Oil Company Fires Executive For Opposing Women in Military

By Terrence P. Jeffrey

Human Events, Feb. 20, 1998

What sort of man would send his wife or daughter out to confront a neighborhood bully while he cowered at home? Only a completely emasculated one. Or, as they would still call him in most American neighborhoods, a wimp.

What kind of nation, then, would send young women off to distant combat zones, while healthy young men hunker down on couches all across the land to watch the action on CNN?

Only a nation whose political leadership has been so emasculated by the terrible swift sword of feminist correctness that no majority can be mustered to defend the plainly obvious proposition that civilized peoples do not send their women to war.

Having unmanned the Republican majority in the United States Congress, where nary a peep is heard these days about sparing young ladies from mortal combat, the feminist storm troopers have now entered the corporate boardroom, where from the top down they intend to crush any popular reversion to civilized principle.

Against this onslaught proudly stands former U.S. Army intelligence officer Brian Mitchell. If the editors of the major dailies across the country have yet a drop of testosterone in their liberal blood, Mitchell's name will soon be a household word.

On October 31, Coastal Corp., a Houston-based oil and gas company, fired Mitchell for holding and expounding the view that the U.S. armed forces would be better off if they were still all male.

In 1994, Coastal hired Mitchell as a manager of media relations, fully aware that he had published a scholarly, well-reasoned and much-respected book, Weak Link: The Feminization of the American Military, that argued it was bad policy to have women serve in the U.S. armed forces. Mitchell's authorship was printed prominently on the resume he provided with his job application, and be freely discussed the book with Coastal executives who, upon hiring him, candidly expressed support for its thesis.

'Fine, Great,' He Said

In May 1997, Regnery Publishing, a sister company of HUMAN EVENTS and the publisher of Weak Link, approached Mitchell about updating the book. Mitchell took the issue to his superior, Steven M. Eames, Coastal's vice president of corporate communications.

"I went to Steve and I said the publisher wants to republish the book," said Mitchell. "They wanted to do it on the original contract which was still in effect. He said, 'Fine, great.'"

Eames later told Mitchell that he had mentioned the republishing project to his own boss, Frank Powell, Coastal's vice president for government and corporate affairs.

A few weeks later, Eames left Coastal for another job. Powell told Mitchell that he was naming him acting head of the public relations department and asked him for an updated resume. On that resume Mitchell noted that he was updating his book and that it would soon be republished.

Later in the week, Mitchell says, he met with Powell who reminded Mitchell that he agreed with the book's thesis, and endorsed the updated publication, saying, 'I would encourage you to do so."

Powell knew the book's thesis well because Mitchell had given him a copy shortly after he had started working at Coastal. Mitchell then ran into Powell emerging from the corporate men's room. Powell stopped him, Mitchell says, to tell him he had read half the book and "agreed with it completely."

Last summer Mitchell worked in his spare time to incorporate into the updated book information from the Persian Gulf War, the Tailgate scandal, the Aberdeen scandal and other recent episodes in the saga of women in the military.

Coastal Delivers Ultimatum

Then, in late August, Victoria Guennewig was hired as Coastal's new vice president for public affairs. Mitchell said that Powell told him "that he had told her about my book to ensure that she could work with someone with opinions such as mine."

Just days after Guennewig arrived, Mitchell says, she "informed me that Mr. Powell had agreed with her recommendation to promote me and directed her to prepare the paperwork."

At the beginning of October, Regnery Publishing contacted Mitchell. Considering all the new material Mitchell had developed and incorporated into the update, doubling the size of the original volume, they felt they had a new book, and suggested a new title, Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster. Mitchell agreed.

With his book about to be published and a promotion due, things were looking good for this former U.S. Army intelligence officer.

Then, in mid-October, the company abruptly canceled Mitchell's promotion. Clearly something was up.

On October 30, Guennewig called Mitchell into her office for a one-on-one chat. For self-protection, Mitchell made a tape recording of the conversation. (A spokesman for the district attorney of the city of Houston told HUMAN EVENTS that in Texas people have a legal right to tape-record any conversation in which they are a participant.)

On the tape-recording, Guennewig peppered Mitchell with questions about his book. "Now I'd like to know what the philosophy [of the book] is ' said Guennewig, "and what your premise is."

"The thesis," said Mitchell, "is that when it comes to military service, it'd be better if we just had men involved."

"That is a conflict of interest with Coastal Corp." said Guennewig.

Then she delivered an ultimatum: "The Coastal Corp. at the highest levels does not want to be associated with your planned publication. You have a choice here: You can either publish your book as Brian Mitchell and divorce yourself from Coastal, or you can cease publication and continue your employment here under certain conditions."

By the end of the meeting, she had given Mitchell four days to make a decision. But Mitchell could not renege on his obligation to the publisher. The next afternoon a security guard delivered a letter of dismissal to Mitchell's home.

A Middle-American Hero

Guennewig, whose job it is to answer press inquiries for Coastal, did not respond to two days of repeated detailed phone messages I left with her secretary, Stephanie Symms. Guennewig apparently attends many protracted meetings.

The point here is not whether men are superior to women. They plainly are not--and Brian Mitchell does not think they are. It is not whether a private corporation has a right to fire an employee, particularly a corporate spokesman, who holds political opinions different from those of management. A private corporation clearly has that right--even if the liberal press under other circumstances would wrongly and vociferously champion the "rights" of the fired man against the firing corporation.

The point is that Brian Mitchell is an American cultural hero. A father of three young children, including two girls, he served his country honorably in the Army and then took a stand for what is right. When brutal opposition from the dominant cultural elite emasculated the Congress and reduced much of the Republican leadership not just to wimps, but to moral cowards, Mitchell went out and took on the bullies himself.