Disobeying orders


Wes Pruden was right.  In a column  from mid—January, the esteemed Editor of The Washington Times told us that trouble was brewing in the Department of the Army over the policies concerning the exclusion of women from combat.  Even after President Bush publicly reinforced the law with a simple declaration of 'no women in combat,' the Army brass and the civilian bureaucracy went to work to undermine his policy which is in full agreement with Congressional legislation.  According to Pruden, an Army spokesman said,

"The [Department of Defense] policy concerning women's roles in the military is still in effect," the spokesman said.  "The Army remains in compliance with the current policy and public law regarding women in combat.  It is premature to speculate about whether we will request a change at this time."

Note the weasel words and phrases: "still in effect" (but we're working on it), "remains in compliance" (but not for long if we know how to play the game) and "premature to speculate about whether to request a change at this time" (we'll pick the right time for the presidential ambush).  The Army carefully didn't say: "The commander in chief gives the orders, and we obey."

It now appears the Mr. Pruden was spot on.  The Washington Times' Rowan Scarborough reports yesterday that the Army has, in effect, told the Commander—in—Chief and Congress to go 'stuff it.'  The Army leadership knows that they are unable to meet strength requirements in the service support companies of the new Units of Action if women are banned from the units.  According to Scarborough, the bureaucratic wordsmith has done his magic.

Pentagon guidelines approved in 1994 say women are barred "where units and positions are doctrinally required to physically collocate and remain with direct ground combat units that are closed to women."

Therein lies the discrepancy.  A "Women in the Army" point paper, dated Jan. 24 and drafted within the Army secretary's office, states the policy a different way.  It says women are barred from units, "which routinely collocate with those units conducting an assigned direct ground combat mission."

The addition of the word "conducting" is significant, because it implies that if the combat battalion is not in the midst of fighting it can collocate with mixed—sex support units.

Not only is the Army arbitrarily changing the policy, but when challenged by Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, Army officials stated that if the women were exposed to fighting, they would be 'evacuated' from the area of operations.  As Ms. Donnelly noted,

"We were astonished by the absurdity of this position, which is completely unworkable and perhaps intentionally so," she wrote.  "In the unlikely event that plans such as this are actually carried out, ensuing problems will undoubtedly be attributed to the collocation rule."

It is not only absurd, but it also shows the lengths the Pentagon hacks will go to disobey the orders of the President and to flout the laws passed by Congress.

Is it any wonder that the Secretary of Defense routinely catches hell from this bunch and their major media mouthpieces?

Doug Hanson   03—15—05