Women in the “band of brothers”

Four women in the U. S. Army have filed a lawsuit  in federal court demanding that the military drop its practice of excluding women from combat.  Robert H. Scales, a retired Major General with combat experience, raises a concern that I haven’t heard before:

Infantry and armor soldiers alone do virtually all the intimate killing. Here’s where the issue gets hard for me. Intimate killing is done in small units, normally squads and teams. In these engagements they fight and often die not for country or mission but for each other. We borrow a phrase from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” and term this phenomenon the “band of brothers effect.” This is the essential glue in military culture that causes a young man to sacrifice his life willingly so that his buddies might survive. Contemporary history suggests that U.S. infantry units fight equally well when made up of soldiers of different ethnicities, cultures, intelligence and social background. The evidence is also solid that gays make just as good infantrymen as do straight men.

I’ve been studying the band of brothers effect for almost 40 years and have written extensively on the subject. We know that time together allows effective pairings — or “battle buddies,” to use the common Army term. We know that four solid buddy pairings led by a sergeant compose a nine-man, battle-ready squad. The Marine squad is slightly larger. We know from watching Ranger and special forces training that buddy groups form often spontaneously. But the human formula that ensures successful buddy pairings is still a mystery, and that’s the key stumbling block in the debate. Veteran SEALs, special forces, Rangers, tankers and line infantrymen will swear that the deliberate, premeditated and brutal act of intimate killing is a male-only occupation. But no one can prove it with data from empirical tests because no such data exist from the United States. They just know intuitively from battlefield experience that it’s true.

To be sure, women soldiers may be fit, they may be skilled and they may be able to “hang.” Many have proved with their lives that they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. But our senior ground-force leaders, as well as generations of former close combat veterans from all of our previous wars, are virtually united on one point: The precious and indefinable band of brothers effect so essential to winning in close combat would be irreparably compromised within mixed-gender infantry squads.

via Not yet time for women to serve in infantry – The Washington Post.

“Intimate killing.”  “Band of brothers.”  “Battle buddies.”  One would think that the intimate two-person bond between “battle buddies” would also be affected by homosexuality.  At any rate, it would seem that we should identify what the different units in our military are for and then determine what arrangements would make them more effective towards that end.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    The idea of women in infantry is an interesting one. All of the arguments given against it were also ones given for why units shouldn’t be integrated 60 years ago. Can a white man and a black man really be “battle buddies”? And yet it doesn’t necessarily make these arguments against women soldiers invalid. It may be possible that a white man and a black man can be battle buddies, but a white man and a black woman could NOT be battle buddies. But we should be very cautious about making statements like this.

  • Michael B.

    The idea of women in infantry is an interesting one. All of the arguments given against it were also ones given for why units shouldn’t be integrated 60 years ago. Can a white man and a black man really be “battle buddies”? And yet it doesn’t necessarily make these arguments against women soldiers invalid. It may be possible that a white man and a black man can be battle buddies, but a white man and a black woman could NOT be battle buddies. But we should be very cautious about making statements like this.

  • Eric Brown

    This is the first and main point my uncle, a retired Marine Officer, raises. It’s not just a physical thing — there’s a lot of social dynamic at work. The simple fact is the typical instinct is going to be to protect the woman more… and that is what will throw things off.

  • Eric Brown

    This is the first and main point my uncle, a retired Marine Officer, raises. It’s not just a physical thing — there’s a lot of social dynamic at work. The simple fact is the typical instinct is going to be to protect the woman more… and that is what will throw things off.

  • Kathy

    My take/experience as a Naval Academy graduate and former Marine Corps officer (5 years).

    Point 1: I recall early on at the Academy, upper class men, in talking about women in combat and watertight doors on ships, said that, in an emergency, they would hesitate to secure a watertight door if a woman or if I was in the passage that would flood. The men were implying that they might not save the ship because their chivalrousness would kick in, and they’d think about the women. I also remember doing some rugged ambush training, and the men in the platoon were rather concerned about us two women.

    Point 2: My last duty station was at Parris Island, supervising/running series of DIs and recruits. I’m not very big or very strong…let’s just say that most of the female recruits were less capable than I was.

    Point 3: While I was at PI in the ’80s, a big lesbian investigation was ongoing. When I took over as a training company commander, the regimental commander counselled me concerning homosexuals in the military. This colonel had served in Vietnam. I will put this as cleanly as possible…the colonel said that combat caused “sexual arousal” and that’s why the military did not want homosexuals serving. I would think that the same line of thinking would apply to women serving in combat.

    Hope I didn’t offend. Having spent that impressionable part of my early life in a male-dominated world, I am very opinionated about this topic.

  • Kathy

    My take/experience as a Naval Academy graduate and former Marine Corps officer (5 years).

    Point 1: I recall early on at the Academy, upper class men, in talking about women in combat and watertight doors on ships, said that, in an emergency, they would hesitate to secure a watertight door if a woman or if I was in the passage that would flood. The men were implying that they might not save the ship because their chivalrousness would kick in, and they’d think about the women. I also remember doing some rugged ambush training, and the men in the platoon were rather concerned about us two women.

    Point 2: My last duty station was at Parris Island, supervising/running series of DIs and recruits. I’m not very big or very strong…let’s just say that most of the female recruits were less capable than I was.

    Point 3: While I was at PI in the ’80s, a big lesbian investigation was ongoing. When I took over as a training company commander, the regimental commander counselled me concerning homosexuals in the military. This colonel had served in Vietnam. I will put this as cleanly as possible…the colonel said that combat caused “sexual arousal” and that’s why the military did not want homosexuals serving. I would think that the same line of thinking would apply to women serving in combat.

    Hope I didn’t offend. Having spent that impressionable part of my early life in a male-dominated world, I am very opinionated about this topic.

  • Joe

    I think one of the main reasons the battle buddy or the band of brothers works is because in that small group of 2 or 9, you don’t have to be a hero. You just have to be human – a human that kills and then struggles with all the baggage that comes with it. But he struggles with it in a small intimate setting with others who understand it from the same perspective (that of a man who society expects to be strong of body and mind, to go off to war and kill and then be a normal guy again).

  • Joe

    I think one of the main reasons the battle buddy or the band of brothers works is because in that small group of 2 or 9, you don’t have to be a hero. You just have to be human – a human that kills and then struggles with all the baggage that comes with it. But he struggles with it in a small intimate setting with others who understand it from the same perspective (that of a man who society expects to be strong of body and mind, to go off to war and kill and then be a normal guy again).

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    For centuries, thousands of years, men have gone to war to protect women and children. Not the other way around. Though in Russia during WWII, I do understand there were women involved in combat troops. On the whole I just think it a bad idea. I was raised that you didn’t hit women, I think it is cowardly to put the enemy in a position to hit them. Bad enough we have to give sons up to this sort of thing for the protection of our country.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    For centuries, thousands of years, men have gone to war to protect women and children. Not the other way around. Though in Russia during WWII, I do understand there were women involved in combat troops. On the whole I just think it a bad idea. I was raised that you didn’t hit women, I think it is cowardly to put the enemy in a position to hit them. Bad enough we have to give sons up to this sort of thing for the protection of our country.

  • Kirk

    If a woman wants to fight and is capable of passing the physical and mental rigors that male soldiers are subject to, then let them fight. Like Bror said, women have fought in the past and many have acquitted themselves admirably. All that being said, curving standards to be more inclusive would be foolhardy.

  • Kirk

    If a woman wants to fight and is capable of passing the physical and mental rigors that male soldiers are subject to, then let them fight. Like Bror said, women have fought in the past and many have acquitted themselves admirably. All that being said, curving standards to be more inclusive would be foolhardy.

  • dan kempin

    Thanks for your take, Kathy.

  • dan kempin

    Thanks for your take, Kathy.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Funny, Kirk, tODD and I were just talking about this the other day in regard’s to Cracked. The penchant of a writer to cite another person in support of what they are writing, when what the other person said is not quite what the writer says he meant.
    See fighting should never be about wants in the first place. It is serious business. I think this is the first place we have gone wrong. Today we regard military service as a right, not a duty. We do not have right to kill people and destroy things. At times we have a duty to do so, but never a right. It’s not about wants, and women fighting should be the very last recourse.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Funny, Kirk, tODD and I were just talking about this the other day in regard’s to Cracked. The penchant of a writer to cite another person in support of what they are writing, when what the other person said is not quite what the writer says he meant.
    See fighting should never be about wants in the first place. It is serious business. I think this is the first place we have gone wrong. Today we regard military service as a right, not a duty. We do not have right to kill people and destroy things. At times we have a duty to do so, but never a right. It’s not about wants, and women fighting should be the very last recourse.

  • Joe

    If it happens, let me be the first to call for segregated units. As someone who spent time in a unit with male and female soldiers I can attest to the fact that it does not work very well. Way too many extra-curricular activities occur. And, as much as you’d like to think we can regulate that away, we can’t.

  • Joe

    If it happens, let me be the first to call for segregated units. As someone who spent time in a unit with male and female soldiers I can attest to the fact that it does not work very well. Way too many extra-curricular activities occur. And, as much as you’d like to think we can regulate that away, we can’t.

  • kerner

    Kathy:
    Thank you for your service.

    I have never been in the military, But two of my sons and one daughter have served in the Marines. One son and one daughter have served in Iraq. The other son served in Afghanistan.

