Academic journal article Military Review

Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster

Academic journal article Military Review

Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster

Article excerpt

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY:

Flirting with Disaster by Brian Mitchell. 374 pages. Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, DC. 1998. $24.95.

In Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster, Brian Mitchell, a well-known critic of women's roles in the military, provides an interesting chronology of women's contributions to national defense. Mitchell tackles the historical accuracy of stories of Molly Pitcher and Lucy Brewer. He attributes these "good stories" to feminist historians who revised history to include women as "soldiers, sailors and secret agents" in an attempt to provide military women with a heritage of their own.

Establishing the tone of his argument up front, Mitchell provides a lengthy and often-detailed discussion about why women have been allowed to serve in the military. He also discusses the effects of gender integration on service academies, military tradition, morale and mission accomplishment.

Despite his bias, Mitchell's fascinating book is easy to read. His subject continues to be controversial and one with which the military continues to grope despite its many years of trying to resolve. Mitchell argues that the military has been forced into political correctness by the times and by leaders who lack the integrity to tell it like it is. He cites the numerous disadvantages of allowing women in uniform: higher rates of attrition, greater need for medical care, higher rates of nonavailability, lower rates of deployability and less physical ability. To this list he adds a number of problems aggravated by "substituting women for men," including single parenthood, fraternization and sexual harassment. The only advantages he sees for allowing women in uniform is that they are "better behaved. …

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