On Women in Combat, Rick Santorum Insults Military Men

To suggest that the men in our armed forces cannot control their emotions is a real slap at the professionals who wear the uniform.

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So Rick Santorum says that he was not talking about over-emotional females when he raised objections to the idea of women in combat. Instead, he says, he was talking about how over-emotional males might behave. OK fine, so instead of insulting women, he's insulted men, and military men in particular.

Appearing on CNN Thursday night, the former Pennsylvania senator was asked about the Pentagon's decision to loosen restrictions on women in combat. He replied:

I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country. And they do so in an amazing and wonderful way. And they're a great addition to the — and have been for a long time, to the armed services of our country.

But I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that can be a very compromising situation where where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved . And I think that's probably — you know, it already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat. But it's — but it's — I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat. And I think that's probably not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.

[ See pictures of Rick Santorum.]

He has subsequently clarified that the "other types of emotions … involved" wasn't a reference to women but rather to men. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin recounts:

I also asked him about his comments about women in combat. In an interview with ABC's Jon Karl just before he sat down with me, he explained that he was talking about men's emotions being raised by putting women in combat. He reiterates that his concern is the protective instinct of males toward female comrades. He acknowledges that women are presently in combat positions in the Air Force and Navy. "But I don't think you see the same problems [that servicemen] would find on the front line." He says, "It's not a matter of putting women in dangerous roles." He tell me, for example, that women are fully capable of "flying small planes."

So … Santorum thinks that when the bullets start flying and the bombs start dropping, men—emotions running out of control—will drop everything to protect the unit's women. This is insulting to men—helpless slaves to our emotions, we—but is especially so to men in the armed forces. Look, the United States is blessed with the greatest fighting force the world has ever known. It's composed of men and women who are highly trained professionals. To suggest that the men in our armed forces would en masse behave in such a spectacularly unprofessional manner—jeopardizing the mission and, one supposes, fellow male comrades-in-arms—is a real slap at the professionals who wear the uniform.