The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

“[Last] month, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced his sup­port for al­low­ing women on sub­marines, and now he’s fac­ing a chal­lenge from a group ea­ger to keep women off the boats that stay some six months un­der the ocean’s sur­face,” Paul Bedard writes in the Wash­ing­ton Whis­pers col­umn at

“The Cen­ter for Mil­i­tar y Readi­ness says that there is a big­ger is­sue at stake: Bad air on subs — not the prox­im­ity to nu­clear ma­te­ri­als — could cause birth de­fects for women sailors’ chil­dren. ‘The prob­lem is not nu­clear power, it is the air, which is con­stantly re­cy­cled in the un­der­sea en­vi­ron­ment. Car­bon monox­ide and car­bon diox­ide lev­els in the air are safe for adults but a high-risk cause of birth de­fects in un­born chil­dren — par­tic­u­larly in the early weeks of ges­ta­tion when a woman may not even know she is preg­nant,’ CMR’s Elaine Don­nelly said in a state­ment [on Sept. 28].

“ ‘By thought­lessly push­ing for co-ed sub­marines, ap­par­ently to please mil­i­tary and civil­ian fem­i­nists, Ad­mi­ral Mullen has demon­strated an ap­palling unaware­ness of the health haz­ards in­volved, and a cal­lous dis­re­gard for qual­ity-oflife hard­ships that are dif­fi­cult enough for sailors in the Si­lent Ser­vice.’ “

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@ wash­ing­ton­

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