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Women in the Armed Forces

Re “Perspectives on Women in the Military,” Commentary, June 24: As a retired female military member, I deeply resent Col. M. Thomas Davis’ inference that where military women and men are concerned, sex always “gets in the way.” Evidently, if a professional working relationship exists between men in a unit, it’s called “esprit de corps,” but if the same occurs between men and women, it will lead inevitably to sexual debauchery? What nonsense.

And to imply that women would welcome segregation in basic training, as if it is the only alternative to being forced to shower with or relieve ourselves in front of men, is patently absurd! I haven’t heard that old saw since it was used to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment. (Remember “if women get equality with men, we’ll all have to use the same bathroom”?)

Sexual harassment in the military isn’t a “female issue” or “sex issue,” it’s a breach of military discipline and/or abuse of power, and should be firmly dealt with by commanders as such. Doing so will not completely eliminate the problem, just as prohibitions against assault haven’t entirely eliminated fistfights, but it’s a start.

GAIL M. LOFDAHL

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Quartz Hills

* Two mutually exclusive perspectives were offered, one by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Torrance) and the other by a retired army colonel, Davis. Unlike Davis, Harman brings no military credentials to the debate. Nor is the history of warfare on her side, since no conquering army in the history of the world was coeducational in any material degree.

Finally, Harman is of the “wrong” sex. Feminists have created a set of what they call “women’s issues,” including abortion in particular. If anything deserves the label of “men’s issues,” it is war, particularly since women have long, and quite rightly, attributed it solely to men. However, it is the ultimate liberal/feminist pretension that women are the equal of men in battle.

JOHN JAEGER

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Irvine


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