Eros in the Foxhole

Mackubin Thomas Owens doesn’t think mixing men and women on the front lines is a good idea:

“The glue of unit cohesion is what the Greeks called philia —friendship, comradeship, or brotherly love. In The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle , J. Glenn Gray described the importance of philia : ‘Numberless soldiers have died, more or less willingly, not for country or honor or religious faith or for any other abstract good, but because they realized that by fleeing their post and rescuing themselves, they would expose their companions to greater danger. Such loyalty to the group is the essence of fighting morale. .??.??. Comrades are loyal to each other spontaneously and without any need for reasons.’

“The Greeks identified another form of love: eros . Unlike philia , eros is individual and exclusive. Eros manifests itself as sexual competition, protectiveness, and favoritism. The presence of women in the close confines of a combat unit unleashes eros at the expense of philia . . . . Mixing the sexes and thereby introducing eros into an environment based on philia creates a dangerous form of friction in the military.”

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