Rod Dreher

Mary Eberstadt looks at the moral problem of sending single mothers to the combat zone. Excerpt:

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America reported that 30,000 single mothers had served in those two war zones as of March 2009. In other words, and with the tacit consent of our civilian leaders, the U.S. military routinely recruits mothers of babies and young children, or soon-to-be-mothers — and often puts them in harm’s way more or less as it does every other soldier.
To ask why is not to question the ability and bravery of women in the military or outside it. History and literature — to say nothing of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — abound with examples of women acting with valor in combat and in other dangerous situations. The murderous rampage by Maj. Nidal M. Hasan at Fort Hood last November, for example, was interrupted by the courageous intervention of a female police officer (and mother) who charged him at point-blank range.
Yet all this is beside the larger moral point. The notion that women can be soldiers in war zones, therefore women who are mothers should be soldiers in war zones remains a blatant non sequitur. Official military policy is still to keep women away from combat (the specific rules vary by service). But it is also true that sophistical maneuvering around these rules has become commonplace.

This is taken from Eberstadt’s Washington Post op-ed today, which itself was excerpted from her longer version in the current issue of Policy Review. I agree with her that it is moral insanity to send the only parent in the lives of these children to a combat zone. If we are going to have women in the armed services, then we should make provision for those women who are the only parent to children to serve stateside, or wherever they live with their kids. If not, we should not allow them into the military.
The problem with liberalism — I’m not talking strictly about the political sensibility associated with the Democratic Party, but more broadly, the sensibility that nearly all of us in this liberal democracy share — is that it frames every question as one of justice, and rights. We’re forever talking about what someone has the right to do, or should have the right to do. What is wise for the greater number plays a minor role far too often in our deliberations.

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