An Army Vet writes:

WIll you please comment on this recent news?

As a female Army veteran, I am absolutely appalled. Do we not have enough able bodied men? I have a bunch of other indignant questions running through my mind right now, but here’s the most pragmatic one that every able bodied man who is currently serving should ask himself: Will my female buddy drag my wounded dead weight of 200 lbs (plus my attached gear) off the battlefield? I think not.

God help our beloved country. I don’t think I am overreacting. Let’s see what the next 5-10 years will bring.

Thanks for all you do–

P.S. The nasty little un-secret of course is that the military has been sneaking women into combat roles for at least the past 20 years. As a platoon leader, my slot was “P-1″ — at that time, completely cleared for the front lines. Two weeks after I left, my unit was deployed to Desert Shield, and the guy who replaced me certainly served on the front lines.

I’m not especially competent to comment. It seems to me like a bad idea (since troops the enemy can kill, wound *and* rape) doesn’t seem like a step up from troops you can only kill and wound. Also, despite the fantasy of fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the reality is that your average women is not as strong as your average man and that means rather a lot in combat. As my reader notes, this is going to wind up forcing guys in the unit to have to accomodate troops that are physically bringing the curve down in certain departments. It is also going to introduce a lot of distracting sexual dynamics, as well as pregnancy, abortion, adultery, rivalry, betrayal and other fun into unit cohesion. It doesn’t have in view the proper functioning of an army, but imposition of some egalitarian theory on reality. It’s the sort of thing a Progressive Bureaucrat imposes by main force because the military, being under orders, has to obey and is therefore a wonderful laboratory and toy shop for social engineers who just want somebody they can…. DO things to.

Keep that crap up long enough, treat troops like lab rats long enough, and it will someday occur to somebody in the military that *they* own all the guns, while the Ruling Class Experimenters in DC are just fat guys in limos. That will not be a happy day for our country. But our troops are just flesh and blood and can only take so much.

  • JB

    In any case it won’t really be “equality” unless they require women to register for the draft.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      I’m sure that will be the next step.

      • LUKE1732

        Maybe, but I’ll bet the concept of “choice” for women will win the day. Imagine the visuals of dragging non-consenting women into the military for brutal training and then sending them to the front lines to come back in bags or with missing limbs. So, I’m betting that the draft (and registering for the draft) will be for men only. Which will leave Those in Charge to rationalize how it’s perfectly OK to draft men but not women. Expect the same type of intellectually creative nonsense that surrounds the debate re: abortion and same-sex “marriage”.

  • RFlaum

    They claim that they’re not going to lower the standards of physical performance you have to meet to be assigned to the front lines. Of course, they may not keep to that promise.

    Personally, I think there’s much to be said for Israel’s approach: women can be assigned to the front lines (though in practice the vast majority of front-line combatants are male), but most military units are gender-segregated at the brigade level. Supposedly, they had mixed-gender units during the War of Independence, but found that the male soldiers would be over-protective of the female soldiers’ safety. I don’t know if that’s true or just an urban legend.

    • Glenn

      It’s been more than 20 years since I went through Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School (made famous by the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman), but one thing that stands out indelibly in my memory was the first obstacle on the Obstacle Course. It was a vertical wall that had to be scaled. On the left side, it was 12-feet tall, and on the right it was eight-feet tall. Males on the left, females on the right.

      When I went back to Pensacola years later, the wall was removed from the course.

  • Kenneth

    The ONLY people whose opinion ought to weigh much in this debate are the men who have served alongside women in actual combat over the past few years. They are in combat, as the “front lines” are a very antiquated concept with little bearing in asymmetric warfare and terrorism. The ‘Front” is wherever the enemy decides to light up an IED on the road you’re traveling. Most of what I hear suggest they do a damn good job responding under fire. I think they might have some real interesting things to say about the presumption that they’re just pantywaists and window dresssing for some politically correct social experimentation . Let’s not repeat the garbage of the 70s and 80s in which women were made to serve as “women cops” in diminished roles amid a culture of harassment designed to drive them out

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      It is inconsistent with the american system to limit participation in political discussion in this manner. Shame on you. We are in a democratic republic. We all get a say.

      As for female participation in any military service. They should serve where they are qualified to do so with zero consideration for gender balance and 100% consideration for capability to do the job. Double standards in terms of a differential culture of harassment or a lessening of standards for female troops are both unacceptable. To the extent that pregnancy negatively impacts the real world mission of a unit, future participation of women in the relevant roles that degraded mission performance should be rethought. The occasional accident is likely unavoidable but cases like the Acadia where 10% of its women were pregnant during a tour in the Gulf are a different matter. You can’t simultaneously exercise your right to get pregnant and your responsibilities to your fellow unit members to get the job done.

      • kmk

        AMen to all of that, TMLutas! Women definitely belong in the military, but let’s THINK!

        –female Army veteran

    • S. Murphy

      And maybe the women who’ve been there, too?

  • John C

    Agree with JB. If the draft were ever necessary in the future, women by law would have to be drafted. The “equal protection” clause of the Constitution would certainly apply. What a mess that would be. Lots of people would be moving to Canada. Speaking personally, my 18 year old daughter will never be in a combat situation.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Every state code I’ve ever looked at had a draft in it. None of the ones I saw applied to women.

      • John C

        OK . . . . why don’t they apply to women? Just askin’. Wouldn’t “equal opportunity” or “equal protection” apply?

        • TMLutas

          Nobody has sued, I think. Sometimes it hustles wors out that way.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            Yikes, did I have a microstroke there? I was trying for “Sometimes it just works out that way.”

  • Bob

    “I’m not especially competent to comment. ”
    Shoulda stopped there.

    • http://www.sff.net/people/john-c-wright/ John C Wright

      Being “not especially competent” means Mr Shea is unwilling to remark on a matter requiring esoteric expertise to comprehend, but perfectly competent to remark on matter anyone with a modicum of common sense can comprehend.

      Also, this is a matter which touches the public weal. Here in America, we voters form the ruling class. Matters where the sovereign must make a decision fall within our bailiwick.

  • SteveP

    “. . . despite the fantasy of fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer . . .”
    .
    There it is: the Western world is unable to distinguish between fiction and reality. Just as the Boomers continued rebellion against a fictional portrayal of families, the “progressives” will agitate for a world matching their favorite teleplay. It is beyond sad that good men and women will bleed out their life attempting to play their assigned role.

    • wreckovated

      I prefer Alias to Buffy, but Buffy is still cute.

  • Dave

    As a veteran, I am against opening the Infantry and Armor MOSs to females. Most of this is due to the physicality of the job and unit cohesion. In my training, Enlisted & Officer, males and females were never mixed as “battle buddies” in training precisely due to the fact that most females could not carry, or drag, a “wounded” male in the exercises. In one of my DECON scenarios, I was “wounded” and strapped on a sked and two men carried me to the DECON lane. It took six females to lift me onto the conveyor, and they almost dropped me. At the time, I weighed a mere 220 pounds and had no gear. It is not sexism, merely a recognition that there are safety issues here.