    Kirk. The problem is not with the individual soldier/marine. It is with interaction among members of the unit. The problem is (as best I can tell from second hand information) that the relationship between “brothers in arms” and the relationship between sweethearts is incompatable. It compromises the entire operation.

    As Joe points out, young, hormone infused, dynamic people who make up most of the military, will become attracted to each other, and pair off. The Navy is co-ed, and what is never portrayed in the movies is all the pregnant sailors who have to be given shore leave every time an aircraft carrier reaches port. It also does not show you all the sexual harrassment, or worse, sexual nepotism, that goes on in the military.

    Depressing but illustrative joke:
    How are Zebras different from female marines?
    Answer: Zebras don’t have to lay down to get their stripes.

    Also remember the affair that caused General Petraeus to resign? You all DO remember that his paramour was an officer in the Army Reserve and I think a West Point grad, don’t you? This was reported, but not emphasized.

    In answer to Dr. Veith’s question, the problem DOES apply to homosexuals, but “don’t ask don’t tell” kept it sufficiently in a cage. By forcing Homosexuals to keep their sexuality private and away from the notice of the military, homosexuals were allowed to serve without corrupting the “band of brothers” with sexual relationships. It seemed to be working well enough.

    But returning to the original point. Injecting sexuality and sexual relationships into the atmosphere of “intimate killing” is seen by most veterans I know as a huge can of worms that will cause enormous problems if opened in the name of gender equality, and is therefore a really really bad idea. Imagine all the romantic heartbreak, jealousy etc. of young romance injected into life and death situations. Then imagine everybody dead because their minds weren’t on their jobs. As Bror said, what some individual person wants has nothing to do with it.

  • kerner

    Kathy:
    Thank you for your service.

    I have never been in the military, But two of my sons and one daughter have served in the Marines. One son and one daughter have served in Iraq. The other son served in Afghanistan.

    Kirk. The problem is not with the individual soldier/marine. It is with interaction among members of the unit. The problem is (as best I can tell from second hand information) that the relationship between “brothers in arms” and the relationship between sweethearts is incompatable. It compromises the entire operation.

    As Joe points out, young, hormone infused, dynamic people who make up most of the military, will become attracted to each other, and pair off. The Navy is co-ed, and what is never portrayed in the movies is all the pregnant sailors who have to be given shore leave every time an aircraft carrier reaches port. It also does not show you all the sexual harrassment, or worse, sexual nepotism, that goes on in the military.

    Depressing but illustrative joke:
    How are Zebras different from female marines?
    Answer: Zebras don’t have to lay down to get their stripes.

    Also remember the affair that caused General Petraeus to resign? You all DO remember that his paramour was an officer in the Army Reserve and I think a West Point grad, don’t you? This was reported, but not emphasized.

    In answer to Dr. Veith’s question, the problem DOES apply to homosexuals, but “don’t ask don’t tell” kept it sufficiently in a cage. By forcing Homosexuals to keep their sexuality private and away from the notice of the military, homosexuals were allowed to serve without corrupting the “band of brothers” with sexual relationships. It seemed to be working well enough.

    But returning to the original point. Injecting sexuality and sexual relationships into the atmosphere of “intimate killing” is seen by most veterans I know as a huge can of worms that will cause enormous problems if opened in the name of gender equality, and is therefore a really really bad idea. Imagine all the romantic heartbreak, jealousy etc. of young romance injected into life and death situations. Then imagine everybody dead because their minds weren’t on their jobs. As Bror said, what some individual person wants has nothing to do with it.

  • kerner

    About the joke. I do not mean to imply that that sort of thing is how all, or even most, female marines advance (my daughter included). What I meant to illustrate is that injection of sexuality into the military environment creates problems of a reality that generates a problematic perception even when the reality is not present. In many areas of the military, those problems can be overcome, and we have tried. But in the close combat environment of “intimate killing”, failure to solve those kinds of problems means not only everybody dead, but mission not accomplished. In other words, everybody dead for nothing.

  • kerner

    About the joke. I do not mean to imply that that sort of thing is how all, or even most, female marines advance (my daughter included). What I meant to illustrate is that injection of sexuality into the military environment creates problems of a reality that generates a problematic perception even when the reality is not present. In many areas of the military, those problems can be overcome, and we have tried. But in the close combat environment of “intimate killing”, failure to solve those kinds of problems means not only everybody dead, but mission not accomplished. In other words, everybody dead for nothing.

  • DonS

    I think the chivalry aspect is a real issue. An inordinate percentage of today’s military is from the South, where, not coincidentally, male chivalry is still a significant part of the culture. In combat, unless training procedures are adjusted to drill these chivalrous instincts out of the force, they will tend to affect the judgment of male personnel in critical situations, it seems to me.

    Military service is not a right. The function of our military leadership is to recruit and support the best fighting force possible. I can think of no justifiable military reason to be placing female troops in combat situations. If we get to a place where we are unable to recruit an adequate number of qualified male combatants, that calculus may change.

  • DonS

    I think the chivalry aspect is a real issue. An inordinate percentage of today’s military is from the South, where, not coincidentally, male chivalry is still a significant part of the culture. In combat, unless training procedures are adjusted to drill these chivalrous instincts out of the force, they will tend to affect the judgment of male personnel in critical situations, it seems to me.

    Military service is not a right. The function of our military leadership is to recruit and support the best fighting force possible. I can think of no justifiable military reason to be placing female troops in combat situations. If we get to a place where we are unable to recruit an adequate number of qualified male combatants, that calculus may change.

  • Lou G.

    Joe, “Way too many extra-curricular activities occur. ”
    Amen to that. …

    With regard to the “chivalrous” concept that Kathy brings up, I must beg to differ, after spending far too much time (24 yrs total) in the Army, in field exercises with men and women, as well in leadership training (OCS) and teaching ROTC students. When you have a competent, dominant woman in the unit, the men are far more prone to let her “sink or swim” on her own. The men bond with each other, but rarely with the woman who possess serious leadership qualities. I’ve seen a lot of women thrown under the bus and some of them got back up and drove harder. But this wasn’t an actual combat scenario. If it had been, she wouldn’t have had the second chance, most likely.

    Anyway, I absolutely do not support putting women in direct combat positions.

    Here’s the rub:
    In this world of asymmetric warfare, anyone in the Army or Marines is trained and prepared to be engaged in actual fighting, regardless of their occupational speciality. Think about it. Jessica Lynch was a supply specialist, engaged in a firefight, and captured as a POW.
    There is no real delineation today, as there was in the 80s and 90s, between Combat Service Support and Combat. If you got sent to Iraq or Afghanistan in the last 8 years, you were given the equipment and the training to fight and do your job – both.

    Granted, the infantry, airborne, SF, etc, which are all male, are engaged in combat daily, rather than merely experiencing the threat of engagement. I suppose for that reason, we should fight to keep combat-exclusive positions male only.

    However, don’t be misled, women WILL be in combat. It’s the world we’re living in today and the kind of enemies we have – rules of engagement have changed. And for terrorists, women and children are mere collateral damage but actually targets.

    When we talk about this issue, we would do well to adjust our lens to the present realities. Thanks.

  • Lou G.

    Joe, “Way too many extra-curricular activities occur. ”
    Amen to that. …

    With regard to the “chivalrous” concept that Kathy brings up, I must beg to differ, after spending far too much time (24 yrs total) in the Army, in field exercises with men and women, as well in leadership training (OCS) and teaching ROTC students. When you have a competent, dominant woman in the unit, the men are far more prone to let her “sink or swim” on her own. The men bond with each other, but rarely with the woman who possess serious leadership qualities. I’ve seen a lot of women thrown under the bus and some of them got back up and drove harder. But this wasn’t an actual combat scenario. If it had been, she wouldn’t have had the second chance, most likely.

    Anyway, I absolutely do not support putting women in direct combat positions.

    Here’s the rub:
    In this world of asymmetric warfare, anyone in the Army or Marines is trained and prepared to be engaged in actual fighting, regardless of their occupational speciality. Think about it. Jessica Lynch was a supply specialist, engaged in a firefight, and captured as a POW.
    There is no real delineation today, as there was in the 80s and 90s, between Combat Service Support and Combat. If you got sent to Iraq or Afghanistan in the last 8 years, you were given the equipment and the training to fight and do your job – both.

    Granted, the infantry, airborne, SF, etc, which are all male, are engaged in combat daily, rather than merely experiencing the threat of engagement. I suppose for that reason, we should fight to keep combat-exclusive positions male only.

    However, don’t be misled, women WILL be in combat. It’s the world we’re living in today and the kind of enemies we have – rules of engagement have changed. And for terrorists, women and children are mere collateral damage but actually targets.

    When we talk about this issue, we would do well to adjust our lens to the present realities. Thanks.

  • Lou G.

    DonS: Surprisingly, the chivalry concern is a non-issue (unless she’s a woman who the guys see as a potential girlfriend or spouse, someone whose flirty or soft or not capable of pulling her own weight). In most of the scenarios I’ve been involved with the strong woman is left on her own, to sink or swim.

  • Lou G.

    DonS: Surprisingly, the chivalry concern is a non-issue (unless she’s a woman who the guys see as a potential girlfriend or spouse, someone whose flirty or soft or not capable of pulling her own weight). In most of the scenarios I’ve been involved with the strong woman is left on her own, to sink or swim.

