Don't Ask Don't Tell for Women in Combat?

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to Unconfirmed Sources today, under condition that we not use his name, concerning charges that the White House is promoting a don’t ask, don’t tell policy for women. If this policy is not halted, he said, “yet more women will die or be captured and possibly hung up by their ankles and painted with graffiti.”

The so-called “Aspin Rules” of 1994 are supposed to prohibit female soldiers from serving in deliberate offensive action against the enemy. Seven female U.S. soldiers have nevertheless been killed in combat in Iraq and many more have been wounded. And that’s not counting Afghanistan as usual. According to the general, the White House is trying to sidestep the law against females serving in combat by suggesting that field commanders and recruiters no longer inquire into the sexuality of soldiers, a policy they contend does not violate the hard-and-fast rules.

The general showed us a leaked White House report indicating plans to turn a blind eye to females in the military. “To support premature elimination of non-male personnel from all units designated to be or to become or to be collocated with unit of action elements would create an immediate and lasting personnel readiness impact issue of insufficient male soldiers in inventory to fill forward support companies and a potential long-term challenge to the Army’s pool of male recruits.” This means they don’t have enough soldiers, the general explained. The report went on to recommend that Army commanders simply “transfer forward-support companies from the maneuver battalions into brigade-support battalions without the need actively to screen for biological eligibility thereby avoiding the requirement to report the policy change to Congress.” The general told us this means “don’t ask.”

Incoming Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice, said recently that “We could not do what needs to be done over there without women. If there needs to be a cavity search of an Iraqi woman, there’s no way an American male could do that.” The general, however, disagrees.

“We’re not talking about searching their cavities, we’re talking about blowing their heads off. American males are perfectly capable of that without the problems involved in living and fighting in close quarters with members of the opposite sexuality.”

Some male soldiers have, in fact, complained to their commanders about the likelihood of having to live in close quarters with possible females.

One, Sgt. Edward Erins, 23, often travels in armed convoys as part of his work as an aide to a commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit who admitted confidentially to us to being female.

“Sure, I would love to go to a safe warm whorehouse any day,” Erins said. “That’s one of the great things about the Army, but you’re liable to get stuff cut off around here these days.” He said that, ever since rape began to be frowned on outside the prison camps by the “suits in Washington,” combat duty has been a frustrating experience. He admitted that the thought of attacking his commanding officer has occurred to him more than once, and he knows that others in his company have had the same thoughts.

Another, Marine Lance Cpl. Erin Edwards left her 3-year-old son and infant daughter with her in-laws to serve in Iraq because her husband serves in the Army in South Korea.

“They told me when I checked into my squadron they didn’t care if I were male or female, as long as I could carry a 50-caliber,” said Edwards. “So I didn’t try to hide it.” Now Cpl. Edwards is facing a possible permanent desk job in Kuwait. “It’s not fair,” Edwards said. “I came here to pull triggers, not push papers.” It’s a complaint echoed by females who have chosen to keep their sexuality secret.

Kay Barnes, is a 30-year-old reservist originally from Richmond Hill, Ga., and a crew chief on a “Huey” gunship serving in Afghanistan told us:

“I didn’t see (myself) sitting around while my country was going to war without me.” But having to live a lie all the time is hard. “It gets a little rough around shower time,” she admitted. Once a surprise inspection caught her with tampons, and she had to pretend that she thought they were for bullet holes.