    I do not discount the valor of female soldiers, or that they have responded well on today’s battlefields. However, one problem the military has is its desire to reorganize to fight the last war. So today, we reorganize for contingency and urban operations on a vertical flexible asymmetrical battlefield. Tomorrow’s war may not take the same form, it is possible we could be in a “traditional” war with front lines, and long combat patrols.

    Think of it this way, when I entered the military our uniform pockets had buttons and the patches were sewn on so that we could move stealthily and stay hidden in the woods of Central Europe. When I left, our uniforms were closed with velcro and the patches attached the same way. Have you ever tried to sneak through the woods with velcro? The first branch and all you hear is “riiiiiiiip”.

    So are we really preparing for the “next” war, or planning that all wars will look like this one in the future. Let me know how that works out…

  • kara

    Buffy was supernatually (preternaturally?) Strong. It’s what made her special. Willow, Dawn and even Xander were supposed to stay out of combat situations for that reason. So, even the fantasy defense is sketchy at best.

  • Jamie R

    The average man is no more fit than the average woman to fight on the front lines. We’re a nation of fat lazy people. The “average” man or woman’s ability to fight isn’t a relevant question.

    The question is whether women who are fit to be combat troops can be combat troops. An argument from “averages” isn’t relevant. On average, men score slightly better on science tests than women; this has nothing to do with whether any particular woman can be a scientist. If you’re problem is with the possible lowering of physical standards, then that’s where your problem is. But the average woman’s fitness has nothing at all to do with anything.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Don’t be dense. We don’t send average, untrained people into combat, male or female. The reality is that a man that passes basic and a woman that passes basic still possess fundamentally different body structures. There will be women who can handle the physicality of it, but you know what is meant here by “average.”

      • Jamie R

        And if we plopped folks into combat right after basic, instead of expecting them to go through basic and then qualify for their specific job, then your point might be relevant. If an actually existing woman, and not a median one, is strong enough to be a combat soldier, then she’s strong enough to be a combat solider.

        People who complain about average women being too weak to fight either don’t know what “average” means or aren’t being honest about what they have a problem with.

        • TMLutas

          I can’t speak for everyone but a lot of us are unhappy with job redefinition so that women will qualify in sufficient numbers to make the NOW brigade happy. Such redefinition increases costs and changes tooth to tail ratios in a bad way. Ultimately it gets people killed at the margin, but it generally does it in diffuse patterns hard to trace back to the gender politics policies.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    I guess I want to know what this is supposed to accomplish. By letting women in more combat roles, will this help us start winning wars again? If not, what’s the point in any event? Let them join or keep them out, we’ll keep losing wars just the same? If this seeks to change that decades-long trend, then maybe it’s worth looking at. Goodness knows the way things are isn’t doing any good, and I don’t think any of it has to do with the quality of our fighting men and women one way or another.

    • Will

      The best idea is not to get in these wars. The next best idea is to make sure we have the firepower to win. The next best idea is not to try any more of this “nation building”.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        Avoiding the wars is best, but right now, it doesn’t seem we have the means or will to execute any military successes in any event.

    • Kenneth

      We don’t win wars because we choose wars that have no discernible definition of victory or any realistic achievable strategic goal at all. Keeping women out of combat will not win us pointless wars anymore than genetically engineered 7-foot 300 pound male superwarriors or battle droids would.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        Sort of my point.

    • Dan Berger

      The point is naked careerism. In the Army, you have problems getting promoted to star rank without experience in a combat (or combat-eligible) unit, that is, one of the “tooth” units rather than a “tail” unit. Infantry, Armor, the Cav. The idea here is to give career women the opportunity to punch the tickets that will open generalships to them.

      In the navy, I’m just waiting for the reaction of submariners’ wives to stationing females on board. There’s already been a fair bit of complaint from the wives of surface sailors.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        I can see the dilemma. But I’d just like to see us start winning wars again. My boys have informed me that for a sizable portion of their generation – at least based on the kids they went to school with – American has become synonymous with loser. Losing wars is as American as apple pie and steroids in baseball. I can’t imagine the impact that will have in another generation, but I’m not sure all our debates now are going to change the outcome. Perhaps why we even have a military and what is our aim with that military would be a better debate. Settle that first, then work on the other issues.

      • Stu

        And justifiable so. I can tell you that on some carriers, senior officers are on duty at night walking around the ship to make sure people aren’t having sex.

  • Neal

    I have nothing against women and have even been told I’m in touch with my feminine side. I won’t say “we all saw this”, but I saw, and my opinion was shared by those around me in the units I was in, far more cohesion and a lower stress level in all-male line unit as compared to a coed headquarters units. My job with the SJA, and the structure of my brigade, required me to spend time in two Headquarters units for a few months and then several months with a line unit and back and forth. Beyond that, my job, which was in the military justice arena and involved prosecuting misconduct and training NCO’s (non-commissioned offcers) on techniques in managing problems without resorting to an Article 15 or Court martial. This put me in close contact with several other headquarters and line units. There is a lot of stress during wartime, but there was a distinct difference in the chemistry of the line units. People tended to work through their differences and generally there was an ability for people to work together even when they did not like each other. It is far more complex than this, which is going to sound sexists, but one thing was the men talked less about problems and that had a tendency to keep the pot from simmering over and also to get past differences. The phrase we used was that there was always a lot of “drama” in the HQ units. There was a higher stress level, more bickering, more prima donnas, long standing grudges and people that you could not get to speak to each other or work together. I am not talking about just the females doing this: it was male and female. That was my observation. On a more personal note, I found deployment to be very stressful. A lot of people I knew “lost it” mentally during or shortly after deployment. I honestly think I would have “cracked” had I spent all of my time in the HQ units. I think being in the all male line unit for most of my time overseas saved my sanity. A second observation is that having women in the theater we had—pun not withstanding—a rash of STD’s. So my expectation of the result of women in combat will be an increase in sexually transmitted disease and an increase in mental issues for soldiers. Add to this the effect of the sight of mutilated female bodies after the explosion of a roadside bomb. Speaking for myself, I think seeing a female blown up would be even harder to take. Those gory images really get burned into your memory.

    • kmk

      Thanks for your service, Neal, and that saddest thing is that had you voiced these very respectful opinions while on active duty and the wrong person had heard it, you would have been in trouble.

  • http://www.sff.net/people/john-c-wright/ John C Wright

    You are mistaken. The averages being discussed are not the averages across the whole population, it is the averages of female as opposed to male soldiers.