  • DonS

    Lou G.: First of all, thank you for your service. I will certainly defer to your experience as you expressed @ 13, though I wonder if it makes a difference when the woman’s life is actually at stake, as opposed to the training exercises and other circumstances you described?

  • DonS

    Lou G.: First of all, thank you for your service. I will certainly defer to your experience as you expressed @ 13, though I wonder if it makes a difference when the woman’s life is actually at stake, as opposed to the training exercises and other circumstances you described?

  • Lou G.

    DonS: I think that is quite possible. And probably depends on the woman’s disposition. At least one of the ones I was thinking of sort of set herself up for it.. so, you may very well be correct in that regard.

  • Lou G.

    DonS: I think that is quite possible. And probably depends on the woman’s disposition. At least one of the ones I was thinking of sort of set herself up for it.. so, you may very well be correct in that regard.

  • Lou G.

    Correction to #13 — should state: “And for terrorists, women and children are not merely collateral damage. They are actually targets.”

  • Lou G.

    Correction to #13 — should state: “And for terrorists, women and children are not merely collateral damage. They are actually targets.”

  • Lou G.

    Kerner, #10, the observation about the Gen. Petraeus affair being with a female Army Reserve officer was quite valid. Thanks. Also, I fully agree that the “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” policy worked very well. It kept things under wraps and even though most of the people in the unit were pretty sure about whose who in that regard, since it never got talked about, wasn’t endorsed, or wasn’t emboldened, people rarely had issues with it. Again, I can’t speak for direct combat, as I was not infantry or SF myself.

  • Lou G.

    Kerner, #10, the observation about the Gen. Petraeus affair being with a female Army Reserve officer was quite valid. Thanks. Also, I fully agree that the “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” policy worked very well. It kept things under wraps and even though most of the people in the unit were pretty sure about whose who in that regard, since it never got talked about, wasn’t endorsed, or wasn’t emboldened, people rarely had issues with it. Again, I can’t speak for direct combat, as I was not infantry or SF myself.

  • SAL

    We have enough able bodied men to do combat without involving the complications and harm that would come from throwing women into the mix.

    It’s not as if this limits many women’s military careers (it has neglible impact in the Navy and chAir Force).

  • SAL

    We have enough able bodied men to do combat without involving the complications and harm that would come from throwing women into the mix.

    It’s not as if this limits many women’s military careers (it has neglible impact in the Navy and chAir Force).

  • WebMonk

    SAL, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. At the moment, we most definitely do NOT have enough people available for the combat roles needed. We are dramatically short of sufficient personnel which is one of the reasons why there is so much of a problem with people serving MUCH longer than normal deployments.

    (if you were being sarcastic, I apologize for my broken sarcasm-sensor! :-D )

  • WebMonk

    SAL, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. At the moment, we most definitely do NOT have enough people available for the combat roles needed. We are dramatically short of sufficient personnel which is one of the reasons why there is so much of a problem with people serving MUCH longer than normal deployments.

    (if you were being sarcastic, I apologize for my broken sarcasm-sensor! :-D )

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    A buddy of mine in college wrote a paper on why women should not be in combat.. and it had nothing to do with a sexist viewpoint. He explained his position from a biological, science-oriented view, and even the liberal professor grading his work noted that he made very good points.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    A buddy of mine in college wrote a paper on why women should not be in combat.. and it had nothing to do with a sexist viewpoint. He explained his position from a biological, science-oriented view, and even the liberal professor grading his work noted that he made very good points.

  • Stephen

    The Greeks encouraged homosexual liaisons among warriors to do exactly the opposite of what seems to be the major critique here. It seems it could go either way, that group cohesion could be even stronger, but I have no experience to back it up. Women can also be “grizzly bears” right? They tend to be quite able to sacrifice their own well-being for those they care about.

    Just a thought.

  • Stephen

    The Greeks encouraged homosexual liaisons among warriors to do exactly the opposite of what seems to be the major critique here. It seems it could go either way, that group cohesion could be even stronger, but I have no experience to back it up. Women can also be “grizzly bears” right? They tend to be quite able to sacrifice their own well-being for those they care about.

    Just a thought.

  • Kathy

    Lou G @13…I don’t like the idea of women being “allowed” to sink or swim on their own. That way of thinking is certainly not a safe or healthy way of treating women in combat. I could see what you talked about happening for some women. Did you see any difference in how women who were less capable/less physical were treated? I would think that the dynamics and the respect among all the unit would play into it. My experience, which I bet would still hold true, based on how I relate to people, would be that the men tended to be protective. Of course, as an officer, I was looked at and treated differently than a fellow marine might be.

  • Kathy

    Lou G @13…I don’t like the idea of women being “allowed” to sink or swim on their own. That way of thinking is certainly not a safe or healthy way of treating women in combat. I could see what you talked about happening for some women. Did you see any difference in how women who were less capable/less physical were treated? I would think that the dynamics and the respect among all the unit would play into it. My experience, which I bet would still hold true, based on how I relate to people, would be that the men tended to be protective. Of course, as an officer, I was looked at and treated differently than a fellow marine might be.

  • SAL

    #20 We’re reducing the number of combat ready troops by hundreds of thousands over the next few years. Deployments are expected to return to their pre-war norm after 2014.

    If we were short on troops that would be extremely unwise. Not that I’m saying it isn’t unwise.

  • SAL

    #20 We’re reducing the number of combat ready troops by hundreds of thousands over the next few years. Deployments are expected to return to their pre-war norm after 2014.

    If we were short on troops that would be extremely unwise. Not that I’m saying it isn’t unwise.

  • k erner

    Well, I had a long talk with my daughter who served in the Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I knew she was against women in combat, and I knew some of the reasons why, but I asked for more details. Remember, she was NOT in a combat unit.

    Basically, the first reason she mentioned was the degree to which she felt threatened, not just by the enemy, but sometimes by her fellow marines. She said the VA has a special unit for victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and that one in five female veterans will access this service at some point. She cited examples of female marines who got special privileges from their superiors. She cited examples of female marines who were harrassed for not giving favors to peers and higher ups.

    When she was in Iraq, during the invasion, she was the only woman in her unit. She said she never felt safe. Some of her fellow marines were protective of her, but others were “creepy”. Marines are supposed to unload their weapons when not using them. My daughter would remove the magazine of her M-16, but she never cleared the last round from the chamber. She carried a knife with her everywhere, even (especially!) in the shower. And this was not because there were Arabs around.

    Of course, the Arabs WERE around. When my daughter’s unit were on convoy security duty, they would get to their destination, and dismount the trucks. Once outside the vehicles, the marines would stand around with their backs to the trucks facing out, to guard them. When my daughter did this, the Arab men would focus on her and invade her space, she would have to hit them with her weapon to push them back, or her fellow marines sometimes would have to leave their posts to push the Arabs back, thus compromising the security of the truck. (They did have a wooden club they called their “Hadji be good stick” to keep the Arabs at a safe distance. But the point is they had to use this more often because the Iraqis perceived my daughter as a vulnerable target and oriented on her, which forced confrontations that would not otherwise have been necessary). There was a time when my daughter was walking down some street when some Arab men approached her holding pornography, pointing at the photographs, and saying something (we can only imagine what) in Arabic. Another unnecessary confrontation. And there was the time when some Arabs offered to buy my daughter from her unit, but all they had to offer in trade were goats.

    Another problem was that my daughter was smaller and weaker than her male counterparts. 50 lbs. of equipment was 1/4 the average male marine’s weight, but for my daughter, it was closer to 1/2. If she tired faster, she would be harrassed for being weak and not doing the job the male marines could do.

    Add to this the practical problems of feminine hygene. During the invasion it was nothing for marines to wear the same clothes for weeks at a time without showering or even undressing. When my daughter came off duty she would have to take special hygenic measures that would make her late for formation. Her sergeant came around to tolerating this when she explained to him, forcefully, that if she got an infection she would be sent home and leave the unit short handed. But some of her peers harassed her constantly for having to take the extra time.

    But the biggest problem my daughter cites is how women in combat trains men to think about women. In the combat military, the soldiers and marines are trained to kill; violently, enthusiastically, and without remorse. When our military classifies women as combatants, it sends the message that women are the legitimate object of that kind of terrible violence. When combat soldiers and marines train, they often do so by fighting each other in all out contests of strength and non-deadly hand-to-hand physical force. Does anyone here really think it is a good idea to teach young men to go all out in beating down a women? Do you really think all they will forget that lesson when they go back to civillian life?

    With all due respect (and I mean that sincerely) some enlisted soldiers/marines are not all that bright. Some were not choirboys in their past lives. It takes harsh discipline to teach some of these men to be ruthlessly violent one moment and then to hold back the next moment. When they go into a combat situation, they are under an extraordinary amount of stress. How can any sane person think that injecting sexual tension and desire into a group of stressed out, sleep deprived, heavily armed, trained killers is a good idea?

    Some of you may think that I am painting an unnecessarily negative picture of our military, but that is not my intention. Military service, even (or especially) the life and death kind, can bring out the very best in men. But there is also the potential for it bringing out the very worst, and anything that pushes them toward the worst should be avoided whenever possible.

