This article was originally published by Salon on March 17, 1997.
Almost everyone knows about the latest sex “harassment” scandal brewing in the Army, involving seven officers at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The officers are accused of sexual abuses against females under their command, which include charges of rape, sodomy and assault.
But until the NAACP stepped into the case a week ago, few people were aware that all seven officers are black, while most of their alleged female victims are white. It also appears that the facts of the case are not so simple as first thought. Five women “victims” now say that military investigators, eager to show that the Army knows how to deal with sexual harassers, intimidated them into transforming consensual sex (which would have brought punishments on their heads) to the serious criminal charges that have been filed against the black officers.
Both the sex scandal and the racial coverup are products of political correctness, which many thought was yesterday’s news, but still runs so strong as to threaten the efficacy of the one institution that previously appeared impervious to such assaults.
The Aberdeen case exactly parallels the infamous 1991 Tailhook affair involving the U.S. Navy. The government was never able to get a single conviction of the Tailhook defendants because the women “victims,” under cross-examination, admitted to having consensual sex. They, too, told stories of military investigators threatening them and putting words in their mouths so that top military brass could be shown to be on the side of the angels. These facts are not well known, because the white males caught up in Tailhook did not have an NAACP to intervene in their behalf. Without the race card to trump the gender card, they were hung out to dry.
The national hysteria over Tailhook, whipped up by the feminist left, resulted in one of the most extensive witch hunts in American history. It ended the careers of hundreds of seasoned officers, admirals of flag rank and war heroes, many of whom were not even at the Tailhook convention or who did not participate in its celebrated events. The pressure to destroy the “male culture” of the military led to more lost careers than were destroyed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The resulting crisis in military morale has decimated the ranks of seasoned officers.
These politically inspired assaults have been mounted under the banner of “desexegrating” the military (the term was coined by former Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., who has led the crusade). The idea is to put women in combat and combat-support roles once reserved for men, as though the problems associated with such a profound shift were trivial and the rationale for preserving male prominence in combat were the same as the Jim Crow reasoning employed by white supremacists to preserve their domination in the segregationist South. As a result, at least one female navy pilot, Kara Hultgreen, is dead.
Hultgreen was a Navy pilot who would have been grounded before her death had she been a man and held to normal Navy standards of competence. But feminist politicians in Washington, led by Schroeder, then ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, were so determined that the Navy qualify females to fly advanced combat planes, that normal standards were thrown overboard. Despite her documented inadequacies, Hultgreen’s training, which clearly pushed her beyond her ability, continued — until in 1994 she crashed her $40 million F-14 into the sea while trying to land on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Nobody, either in the Congress or the media, has looked into the possibility that Schroeder’s “desexegration” agenda may have been to blame.
Schroeder is a left-wing Democrat whose entire career could be viewed as an assault on America’s defense establishment. Entering Congress in 1974, she pledged to cut off all military aid to Cambodia and South Vietnam. The aid was cut, the anti-Communist regimes fell, and 2 million Indochinese were slaughtered in the blood baths that followed. Untroubled, Schroeder went on to oppose every subsequent use of American military power over the next 20 years, right up to the Gulf War. Fortunately, Republican presidents, with the assist of a battalion of “boll-weevil” Democrats, were able to maintain America’s military posture adequately and to sustain the standards that have kept America’s fighting force the best in the world.
During the Bush administration, a Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces specifically recommended that women not be assigned to combat for reasons that lie at the heart of the above-mentioned incidents. Four years ago, however, the American people elected Bill Clinton as their commander-in-chief. Encouraged, the Schroederites resumed their agenda, disregarding the recommendations of the presidential commission. The death of Kara Hultgreen is one result; the sexual fiasco at Aberdeen is another.
Unbowed, a Schroeder-sponsored group called WANDAS (Women Active in our Nation’s Defense and their Advocates and Supporters) is busy keeping the faith alive. When the San Diego Union and the Washington Times published reported charges by Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness that the military was preparing to qualify a second inadequate female flyer (known as “Pilot B”), WANDAS sued both papers and Donnelly on behalf of “Pilot B” on the grounds that they had defamed her flying skills!
Pilot B., incidentally, is no longer flying any planes. Last year she became pregnant and is now the mother of a baby daughter.