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Yippee! Equal Opportunity in the Military


“To succeed in our mission of national defense, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talents and skills.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter

Early this month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the decision to allow women in all combat positions whose requirements they can fulfill. I really liked his statement that we represent half the country’s talents and skills, but I think this tack puts the cart before the horse. First, we need to be equally represented in the meetings where combat decisions are made.

And this may actually be possible as a result of a related initiative. My special thanks to the women who have qualified as Rangers for bringing it to the fore. This is the ensuing proposal to require all women between the ages of 18 and 25 to register with the Selective Service. In the case of a draft, they could be conscripted.

This doesn’t sound like a move toward power positions for women in the military, but I’ll explain. A writer for  Bloomberg View  points out that 15 percent of active forces and 23 percent of new officers are women, and this is obviously by their choice. From my odd perspective, these are individuals who have a high degree of tolerance for taking orders, and I think we’ve kind of done enough of that, cosmically speaking, so I’ve come up with a new idea about how the feminine can serve.

The basic problem–or should I say opportunity?–lies in the fact that our brains work in a unique way. When not forced to conform to military culture, although we might be in it, we could make an enormous contribution. This would become possible through a new unit in each branch that would be called Super Intelligence, to distinguish it from Special Intelligence.

Only women who are qualified by IQ and creativity would be drafted, but Super Intelligence could also recruit mature women in the arts, academia, science, technology, and the media. Their mission would be to find innovative ways not only to resolve existing conflicts but also to prevent them in future. Everybody would be of the same rank, something with a nifty new name like “operateur,” and an administrator of the same rank would be voted into authority annually. And here comes an example of their effectiveness.

A young woman trained as a pharmacists speaks: “Why continue to enrich the military industrial complex,” she asks, “when we could cut costs through the strategic use of drugs?” After all, she goes on, the pharmaceutical industry manufactures enough Valium to soothe an entire continent; and some of the nation’s agitated, anti-Muslim citizens could contribute their own supplies to this initiative. Special Operations could covertly enrich the water supply of ISIS with the prescription and maintain a beneficial level. Soon leader ABu Bkr al-Baghadi would touch his forehead in puzzlement and ask, “Why do I feel such ennui?” And then to his lieutenant: “Cancel my training on the Infidel. Where’s that invitation to the peace negotiations?”

His proximal underlings would be drinking from the same water supply, but just to reinforce this trend, Special Operations could also launch a covert distribution among all insurgents of medjool dates stuffed with marijuana. Colorado has ample supplies, and this would create new jobs in other states as well. The switch from explosives to pharmaceuticals and grass would be a disappointment to the military industrial complex. However, they could retool to make wind turbines or something that the US could donate to undeveloped countries and inspire lifelong gratitude.

The tech whizzes could help by interfering with the flow of ISIS propaganda and recruitment materials.This would involve disseminating fictional “news” about mutinies, defeats, errors, rivalries, betrayals, prayers missed, etc. A playwright and an Arab linguist could create for the Internet vignettes with a splendidly handsome Hollywood actor like the early Omar Sharif in costume. These would reveal the most enlightened teachings of Muhammad, including righteous punishment of evil ways. This would go viral among women because of the man’s beauty, nobility, and his championship of the feminine. They might be inspired to emulate his treatment of sexual abusers, which I will not go into here.lysistrata

Not ethical? Not according to form? Phooey. And just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work. Let me point out that women have long known how to resolve conflict in creative ways. I speak of the play, “Lysistrata,” written by Aristophanes in about 400 BC. It’s fiction and a bawdy comedy, but we all know it is true, one of the reasons why it has been so popular down through the ages. But now to the plot.

The heroine Lysistrata is a strong Athenian woman who takes matters into her own hands when she becomes frustrated with the Peloponnesian War between Greece and Sparta, which has gone on for decades. She convinces the nubile women of Greece to refuse sex–including some very specific positions–until the war comes to an end. The story comes to a climax, pardon the expression, when Lysistrata invites delegates from Athens and Sparta to a conference.

She brings to the meeting a beautiful, naked young maiden whose name is Peace. Thoroughly distracted by the presence of the gorgeous creature, the deprived men are lectured by Lysistrata about the need for reconciliation. They respond by using the body of Peace as a map of Greece and quickly proceed to agree on land rights that will end the war. In real life, the Peloponnesian War came to a climax with a disastrous battle that led to the end of the Golden Age of Greece. Point noted?

So there you are. If the feminine does ultimately gain the same opportunities–and responsibilities–that men have in the military, the above examples of our very different approach to solving problems could radically change the lay of the land, or should I say battlefield? So how about that proposal to require registration with the Selective Service? Should it go forward? Or would it be better to advance equality in all  the nation’s positions of power? Time to think.

2 Responses to “Yippee! Equal Opportunity in the Military”

  1. Joanne

    Much of what you say seems to assume that the USA actually wants to win wars and promote peace, but I have serious doubts about that. All the corporate contractors that now run our military and intelligence industries (and much of our federal government) benefit quite nicely by our now permanent state of war, which is not all that different from Chairman Mao’s (and China’s) notion of permanent revolution.

  2. Les Fenter

    Ellen, I enjoyed your musings today. Naked nubile women confronting a horny man’s army? I’m embarrassed at this smile on my face. OK, OK. Your final paragraph brings up an interesting conundrum. If women had totally equal access and responsibility with all aspects of economic, political and military power, would women still have their “different approach” to problem-solving? Or the corollary, as many gain years in executive careers, will we begin to see their life spans closer to those of men?