    For those of you who may be wondering, my daughter is not a weak spirited person (a female grizzly perhaps). If someone under the extreme stress of the situation had tried to force his attentions on her (something that he might not have otherwise done), she probably would have used her knife. And then she would have had to live with that.

  • k erner

    Well, I had a long talk with my daughter who served in the Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I knew she was against women in combat, and I knew some of the reasons why, but I asked for more details. Remember, she was NOT in a combat unit.

    Basically, the first reason she mentioned was the degree to which she felt threatened, not just by the enemy, but sometimes by her fellow marines. She said the VA has a special unit for victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and that one in five female veterans will access this service at some point. She cited examples of female marines who got special privileges from their superiors. She cited examples of female marines who were harrassed for not giving favors to peers and higher ups.

    When she was in Iraq, during the invasion, she was the only woman in her unit. She said she never felt safe. Some of her fellow marines were protective of her, but others were “creepy”. Marines are supposed to unload their weapons when not using them. My daughter would remove the magazine of her M-16, but she never cleared the last round from the chamber. She carried a knife with her everywhere, even (especially!) in the shower. And this was not because there were Arabs around.

    Of course, the Arabs WERE around. When my daughter’s unit were on convoy security duty, they would get to their destination, and dismount the trucks. Once outside the vehicles, the marines would stand around with their backs to the trucks facing out, to guard them. When my daughter did this, the Arab men would focus on her and invade her space, she would have to hit them with her weapon to push them back, or her fellow marines sometimes would have to leave their posts to push the Arabs back, thus compromising the security of the truck. (They did have a wooden club they called their “Hadji be good stick” to keep the Arabs at a safe distance. But the point is they had to use this more often because the Iraqis perceived my daughter as a vulnerable target and oriented on her, which forced confrontations that would not otherwise have been necessary). There was a time when my daughter was walking down some street when some Arab men approached her holding pornography, pointing at the photographs, and saying something (we can only imagine what) in Arabic. Another unnecessary confrontation. And there was the time when some Arabs offered to buy my daughter from her unit, but all they had to offer in trade were goats.

    Another problem was that my daughter was smaller and weaker than her male counterparts. 50 lbs. of equipment was 1/4 the average male marine’s weight, but for my daughter, it was closer to 1/2. If she tired faster, she would be harrassed for being weak and not doing the job the male marines could do.

    Add to this the practical problems of feminine hygene. During the invasion it was nothing for marines to wear the same clothes for weeks at a time without showering or even undressing. When my daughter came off duty she would have to take special hygenic measures that would make her late for formation. Her sergeant came around to tolerating this when she explained to him, forcefully, that if she got an infection she would be sent home and leave the unit short handed. But some of her peers harassed her constantly for having to take the extra time.

    But the biggest problem my daughter cites is how women in combat trains men to think about women. In the combat military, the soldiers and marines are trained to kill; violently, enthusiastically, and without remorse. When our military classifies women as combatants, it sends the message that women are the legitimate object of that kind of terrible violence. When combat soldiers and marines train, they often do so by fighting each other in all out contests of strength and non-deadly hand-to-hand physical force. Does anyone here really think it is a good idea to teach young men to go all out in beating down a women? Do you really think all they will forget that lesson when they go back to civillian life?

    With all due respect (and I mean that sincerely) some enlisted soldiers/marines are not all that bright. Some were not choirboys in their past lives. It takes harsh discipline to teach some of these men to be ruthlessly violent one moment and then to hold back the next moment. When they go into a combat situation, they are under an extraordinary amount of stress. How can any sane person think that injecting sexual tension and desire into a group of stressed out, sleep deprived, heavily armed, trained killers is a good idea?

    Some of you may think that I am painting an unnecessarily negative picture of our military, but that is not my intention. Military service, even (or especially) the life and death kind, can bring out the very best in men. But there is also the potential for it bringing out the very worst, and anything that pushes them toward the worst should be avoided whenever possible.

    For those of you who may be wondering, my daughter is not a weak spirited person (a female grizzly perhaps). If someone under the extreme stress of the situation had tried to force his attentions on her (something that he might not have otherwise done), she probably would have used her knife. And then she would have had to live with that.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #25 I can only speak for my Command (in the Army) but we’ve had nearly non-stop sexual harassment training in the last few years.

    The training has gotten rather graphic as it portrays female soldiers facing sexual assault and rape fairly often (from creepy male soldiers). Apparently they have statistics to support this.

    I wonder what if incidents are occurring now with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell in the Army and Marines. We’ll find out if there’s non-stop homosexual sensitivity training in a couple years. I wouldn’t want to be the trainer for that not given how badly the sexual harassment and suicide prevention training has been received.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #25 I can only speak for my Command (in the Army) but we’ve had nearly non-stop sexual harassment training in the last few years.

    The training has gotten rather graphic as it portrays female soldiers facing sexual assault and rape fairly often (from creepy male soldiers). Apparently they have statistics to support this.

    I wonder what if incidents are occurring now with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell in the Army and Marines. We’ll find out if there’s non-stop homosexual sensitivity training in a couple years. I wouldn’t want to be the trainer for that not given how badly the sexual harassment and suicide prevention training has been received.

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    Thanks for the insight. But I am left a little bewildered. What is the take-away? It sounds like your daughter could handle herself. I don’t necessarily think women in combat is all that brilliant, and I know about the problem of sexual violence in the military. It only gets worse in combat situations. Women suffer greatly from this whether they are in the military or not.

    How does this all work out then? Your daughter is a Marine (and God bless and keep her for that – I mean it sincerely) and Marines are killers as you say. And they kill whomever needs killing. You’re not saying that, should an enemy have women warriors, they should be a little circumspect in their use of force so that when they become civilians they’d be less likely to be violent towards women, are you? the fact that they are trained to be violent is in itself the thing that is difficult to overcome, not to mention actual battle experience, isn’t it?

    I don’t get it. I’m sorry. I also don’t get the distinction between someone having the right to serve and it being a duty. Those two things seem like a false dichotomy. I thought military service had to do largely with willingness, and that beyond this all one needed was a certain level of physical and mental ability. Granted, women in general do not have the same physical ability as men, and I could see this being a problem. I heard about a company that is making armor for women because the stuff they have is all designed for men. But is it not possible that women actually bring something that men lack?

    I’m not sure about this either way, but help me out with this, maybe from a parent’s perspective. Did your discourage her service? Why or why not?

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    Thanks for the insight. But I am left a little bewildered. What is the take-away? It sounds like your daughter could handle herself. I don’t necessarily think women in combat is all that brilliant, and I know about the problem of sexual violence in the military. It only gets worse in combat situations. Women suffer greatly from this whether they are in the military or not.

    How does this all work out then? Your daughter is a Marine (and God bless and keep her for that – I mean it sincerely) and Marines are killers as you say. And they kill whomever needs killing. You’re not saying that, should an enemy have women warriors, they should be a little circumspect in their use of force so that when they become civilians they’d be less likely to be violent towards women, are you? the fact that they are trained to be violent is in itself the thing that is difficult to overcome, not to mention actual battle experience, isn’t it?

    I don’t get it. I’m sorry. I also don’t get the distinction between someone having the right to serve and it being a duty. Those two things seem like a false dichotomy. I thought military service had to do largely with willingness, and that beyond this all one needed was a certain level of physical and mental ability. Granted, women in general do not have the same physical ability as men, and I could see this being a problem. I heard about a company that is making armor for women because the stuff they have is all designed for men. But is it not possible that women actually bring something that men lack?

    I’m not sure about this either way, but help me out with this, maybe from a parent’s perspective. Did your discourage her service? Why or why not?

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    I don’t know that I am qualified to answer all your questions, because some of what I was doing was repeating her rationale. But I’ll do my best.

    the fact that they are trained to be violent is in itself the thing that is difficult to overcome, not to mention actual battle experience, isn’t it?

    True, but then the follow up question is whether gender equality is a good enough reason to make a terrible problem much worse by injecting sexuality into the situation. Because I see so much actual harm present in the situation we have now, and so much more potential harm inherant in creating co-ed combat units, my answer is “no”.

    I thought military service had to do largely with willingness, and that beyond this all one needed was a certain level of physical and mental ability.

    I disagree; at least as far as combat service is concerned. Please notice that the mere fact of being a woman in a combat situation among men creates new dangers that “physical and mental ability” do not resolve. In a combat, life and death, situation this kind of problem is going to get more people killed. Successfully joining a certain military unit is not a prize a person gets for passing certain physical or mental tests. The overall welfare of the unit takes precedence over that. You can see in SAL’s comment above how much time and effort and money are being spent on trying to train this problem away. I submit that it is a problem inherant in fallen human nature that cannot be trained away. In combat, failing to solve this problem is to get people killed. If the only way to solve the problem is to avoid it by keeping women out of combat, so be it.

    But is it not possible that women actually bring something that men lack?

    For the military in general, I think so, and many women serve well and honorably. But for combat units, even those rare female individuals who do bring something that her male counterparts lack are subject to the fact that the problems they cause merely by being female outweigh whatever it is that they “bring”.

    Did your discourage her service? Why or why not?

