The integration of women into our military to date has been overwhelmingly positive, but there have been undeniable downsides that we should learn from. One example: When the Army integrated basic training a generation ago, physical requirements were lowered for everybody (we pretended otherwise). We now have the chubbiest, tubbiest military since Sgt. Bilko. Physical toughness should be requirement No. 1 for every soldier or Marine.
(The gender integration of basic training also destroyed the folk-poetry tradition of magnificently obscene, hilariously inventive marching and running cadences — political correctness killed those wonderful “jodies.”)
On the other hand, the Neanderthals among us have to recognize that more than a few women in uniform have not only participated in combat, but performed heroically. In the Military Police Corps, convoy escort duty often led to ambushes and firefights in Iraq. No-nonsense female NCOs won medals for bravery leading men in combat.
What ultimately matters is who can fight. This can’t be about gender above all. It has to be competence-driven.