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PC in the Defense Department By: Tammy Bruce
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, September 03, 2002

There has recently been renewed concern in the military about the killing of four women married to enlisted men in just six weeks at Fort Bragg. In each case, the husbands are the suspect, three of whom were members of Special Forces, and had just returned from Afghanistan. In two cases, the men then took their own lives, each leaving now-orphaned children.

In response, the U.S. military has announced that it will screen soldiers heading home from Afghanistan for signs of "mental health problems." It's fascinating that the supposedly macho Defense Department has bitten this rotten feminist apple when it comes to domestic violence in their own ranks. Giving mental health screenings to men who are returning from Afghanistan (or any other war theatre) sends an extraordinary message to everyone, including our fighting men and women, that something may be wrong with them because of their commitment to this country — because they have been trained to defend us.

During my time in the National Organization for Women, I saw that the anti-military agenda was pervasive. I also was constantly repulsed by the feminist establishment exploiting important issues to further political positions, like feminists complaining for years that the military, by its very nature, creates batterers. This complaint has nothing to do with ending violence against women, but reeks of the socialist, anti-America attitude that pervades today's Left Elite.

Feminists suggest it is the military "culture" of violence that compels these men to kill their wives. Well, the question must be asked then — why aren't more military men killing their wives or girlfriends? Yes, four killings in six weeks is remarkable, but considering the tens of thousands of young men who stand on the frontlines all over the world for this great country, this supposed culture of violence seems to be creating relatively few wife killers.

One thing we learned during the entire O.J. Simpson debacle was that domestic violence was about bullying, jealousy, and desire to control a spouse. This makes the mental health screenings for those returning from war even more insulting, absurd and ridiculously off-the-mark when it comes to dealing with batterers.

If the military really wants to fight domestic violence, and if the feminist establishment really cared about the issue, the subjects of mental health screening would be recruits. This would recognize the fact that batterers are created in the home during childhood — not in the service. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of everything both the feminist and domestic violence activist establishments know about the issue.

The tragedy here is that we have an excellent opportunity to address the real foundation of domestic violence — and once again the feminist establishment has no interest. The authentic opportunity for feminists, given a number of military men killing their wives, is to remind the public (and the military) about the truth of domestic violence:

  • Perpetrators, almost without exception, grew up with domestic violence. It was modeled to them by an older male in the home.
  • Men don't suddenly turn into batterers after some other kind of experience in adulthood — they have a pervasive, long-term history of violence against women. It's not what you do for a living — it's who you are. O.J. Simpson didn't make all football players batterers, and the murderous young men at Fort Bragg don't make wife killers out of our troops.
  • We know women who are battered are in more danger of being killed when they leave the man who is beating them. I believe it will be found at the investigations and trials of the men accused of murdering their spouses that their wives were about to leave them. Like every other woman at risk, that was the danger point, not the psychological impact on their men of fighting in Afghanistan.

The feminist establishment has effectively abandoned women married to men in uniform. Firstly, because the super vast majority of them are married to remarkable young men who have made a commitment to this county. They, too, deserve feminist support, not an image of women married to beasts.

Feminists also place women at severe risk in and out of the military environment who are married to batterers by furthering the falsehood that what a man does in adulthood can make him a batterer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Already, battered women make excuses that what's happening to them isn't domestic violence.

Imagine a woman, listening to this feminist tripe that the military environment creates batterers. It certainly makes it easier for the woman beaten by her shoe-salesman husband to rationalize that her man isn't a batterer because he has not been 'trained' nor does he work in a violent field.

The most interesting question that should be asked is the one that would actually educate about the issue: Are men who are batterers attracted to the military? Just as violent men who are athletes may be attracted to football, this scenario is the most likely — strict environments where violence is a necessary part of the job probably appeals to some batterers.

That's why the solution is to screen them out at the beginning of the recruitment process — not to suggest that the greatest military in the world — one made of good men and women who have volunteered to serve this country — is creating time bombs waiting to explode.

This, however, is the message of the feminist establishment. Unfortunately, it looks as though the military itself has been paralyzed by political correctness and bound by what is nothing less than feminist establishment brainwashing on the issue. What the military doesn't know is that they've been lied to about domestic violence while women facing the issue continue to be abandoned by those who claim to represent them.

Tammy Bruce is a Fox News Channel Contributor and author of The Death of Right and Wrong.

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