    No. At the time it seemed like a good decision for her. And of course, I didn’t know she would be invading Iraq at the time. If I had it to do over again I would have encouraged her to go into an MOS more suited to her strengths and less conducive to some of the problems she encountered. And this is the issue, isn’t it? Not whether women can honorably serve their country in the military. They can. I know women who have made the military their career and do not regret it one bit, and they seem to “bring” quite a bit to their service. The issue is whether the highly problematic environment of “intimate killing” inherant in the combat arms is made better or worse by the presence of women in the unit. My impression, based entirely on second hand information, is that it would be made worse.

    I am very aware that for someone such as myself, who has never experienced combat or the military, to be rendering any opinion on this point is presumptuous and maybe inappropriate. I hope that I have not overstepped my boundaries. I certainly must bow to the superior experience of thse who have served. But my comment above was largely an attempt to relate the perspective of a close family member who has been there. I hope I did a good job of it.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    I don’t know that I am qualified to answer all your questions, because some of what I was doing was repeating her rationale. But I’ll do my best.

    the fact that they are trained to be violent is in itself the thing that is difficult to overcome, not to mention actual battle experience, isn’t it?

    True, but then the follow up question is whether gender equality is a good enough reason to make a terrible problem much worse by injecting sexuality into the situation. Because I see so much actual harm present in the situation we have now, and so much more potential harm inherant in creating co-ed combat units, my answer is “no”.

    I thought military service had to do largely with willingness, and that beyond this all one needed was a certain level of physical and mental ability.

    I disagree; at least as far as combat service is concerned. Please notice that the mere fact of being a woman in a combat situation among men creates new dangers that “physical and mental ability” do not resolve. In a combat, life and death, situation this kind of problem is going to get more people killed. Successfully joining a certain military unit is not a prize a person gets for passing certain physical or mental tests. The overall welfare of the unit takes precedence over that. You can see in SAL’s comment above how much time and effort and money are being spent on trying to train this problem away. I submit that it is a problem inherant in fallen human nature that cannot be trained away. In combat, failing to solve this problem is to get people killed. If the only way to solve the problem is to avoid it by keeping women out of combat, so be it.

    But is it not possible that women actually bring something that men lack?

    For the military in general, I think so, and many women serve well and honorably. But for combat units, even those rare female individuals who do bring something that her male counterparts lack are subject to the fact that the problems they cause merely by being female outweigh whatever it is that they “bring”.

    Did your discourage her service? Why or why not?

    No. At the time it seemed like a good decision for her. And of course, I didn’t know she would be invading Iraq at the time. If I had it to do over again I would have encouraged her to go into an MOS more suited to her strengths and less conducive to some of the problems she encountered. And this is the issue, isn’t it? Not whether women can honorably serve their country in the military. They can. I know women who have made the military their career and do not regret it one bit, and they seem to “bring” quite a bit to their service. The issue is whether the highly problematic environment of “intimate killing” inherant in the combat arms is made better or worse by the presence of women in the unit. My impression, based entirely on second hand information, is that it would be made worse.

    I am very aware that for someone such as myself, who has never experienced combat or the military, to be rendering any opinion on this point is presumptuous and maybe inappropriate. I hope that I have not overstepped my boundaries. I certainly must bow to the superior experience of thse who have served. But my comment above was largely an attempt to relate the perspective of a close family member who has been there. I hope I did a good job of it.

  • Stephen

    It seems to me that most of the criticisms are based on cultural assumptions about gender that are not actually so set in stone. As someone pointed out earlier, the Soviets used women fighters, and it may have worked because everyone in that culture was considered acomrade. I don’t really know, I’m just speculating. It does seem that we need to give our people in the military a little more credit for being able to adapt to difficult situations that might eventually lead to something better. That’s also a possibility. There was an awful lot of doubts about racial integration after WWII, and there was a learning curve, along with internal violence among personnel, but it has worked out. And it would seem our military is far better for having accomplished it.

    I’m not sure how you can have a military that does not reflect the culture it protects. Women cops might be a good analogy. They seem to be successful and competent, sometimes in ways men aren’t. Maybe that can be true for the military. I’m not sure, but isn’t it worth considering?

  • Stephen

    It seems to me that most of the criticisms are based on cultural assumptions about gender that are not actually so set in stone. As someone pointed out earlier, the Soviets used women fighters, and it may have worked because everyone in that culture was considered acomrade. I don’t really know, I’m just speculating. It does seem that we need to give our people in the military a little more credit for being able to adapt to difficult situations that might eventually lead to something better. That’s also a possibility. There was an awful lot of doubts about racial integration after WWII, and there was a learning curve, along with internal violence among personnel, but it has worked out. And it would seem our military is far better for having accomplished it.

    I’m not sure how you can have a military that does not reflect the culture it protects. Women cops might be a good analogy. They seem to be successful and competent, sometimes in ways men aren’t. Maybe that can be true for the military. I’m not sure, but isn’t it worth considering?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Kerner (@25), I respect a lot of the arguments you (and/or your daughter) are making, but found your “biggest” point to be the weakest:

    But the biggest problem my daughter cites is how women in combat trains men to think about women. In the combat military, the soldiers and marines are trained to kill; violently, enthusiastically, and without remorse. When our military classifies women as combatants, it sends the message that women are the legitimate object of that kind of terrible violence. When combat soldiers and marines train, they often do so by fighting each other in all out contests of strength and non-deadly hand-to-hand physical force. Does anyone here really think it is a good idea to teach young men to go all out in beating down a women? Do you really think all they will forget that lesson when they go back to civillian life?

    I mean, you almost certainly didn’t intend it to be, but that’s basically an argument against all military training. Here, let me show you what I mean, with only a few alterations:

    In the combat military, the soldiers and marines are trained to kill; violently, enthusiastically, and without remorse. When our military classifies other men as combatants, it sends the message that other men are the legitimate object of that kind of terrible violence. When combat soldiers and marines train, they often do so by fighting each other in all out contests of strength and non-deadly hand-to-hand physical force. Does anyone here really think it is a good idea to teach young men to go all out in beating down other men? Do you really think all they will forget that lesson when they go back to civillian life?

    Um, yes. Yes, I really, truly hope that they will forget that lesson when they go back. Or else you have just indicted our entire armed forces as a giant psychopath-producing machine, and it should be shut down right now. Yes, I know that some soldiers do struggle to return to normalcy, and some of them do horrible things in their civilian life, so haunted or affected are they by their wartime experiences. But, again, we do expect that this will not be true for most of them.

    Point being, if your “biggest point” were true with regard to how soldiers treat women in civilian life, then I would expect to see a lot more psychopathic behavior already from soldiers in a civilian setting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Kerner (@25), I respect a lot of the arguments you (and/or your daughter) are making, but found your “biggest” point to be the weakest:

    But the biggest problem my daughter cites is how women in combat trains men to think about women. In the combat military, the soldiers and marines are trained to kill; violently, enthusiastically, and without remorse. When our military classifies women as combatants, it sends the message that women are the legitimate object of that kind of terrible violence. When combat soldiers and marines train, they often do so by fighting each other in all out contests of strength and non-deadly hand-to-hand physical force. Does anyone here really think it is a good idea to teach young men to go all out in beating down a women? Do you really think all they will forget that lesson when they go back to civillian life?

    I mean, you almost certainly didn’t intend it to be, but that’s basically an argument against all military training. Here, let me show you what I mean, with only a few alterations:

    In the combat military, the soldiers and marines are trained to kill; violently, enthusiastically, and without remorse. When our military classifies other men as combatants, it sends the message that other men are the legitimate object of that kind of terrible violence. When combat soldiers and marines train, they often do so by fighting each other in all out contests of strength and non-deadly hand-to-hand physical force. Does anyone here really think it is a good idea to teach young men to go all out in beating down other men? Do you really think all they will forget that lesson when they go back to civillian life?

    Um, yes. Yes, I really, truly hope that they will forget that lesson when they go back. Or else you have just indicted our entire armed forces as a giant psychopath-producing machine, and it should be shut down right now. Yes, I know that some soldiers do struggle to return to normalcy, and some of them do horrible things in their civilian life, so haunted or affected are they by their wartime experiences. But, again, we do expect that this will not be true for most of them.

    Point being, if your “biggest point” were true with regard to how soldiers treat women in civilian life, then I would expect to see a lot more psychopathic behavior already from soldiers in a civilian setting.

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    Looks like we were thinking about it at the same time.

    Well, I get a lot of that. I certainly don’t pretend to know that much about it except to bring my own interest, concern and also some second hand knowledge. Again, I suspect it very much is a can of worms, but the same was said about race. Not the same thing, but then when I hear “chivalry” I hear beneath that “women are not competent” which is about perception, which can change.

    You said: “Successfully joining a certain military unit is not a prize a person gets for passing certain physical or mental tests. The overall welfare of the unit takes precedence over that.” And that’s not what I meant. Attitude is 90% of it, isn’t it? And can’t that be trained?

    ” I submit that it is a problem inherant in fallen human nature that cannot be trained away. In combat, failing to solve this problem is to get people killed.”

    But don’t we insist that even though the job is to fight, it’s also to do harm only to those who are combatants? It sounds like you could just as well be saying “you can’t train them not to rape and pillage.” Those things used to be practically expected as the spoils of war. Now we have a uniform code and war crimes trials. Are those then actually window dressing since such things still happen or are they important for the character of our military?

