The Magazine

GI Jane


The final blow to what remains of the theoretical case for American conservatism will be struck shortly, when women are allowed to serve in combat units of the American armed forces.  A draft report from the Army’s “Military Leadership Diversity Commission” has concluded that the current males only policy for combat units is “discriminatory” and therefore, there is no legitimate reason for it to continue.

The defining insight of the Alternative Right is that every traditional institution in the West has been fatally compromised by egalitarianism and radical leftism, and that ultimately modern conservatism serves as nothing more than the defense of the liberal establishment. The one possible exception to this rule has been the United States military.  In the popular imagination, the military represents an American warrior tradition that predates the Republic itself and is a bastion of conservatism and patriotism in a society gone mad.  It remains the only public institution that enjoys the widespread trust and support of the American people, far exceeding the approval ratings of the media, branches of government, corporate America, and even religion.

Nonetheless, a steadily increasing collection of papers and books from Thomas Ricks's Making The Corps in 1997 to Lt. Col. J.K. Dempsey's Our Army in 2010 contain much furrowing of brows and lamentations about the alleged monolithic conservatism of the officer corps and supposed alienation of officers from a decadent American society. Conservatives can smugly assert in response that it is the very innate conservatism of the military’s leadership that makes the institution so worthy of trust.  Furthermore, they could argue that this conservatism is inherent to the military profession, as Samuel Huntington elaborated in his seminal 1957 work, The Soldier and the State. Any progressive attempt to crack open the military and force it to operate like any other government bureaucracy is therefore doomed to failure.

Unfortunately, the progressives have succeeded.  Whatever the private opinions of the officer corps, the last few years have shown that the Army essentially operates with the same principles as any Ethnic Studies Program at a typical university.  In 2009, a major in the United States Army who had openly expressed outright contempt for the country he ostensibly served murdered American soldiers on an Army base.  Soldiers could not fire back and had to be saved by the police—because they are not allowed to be armed on base. Our mighty centurion General George Casey—in a pronouncement as immortal in its own way as Casear’s “Vini, Vidi, Vici”—commented that while the shootings were a tragedy, the greater tragedy would be if the Army's diversity were a casualty.

Early in Bill Clinton’s presidency, even an affirmative action Wooden Titan like then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell threatened to resign over the issue of open homosexuality in the military.  Military officers reacted with disgust and contempt towards the anti-military civilian officials within the Clinton administration and the Draft-Dodger-in-Chief.  Now, it appears that like the white Southerners that form so many of its recruits, the military has successfully internalized its guilt and successfully incorporated the egalitarianism that its progressive masters demand.  In 2010, the military issued an internal report that championed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, dramatically undercutting what few conservatives that campaigned for the restriction to remain in place.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs openly advocated the need to allow open homosexuals to serve.

Now, the Army itself is pushing for co-ed combat units, seemingly unprompted by civilian authorities.  With this final disgrace, the last institution of the Old America has been officially co-opted, marking the turning point where one can justifiably claim that there really is nothing left to conserve.  

GI Jane

Hollywood prepared us for this day.  Demi Moore in GI Jane (1997).  

The tragedy here is that America's actual combat soldiers are arguably more skilled than ever.  Sebastion Junger's brilliant book War chronicles the experience of an airborne unit in Afghanistan's hostile Korangal Valley before the Army pulled out altogether.  It shows that a warrior culture whose roots go back to the earliest days of mankind still exists in the United States Army, with (literal) rites of blood brotherhood, testosterone-driven aggression, and the predictable obsession with sex characteristic of all young men deprived of female company.  It also shows how military concepts such as rank, discipline, and order are predictably far more fluid on the front lines with a fierce esprit de corps, professional pride, and the social need to live up to the expectations of your comrades serving as a more effective substitute for formal rules and regulations.  The ritual beating of an officer by enlisted men chronicled in the book seems alarming or even mutinous on paper.  In context, it is revealed as an act of respect and acceptance by a skilled group of warriors compromising an elite unit and something not easily accounted for by bureaucratic rulebooks.

