|The Kelly Flinn Flim-Flam
June 4, 1997
Now we are told that adultery may pay off big for Kelly Flinn. The skillful media campaign managed by her attorney has made her such a celebrity "victim" that he's talking glibly of a book deal and a movie, as well as airline jobs.
Dick Morris, who also rose to notoriety and a lucrative book deal
after adultery, chimed in with his two-cents worth. This adviser to
Presidents and Majority Leaders predicted, "I think she may become a
very significant feminist figure and spokesperson."
Trent Lott denies getting advice from Morris about this
controversy, but his curious defense of Kelly Flinn sent shock waves
through his conservative supporters. It is a mystery why he jumped
into the feminist shoes left empty by Patricia Schroeder's retirement
When Lott asserted that Kelly was "being badly abused" by the
Air Force, was he defending her because she was a successful career
woman in a nontraditional role? Some pundits have suggested this was
his way of trying to deal with the Republican Party's gender gap.
Or, when Trent Lott defended Kelly "on this so-called question of
fraternization," saying "get real; you're still dealing with human
beings," was he just showing that he is in step with the modern
culture which prohibits saying out loud that adultery is wrong?
But Kelly's adultery, perjury and disobedience weren't her only
offenses. She committed the particular kind of adultery that clearly
cannot be tolerated in an officer, namely having sex, first, with an
enlisted man, and secondly, with the husband of an enlisted woman.
The aggrieved spouse, Airman Gayla Zigo, explained this in her
eloquent letter to the Secretary of the Air Force. She wrote, "How
could I compete with her? She had power, both as an officer and
Academy graduate. She also had special status as the first female B-52
Gayla wrote that, "less than a week after we arrived to the base,
Kelly was in bed with my husband having sex. . . . In several
occasions, I came home from work and found her at my house with Marc.
While at my house, she was always in her flight suit flaunting the fact
that she was an Academy graduate and the first female bomber pilot."
Some commentators have tried to excuse the fraternization charge
by asserting that Kelly's lover was a civilian. But consider the
possible scenarios if his wife, Airman Zigo, were a mechanic servicing
the B-52 bomber Kelly was flying.
Clinton Administration officials would have walked over hot coals
rather than cashier their poster girl of the supposedly successful sex
integration of the Air Force. Kelly was one of the golden girls who
"proved" that women in the military can "hold their own" with men.
The evidence against her was so overwhelming that the Air Force
had to press charges. She was not "singled out," but was treated
highly preferentially compared to the 60 men whom the Air Force court-martialed for adultery last year and the many male officers whose
careers were destroyed for much lesser offenses.
Kelly's media campaign has been rather successful, but she made
one slip. She tried to excuse herself on CBS's 60 Minutes by saying,
"I was only 25 years old and I was confused." Can we afford to have
someone confused who is piloting a B-52 carrying nuclear weapons?
The military is to blame for leading young women like Kelly to
mistakenly believe they can do a man's job. Of course, she can pilot a
plane, but there's a lot more to being a military pilot than guiding
the plane's controls.
Her position required the emotional maturity and stamina to work
at a base where her pilot peers had wives, but she did not. Kelly was
lonesome. Her mother, whining about Kelly's predicament, said that the
cad whom Kelly called her "first love" was "the first man who made
her feel like a woman."
Pardon me; we have been endlessly told that women in the military
can perform just like men. Sex integration in the military was
supposed to prove what Robin Morgan said years ago on the Phil Donahue
Show, "We are becoming the men we once wanted to marry."
Now we learn that the top female bomber pilot really wanted to be
treated like a woman! When the Air Force handed Kelly a written order
to break off her relationship, she chose her lover over her spectacular
career, telling the New York Times, "I figured at least I'd salvage my
relationship with Marc [Zigo]."
Airman Gayla Zigo's letter quoted Kelly as saying that "she
wanted to settle down with someone." Gayla added, "I didn't know
that that somebody was my husband."
Feminist Congressperson Nita Lowey (D-NY) is calling for an "overhaul" of military policies concerning gender and fraternization.
Good idea! The military's gender scandals have become a soap opera.
As Trent Lott might say: Get real. You're dealing with young men and women at the peak of their sexual urges, you're putting them in terrible temptation, and they're lonesome.
It's time to abandon the foolish feminist notion that the U.S. Armed Services can be gender neutral. For starters, tell your Congressman to join the other 120 Congressmen and women who are co-sponsors of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's (R-MD) bipartisan bill to end mixed-sex recruit training.