    Maybe this is pie in the sky, but could it be the case that the presence of women and the necessary training to make it work might bring a new sense of order and decorum (discretion?) to combat troops and how they fight, who they kill, etc.?

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    Looks like we were thinking about it at the same time.

    Well, I get a lot of that. I certainly don’t pretend to know that much about it except to bring my own interest, concern and also some second hand knowledge. Again, I suspect it very much is a can of worms, but the same was said about race. Not the same thing, but then when I hear “chivalry” I hear beneath that “women are not competent” which is about perception, which can change.

    You said: “Successfully joining a certain military unit is not a prize a person gets for passing certain physical or mental tests. The overall welfare of the unit takes precedence over that.” And that’s not what I meant. Attitude is 90% of it, isn’t it? And can’t that be trained?

    ” I submit that it is a problem inherant in fallen human nature that cannot be trained away. In combat, failing to solve this problem is to get people killed.”

    But don’t we insist that even though the job is to fight, it’s also to do harm only to those who are combatants? It sounds like you could just as well be saying “you can’t train them not to rape and pillage.” Those things used to be practically expected as the spoils of war. Now we have a uniform code and war crimes trials. Are those then actually window dressing since such things still happen or are they important for the character of our military?

    Maybe this is pie in the sky, but could it be the case that the presence of women and the necessary training to make it work might bring a new sense of order and decorum (discretion?) to combat troops and how they fight, who they kill, etc.?

  • kerner

    tODD and Stephen:

    Your comments seem to miss the important point. Military combat training is essentially training young adults to do horrible things to other people. Things we would not sanction in any other context. To be victorious, they must be trained to do this better and faster and with less hesitation that everyone else, but at the same time they must be trained to do it with some sense of when to turn it all off. You both seem to take very lightly how difficult that is to do without becoming a “giant psychopath producing machine”. We talk about fallen human nature on this blog academic terms, but you guys do not seem to realize how fallen it really can be, nor what happens when you let that murderous side of human nature out of its cage and then try to reel it back in.

    It is a very fine balance to train young people to do these terrible things well enough to always win their battles, and still (most of them at least) maintain their sanity when it is over. This is not an easy task, and you talk as though making it more difficult is of no consequence. But it is, either combat effectiveness or the combat soldiers’ sanity will suffer. These consequences are not to be incurred so lightly.

    And Stephen, you comment as though Soviet female soldiers were free from sexual harassment. My understanding is that the Soviet army was rife with it, which is not even to mention the millions of civilian women who were raped by the Soviets during WWII. Don’t hold the WWII Soviet Army as an example for us to follow.

  • kerner

    tODD and Stephen:

    Your comments seem to miss the important point. Military combat training is essentially training young adults to do horrible things to other people. Things we would not sanction in any other context. To be victorious, they must be trained to do this better and faster and with less hesitation that everyone else, but at the same time they must be trained to do it with some sense of when to turn it all off. You both seem to take very lightly how difficult that is to do without becoming a “giant psychopath producing machine”. We talk about fallen human nature on this blog academic terms, but you guys do not seem to realize how fallen it really can be, nor what happens when you let that murderous side of human nature out of its cage and then try to reel it back in.

    It is a very fine balance to train young people to do these terrible things well enough to always win their battles, and still (most of them at least) maintain their sanity when it is over. This is not an easy task, and you talk as though making it more difficult is of no consequence. But it is, either combat effectiveness or the combat soldiers’ sanity will suffer. These consequences are not to be incurred so lightly.

    And Stephen, you comment as though Soviet female soldiers were free from sexual harassment. My understanding is that the Soviet army was rife with it, which is not even to mention the millions of civilian women who were raped by the Soviets during WWII. Don’t hold the WWII Soviet Army as an example for us to follow.

  • Kathy

    kerner@25 Thanks for sharing your daughter’s viewpoints. I would definitely concur and can envision each of the scenarios she encountered. Male and female interactions in the military are not “one size fits all” type situations. Many variables come into play, as you pointed out.

    The disturbing part…look at how far we have fallen as a society when we’re not only sending women into combat situations, but we’re also putting our sister, mothers, daughters into an environment where they are not even safe within their own units.

  • Kathy

    kerner@25 Thanks for sharing your daughter’s viewpoints. I would definitely concur and can envision each of the scenarios she encountered. Male and female interactions in the military are not “one size fits all” type situations. Many variables come into play, as you pointed out.

    The disturbing part…look at how far we have fallen as a society when we’re not only sending women into combat situations, but we’re also putting our sister, mothers, daughters into an environment where they are not even safe within their own units.

  • Stephen

    “It is a very fine balance to train young people to do these terrible things well enough to always win their battles, and still (most of them at least) maintain their sanity when it is over. This is not an easy task, and you talk as though making it more difficult is of no consequence. But it is, either combat effectiveness or the combat soldiers’ sanity will suffer. These consequences are not to be incurred so lightly.”

    Kerner, right there you are saying it is a matter of training, aren’t you? I’m still confused. None of that has to do necessarily with gender, does it? And in my own defense, I have in other places on this blog mentioned how women and children bear much of the suffering that war brings upon a people, not least of which because women are the target of aggression men feel even more entitled to exercise in that environment in the form of rape.

    So, given what I just said, what if women in those ranks could temper that kind of violence? It seems likely to me, or at least as plausible as the other arguments about problems with group cohesion. It has already been argued that the women in the unit would be “protected” by male counterparts and that this is a problem, but then in almost the same breath is the argument that they are at greater risk of targeted sexual violence. Again, I am confused. What is the real issue? I get that it is problematic and serious, but I don’t agree that it is insurmountable or that attempting to eliminate women from combat is “inherently” (your word) the most beneficial. Maybe, but perhaps we should spend the money and to make better soldiers.

    Okay, so the Soviet situation was a bad example. How about the Spartans? All I’m suggesting is that these anxieties, as far as it has been argued here, while very real, are about perceptions and cultural attitudes about gender and that those perceptions can and do change. They are not as inherent purely because young people like to have sex. I also think the military, generally, is very good at adapting to change and continues to do so as it should. Again, my example of integration, which you haven’t addressed.

    I do not treat this lightly or think it isn’t serious stuff. I mean no offense to anyone and I admire you kids. They must be quite noble human beings and it says a great deal about you and your wife. But this seems to be a male problem that can be addressed and perhaps needs to with more precision. It is also why I think the onus is on men to speak up for women and use their power, not to coddle women, but to see to it that they are afforded the same humanity as males who objectify them and think they are entitled to treat women badly.

    Warriors/soldiers do have to reel it back in and I never suggested that was simple. Some never do and their lives and the lives of others are ruined. Quite a few of them live in the park across the street from where I work. I see them every day. I am very personally concerned about the effects on veterans, and not just for that reason but because of people I am close to that have been in war. But I guess you have to take my word on it.

  • Stephen

    “It is a very fine balance to train young people to do these terrible things well enough to always win their battles, and still (most of them at least) maintain their sanity when it is over. This is not an easy task, and you talk as though making it more difficult is of no consequence. But it is, either combat effectiveness or the combat soldiers’ sanity will suffer. These consequences are not to be incurred so lightly.”

    Kerner, right there you are saying it is a matter of training, aren’t you? I’m still confused. None of that has to do necessarily with gender, does it? And in my own defense, I have in other places on this blog mentioned how women and children bear much of the suffering that war brings upon a people, not least of which because women are the target of aggression men feel even more entitled to exercise in that environment in the form of rape.

    So, given what I just said, what if women in those ranks could temper that kind of violence? It seems likely to me, or at least as plausible as the other arguments about problems with group cohesion. It has already been argued that the women in the unit would be “protected” by male counterparts and that this is a problem, but then in almost the same breath is the argument that they are at greater risk of targeted sexual violence. Again, I am confused. What is the real issue? I get that it is problematic and serious, but I don’t agree that it is insurmountable or that attempting to eliminate women from combat is “inherently” (your word) the most beneficial. Maybe, but perhaps we should spend the money and to make better soldiers.

    Okay, so the Soviet situation was a bad example. How about the Spartans? All I’m suggesting is that these anxieties, as far as it has been argued here, while very real, are about perceptions and cultural attitudes about gender and that those perceptions can and do change. They are not as inherent purely because young people like to have sex. I also think the military, generally, is very good at adapting to change and continues to do so as it should. Again, my example of integration, which you haven’t addressed.

    I do not treat this lightly or think it isn’t serious stuff. I mean no offense to anyone and I admire you kids. They must be quite noble human beings and it says a great deal about you and your wife. But this seems to be a male problem that can be addressed and perhaps needs to with more precision. It is also why I think the onus is on men to speak up for women and use their power, not to coddle women, but to see to it that they are afforded the same humanity as males who objectify them and think they are entitled to treat women badly.

    Warriors/soldiers do have to reel it back in and I never suggested that was simple. Some never do and their lives and the lives of others are ruined. Quite a few of them live in the park across the street from where I work. I see them every day. I am very personally concerned about the effects on veterans, and not just for that reason but because of people I am close to that have been in war. But I guess you have to take my word on it.

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    Let me add one more thing: What the heck do I know anyway?

    I reread the above article and was still confused. Is it the killing that women are not cut out for or is it the cohesion of the group? Maybe it is both. It would be interesting to revisit arguments for/against women police officers as well as integration of the military. Were there similar concerns?

