Men Overboard

By Lind, William | The American Conservative, April 2011 | Go to article overview

Men Overboard


Lind, William, The American Conservative


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In recent months the ghosts of cultural Marxism past, present, and future have haunted the U.S. military. If our soldiers, sailors, and Marines are not frightened by them, the rest of us should be. Together, they are assaulting one of the most vital qualities of any fighting organization: its manliness.

As the Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld says, war exists because men like to fight and women like fighters. Many men sign up for military service to test and prove their manhood, and the men who do that are the kind the combat arms need most: men who want to fight. The culture of a military service must be unabashedly and unambiguously male if it is to recruit the fighting men it requires.

The ghost of cultural Marxism past slipped its knife into the U.S. military's back slowly, over decades, with its demand that ever more women be enlisted. Van Creveld devoted an entire book, Men, Women, and War, to explaining why that is a bad idea. A central reason is that women undermine the most critical component of combat effectiveness, unit cohesion. Instead of a band of brothers, you get rivalries among the men for the women's favors. On board a U.S. Navy ship, I asked the captain what the fraternization rate was--how many of the female officers were sleeping with enlisted sailors. After making sure no one could overhear, he replied, "100 percent, of course. I've got male sailors having knife fights over the female officers."

On January 4, the ghost of cultural Marxism present removed the captain of the aircraft carrier Enterprise from command just two weeks before the ship was to sail. His crime was that on an ear lier carrier deployment he had made and shown some raunchy videos. I guarantee you the majority of the crew enjoyed those videos. They helped break the tensions that accumulate on a long cruise in potentially dangerous waters. That's good leadership. But it offended against Political Correctness, so Captain Owen Honors's career came to an abrupt end. So much for a male culture.

Just before the conclusion of the last Congress, that august body ended "Don't ask, don't tell" and commanded the military to enlist open homosexuals. Say goodbye to proving one's manhood by serving in uniform. The disruptive effect of this edict on cohesion and discipline will be enormous. I recall an Army Ranger telling me, in a conversation about gays in the military, that sometimes in the field the only way to keep warm at night is for two guys to share a sleeping bag.

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