    This is from the Army Manual: While leaders must require equal efforts of men and women during the training period, they must also realize that women have physiological limitations which generally preclude equal performance.
    SIZE
    The average 18- year-old man is 70.2 inches tall and weighs 144.8 pounds, whereas the average woman of the same age is 64.4 inches tall and weighs 126.6 pounds. This difference in size affects the absolute amount of physical work that can be performed by men and women.
    MUSCLES
    Men have 50 percent greater total muscle mass, based on weight, than do women. A woman who is the same size as her male counterpart is generally only 80 percent as strong. Therefore, men usually have an advantage in strength, speed, and power over women.
    FAT
    Women carry about 10 percentage points more body fat than do men of the same age. Men accumulate at primarily in the back, chest, and abdomen; women gain fat in the buttocks, arms, and thighs. Also, because the center of gravity is lower in women than in men, women must overcome more resistance in activities that require movement of the lower body.
    BONES
    Women have less bone mass than men, but their pelvic structure is wider. This difference gives men an advantage in running efficiency.
    HEART SIZE AND RATE
    The average woman’s heart is 25 percent smaller than the average man’s. Thus, the man’s heart can pump more blood with each beat. The larger heart size contributes to the slower resting heart rate (five to eight beats a minute slower) in males. This lower rate is evident both at rest and at any given level of submaximal exercise. Thus, for any given work rate, the faster heart rate means that most women will become fatigued sooner than men.

    (The manual does not mention the difference between training injuries. With their smaller bones and more flexible joints the average GI Jane is more prone to suffer more injuries and more frequently than the average GI Joe, and remain noncombat worthy longer.)

    Not relevant? Success or failure in war is measured in human lives. When the choice is whether to put a male or a female into the breech, and the reality is that — on average — more people die if the female is put there, what is the prudent military decision?

    • Jamie R

      The average soldier also isn’t on the front lines, so it isn’t clear to me what the relevance is of the average soldier’s height.

      If a woman (not the average woman, but one that actually exists), meets the same standards for combat as other combat soldiers, then all the averages in the world don’t mean anything.

      • Jamie R

        That is, you’re being lazy. Instead of filtering soldiers based on fitness, you’re filtering them first based on gender, and then on fitness. But gender is only a crude proxy for fitness.

        Unless gender has independent value apart from physical fitness, or the testing physical fitness is too difficult for the army to do efficiently, it doesn’t make any sense to use gender when what you’re concerned about is fitness.

        • SteveP

          I do not understand your point. Physical fitness has already been tested and there are different standards for females and males.

          • Jamie R

            Then there shouldn’t be different standards, at least as for combat troops.

            • kmk

              Absolutely there shouldn’t be different standards. And they shouldn’t be downgraded for a social experiment–these are lives that are in the balance–those standards are high for a reason. (I do believe that women have unique gifts that are well suited for some units in the military, BTW.)

              Remember early on in the Iraqi War, those two YOUNG SINGLE MOMS who died for our country? They were average soldiers–both supply, I believe–and that other young soldier (jessica something?), also supply, ambushed while on a supply run? The fluidity of the battlefield means that the average soldier, at least in combat support units (supply, communications, intel, ordnance) is usually on the front lines.

              Sadly, this move is a further deconstruction of women and families, in the deepest sense. I believe that the notion of women as nurturers and mothers has been so degraded in our culture that it has come to this. Really, that it would be a mark of shame if women weren’t offered the “opportunity” to be out in the worst conditions on a battlefield?! Is this the nation we know and love? What were those young mothers out there for?

              • Jon W

                This is, I think, the real issue. It’s about the radical redefinition of what it means to be human and the absolute relativization of any gender norms that might interfere with an individual’s seemingly self-determined fulfillment. Ultimately, it’s about destroying any emotional repugnance we might have to treating a woman any different from how we treat a man.

                We accept all kinds of inefficiencies in the fighting of our wars because we recognize that those inefficiencies, while making us less likely to win, also make us more worthy of winning in the first place. We don’t, for example, kill our prisoners as a matter of policy, and we recognize that those who do so are guilty of war crimes, even when it’s the most efficient and safest thing to do. I’m sure there are other examples as well.

                So while the efficiency argument is pertinent, it’s not the central matter. The central issue is that we traditionalists absolutely reject the idea that our society should ask women to fight in wars while there are able-bodied men to bear that burden. If someone in our society has to be a killer (and that is what “serving on the front lines” means) then we reject the idea that our mothers, sisters, and daughters ought to be the killers. Far better that men should take that horrible burden on themselves first, and women only when it’s absolutely necessary.

                C.S. Lewis once said (through Father Christmas), “Battles are ugly when women fight.” While this may be true (although battles are ugly when men fight, too), it’s truer to say, “Societies are ugly when women fight.” That’s the central issue.

                • RFlaum

                  I don’t quite follow. As I see it, there are basically three purely moral arguments (leaving aside practical issues) against women in combat, and I’m not sure which one you’re making, or if you’re making a fourth that hadn’t occurred to me.

                  The first possible argument isn’t so much about women specifically, it’s more just a claim that there should be some group that is kept out of combat to serve as a counterweight, preventing war from becoming too normalized within society. From this argument, it would be just as good if men were kept out of combat and only women could serve. That doesn’t seem to be your argument here, and anyway in the US such a small portion of the population serves that it isn’t really an issue.

                  The second argument is that women are more likely to be psychologically scarred by combat than men are. Leaving aside the question of whether or not that’s true, it doesn’t seem to be what you’re saying.

                  The third argument is a purely pacifistic one, that nobody should serve in combat. Again, that doesn’t seem to be what you’re saying.

                  Is there another moral issue I’m overlooking?

                  • kmk

                    Are there a few things that women can do that men can’t, and would it be in the best interests of society if what they can do naturally are held in esteem and somewhat protected? Would that fall under morality or mere practicality?

                    The natural (and wouldn’t it be the moral?) function of women’s bodies has been treated like a disease by some elitists for the past 100 years. The two primary reasons have been too many of “those kind of people,” and (mostly?) men wanting sex “without consequences.” The entire notion of humanity–”male and female he created them” has been deconstructed. Our society has bought the message, created this artificially twisted version of men, women, family, etc. I guess having to hunt for the moral reason for why sending women out to be killers is a bad idea is proving my point. Oy, I throw up my hands in amazement!
                    Again, as a female Army veteran, I can tell you that the men I served with (Air Assault–the very best) would not have been anxious to send the women out front for a variety of reasons. The men and women I know who did or who still serve are rolling their eyes at these idiotic civilians.

                    • RFlaum

                      Well, “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “right”, but I take your point. And yes, it’s quite possible that there are undesirable effects to women in combat — if it were discovered that, e.g., women were more likely to die from certain sorts of combat wounds, that would be a moral issue. But… well, who’s supposed to be the injured party here? The women themselves? The male soldiers? The civilians at home? I see problems with all of those.

                      Let me ask you something, not intending this as a gotcha but as an honest question: Suppose, for the sake of argument, that it were shown that women performed as well as or better than men in combat (again, this is purely for the sake of argument, leaving aside the issue of how likely you think this is). Would you still have moral objections?

            • Stu

              There will be different. There always is. Never seen it any different in the military. If they made the women meet the standards that the man have, you wouldn’t see very few if any women.

