Taking the "man" out of "rifleman"

  • 18 January 2016
  • NormanL
Taking the "man" out of "rifleman"

Back in December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter decided women would be eligible for all combat roles in the nation's armed forces. That decision still rankles some, including Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly. Not because Kelly is anti-woman. His concerns focus on what Carter's edict means for the future:

 On average, the two sexes simply have different physical virtues. Men will dominate when it comes to upper-body strength, which is generally vital in combat roles. And Carter has vowed not to alter the high standards for those roles.

But Kelly doubts that will last: “Whether it’s 12 months from now, four years from now…the question will be asked whether we’ve [truly] let women into these other roles.” Ideologues who don’t see the results they want will ask, “Why aren’t [women] staying in those roles? Why aren’t they advancing as infantry people?”

Kelly's use of the word "people" is intentional:

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has already offered a taste of what’s ahead. He’s denied the Marine Corps’ request to continue sex-segregated boot camp and Officer Training School. Indeed, on ­Jan. 1, he gave the Corps just two weeks to come up with an integration plan.

On top of that, he’s ordered the Marines to adopt politically correct titles by changing every “man” label. That implies the Marines are about to lose every “rifleman” — when every Marine is a rifleman. 

It’s impossible to think of a worse insult — or a greater sign that the ideologues will win in the not-so-distant future.

Every American who wears the uniform deserves our support and thanks. But we, too, can easily envision a day when ideologues will revisit the standards and demand they be loosened to serve political agendas.