Time to get your hackles up. Time to rage at me for being an old, stuck in the mud male chauvinist pig. Whatever. Just hear me out.

I am all for training absolutely everybody in basic combat and self-defense skills. I think everybody without exception, boys and girls, should go through Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (whatever they call them nowadays) upon graduation from high school, and then put in a week or two in a refresher course just like the National Guard and the Reserves. I don’t care if you are a 90 pound princess or a 300 pound butterball, and you couldn’t do a chin-up or run a mile in less than half an hour if your life depended on it, you’ll learn how to shoot and all the rest. We are Americans, and since our founding everyone of us formally belongs to the local militia; let’s start acting on that fundamental fact.

That does not mean everybody has to serve on active duty in the regular military, either as volunteer or draftee. That is an entirely different story. As a nation we decided against the draft some decades ago.

Furthermore, I also draw a sharp distinction between defense and pre-emption as a national policy or military strategy. I DON’T think you are engaged in national defense when you bomb or make war in other people’s countries, no matter what the provocation (such as Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Center). You are engaged in retaliation, punishment, nation-building, whatever, but NOT defense. You are engaged in a global chess game, in preventive action, in “showing the flag,” calculated to defuse and deter a threat before it becomes unmanageable. You are engaged in pre-emption, on the theory that you will deter future attacks if only you beat your chests loud enough or if you beat up on the enemy real good, and possibly put in place a government who’d be more self-restrained and more cautious than the last one was. Whatever it is, you are NOT engaged in defense.

Therefore, as long as you have the luxury of taking the war to the enemy, operating in HIS country, you do NOT send WOMEN into COMBAT. I think women are too precious to be used and abused that way. It does not matter if women are physically, medically, mentally and emotionally capable of putting up with the hardships of training and combat. It does not matter if some women are fully capable of meeting the requirements, without having to lower the standards or “gender norming” the standards so they would meet them. It does not matter if some women WANT to do it. A civilized country does NOT send its WOMEN into COMBAT or on any assignments in a combat zone.

My conviction in this regard comes from the experience of having been raised in a small country in Europe that was at the forefront of holding back the Ottoman Muslim hordes for several centuries, bleeding to the brink of extinction while defending western Europe without much help. It is in that context that you learn what “defense” means — man the ramparts; men, women, children, young and old to the ramparts; the barbarians are at the gate, climbing up the walls. You’re sure to be tortured, raped and killed if you surrender, so you might as well go down fighting.

(By the way, an analogous definition applies in criminal law, which allows you to use deadly force in self-defense but prohibits you from shooting at a criminal who is running away after having just tried to harm you.)

I’ll wait until I see Chinese hordes hitting the beaches and swarming over the coastal hills of California. THAT is when WE sent WOMEN into COMBAT. Not for any feminist political ideology, not for career advancement in a politically correct military bureaucracy, but because and ONLY because the very survival of the nation is in immediate danger and the nation needs absolutely everybody to “man the ramparts.”

Until then, I want our women to be women and stay safe, here at home.

So NOW tell me i am just a neanderthal.