In debates where most of the surprising comments have come from Donald Trump, the single greatest surprise of Saturday's was when Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Governor Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), and Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.), all fathers of girls, couldn't point to a single reason why American women shouldn't be forced to serve in the military. Among other things, it would mean assigning women to ground units with the mission to destroy the enemy through brutal means like hand-to-hand combat. With five daughters between them, their answers shell-shocked voters who struggled to understand what's happening in our country when even Republicans would order women into harm's way in a misguided attempt at parity.
"Political correctness is dangerous," Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned -- and never more so than here. As the editors of National Review write, "Ground combat is barbaric... It is not a video game. It is not a movie, where young Hollywood starlets karate-kick their way through masses of inept thugs and goons. When we order women into ground combat, we are ordering them into situations where men larger and stronger than they will show no mercy." Anyone brave enough to fight for their country understands that war punishes even the strongest of men. The compassionate response is protecting women, not using them as a human shield for a nation preoccupied with political correctness.
Of course, there have been efforts over the past several years to include women in the draft, but they've failed because females couldn't serve in the infantry or special operations. That's all changing now, thanks to President Obama's ongoing social experiment with the military. Once women are assigned to units that are directly engaging in combat with enemy ground forces, as Defense Secretary Ash Carter insists they will be, the barriers to selective service will come tumbling down. That hasn't hurt countries like Israel, some argue, where military service is mandatory for everyone.
But theirs is a unique situation, explains FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who was actually embedded with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during his time in special operations. There, women (or men) in the IDF can be assigned to a brigade in their area and live at home while they fulfill their military requirements. But the notion that Israeli women are serving in the infantry and special operations posts is largely a myth. Like other nations, Israel tried integrating women into elite fighting roles -- it didn't work. Another key difference between the two countries is that, unlike Israel, the United States is an expeditionary military that fights abroad.
And it should be pointed out that if, or when, America drafts women, they'll have no say in where they're assigned -- including the infantry. Most of us would agree that it's one thing to let our daughters choose this kind of life -- and quite another to force it on them. Unfortunately, this is the natural consequence of a nation idolizing equality with no thought to the practical outcomes. We can still value women and respect their differences, of which there are many. "Marine teams with female members performed at lower overall levels," the Corps' year-long study found, "and completed tasks more slowly and fired weapons with less accuracy than their all-male counterparts. In addition, female Marines sustained significantly higher injury rates and demonstrated lower levels of physical performance capacity overall."
The bottom line: we don't do women any favors by pretending that their bodies are the same as men. "One can easily conceive that in thus striving to equalize one sex with the other," Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, "one degrades them both; and that from this coarse mixture of nature's works, only weak men and disreputable women can ever emerge." If Rubio, Bush, and Christie want to strengthen the military, why would they support a policy that undermines it?
"Part of the problem, no doubt, is... that they're simply not familiar with the grueling demands not only of combat but also of training for battle," National Review's editors speculate. "Part of it may well be pure political fear. After all, the 'war on women' narrative harmed Republicans in 2012, so it appears that at least three GOP candidates are willing to court an actual war on women to avoid even the appearance of discrimination." And yet, their views not only endanger women -- but America.
Sparing our daughters from the horrors of combat is not some rigid and oppressive attempt to stifle women; it's an informed, compassionate position based on volumes of research and centuries of fighting. Senator Cruz understands that. It's shame the other candidates don't. Join us in telling the presidential candidates, "Don't draft our daughters" by signing FRC's petition here.
Tony Perkins has provided this endorsement in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.