Saturday, September 12, 2009

When the news media discusses 'our men and women' in the armed forces, why do they never mention the 'sacrifice asymmetry' between the genders?

Yes, yes, yes, the women serving our country deserve their due, and I'm not advocating that we ignore them. But I get the sense that some commentators go out of their way to use that glorious conjunction "and" when they say "the men and women serving our country" in order to suggest some sort of gender equality when it comes to sacrificing for our country. In fact, there is no such equality, never has been, likely never will be. One gender bears almost all the burden when it comes to sacrificing for our country. Yet the mainstream news commentators hardly ever note the gender asymmetry of sacrifice for our country.

Let me put it this way: if the genders were reversed, do you think you'd see such a comparison discussed? I would bet my left testicle.

Here's a writer for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who boldly compares casualties by gender in our two most recent wars, involving voluntary armed forces. You've got to check it out. His conclusion: "Those figures make you think twice, and maybe even a third time, about the theory of the Disposable Male." He's perfectly correct, of course.

The other day, a different columnist for that same newspaper wrote this about World War II: "The United States, blessed by geography, was mostly spared the civilian casualties, but lost 417,00 [sic] men and women in the armed forces." Not sure what that number was supposed to be, but I did notice the "men and women." The actual number of battle deaths was 291,557; other deaths in service, 113,842; and non mortal woundings, 671,846. The writer didn't mention that of the total U.S. armed forces casualties in World War II, 460 were women -- out of hundreds of thousands.

Of course, women weren't drafted in World War II while men were, but that's not the point -- that's the subject of another post. The point here is that it's politically incorrect to mention the gender sacrifice asymmetry, and we all know why -- because it's men doing the sacrificing.