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Pace, Warrior Princess
July 10, 2001

Yesterday, the Washington Times reported that the Marine Corps' U.S. Southern Command in Miami cancelled its 30-minute weekly run after a female officer sent a letter to Washington complaining that the mandatory exercise was "demeaning." Top brass is investigating the "command climate." Seems the runs aren't good for the girls' self-esteem - which is precisely what the military is for. Should the task force find warriors in the works and discipline running high, no doubt the security threat can be remedied with an airlift of aromatherapy candles and pastel upholstery.

We know little about the Pentagon's new pen pal, and don't need to. Odds are she's slightly weaker and somewhat smaller than her male counterparts. Make that monumentally weaker and tragically smaller. Take it to a battlefield rather than a jogging track, and people die in the service of the feminists' great experiment.

The Steinem set claims physical standards are irrelevant - while struggling to lower them. To prove its progressivity, the military complies, then hesitates to enforce hurdles turned speed bumps because a harassment citation can cul-de-sac a career. Discipline Private Powderpuff like any other soldier, and you've got a one-way ticket to sensitivity training. Ease up on the entire unit, and you've got a fighting force turned support group. Ask it to police global skirmishes on an unprecedented scale, and you've got a formula for disaster.

History has never handed battles to the side able to assemble the most diverse coalition. War is brutish business, and though many women have served their country with distinction, combat zones belong to the strong. From the jungles of Nam to the streets of Mogadishu, it's not about sexism or social engineering. The game is won or lost by sheer grit -- unrelenting, sleepless exertion. Anyone able to complete at that level is welcome. But anyone whose admission lowers our standards and demilitarizes our services has interests above the country's -- and should be disqualified for that reason alone.

Women should be doctors, lawyers, CEOs and teachers - pillars of the civilization our military defends. But until they find the upper body strength to pull back the charging handle on an M-60, or at the very least manage a half-hour run in midday Miami, it's not the Marines who need an attitude - or aptitude -- adjustment.

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