War Games

Do you remember the 1959 movie, Operation Petticoat, about Navy women sharing a submarine with its all-male crew? The most scandalous moment of the film occurred when the men spotted feminine undergarments strung up on a clothesline. Well, in the 1990s reality is quite different--and it's anything but comical: Today, we really are mixing men and women in the military. But instead of hearing funny stories about underwear on clotheslines, we're reading about the much publicized allegations of sexual assault and harassment at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and other military bases. These allegations--if proved true--reveal the complete failure of modern ideology to cope with human nature. Now, let me make it absolutely clear that I do not condone sexual misconduct in any form. Anyone convicted of taking liberties with female subordinates should be given ample opportunity to cool his hormones in the brig. But it ought to be clear by now that when you put men and women together in close quarters, far from home, it's unlikely that their first thought will be: How about a game of checkers? Col. David Hackworth, the most decorated combat veteran in American history, recently described a problem that surfaced during the Gulf War. During that conflict, male soldiers dramatically outnumbered female soldiers. The result was that the available women paired off with approximately 10 percent of the men. That brought about a huge morale problem for the rest of the soldiers. Similar problems have occurred on the so-called "love boats" of our Navy. Hackworth has a simple recommendation: Limit women to administrative and medical duties and keep the sexes apart. That's the policy that both Israel and Germany have adopted. Both of these countries stopped putting men and women together after being shelled unmercifully by the obstinate forces of reality. Historically, societies have assigned the military role to men. Every civilized society and even most uncivilized ones have followed this pattern. It's a pattern we see followed in the Bible. Those who rebel against the natural moral order are rebelling against the God Who created men and women to complement each other and to be drawn to one another sexually, for the right purposes. But today our cultural elites seem to think that equality demands letting women serve in combat and that we can regulate sexual contact by legislating away human nature. Nonsense. The result of this kind of thinking is a sexually-charged military--one with the lowest morale since the Vietnam War, according to Col. Hackworth. Of course, the problem of sexual harassment in the military is also simply a reflection of our culture's preoccupation with all things sexual. Ironically, the same elites who support a sexually-mixed military ridicule those who criticize these kinds of policies or practice chastity themselves. Newly elected Congressman Jim Ryan of Kansas, the olympic miler, was recently roasted by the Washington Post because he discourages his children from engaging in pre-marital sex. Well, society just can't have it both ways. We can't poke fun at sexual restraint and then be shocked when casual sex--and sexual crimes--infiltrate our armed forces. Our culture has fired thousands of salvos in the war for sexual freedom. It ought to come as no surprise that our military, like so many of our institutions, has been struck by the ricochet.


Chuck Colson


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