    “The precious and indefinable band of brothers effect so essential to winning in close combat would be irreparably compromised within mixed-gender infantry squads.”

    Well, certainly it could and likely would change. But how could anyone gauge whether or not it would be compromised unless it was tried? Perhaps that is what your daughter’s experience guarding a truck seems to show. I would be interested to hear from women as to what the feel they bring to the military setting that enhances the military. Is the military better because of women? If so, in what ways, and why would those benefits not also accrue in a combat unit?

    Again, what do I know?

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    Let me add one more thing: What the heck do I know anyway?

    I reread the above article and was still confused. Is it the killing that women are not cut out for or is it the cohesion of the group? Maybe it is both. It would be interesting to revisit arguments for/against women police officers as well as integration of the military. Were there similar concerns?

    “The precious and indefinable band of brothers effect so essential to winning in close combat would be irreparably compromised within mixed-gender infantry squads.”

    Well, certainly it could and likely would change. But how could anyone gauge whether or not it would be compromised unless it was tried? Perhaps that is what your daughter’s experience guarding a truck seems to show. I would be interested to hear from women as to what the feel they bring to the military setting that enhances the military. Is the military better because of women? If so, in what ways, and why would those benefits not also accrue in a combat unit?

    Again, what do I know?

  • Joe

    Stephen — “I’m still confused. None of that has to do necessarily with gender, does it?”

    No, what it has to do with is the mixing of both genders into this dynamic. I believe that there are some women who could make fine killers. I just do not believe that it is a good idea to put the male killers in the same units as the female killers. I have personally seen the presence of both genders destroy unit cohesion in a non-combat unit. The attitude of a majority of the men and women I served with with regard to the appropriateness of relationships among soldiers was a lot like what you might see on Jerry Springer. Lots of careless sex, lots of jealousy, lots of favoritism and lots of inter-company, even inter-squad rivalries that destroyed the chain of command and unit cohesion. As a squad leader, I spent a significant amount of time dealing with this crap at the expense of making sure my squad was mission ready. (And this was in a reserve unit, where we were only together one weekend a month and 17 days a summer).

    You will not regulate this out of the army. All of this is already criminally punishable under the UCMJ and grounds for discipline at the company level but it still happens.

    If women really feel the need to participate in what is most likely the most physically and mentally unhealthy vocation there is, then we need to keep the units segregated for the sake of the lives of the men and women who serve.

  • Joe

    Stephen — “I’m still confused. None of that has to do necessarily with gender, does it?”

    No, what it has to do with is the mixing of both genders into this dynamic. I believe that there are some women who could make fine killers. I just do not believe that it is a good idea to put the male killers in the same units as the female killers. I have personally seen the presence of both genders destroy unit cohesion in a non-combat unit. The attitude of a majority of the men and women I served with with regard to the appropriateness of relationships among soldiers was a lot like what you might see on Jerry Springer. Lots of careless sex, lots of jealousy, lots of favoritism and lots of inter-company, even inter-squad rivalries that destroyed the chain of command and unit cohesion. As a squad leader, I spent a significant amount of time dealing with this crap at the expense of making sure my squad was mission ready. (And this was in a reserve unit, where we were only together one weekend a month and 17 days a summer).

    You will not regulate this out of the army. All of this is already criminally punishable under the UCMJ and grounds for discipline at the company level but it still happens.

    If women really feel the need to participate in what is most likely the most physically and mentally unhealthy vocation there is, then we need to keep the units segregated for the sake of the lives of the men and women who serve.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    All of the arguments given against it were also ones given for why units shouldn’t be integrated 60 years ago.

    Okay, can we play spot the fallacy here?

    Even if this statement were true, which it isn’t, it would be fallacious.

    All that matters is whether it is true, not whether it is popular. I guess truth is passe.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    All of the arguments given against it were also ones given for why units shouldn’t be integrated 60 years ago.

    Okay, can we play spot the fallacy here?

    Even if this statement were true, which it isn’t, it would be fallacious.

    All that matters is whether it is true, not whether it is popular. I guess truth is passe.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It would be interesting to revisit arguments for/against women police officers as well as integration of the military.”

    Okay.

    The average woman is unfit vs. the average man. The few women who are fit can make a heck of a living as professional athletes and celebrities. Therefore, the pool of appropriate female candidates in vanishingly small. Really all that is needed to disqualify 99.999% of female applicants is just the standard criteria for infantry soldiers. The pool of applicants will necessarily be tiny because any woman who could meet it can get a better job elsewhere and likely has.

    Quote here shamelessly stolen from Rebekah:

    I’m absolutely certain that if the ACT had been scored with a sex-based rubric comparable to our military’s physical fitness requirements I’d have had a much higher number to brag about . . . or be too embarrassed to mention. “I did awesome on the girl ACT!”

    I seriously don’t know how anyone can publicize these things, much less actually use them, with a straight face.

    Army Physical Fitness Standards (Too lazy to link to other branches, but rest assured that no equal opportunities require equal performance.)

    http://concordiansisters.blogspot.com/2011/06/one-more-thing-inspired-by-sfc.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It would be interesting to revisit arguments for/against women police officers as well as integration of the military.”

    Okay.

    The average woman is unfit vs. the average man. The few women who are fit can make a heck of a living as professional athletes and celebrities. Therefore, the pool of appropriate female candidates in vanishingly small. Really all that is needed to disqualify 99.999% of female applicants is just the standard criteria for infantry soldiers. The pool of applicants will necessarily be tiny because any woman who could meet it can get a better job elsewhere and likely has.

    Quote here shamelessly stolen from Rebekah:

    I’m absolutely certain that if the ACT had been scored with a sex-based rubric comparable to our military’s physical fitness requirements I’d have had a much higher number to brag about . . . or be too embarrassed to mention. “I did awesome on the girl ACT!”

    I seriously don’t know how anyone can publicize these things, much less actually use them, with a straight face.

    Army Physical Fitness Standards (Too lazy to link to other branches, but rest assured that no equal opportunities require equal performance.)

    http://concordiansisters.blogspot.com/2011/06/one-more-thing-inspired-by-sfc.html

  • Stephen

    Thanks Joe. And thanks for what you do. I have not had that honor.

    But I still don’t quite get it. The presence of women in the military is already making a difficult situation more difficult. Would you say that the military ought to be more segregated along gender lines? Can that be done? Did you have a better experience when it was only men – less favoritism, careless sex, and rivalries perhaps? I mean, does the presence of women lend anything positive, and in what way?

    It sounds like you’d like to see things more segregated and generally feel that women, however unintentionally, serve to muck things up, even in a non-combat unit. Kerner’s daughter’s example, however, seems to suggest that segregation won’t always be possible even if women are not in combat units. Then should they be there at all? Can we have it both ways? Is a segregated force even good idea on the whole?

    I appreciate the responses. I apologize for any ill will I may have incited. It’s a sensitive subject and if I have not reflected my awareness of that in what I have written I regret it.

  • Stephen

    Thanks Joe. And thanks for what you do. I have not had that honor.

    But I still don’t quite get it. The presence of women in the military is already making a difficult situation more difficult. Would you say that the military ought to be more segregated along gender lines? Can that be done? Did you have a better experience when it was only men – less favoritism, careless sex, and rivalries perhaps? I mean, does the presence of women lend anything positive, and in what way?

    It sounds like you’d like to see things more segregated and generally feel that women, however unintentionally, serve to muck things up, even in a non-combat unit. Kerner’s daughter’s example, however, seems to suggest that segregation won’t always be possible even if women are not in combat units. Then should they be there at all? Can we have it both ways? Is a segregated force even good idea on the whole?

    I appreciate the responses. I apologize for any ill will I may have incited. It’s a sensitive subject and if I have not reflected my awareness of that in what I have written I regret it.

  • Stephen

    What’s your point sg? Women should not be in the military, period? Maybe that’s true. Or maybe not. I’d like to know if they bring anything to the military that has made it better. If so, what? Then perhaps we could discuss whether those qualities are useful beyond a non-combat role.

  • Stephen

    What’s your point sg? Women should not be in the military, period? Maybe that’s true. Or maybe not. I’d like to know if they bring anything to the military that has made it better. If so, what? Then perhaps we could discuss whether those qualities are useful beyond a non-combat role.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @40

    Consider all the military contractors that perform functions that for whatever reason the military prefers to contract rather than perform itself. Women could probably do some of that stuff well and there are admin jobs stateside etc, but really those could be done by contractors to some DOD office rather than active or reserve military. We don’t need hardly any women doing all this stuff. But women want to do stuff despite often being less able and we have laws declaring them able, so we all have to go along and pretend yada yada. Combat duty is just the latest Empress with no clothes or muscles or whatever.

    “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

    ― Theodore Dalrymple

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @40

    Consider all the military contractors that perform functions that for whatever reason the military prefers to contract rather than perform itself. Women could probably do some of that stuff well and there are admin jobs stateside etc, but really those could be done by contractors to some DOD office rather than active or reserve military. We don’t need hardly any women doing all this stuff. But women want to do stuff despite often being less able and we have laws declaring them able, so we all have to go along and pretend yada yada. Combat duty is just the latest Empress with no clothes or muscles or whatever.

    “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

    ― Theodore Dalrymple

  • Joe

    Stephen – If I were king of the world I would restrict military service to men. Short of that I’d go for segregation. I agree that complete segregation is probably not possible but I would segregate it as much as possible.

