Our thanks to Jack for this. Excerpts:
Jim Webb knows fighting, which is what the US Naval Academy is supposed to be about. But perhaps no longer.
Webb, a member of the Annapolis class of ’68, brought a Navy Cross, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts home with him from Vietnam, among other decorations. That was just the beginning…
Webb was to have been honored Friday as a “distinguished graduate” by the Naval Academy Alumni Association, but withdrew Tuesday evening: “I am being told that my presence at the ceremony would likely mar the otherwise celebratory nature of that special day. As a consequence, I find it necessary to decline the award.”
Better he should have spit in somebody’s eye — but once an officer and a gentleman, always an officer and a gentleman, one supposes.
At issue was a paper he wrote in 1979 objecting to the admission of women to the nation’s military academies on the even-then-unfashionable, but still-not-unreasonable, grounds that assignment of women to frontline combat roles is at best disruptive, and at worst dangerous. Perhaps lethally so.
Webb could have been dead wrong about all of it, of course, even if 40 years of experience with gender integration strongly indicates otherwise. The Navy’s ongoing shipboard pregnancy epidemic and the difficulty most women have coping with traditional infantry-training standards suggests that the debate is far from settled.
Unless dissent can be beaten into the ground, of course — along with those who refuse to accept that political equity can trump basic biology without serious consequences.
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