              Glenn’s comment about Fight School is apt. The confidence course that both he and ran in Pensacola has simply been deleted from the training. Same thing with the boxing.

              So the only way you get the same standards is to lower them so that the ladies can compete.

        • Ed the Roman

          You’re being insulting.

          There is a difference between what normal people think of as physical fitness and the ability to fight. To give an example, there are a lot of 40 year old drunks who could STILL beat up the Chinese women’s gymnastics team, even though the Olympians are far more ‘fit’.

          Take a look at the testing tables for the sexes that the services use. You will be astonished at the differences. Case in point, the Marines.

          For a man to get 100 points in the event that measures upper body strength, he must do 20 pullups. A woman must maintain a flexed arm hang for 70 seconds, that is to say, she does not need to be able to lift her chin above the bar *AT ALL.* A man who cannot do at least three pullups has failed the event, and the PFT.

          It isn’t just that the averages are different for certain aspects of performance. It’s that the bell curves hardly overlap except at the tails. Even if you compelled women to do pullups, if you picked a platoon of men to test and a platoon of women to test, you could instantly distinguish which was which from the scores. You could probably do this even looking at the best 10 from the women’s platoon and the worst ten the men’s.

          The Marines recently had two women attempt the Infantry Officer’s Course. They dropped out, and at least one of them commented that the idea would not work: there would be lots of career ending injuries.

          • Jamie R

            Of course, fitness refers only to whatever measures of fitness are relevant for combat.

            I don’t care if the average man can do a million more pullups than the average woman. Of course the average man is stronger. The average male soldier is going to be stronger than the average female soldier, and I’d expect likewise for sailors, marines, and airmen. But that doesn’t matter. The average soldier is a creature of math which is useful for some purposes, but not for actually fighting a war. Among actual people, where there’s a distribution of strength, some women are stronger than some men. That’s a FACT. If these women can meet the same physical requirements as men who are combat troops, the fact that average women are weaker than average men should be irrelevant. My car, on average, gets about 28 miles to the gallon. If it’s hot and I’m driving in traffic with the a/c on and it only gets 18, I don’t ignore the fuel gauge because of an average. That’s exactly the sort of thing you’re recommending. If any actual existing woman can meet the physical standards required to be on the front lines, you’re insisting that they can’t, because that’s not average.

            In order to salvage your argument, and make it something remotely honest (as opposed to what it is now, which is not honest), you’d have to argue that subjecting women who wish to be on the front lines to the same physical standards as men who wish to be on the front lines is to costly, either in terms of testing itself or injuries to the women who fail the test. But right now you’re just arguing that because the average woman is weaker, we should filter out potential combat troops based on gender and then based on fitness for combat, rather than just on fitness for combat. That’s dishonest. You either don’t know what averages mean, and instead wish to say not that the average woman is weaker but that all 150 million American women are weaker than any male soldier on the front lines, or you object to women in combat roles for some other reason. If it’s the latter, that’s fine, but you should make that argument, instead of being wilfully bad at math.

            • Stu

              The weakest men in the military are almost certainly stronger than the strongest women.

              • Kenneth

                You’ve clearly never met a strong woman, or seen the wide assortment of men in the military who are well past their boot camp prime.

                • Stu

                  And I thought my 20 years on Active Duty (recently retired) meant something.

                  Kenneth, I talk from practical experience. I’ve watched the size of working parties grow because of the introduction of women who simply can’t keep up. I watched standards lowered or abandoned. I’ve flown with female co-pilot who couldn’t lower the flaps without taking her hands off the controls. I’ve seen sex become a huge headache for commanders should be focused on mission accomplishment instead of soap opera crap.

                  This is the foolish hubris of a nation that has a technical advantage and lack of memory of what a real war is.

                  So, I will put my money on the men “past their boot camp prime” over a so-called “strong” female.

              • Jamie R

                Stu, In order for that statement* to be relevant, it would have to be the case the weakest man who is fit enough to be on the front lines will always always be stronger than the strongest woman.

                *”The weakest men in the military are almost certainly stronger than the strongest women.”

                • Stu

                  No, being generally true makes it relevant.

                  Adding women to the mix brings nothing more to the fight. In fact, quite the opposite. This notion that we are going to maintain some high standard just isn’t backed up by history. Men and women are currently judged by vastly different physical standards and when additional standards get in the way of pushing this agenda born out of political correctness and feminist ideological fantasy, we simply eliminate those standards.

                  I’ll take an all guy unit with average performers over a unit will absolutely stellar women embedded every time.

                  • Jamie R

                    So then your problem is with the military lowering physical standards. Your actual problem isn’t with women.

                    • Stu

                      I have no problem with women. I applaud their desire to serve. But even with the best ones that have been under the my command, their performance did not outweigh all of the other issues that come with introducing women to combat arms. There are physical issues, morale issues and discipline issues.

                      As a nation, we seem to think military service is akin to an episode of Star Trek that we watched. It isn’t like that. It’s about putting together a group of men who are focused on killing the the enemy in the quickest and most effective means possible. It’s not a place for women.

                      Now some will scream about “equality” and other such things. So be it. Pushing women in military arms isn’t about equality. If we truly wanted equality we would value the feminine just as much as the masculine instead of pushing women to be like men.

                    • Stu

                      To point out that you have no knowledge from which to draw a reasonable opinion is just factual. I have over 20 years of actually living it to back up my assertions, shipmate.

                      You have…well…appeals to data collection.

                      I don’t let inexperienced people diagnose any medical problems I might have, work on my car or even cut my hair. Same here with you. Go get yourself some real world experience then you can begin to challenge my firsthand knowledge.

                    • RFlaum

                      True, I don’t have any relevant data. Neither do you. Now, if we were discussing the abilities of the specific women you knew, then your experience would be relevant. We aren’t. To extrapolate information about the performance of women in general would take a large, scientific study. You have not met a statistically significant sample of women in combat, and so your experience is not sufficient to provide meaningful predictions about them.

                      I’m not, to be clear, claiming that women in combat would be a good idea. Nor am I claiming that it would be a bad idea. I’m saying that there is no way to know how successful it would be except by trying it on a large scale and evaluating the results. The army wouldn’t decide the usefulness of a new type of rifle based on someone’s personal impressions of it; it would institute a large-scale, controlled study. The same approach must be taken here. Maybe it will turn out to be a bad idea; in that case, I’ll be the first to advocate for a return to old policy. But you have provided no actual evidence that it is a bad idea.

                    • Stu

                      Actually, I have. Throughout this entire thread I have hit on the observations from over 20 years “living it.”

                      You remind me of a Center for Naval Analysis Study I once read on the Liberty Incidents in 6th Fleet. The CNA is staffed by a bunch of PhD types who collect all manner of data to do studies. Well, after their rigorous research they came to the conclusion the most incidents involve junior personnel, after midnight with alcohol being involved.

