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Opening Arguments

Save the pretty women!

One more reason (besides all the obvious ones) to hope we don't enter into a war anytime soon -- we won't be prepared to fight it because the yahoos who run the Army seem determined to wreck the institution:

The Army should use photos of “average-looking women” when it needs to illustrate stories about female soldiers, a specialist recommends — images of women who are too pretty undermine the communications strategy about introducing them into combat roles.

That’s the gist of an internal Army email an Army source shared with POLITICO.

In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” wrote Col. Lynette Arnhart, who is leading a team of analysts studying how best to integrate women into combat roles that have previously been closed off to them. She sent her message to give guidance to Army spokesmen and spokeswomen about how they should tell the press and public about the Army's integration of women.

I'm not sure I buy the "ugly women are perceived as competent" line. I suspect it might be more like they're thinking  "Americans don't want to see pretty women killed." In any case, all this fuss about how to integrate women into combat will do further damage to the Army as a meritocracy. The military is one of the last of those we have.

I'm not opposed to women in combat. It's an all-colunteer military now, and they should be as free as men to choose the military roles they want to fill. But it only works if the standards stay the same for all and they ensure that anybody going into combat can already handle it. The armed forces have already created dual standards in basic training, and this is probably a sign that things are going to get even worse.