    You correctly summarize what I am saying: presence of both men and women in the same unit brings with it tremendous problems. I think these problems and the attendant fallout from these problems are even more acute in combat units.

    The Army is not a place were notions of fairness and individual rights should matter. The Army should be understood for what it is: a tool employed by the Republic to ensure the Republic remains free. The Army is concerned with ensuring the freedom of the citizens, not its soldiers. Misunderstanding that is the ultimate in mission creep.

  • Joe

    Stephen – If I were king of the world I would restrict military service to men. Short of that I’d go for segregation. I agree that complete segregation is probably not possible but I would segregate it as much as possible.

    You correctly summarize what I am saying: presence of both men and women in the same unit brings with it tremendous problems. I think these problems and the attendant fallout from these problems are even more acute in combat units.

    The Army is not a place were notions of fairness and individual rights should matter. The Army should be understood for what it is: a tool employed by the Republic to ensure the Republic remains free. The Army is concerned with ensuring the freedom of the citizens, not its soldiers. Misunderstanding that is the ultimate in mission creep.

  • Stephen

    @ 41

    Interpretation (as best I can figure) is that the idea that women have much at all to contribute to the military is pretty much a lie, and/or it’s a communist plot to destroy the military I suppose.

    Oh for Pete’s sake! So our military is worse now than it was before women took an active role? I’d hope the quality of our military isn’t just about having bigger muscles. That seems to trivialize the intelligence and discipline it takes to do the job well. And they do it quite well.

    How do I make the eye-rolling emoticon?

  • Stephen

    @ 41

    Interpretation (as best I can figure) is that the idea that women have much at all to contribute to the military is pretty much a lie, and/or it’s a communist plot to destroy the military I suppose.

    Oh for Pete’s sake! So our military is worse now than it was before women took an active role? I’d hope the quality of our military isn’t just about having bigger muscles. That seems to trivialize the intelligence and discipline it takes to do the job well. And they do it quite well.

    How do I make the eye-rolling emoticon?

  • Stephen

    Joe –

    Okay. But do women bring anything of value that would not be there if they weren’t allowed to serve? Set all that stuff about rights and fairness aside. I’m trying to get past that. Are they good at what they do and do they do it in a way that men can’t, perhaps adding some kind of value to the military it would not otherwise have?

  • Stephen

    Joe –

    Okay. But do women bring anything of value that would not be there if they weren’t allowed to serve? Set all that stuff about rights and fairness aside. I’m trying to get past that. Are they good at what they do and do they do it in a way that men can’t, perhaps adding some kind of value to the military it would not otherwise have?

  • Joe

    Stephen – In my experience no. I can’t speak intelligently about every military setting but the best female soldiers I served with could have been replaced with a comparable male soldier and the unit would not have lost anything. I don’t mean to sound like I am belittling female soldiers, I served with some women who were good soldiers, did their jobs and earned every promotion they received. But we would not have lost anything had they not been there.

  • Joe

    Stephen – In my experience no. I can’t speak intelligently about every military setting but the best female soldiers I served with could have been replaced with a comparable male soldier and the unit would not have lost anything. I don’t mean to sound like I am belittling female soldiers, I served with some women who were good soldiers, did their jobs and earned every promotion they received. But we would not have lost anything had they not been there.

  • Stephen

    Thanks again Joe. It’s rare to get a straight answer around here. I think most of us are afraid that if we do that we’ll lose an argument. Not you. I really appreciate the candor. And I’m not trying to shine you on.

    The reason I ask this is because I work with mostly women these days. Some are flakey, half assed, neurotic and incompetent, but the ones that aren’t are exceptional people. The 80/20 rule applies as much with them as in other situations where I’ve worked with all men or mostly men. And while I don’t pretend that my experience is analogous to the military, it’s been my experience that women are as likely to step up, do the right thing, and get things done as much as men are, sometimes more efficiently/effectively and with less push back. Beyond that, and more to my point, I have found women bring perspective that men don’t generally have. They can be more clear-eyed and perceptive about others in ways men cannot, or at least men seem disadvantaged to a degree. They know BS when they hear it, usually because men are constantly feeding it to them. And they can be emotionally a lot more tough than they are given credit. Not always, but sometimes. 80/20

    So, that said, I was wondering if they have any assets to bring, like in dealing with people in other cultures perhaps (as one example). If that were true, it seems like the “new” military could use that sort of – dare I say it – intuition. All very hypothetical, and like I said, I very much appreciate you giving me a straight answer from where you are.

    I’ve been around Marines and their families a little, and the military brings out some qualities beyond a warrior instinct that are rare. All the talk about “jar heads” who cannot control themselves aside, the level of integrity is quite high in my experience, certainly compared to civilians. I could be wrong. I understand that the presence of a woman among men tempers the situation. I would expect that. From what you say it practically throws things into chaos. But I also have a lot of faith in our military people and would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, men and women, as to what they are capable of achieving. Does that make sense?

    Thanks Joe.

  • Stephen

    Thanks again Joe. It’s rare to get a straight answer around here. I think most of us are afraid that if we do that we’ll lose an argument. Not you. I really appreciate the candor. And I’m not trying to shine you on.

    The reason I ask this is because I work with mostly women these days. Some are flakey, half assed, neurotic and incompetent, but the ones that aren’t are exceptional people. The 80/20 rule applies as much with them as in other situations where I’ve worked with all men or mostly men. And while I don’t pretend that my experience is analogous to the military, it’s been my experience that women are as likely to step up, do the right thing, and get things done as much as men are, sometimes more efficiently/effectively and with less push back. Beyond that, and more to my point, I have found women bring perspective that men don’t generally have. They can be more clear-eyed and perceptive about others in ways men cannot, or at least men seem disadvantaged to a degree. They know BS when they hear it, usually because men are constantly feeding it to them. And they can be emotionally a lot more tough than they are given credit. Not always, but sometimes. 80/20

    So, that said, I was wondering if they have any assets to bring, like in dealing with people in other cultures perhaps (as one example). If that were true, it seems like the “new” military could use that sort of – dare I say it – intuition. All very hypothetical, and like I said, I very much appreciate you giving me a straight answer from where you are.

    I’ve been around Marines and their families a little, and the military brings out some qualities beyond a warrior instinct that are rare. All the talk about “jar heads” who cannot control themselves aside, the level of integrity is quite high in my experience, certainly compared to civilians. I could be wrong. I understand that the presence of a woman among men tempers the situation. I would expect that. From what you say it practically throws things into chaos. But I also have a lot of faith in our military people and would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, men and women, as to what they are capable of achieving. Does that make sense?

    Thanks Joe.

  • Kathy

    In thinking back on how women may help or hinder the military…in my opinion, the Naval Academy is probably a lot more civil and less sexist, with women there. I know that what was tolerated in my day would probably not be tolerated today.

    Did I help the military in any way? Probably not based just on the fact that I was female. Honestly, just like the men, some female leaders were good and others were not.

  • Kathy

    In thinking back on how women may help or hinder the military…in my opinion, the Naval Academy is probably a lot more civil and less sexist, with women there. I know that what was tolerated in my day would probably not be tolerated today.

    Did I help the military in any way? Probably not based just on the fact that I was female. Honestly, just like the men, some female leaders were good and others were not.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But do women bring anything of value that would not be there if they weren’t allowed to serve?

    No. Men can do it all without them. Women are unnecessary in the military.

    Set all that stuff about rights and fairness aside. I’m trying to get past that. Are they good at what they do…

    Yes, of course, some are, but on average not better than men, therefore, they are unnecessary.

    and do they do it in a way that men can’t, perhaps adding some kind of value to the military it would not otherwise have?

    No.

    At best, women don’t reduce performance.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But do women bring anything of value that would not be there if they weren’t allowed to serve?

    No. Men can do it all without them. Women are unnecessary in the military.

    Set all that stuff about rights and fairness aside. I’m trying to get past that. Are they good at what they do…

    Yes, of course, some are, but on average not better than men, therefore, they are unnecessary.

    and do they do it in a way that men can’t, perhaps adding some kind of value to the military it would not otherwise have?

    No.

    At best, women don’t reduce performance.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But I also have a lot of faith in our military people and would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, men and women, as to what they are capable of achieving. Does that make sense?

    I just want them to kill our enemies. I think our guys can achieve that.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But I also have a lot of faith in our military people and would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, men and women, as to what they are capable of achieving. Does that make sense?

    I just want them to kill our enemies. I think our guys can achieve that.

  • Kathy

    sg #48 and 49…the military is much more complicated than “I just want them to kill our enemies” portrays. As a young officer, I led a lot of younger, sometimes older marines, who had many personal and family problems. Unit dynamics, within a battalion, also brought its own share of challenges. I’m not sure that I ever contributed something that an equally “talented” male could not; however, I am sure that I contributed in a way that other men in my units did not.

  • Kathy

    sg #48 and 49…the military is much more complicated than “I just want them to kill our enemies” portrays. As a young officer, I led a lot of younger, sometimes older marines, who had many personal and family problems. Unit dynamics, within a battalion, also brought its own share of challenges. I’m not sure that I ever contributed something that an equally “talented” male could not; however, I am sure that I contributed in a way that other men in my units did not.