                      Any Chief Petty Officer could have told you that. But they wouldn’t have your “relevant data.”

                      Here’s a clue. I have your “data.” It’s in my head. You choose to dismiss it.

                      How are those enlistment papers coming? Let me know. I’ll be happy to swear you in when the time comes.

                    • RFlaum

                      Yes, sometimes these studies merely confirm what everybody knows to be true. But sometimes what “everybody knows” is wrong. Personal, lived experience says that building a fire in the winter will save on heating bills. Personal, lived experience says that women’s voices are by nature significantly higher than men’s. Both of these “obvious” “facts” are wrong. If you genuinely believe that anecdotal evidence is superior to objective analysis, I’d like to play poker with you. I would not like to take advice from you.

                    • Stu

                      I’m confident no one could give you advice that you would take,

                  • RFlaum

                    “I’ll take an all guy unit with average performers over a unit will absolutely stellar women embedded every time.”

                    Really? You wouldn’t even look at the data for these women’s past performance, just flat-out refuse to consider it?

                    • Stu

                      Data? I’m happy with my personal experience. All male units are easier to focus, become a band of brothers and physical ability isn’t really an issue. Adding women changes all of those elements and not for the better.

                    • RFlaum

                      “I’m happy with my personal experience.”
                      Unless you have personal experience with these particular women, that’s not relevant. I think you’ll have to agree that there have been some women in history who were outstanding soldiers — the question is largely about how common that is. Now, I’m not claiming that every woman in the US armed forces is Joan of Arc, but there is going to be some fraction that will perform as well as or better than the average male soldier. The difficulty is identifying these women, and determining if there are enough to make this a worthwhile pursuit. And the only way to determine that is by experiment. There have been several pretty successful female military units — the Dahoney Amazons were a highly respected fighting force at a time when military prowess depended far more on physical strength than it does now. Today, Israel has a fairly large role for women in its armed forces, though of course Israel’s military needs are radically different from ours. Is this replicable for the US? I have no idea. But I think it’s worth exploring.

                      Now granted, I don’t have any military experience or training myself. Nevertheless, I’d be willing to bet a great deal of money that when planes came into military use, a lot of soldiers and officers scoffed at the idea. This is just human nature when faced with any significant change. That doesn’t mean this impulse is always wrong, but it’s worth considering that it is a bias.

                      “All male units are easier to focus, become a band of brothers and physical ability isn’t really an issue. Adding women changes all of those elements and not for the better.”
                      Well, there is a case to be made for gender-segregated units, but that’s separate from the issue of whether females should be allowed in combat in their own units.

                    • Stu

                      You are serious?
                      My experience as a career military officer is not relevant? And you have no experience yet you make that conclusion?. And then you compare this to the introduction of aircraft?
                      Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

                    • RFlaum

                      Personal, unscientific experience is absolutely not relevant. Now, had you in your career performed a scientific, methodologically rigorous study, that would be relevant. This sort of hazy, individual impressions thing is essentially worthless for major decision-making.

                    • Stu

                      “haxy, individual impressions.”

                      Coming from a guy who has zero experience.

                      Go enlist and serve for twenty years and then get back to me.

                    • SteveP

                      RFlaum writes:

                      Personal, unscientific experience is absolutely not relevant. Now, had you in your career performed a scientific, methodologically rigorous study, that would be relevant.

                      And is the best mockery of the Administration’s decision. Doubly so if it was written in earnest.

                    • RFlaum

                      “Coming from a guy who has zero experience.”

                      Ad hominem argument. If you have the data to back up your point, then show it. “Trust me because I’m a soldier” is a dodge, not an argument.

                    • TMLutas

                      In 20 years in the military, you think that Stu does not have a high enough sample to be statistically relevant? Or is your beef that his study has not passed peer review? Both objections are ludicrous. Go get some Google fu and search the literature. The studies have been done. Stu is right.

                    • RFlaum

                      “The studies have been done.”

                      Oh? Whereabouts? Direct me to some solid research here.

                    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                      The last time I supplied links, patheos had a fit and I couldn’t post for awhile so I’m not going to do your work for you. But here’s a hint
                      NPRDC-TN-94-14.pdf

                      That’s a file name that will get you to one of the Navy’s pregnancy related studies. Some of the key results that can be derived past all the happy clappy talk. Half of women pregnant do not return to sea duty after pregnancy. The US Navy pregnancy rate seems to be 8%-9% at any point in time. All deployed ships further than 6 hours out from obstetricians have to evac all their pregnant sailors no matter what stage of pregnancy. About half of shore reassigned women are doing work dissimilar to their ratings and all women assigned this way are in excess of manpower levels so it’s not like an E-4 on shore just swaps out with a pregnant E-4 on ship. They’ve got to have a certain % of excess capacity to do the manpower shifts though it’s probably not as high as the full pregnancy rate but the excess needed would spike during wartime because more ships would be at sea.

                    • RFlaum

                      Interesting! I assume this is the one you’re talking about? Thanks for providing actual data. However: I’m still reading it, but from your summary, it actually sounds like evidence in favor of allowing women in combat. There are a little under 80,000 women in active service in the Army, so even if only a couple of percent are suitable for combat positions, that would still seem worthwhile (provided you could identify which couple of percent they were ahead of time, of course, which isn’t guaranteed). In Israel, for instance, only three percent of combat positions are held by women, even though they compose a third of the total membership.

                    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                      My reference to “happy clappy talk” is on point. When the winds are blowing politically in a certain direction, you need to check the math. The US military will salute the flag but generally they include the right numbers for those who have eyes to see and a mind to do some basic arithmetic.

                      We’re talking about two different branches of service here. Army and Navy. That’s a major disconnect that disqualifies comparison so I’m not going to compare.

                      My point was that the literature is out there. The studies have been done. If you’re conceding that, fine.

                      A little under 80k women @ 2% passage rate is approximately 1600 who would be physically qualified. How many of those soldiers want the assignment? A significant number of men do not, whether or not they physically qualify. Why should the women be any different? And for those who make it past that screen, there are all the psychological issues that wash men out of combat arms and, no doubt, will also wash women out.

                      Below a certain number, the simple logistical problems start making the rule change just not worth it. That’s what the Marine Commandant was talking about, I believe.

                      Are the number of women who would actually qualify both in aptitude, physical, and psychological state and who want to be in the combat arms of sufficient number to justify the change? I don’t know and the political winds blowing in favor of this change make it unlikely that we are going to know by anything but derived metrics from sick calls and combat losses. We all deserve better than that.

                    • RFlaum

                      “My point was that the literature is out there. The studies have been done. If you’re conceding that, fine.”

                      I don’t think I ever denied that. I simply asked that the studies be shown, and said that personal experience was insufficient. My argument wasn’t against the conclusion, it was against the method used to reach that conclusion.

                      “How many of those soldiers want the assignment?”
                      I was actually considering willingness to be part of qualification. It would not at all surprise me if women were less likely to want combat posts than men are.

