It is unsurprising that a president who sees war primarily as “whack-a-mole” with drones directed from afar dropping bombs on adversaries, and who believes that removing American troops from war zones ends wars, would believe that women belong in all phases of combat.
War for President Obama consists of Libya, where we “led from behind,” with no “boots on the ground”; Syria, where Secretary of Defense Panetta declares at least weekly that there will be no U.S. “boots on the ground” even if the Syrians cross the president’s red line on CW; and Mali, where “there is no consideration of putting any American boots on the ground at this time,” according to Panetta — just logistical support for the French, who pulled us into Libya and now want us to stand behind them in their latest adventure in the colonies. The president “ended the war” in Iraq “responsibly” by leaving the country to its indigenous warring factions plus whatever outside influences have more sticking power than we do — that is to say, al-Qaeda and Iran. He is “ending the war” in Afghanistan “responsibly” by withdrawing all but a number of troops he won’t divulge (Twenty-five hundred? Zero? Sixty thousand?), leaving the turf to indigenous warring factions and whatever outside influences have more sticking power than we do — Iran, the Pakistani Taliban, and al-Qaeda, among others.
If your standard is removing all the boots from all the ground and ending U.S. participation in all the wars, women in combat infantry units might seem like a fairly safe bet. If combat units won’t be deployed, well, then, who cares if women are in them?
There are two reasons to care. First, non-deployment is not a military strategy. At best, it is a post-conflict standard (much like being a “post-racial” president) that assumes that either a) future battlefields will look like the last one or b) there will be no future battlefields. The first is a mistake; the second is wishful thinking. Post-Gaddafi Libya is strong evidence that eliminating governments with bombs doesn’t provide stability or workable governance. If the U.S. is ever required to provide either, the boots will be required as well.
After Vietnam, military planners assumed that large-scale ground operations including tanks were passé — until we fought in the deserts of the Middle East. Counterterrorism and urban warfare skills won’t help if our next war is in the Pacific — the focus of the president’s announced “pivot.” Nothing suggests that future battlefields won’t require the “boots” that President Obama appears to eschew. Limiting ourselves to the targeting of individuals, along with support to allies who elect to put their limited boots on the ground in countries where they have old colonial interests, would be an abdication of American power where that power may be needed. Outgoing Secretary of State Clinton made precisely that case in her testimony last week as she described the “spreading jihadist threat” and specifically linked those threats to vital American interests.
Read More at American Thinker . By Shoshana Bryen.
Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston (Creative Commons)