What is more disturbing is how Junger's reporting shows the extremely thin margin of effectiveness that even America's best infantry enjoy over the Taliban. Combat infantry represent a miniscule element of the actual Army, with the vast majority of American soldiers enjoying video games and fast food in opulent and expensive bases while actual infantry suffer in the field with small numbers, insufficient or outdated weapons and equipment, and few supplies.  Far from being unthinkable, the possibility of being overrun and massacred by the Taliban is a constant and real concern of the men profiled by Junger.

In a sane country, Army generals would be advocating outright withdrawal of the necessary men and materiel until structural reforms were put in place that at least allowed the United States a fighting chance.  Instead, front-line soldiers can expect reinforcements of physically inferior young women dumped into a population of sex starved, isolated, testosterone-driven young men in an environment of constant tension and danger.  The results are predictable, as they already have been in non-combat units. A 2009 attempt to actually punish women soldiers who become pregnant in combat zones (and their sexual partners) was shot down as a violation of their “rights.” In the United States Navy, sailors have to do multiple jobs because women keep getting pregnant and can’t deploy. (The answer of the Navy beloved of Christian America is complimentary abortion pills). The problem will not be remedied as the Military Leadership Diversity Commission advocates expanding pregnancy leave as, shockingly, women are less likely than men to see the military as a career.  [88]

Sexual relationships and fraternization between officers and enlisted men and women are common, with a resulting breakdown in discipline and effectiveness. (Apparently, the military doesn’t expect young men and women in good physical shape, isolated from their families, and working in close quarters in high stress environments on a constant basis to ever have sex with each other.)  As cited by Ricks and other first-hand accounts of Army soldiers (some of whom spoke to this author just after they returned from Basic training), even in the Army's co-ed training, sexual relationships between recruits or even between drill instructors and privates (pun not intended) are not uncommon. While the Marine Corps continues to train men and women separately, it can be expected that this will have to be abandoned in the years to come.

Once even combat units are no longer immune from these problems, the effectiveness of the already small number of front-line troops will be fatally undermined.  Additionally, the inevitable new regulations that will accompany female combat soldiers and overt homosexuals will ensure a steady progression of discharges for those who can fight but cannot adequately mouth postmodern leftist academic slogans.  We can expect Marine drill sergeants drummed out of the service for using "homophobic" slurs, or Army officers punished for not doing enough to make sure women have a "safe working environment."  Fire teams will not only have to deal with combat causalities but losing members due to pregnancy.  As relationships (many undoubtedly adulterous as soldiers will be deployed together in isolated environments far from their families) will form and break up between men and women in the various possible combinations, every soldier and officer's career will be at the mercy of any service member who screeches “discrimination” for whatever personal grievance.

Girl Power

We won't crush you! (photo: Corbis)

Why has the military’s resistance collapsed within a span of 20 years?  Part of it is undoubtedly due to the larger cultural collapse, as gay marriage would have been a political absurdity during Clinton’s presidency.  However, an even larger cause could be the military’s embrace of political missions such as nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While similar nation-building enterprises were opposed by many military officers during Clinton’s presidency, the military has shifted to accept this new role during the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, issuing new doctrinal manuals on nation-building that emphasize restraint, incorporating civilians and academics into creating operational plans and training, and even proposing to award metals for not shooting people.  Mid level officers today support heavy cooperation with civilian agencies and widespread economic aid in order to quell insurgencies even as they remain pessimistic about the chances for success.  The military, in short, has become less a military and more like police officers or simply social workers with guns.  The control of organized violence that Huntington argues makes the military profession unique is becoming less central to the American armed forces’ conception of itself.  The military is less a unique institution, and now simply an armed and better funded organization that does the mission of USAID, the State Department, or, frankly, George Soros’s Open Society Institute.