                      You do realize that this decision doesn’t mandate putting women into combat roles, yes? It just removes the blanket prohibition against women in these posts. The army is currently conducting a study, assessing the ability of women to serve in each role in question. Essentially, this is a removal of an earlier, political rule, not an imposition of a new one.

              • RFlaum

                Uh… no. The average men in the military are stronger than the average women, but this non-overlap model is just ludicrous.

                • TMLutas

                  Slightly overblown, perhaps but ludicrous? I think the actual numbers before they started adjusting requirements was low single digits of female passing. That was why they started adjusting requirements. You can make the case that certain jobs had over engineered requirements but combat is not one of them.

          • S. Murphy

            Ed,
            In 2014, the Marine Corps will require women to do 3 pull-ups to pass, and 8 to max, the upper-body portion of the PFT. This year, it’s individual choice whether to do the flexed-arm hang or the pull-ups. Whether the max remains at 8 or gets adjusted will probably depend less on dreams of female grunts than on trying to establish equity between average male pull-up scores and average female pull-up scores. (I remember noticing at TBS that almost ALL the women were maxing the FAH, whereas a lot of men – this in an entry-level school populated by highly competitive, driven, motivated 2ndLts, whose class rank affects their MOS selection – scored between 15 and 20 pull-ups. Equity not achieved.)
            Two more women are going to attempt the Infantry Officer Course in March.
            The current CMC, Gen Amos, has stated that if so small a number of women prove to have the abilities necessary, that there would be only one or two in a unit, the Corps may request that certain MOS remain closed to women. To figure that out, they are trying to create a set of physical tests – e.g., tankers have to be able to load the main gun, which means moving a 40-lb round and lifting it into position, while seated, thus using only upper-body strength.
            The woman who wrote the Marine Corps Gazette article arguing that the female attrition rate from injuries while serving in the infantry wasn’t one of the IOC-attempters. She was an engineer officer who had served a tour building patrol bases in Helmand province. http://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/article/get-over-it-we-are-not-all-created-equal

  • Ed the Roman

    Kenneth,

    You are confusing responding to what the enemy does with *doing the things that the enemy has to respond to.* You cite the history of women in support units that get engaged, and that is not the point. Infantry and armor and SOF do not have the mission of doing other things which are interrupted when they get shot at and must return fire: they go and look for the enemy and shoot at him, hopefully giving him no opportunity to return fire.

    The Army already has the studies and operational history (Panama) to know what will happen. Normal women are unable to perform the tasks that combat infantry and armor (to say nothing of SOF) are expected to perform. They cannot carry material and casualites at the male rate, and when they try to for extended time periods, they get disabling injuries. They perform poorly in bayonet fighting because they are not nearly as strong. We are not talking about something like judo or tai-chi where the enemy’s weight and strength are used against him. This is not about defending yourself, it about being the attacker.

    To clarify how this shows up elsewhere, in the 1980s, naval ships’ damage control parties had two stretcher bearers assigned per stretcher. This number has since been changed to four, and it is not because the average sailor is twice as heavy as then. It is because an average woman cannot manage one end of a litter by herself consistently.

    Neal’s comments on the effect of female casualties was amply borne out by the experience of military mortuary augmentation personnel duing DESERT STORM as well. They could become PTSD casualties themselves in less than a month.

    • Glenn

      From a Marine who served in combat during Operation Iraqi freedom:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323539804578260132111473150.html

      January 23, 2013

      The Reality That Awaits Women in Combat A Pentagon push to mix the sexes ignores how awful cheek-by-jowl life is on the battlefield.

      By RYAN SMITH

      America has been creeping closer and closer to allowing women in combat, so Wednesday’s news that the decision has now been made is not a surprise. It appears that female soldiers will be allowed on the battlefield but not in the infantry. Yet it is a distinction without much difference: Infantry units serve side-by-side in combat with artillery, engineers, drivers, medics and others who will likely now include women. The Pentagon would do well to consider realities of life in combat as it pushes to mix men and women on the battlefield.

      Many articles have been written regarding the relative strength of women and the possible effects on morale of introducing women into all-male units. Less attention has been paid to another aspect: the absolutely dreadful conditions under which grunts live during war.

      Most people seem to believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have merely involved driving out of a forward operating base, patrolling the streets, maybe getting in a quick firefight, and then returning to the forward operating base and its separate shower facilities and chow hall. The reality of modern infantry combat, at least the portion I saw, bore little resemblance to this sanitized view.

      I served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a Marine infantry squad leader. We rode into war crammed in the back of amphibious assault vehicles. They are designed to hold roughly 15 Marines snugly; due to maintenance issues, by the end of the invasion we had as many as 25 men stuffed into the back. Marines were forced to sit, in full gear, on each other’s laps and in contorted positions for hours on end. That was the least of our problems.

      The invasion was a blitzkrieg. The goal was to move as fast to Baghdad as possible. The column would not stop for a lance corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or even a company commander to go to the restroom. Sometimes we spent over 48 hours on the move without exiting the vehicles. We were forced to urinate in empty water bottles inches from our comrades.

      Many Marines developed dysentery from the complete lack of sanitary conditions. When an uncontrollable urge hit a Marine, he would be forced to stand, as best he could, hold an MRE bag up to his rear, and defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face.

      During the invasion, we wore chemical protective suits because of the fear of chemical or biological weapon attack. These are equivalent to a ski jumpsuit and hold in the heat. We also had to wear black rubber boots over our desert boots. On the occasions the column did stop, we would quickly peel off our rubber boots, desert boots and socks to let our feet air out.

      Due to the heat and sweat, layers of our skin would peel off our feet. However, we rarely had time to remove our suits or perform even the most basic hygiene. We quickly developed sores on our bodies.

      When we did reach Baghdad, we were in shambles. We had not showered in well over a month and our chemical protective suits were covered in a mixture of filth and dried blood. We were told to strip and place our suits in pits to be burned immediately. My unit stood there in a walled-in compound in Baghdad, naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers.

      Yes, a woman is as capable as a man of pulling a trigger. But the goal of our nation’s military is to fight and win wars. Before taking the drastic step of allowing women to serve in combat units, has the government considered whether introducing women into the above-described situation would have made my unit more or less combat effective?

      Societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society. It is humiliating enough to relieve yourself in front of your male comrades; one can only imagine the humiliation of being forced to relieve yourself in front of the opposite sex.

      Despite the professionalism of Marines, it would be distracting and potentially traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex, particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene. In the reverse, it would be painful to witness a member of the opposite sex in such an uncomfortable and awkward position. Combat effectiveness is based in large part on unit cohesion. The relationships among members of a unit can be irreparably harmed by forcing them to violate societal norms.

      Mr. Smith served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq. He is now an attorney.

