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Not long ago, during the Central Park jogger trial, all the news media were emphasizing -- quite correctly -- the evils of "violence against women." Now they are running cover stories in which they appear to condone the idea of sending young women and teen-aged girls into war zones as combat or near-combat soldiers. Doesn't anybody notice a certain amount of inconsistency?

By inching them closer and closer to actual combat, the U.S. government is getting ready to commit violence against women on a truly grand scale. Uncle Sam is going to put the urban wolf packs and the serial killers out of business -- they will soon be able to get their thrills merely by watching the evening news.

Civilized societies protect the lives and safety of women and children. If our society does not, then we have no right to be waging war against Iraq or anybody else, because we are far more depraved than they are.

Three or four years ago, whenever I picked up a newspaper there would be some heart-wrenchingly maudlin editorial or column about the "Baby-M" surrogate mother case. All across the country shrill and frequently vitriolic feminist voices were raised in defense of the "sacred bond" that allegedly exists between a mother and her child.

But that was three years ago. Now whenever I pick up a newspaper, I read about hundreds or even thousands of mothers being separated from their children, to go off to some foreign country 10,000 miles from home, with the very real possibility that some or all of these mothers may never return.

Apparently the "sacred bond" is not so sacred after all, when it stands in the way of women who want to be macho and emulate the worst aspects of traditional male behavior.

I know, I know. Everything I have said up to this point has been a childish, emotional outburst by a disgruntled male supremacist who can't cope with the idea of strong, independent women. And of course you are right; it's terribly unfair to deprive women of the right to go to the war.

Just look at the important role that war has played in male evolution. By killing off the weak and the meek at an early age while allowing only the most aggressive and ruthless to survive and reproduce, war has helped transform the male into the superior ppose sending women to war
being that he is today. What an outrage that our poor sisters have been systematically deprived of the opportunity to better themselves in the same way!

I can foresee at least four objections that will be raised against the position I am taking. None of them withstands logical scrutiny.

How dare you criticize the brave women who are risking their lives for your safety, while you sit at home like a coward?

The bravery issue is irrelevant; it is quite possible for a person to be brave and yet irresponsible simultaneously. Men do that all the time.

Ah, but the presence of female soldiers near the front lines will make our leaders think twice before they commit us to a war.

The deterrence concept is a dangerous gamble that would almost certainly backfire. It is more likely that a government would exploit the public outrage resulting from female casualties as an excuse to escalate a conflict.

These people are volunteers; what right have you to tell them what to do with their lives?

To paraphrase a judge in the Baby M case, in a civilized society there are some things you just don't do -- even as a volunteer.

Why don't you have the same feelings for young men and fathers that you have for young women and mothers?

Men and women are not interchangeable. This equality nonsense is a big lie, and one of the many fundamental differences between men and women is the fact that, when worse comes to worst, men are expendable. Women can't defend civilization because women are civilization; the skills one must cultivate to defend it are, paradoxically, the exact opposite of the attitudes one must preserve in order to embody it.

In fact, there is one -- and only one -- strong argument in favor of women warriors: population control. If you kill off a young man you only get rid of one person, but if you kill off a young women you also get rid of the 2.3 children that she would have had -- and with only one bullet!

This is 3.3 times more cost-effective! It sounds very logical, but I'm such a sentimental old fool that I think we ought to look for more humane methods of birth control first.

JOHN L. WALLACE, is a self-employed electrical engineer from Coatesville, Pa.

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