The problem goes beyond just feminism, gay rights, and the reinvention of the Army as the militant wing of the Peace Corps.  Richard Spencer noted in his speech at Vanderbilt University that we have a government that no longer governs, and that efforts by the state in fields such as poverty relief, education, transportation, or even space travel are no longer ends in themselves, but simply excuses to artificially reallocate resources to minorities that cannot compete on a group level in a free society.  He mockingly asked if countries such as Russia or China worry about the power of America's armed forces that are supposedly fueled by Diversity.

Apparently, America's military establishment really believes that the Russian Army and the People’s Liberation Army will be stopped dead in their tracks by the large quantity of melanin within our ranks.  The Army joins the Department of Housing, the Department of Education, NASA, and every other governmental bureaucracy as essentially just another excuse for affirmative action and egalitarian showmanship.  

The only possible theoretical defense of traditional institutions left is that the people in charge don't really mean what they are saying, but are simply protecting themselves politically by going along with what is expected.  While this may have been true of many "conservative" officers who nonetheless implemented liberal policies in the past, future military decision makers will really believe their own propaganda for the simple reason that anyone who doesn't will either be persecuted out of the service or not allowed to join in the first place.  

The Army can confidently report that there will be no adverse effects from letting women in combat units because anyone who challenged this contention would not have been allowed to voice that opinion.  The Army similarly maintains that racial integration led to no negative effects whatsoever and that it somehow made it a “more effective fighting force.” [15]  The near collapse of the United States Armed Forces during Vietnam and afterward because of racial divisions belies this conclusion.

Sexy Marine

What could go wrong?

While the Army's thinly disguised IQ tests prevents too many cognitively insufficient people from joining, these standards are being lowered.  Furthermore, the Military Diversity Leadership Commission calls for “demographic accountability” towards America’s changing population from precommissioning officer programs.  It also wants increased recruitment of minorities and removal of “barriers.”  These include prerequisites such as “education requirements,” ”test scores,” “citizenship,” “health status,” and “criminal record,” all of which “minorities are less likely to meet.”  [v]  Just as to let more black students into college necessarily requires the lessening of academic standards, so too will diversity in the armed forces require that entry requirements be lowered.

The result is that the proportion of soldiers actually able and willing to fight for America and not simply in the service for a steady paycheck decreases year by year.  Despite the Army’s lust for diversity, groups like Special Forces and fighter pilots continue to be almost 100 percent white males.  It can be expected that these last few bastions will be raided next on the grounds of both race and gender, especially as the draft of the Army’s diversity report calls for “remov[ing] institutional barriers to open traditionally closed doors” as the stated rationale for removing the restrictions of women in combat. [41]

The political leadership of the United States no longer even pretends to care about increasing the security, prosperity, and general welfare of the country.  Instead, they simply dump more and more burdens on the dwindling numbers of actual Americans that keep the Union functioning.  When Harry Reid made his first triumphant tweet about the repeal of DADT to Lady Gaga, it was revealing because it shows what the American military, after all, is fighting to defend.  Unfortunately, the leadership of the United States Armed Services can no longer claim to be separate from this decadence.

Ironically, the Armed Services’ best hope might be far-Left activists who want to keep women from joining what they still consider to be a reactionary bastion of nationalist fanatics and warriors dedicated to killing America's enemies.  If only.   

Jean Raispail wrote in Camp of the Saints, "In war, the real enemy is always behind the lines. Never in front of you, never among you. Always at your back. That’s something every soldier knows.” America's military remains the best in the world, with the caliber of front line soldiers and many officers far, far better than what the criminals and traitors in Washington deserve. This will not be the case much longer, as those whose opposition to homophobia and feminism will be driven out just as those with Confederate flags are discharged even as MS13 and the Latin Kings casually recruit among the ranks.  Even as they dump more demands on the suffering soldiers, the political class seems determined to break the combat power of the soldiers needed to carry out their orders.

The only question is what will happen first—the refusal (or inability) of traditional Americans to serve in what was once America's Army or the inevitable future defeat when a Global Force for Good has to fight an actual military from an actual country.

All Citations Refer to the Army’s Predicisional Draft From Representation to Inclusion: Diversity Leadership for the 21st Century Military.