Lopez: How are you not dishonoring the service of women in Iraq and Afghanistan right now by arguing women are different than men in the military?
Parker: Well, by insisting that that’s not my intent. Women serving in war are my heroes. I just don’t want to see them — and the men who are with them — be sacrificed on the altar of misplaced feminist ambition. We’ve confused the ability to die with the ability to fight. Women have no place in combat for a variety of reasons — physical and psychological — but you’ll have to read the book to get the whole picture. The crux is that combat is not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It has a specific definition, which is to actively and aggressively engage the enemy with the expectation of physical contact. Putting women in that circumstance, mano-a-mano with enemy men, is counter-intuitive on its face. My argument is principally a feminist position: Women do not have an equal opportunity to survive.Lopez
: Is this a debate we can even have at a time of war?
Parker: It’s not a comfortable debate, obviously. But only now are we in a position to ask these questions. No previous war has involved so many women so close to combat. I think we have a moral obligation to our men, our women, and to our society to question where we’re heading. What kind of culture do we want to deed to future generations? If trends continue, you can be sure that “choice” will soon become no-choice for women. If you insist that those women who want to go into combat ought to be able to based on some notion that the military involves “rights,” then some smart guy is going to ask why only women have that option. Once the combat exclusion for women is eliminated, then there will be no rational argument for excluding women from the draft should it ever been applied again. Drafting 18-year-old girls to do battle with grizzly men is a nightmare scenario, not the conscious act of a civilized nation.
Lopez: You use the word “oleaginous.” Buckley School show-off?
Parker: How can one not use the word “oleaginous” — especially when talking about soliloquies to one’s vagina?
Lopez: You and I have a mutual friend who talks about “men who love women.” After the portrait you paint of the way women treat men, what man in his right mind would ever want to have anything to do with women?
Parker: The kind who knows our mutual friend. It helps that she loves men. As do we, Kathryn.
Lopez: On page 79 of your book, you write that “every little thing is not a gender issue.” Did anyone try to tell Hillary Clinton that?
Parker: We can guess her husband never did.