex games and torture pointed out what many of us have long believed, but most are hesitant to talk about because of political correctness. The truth is that there are certain kinds of military missions that male and female soldiers should not serve together.
I will admit that until now this conclusion not once had crossed my mind, but I think it remarkably true. If there had been no women prison guards at Abu Ghraib, would there have been torture? Probably, because there were not enough guards there and because at the time a lot of division and brigade policies were to round up huge swaths of men as insurgents and dump them off at Abu Ghraib. What makes the torture so demeaning and angering to Iraqis, though, was not that it was run of the mill torture.
It was sexual. This is perhaps the worst form of degradation for a Muslim man--to be sexually tormented in front of a woman.
Military men pride themselves (at least in public) as being as heterosexual as the day is long. It is not to me conceivable that the sexual torture to which these Iraqi prisoners were put would have happened if only male prison guards had been at Abu Ghraib.