By Stephen Dietrich, Managing Editor of The Horn
It was 2003. Less than two years after 9-11 and we were pulling security on the rutted streets somewhere near Baghdad International Airport.
Suddenly, we took sniper fire from a nearby building, and my unit returned fire with everything we had.
You never forget the distinct sound an insurgent’s Kalashnikov makes when it’s intended for you.
I took a bullet to my helmet, knocking me backwards as I scrambled for cover.
My buddies quickly identified and eliminated the sniper that had me pinned down.
It was a terrifying situation for anyone, but the one thing that kept me calm was knowing that the guys in my unit had my back.
That they had the strength to pull me to safety if I fell. And that any one of us men would take a bullet for any of the others.
Yes. Any of us men.
I was deeply disturbed yesterday by the news that Obama-appointed Defense Secretary Ash Carter will order all branches of the military to open all combat jobs to women.
As a combat veteran, let me speak plainly here: This political decision is going to directly cost American lives.
Reason should always prevail over political correctness when soldiers’ lives are on the line.
In this case, it has not.
Here is the one undeniable fact of the matter.
Mixed-gender combat units — in study after study after study — have proven to be less effective in combat than all-male combat units.
Full stop. That’s it.
Women and men, when mixed together, do not perform as effectively in combat operations as all-male units.
These studies simply confirm what common sense already tells us — genetic gender differences in bone structure, muscle mass, and strength and endurance are an inescapable fact.
Recognizing there are genetic differences between males and females doesn’t mean you think one sex inferior, or one sex superior. It is simply acknowledging reality.
To insist that the finest military in the world ignore this fact, and sacrifice their combat effectiveness in order to emotionally satisfy the voting public is a shameful display of liberal political correctness prevailing over reason.
The United States military – the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy – are a political tool to be used internationally.
They are a fierce weapon, a grand broadsword wielded by our political leaders, forged from the finest fighting men and women in human history.
They are a tool that is used to defend American interests with violence and force.
These are the heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy and crushed Hitler. Who defeated fascism in favor of democracy. Who sent communism packing to a few remote corners of the globe.
Today, making the world safe against radical Islam is important for our freedom, our way of life and for good people around the world.
The views of Islamic extremism are not compatible with Western democracy. They cannot exist peacefully with a free society.
So we arm our young men and give them this Herculean task, and they perform bravely.
Our military is made up of 18-year-olds from the corn fields of Iowa and from the streets of Houston and from the ghettos of Baltimore. White, black, yellow, brown.
We train them, equip them, and send them to dangerous foreign lands to defeat our enemies.
We pray they all return safely, but everyone – even those very soldiers — knows they won’t all make it home.
Still they soldier on. They extended our reach across the globe, enforcing our international political goals – Defend peace. Spread democracy. Uphold our sacred American values.
They do so, because we as a nation impress upon our soldiers the vital importance of their mission.
When I was deployed on combat missions in Iraq, I did so knowing with full confidence my nation had done everything it could to give myself and my brothers-in-arms the best chance of victory.
Now, our soldiers will never know that level of confidence.
Because this administration has failed them.
The Obama administration’s actions will limit our troops’ combat readiness to achieve a cheap domestic political victory.
Study after study has proven it.
The administration has demanded the military satisfy the illogical emotional needs of a misinformed voting bloc, at the cost of their own safety.
That is lunacy. And as a combat veteran, it is infuriating.
Because that lunacy will do nothing but enable our enemy to more effectively shed American blood, both men and women alike.
Our enemies will gladly take our soldiers’ limbs. They are eager to demoralize our troops’ fighting spirit.
And they will leave their desecrated bodies discarded on a sand dune, far from home.
Our enemy – the rabid dogs that force on the world extremism and Islamic terror – are not interested in political correctness. They are locked in mortal combat with our very way of life.
They know their political objective is not compatible with our free society. For both sides, there can be no peace. There is only victory, or total annihilation.
So our enemy will gladly use every resource available to help them wipe Western values from the face of the earth.
In forcing mixed-gender combat units on our military, we’ve given these enemies a powerful resource by limiting the combat effectiveness of our men and women on the field of battle.
Gender equality is important for a free society. But to insist that both genders are somehow identical is wrong – and idiotic.
To extend this misguided opinion onto the battlefield — to force soldiers to ignore genetic reality when lives are on the line — will be deadly.
Shame on these politicians. Shame on the generals who bowed to political pressure.
Shame on Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
Shame on President Obama.