    • http://Www.SaintLouisAcupuncture.com Dr. Eric

      Even Judo is no match for a heavier opponent. This is why Judo, MMA, and Jiu-Jitsu have weight classes. I remember a few months ago I was rolling (what we call sparring in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ) with a fellow student who is an Illinois State Trooper. He is 6’1″ and about 270 and I’m 5’8″ and 190. I had him down on the flop and was sitting on his chest ready to choke him and he literally threw me off of his body quite easily, he bench presses 400+ pounds and my 190 pounds were child’s play for him.

      He and I are in different weight classes and age brackets at the tournaments.

      • http://Www.SaintLouisAcupuncture.com Dr. Eric

        Not flop, floor! Stupid autocorrect!

    • Kenneth

      Bayonet fighting? Seriously? I guess since we going all anachronistic on this, it’s fair game to point out that most females don’t have the height or upper body strength to draw an English longbow effectively. We’ll have to keep them in support roles next time we fight the French king in Poitiers…..

      • Dave

        Ummm… We still do bayonet training, and yes, hand to hand combat has occurred in our current wars of empire.

      • S. Murphy

        When I was at MARCENT, I saw an award recommendation come across, wherein a Marine was described as having grabbed an AK out of an insurgent’s hands and beaten beaten him to death with it. You could get all pedantic and point out that that’s not stabbing him with a bayonet; but you’d be an ass. Bayonet training is, of course, short for training that involves stabbing foam dummies with bayonets and also techniques for clocking somebody with the butt-stock (not as useful with a collapsible M-4 stock, but then, if you were issued an M16-A4, or picked up an AK with a solid stock). The value of teaching these techniques is that it prepares people for hurting and killing other people, up close. These are, unfortunately, necessary skills in war. We also teach knife techniques in the Marine Corps martial arts program, and I’m sure the Army does it with their combatives. It’s not because we want Marines to settle disputes in bars with their pocket knives. We’d be happy to never have to NJP anyone for getting in a fight in a bar, let alone running someone as a deserter because he’s in the hands of civilian authorities. We do want them to seek out and destroy the enemy, and that has truly meant, and continues to mean, being able to kill someone from 500m out with a rifle, to 5cm with whatever weapon is to hand.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        In Afghanistan, there was not only bayonet work, we had actual cavalry charges and mule skinning once again became a relevant military skill. These are things that minimally interested people generally found out because the news coverage stood out. Perhaps you are a little light on basic information needed to make a proper evaluation of the issue?

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

    I can’t really contribute to the practicalities involved, and I especially am not going to opine on what seems to me valid concerns about what female soldiers will be required to do physically. I am in general in favor of allowing women in combat (I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone), but I would also support maintaining rigorous physical standards, even if that means few women pass them. In other words, if there is a woman who really is strong and fast enough, and she really wants to fight for her country, I have no problem in allowing her to do so.

    The Draft thing is really interesting. I think it would be totally unfair (to men) to only subject men to the draft, but I do agree that “dragging unconsenting women” into combat would be a huge issue for most people. But then, I’m opposed to the draft in general. But then again, that’s because so many of our wars have been wrong, and I don’t like the idea of forcing someone to fight for an unjust war.

    The other issue I think is interesting is the idea that dead or mutilated female soldiers is worse than dead or mutilated male soldiers. I’m not denying that people would feel that, but I don’t think I would. I think dead civilians or dead children would affect me more, but that’s because they are innocent, and they weren’t supposed to be fighting. I guess seeing a dead soldier in uniform, a soldier who chose to join the army, would be of course an upsetting thing, but I don’t think the sex of the soldier would add or take away from that.

    Can you tell I’m just thinking out loud?

  • Stu

    My experience on the carrier.

    Women made up about 10% of the crew but comprised 50% of sick call every day.

    I’ve got plenty of other real world stories on why this won’t work but that is pretty illustrative. This is madness brought on by people watching too many movies where tiny women beat up larger men. We haven’t been in a real war since WWII. Engaged in “warfare, ” yes. But not a “war.” When it comes to a conflict where we have to fight an enemy that can actually give us a run for our money, such practices will quickly be dismissed. The women will be sent to the rear so that the man can actually concentrate on annihilating the enemy in an efficient manner.

    This is another topic with plenty of opinion from people who have no clue what they are talking about.

    • keddaw

      So… Because some women are more prone to injury/illness you’re in favour of banning ALL women?

      I’ve been reading through this and can’t help but replace “women” with “non-whites”.

      Have rigorous standards with no gender bias, if no women can pass so be it. Have investigations into why women are more prone to not show up and see if it’s testable or avoidable (I’m pretty sure missing a Y chromosome is not a fundamental reason). Have compulsory pregnancy tests for all women before deployment and replace them from front line duty if they are (heck, perhaps even give them compulsory birth control if they’re in an active sexual relationship – I think I just heard a few Catholic heads explode).

      Future, and indeed present, wars are won from the air, they are tidied up with superior firepower on the ground with advanced air support and no meaningful opposition as their infrastructure, artillery, supply lines and heavy arms have been destroyed from above. The vast majority of the rest of the war is interacting with locals and building rapport. Women, on average (couldn’t help it), are exceedingly good at this part. If ever their were a “real” war, soldiers would play only a minor part mopping up enemy troops after the victor was already known by who has air superiority.

      The war on terror is as winnable as the war on drugs and the war on Christmas. And, apart from the war on Christmas, the majority of people killed are foreign while we lose our freedoms at home.

      • Stu

        So… Because some women are more prone to injury/illness you’re in favour of banning ALL women?
        ————–
        Yes. For that and other reasons. And from my experience, it isn’t “some” but just about “all.”

        I can’t help that you “can’t help” the urge to make a comparison to difference in melanin in the skin. But that’s not the same than the readily apparent differences that gender brings and the fact that when placed in remote, isolated locations men and women tend to want to “pair up.”

        As to your notion that all wars will be won from the air, that’s the same sentiment put forth by Douhet at the dawn of air power and gave use such great notions as the unrestricted bombing of civilians. Not only immoral, but will not win a war.

        I’m confident that if we ever get in a real war, the military leaders on the ground will order all of the women back to the rear where they can do more good.

      • SteveP

        keddaw: simple thought experiments for you: if “rigorous standards with no gender bias” is the answer, why did the answer not occur to those prior to the 236th year of this Republic? Why, just prior to the Republic, did not the women interact with the French and Indians to build rapport?

      • S. Murphy

        ” If ever their were a “real” war, soldiers would play only a minor part mopping up enemy troops after the victor was already known by who has air superiority.”
        Only if the enemy gave up easily, or if we defined victory as ‘look, we blew up their stuff! Now we can go home until they rebuild!’ Or if we nuked them, which God forbid. Strategic bombing isn’t the airpower that wins wars – close air support, that backs up the grunts, wins wars. So does logistics from the other side of the world. And yet even the mopping up costs lives, and involves very intense ground combat.

