After a great showing in Iowa, it's hard to say what hurt Marco Rubio in New Hampshire. The senator had his own opinion, blaming the results on last weekend's debate, telling crowds, "... [T]hat disappointment is on me, not you. I did not do well on Saturday night." And while there were a few moments that people may highlight, his response on the military draft was certainly one.
In what was probably the most surprising response of Rubio's, Bush's, and Christie's candidacy, the Republicans broke with conservatives -- and most Americans -- saying they agreed with the Left's push to draft women into military combat. Leaving parents' mouths gaping, each father said he favored registering women for selective service now that the president is throwing open the doors to female infantry and special operations. Marine Commandant General Robert Neller has been blunt about the obstacles, after political appointees ignored his advice -- and research -- about the negative consequences. "I have concerns about retention. I have concerns about injury rates. I have concerns about propensity to re-enlist, career progression. I have concerns about what's gonna happen if the numbers are low," he said soberly at last week's Senate Armed Forces Committee meeting.
And that's just for women who choose more dangerous roles. Forcing women into them is another matter entirely -- one that Christians, parents, conservatives, and women fiercely oppose. In a new poll released today, Rasmussen found that only 38 percent of the females affected by this policy support it! Fifty-two percent disapprove. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) was shocked by the three candidates' support for the radical idea, telling reporters, "I do not want to see my 15-year-old daughter drafted into the military, and every mother and father I've talked to in Utah feels the same." Governors Bush and Christie have also gotten serious pushback for their suggestion, especially Christie, who framed the issue as one of discrimination.
Female Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant (Ret.) Jessie Jane Duff certainly doesn't see it that way. The 20-year veteran posted a powerful rebuke of forcing women into things like hand-to-hand combat and what she calls "the most violent fighting in the world." Angry that the GOP would fall into the president's politically correct trap, she wrote on Allen West's site:
"The three Republican candidates apparently bought into the Left's argument that this is an equal opportunity issue. No, this is a combat readiness issue. Period. Women in combat isn't a feel-good argument about 'if she wants to do it' or 'it's her choice.' We're talking about the difference between living or dying, and living means crushing an enemy whose only way to survive is by killing his opponent... Women in combat will cause women to die at a much higher rate than men in the next conflict. When the military experiences any change, it should be to make units more lethal. There is zero evidence women in the infantry, special forces, or combat arms can do this... The military isn't being honest with women. All data shows that women are injured at twice the rate of men. Yes -- TWICE the rate. In Army basic combat training, women were injured 114 percent higher rate than men. These statistics are just in present combat support roles, not the combat/infantry units... Few women serve in the infantry in any other nation and the reality is, those countries are experiencing difficulties making it work. Israel doesn't have women on the front lines... This isn't about equality -- it's about defeating an enemy." (Read her whole piece here.)
Since the debate, Senator Rubio is the only one who's tried to clarify his position, saying that he supported the drafting of women but would oppose ordering them to ground units where the fiercest combat is underway. Unfortunately, as our own Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.) points out, there's no way to guarantee that our daughters wouldn't be sent to the infantry in a draft scenario. The only thing that would stop it is not drafting them in the first place. Which is something every American should agree on.
For more on the debate -- and the difference between American servicewomen and Israeli servicewomen -- check out my conversation with the General on "Washington Watch" radio yesterday. Also, if you haven't signed FRC's petition telling the presidential candidates, "Don't Draft Our Daughters," do so here!