        The topic at hand is really women in the infantry, at the tactical level. ‘Women in combat’ is already a given. Women have been in incidental firefights regularly over the past 10 years. everybody knows that courage and marksmanship are not secondary sex characteristics. The concern is the physical ruggedness to survive and have career viability over a 3-year tour at a grunt battalion, and more importantly, to pull one’s weight and even be an asset over the course of a 7-15 month combat tour – wearing full gear, 12-hour foot patrols punctuated by firefights. Nobody should doubt a woman’s ability to dismount from a vehicle and maneuver in response to an IED strike/ambush – that’s what the two female soldiers who’ve been awarded the Silver Star did – one as an MP team leader, one as a medic.
        But, as Ed noted, there’s a difference in intensity between support troops responding when the combat comes to them, and then there’s seeking out and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver. There’s sitting for days in the back of an overpacked vehicle, as described above; there’s things like the company that ran 3 miles over rough terrain to relieve another element of their battalion, the Marine who grabbed the AK and beat its owner to death with it, and so on.)
        There are, perhaps, (we’ll see) plenty of women who could pass, and even do decentlywell at the Infantry Officer Course, the School of Infantry, and so forth – with enough intense physical conditioning; but a female officer of Marines, Capt Katie Petronio, who served an intense combat mission in Afghanistan, has written an article in which she observes that her body broke down more rapidly, and lost more muscle over that tour than her male colleagues. She was a pretty hardcore athlete before she went, so it’s not a case of somebody who just couldn’t hack it. (*Pace* the classy comment of one of the women who sued the DOD over the combat exclusion.)
        It’s an attractive idea, to give those outstanding, determined women who are well-prepared to pass IOC have their chance; but there are valid questions to be asked about the impact that the attempt to accomodate those individuals might have on readiness. Depending how many there prove to be, the game may not be worth the candle. Individual goals always end up subordinate to the needs of the service. Again, nobody has a right to a career. Somebody has to be Supply. Somebody has to be aircraft maintenance. These jobs don’t lead to the service chief billet.

        The careerist goal of having more female general/flag officers is unworthy of discussion. If this ‘transition’ is implemented carelessly, female lieutenants will walk over lance corporals’ bodies to get railroad tracks and oak leaves, let alone chickens and stars on their collars — and they may have to lat-move out of the grunts to save their career viability. (Men have done this, too, when their knees got too achy, or they blew a shoulder.) If it’s implemented carefully and wisely, it will cost something in money, in a time of tight budgets — and something in careers and health of those who end up demonstrating the attrition rate.

        While we’re at it, most of the articles I’ve seen asserting that women can do anything men can do are by pilots, annoyed that they weren’t allowed to be forward air controllers. A few of the women who’ve been with FET teams want to be grunts, and think they would do well at it; but as many, if not most, are quick to acknowledge that FET mission wasn’t the grunt mission.

  • Ed the Roman

    So if one in 200 women meet the standard you think it’s a good idea to have four women per infantry battalion? *Really*?

    Of course there are other reasons to exclude women. To get Chestertonian for a second, part of the case against women in the combat arms is that the case is complex. There are LOTS of reasons it’s a bad idea, some of which are mostly known by those with military experience, and some of which should occur to people who remember high school, and then imagine what it would be like to have a two-year high school reunion survival back-packing trip with co-ed tents, carrying three days food and water plus a big sound system and the batteries to run it, no vehicles, twenty miles a day minimum. Think about that, with real people, not a platonic ideal of American fighting persons.

    Now tell me why it is Really Important to introduce of class of people who will change the social dynamics of the unit no matter what, and whose members are almost certain to perform much of what’s required at a level lower than that of the average man actually assigned.

    • S. Murphy

      “So if one in 200 women meet the standard you think it’s a good idea to have four women per infantry battalion? *Really*?”
      If that’s a reply to me, no, I wasn’t making an argument; just updating facts. I actually think Capt Petronio’s argument, however politically incorrect, and her observations, albeit personal and anecdotal, about how her body broke down during her tour, should be taken very seriously. It’s not a matter of how many eager female lieutenants can crossfit ™ themselves into passing IOC: it’s about how many women would make it through their first hitch as a grunt (or with the grunts), and not be medically separated, or on and off light duty – never mind career viability.
      And of course, this is about careers, as someone noted above. That bugs me. Before this announcements, 3 officers and a staff NCO suing the gov’t ( all in reserve status now) over the cmbt MOS exclusion. Now, if this gets implemented the wrong way, they’ll get their career opportunities; but the brunt of any unintended consequences will fall on the junior enlisted, male and female. Officers shouldn’t do this.
      The thing is, in the Corps all officers are open contract, except lawyers and pilots. Towards the end of a 6-month school that all officers go through, you get assigned an MOS, based on the needs of the service. The staff may make some attempt to respect your preferrnces, but the needs of the Marine Corps take precedence. And there, equal opportunity ends. If your MOS is Ground Supply, you’re not growing up to be Commandant. Suck it up, El Tee. Nobody has a right to a career in the military.

      Btw, I don’t think Gen Amos set an exact number of women that would be too few, the 1-2 was by way of example on my part. He expressed a desire that if they were there at all, there’d be enough of them to support and mentor each other.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    A country that deliberately puts women into combat is out of its collective mind. That’s not what women are for, or should be.

    • John C

      Totally agree, Pavel.

    • Jon W

      Absolutely, 100%. This is a case of ideology trumping wisdom, common sense, and decency.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    A country that deliberately puts women into combat is out of its collective mind, or as desperate as the SU was in the Great Patriotic War. There was one famous Kazak girl sniper, who killed 78 German soldiers. She died young.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    Combat is not what women are for or what they should be.

    • Kenneth

      One can make a case that it’s not what humans are for or what they should be.

      • Jon W

        Seriously? This is your argument?

  • Obpoet

    Star Trek had an episode where two planets waged virtual war upon each other with computer simulations, not weapons. Virtual casualties voluntarily walked into extermination chambers. It made war too clean and therefore too acceptable.

    Let women in, and let them be drafted. Let our entire society experience the horror that is war. Let them know that diplomatic failures could result in their mothers, daughters, sisters nieces being drafted and sent off against their wills to die for causes they do not support. Let them experience first hand the horror that awaits. Let the hear the sound of a sucking chest wound, severed limbs, scattered entrails. Let loose the dogs of war.

    Perhaps women will bring a sanity to public policy that makes war a less acceptable alternative that it currently is. No longer old men voting for another war for young men to die in, but women voting against a war no one deserves to die in.

    • Jon W

      Interesting thought: all sons of current public officials are, by law, the first to be drafted and can get no deferment from active duty other than medical. We’ve already got an aristocracy. We might as well give them real duties and responsibilities to go with their money and privileges.

  • Obpoet

    Star Trek had an episode where two planets waged virtual war upon each other with computer simulations, not weapons. Virtual casualties voluntarily walked into extermination chambers. It made war too clean and therefore too acceptable.

    Let women in, and let them be drafted. Let our entire society experience the horror that is war. Let them know that diplomatic failures could result in their mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces being drafted and sent off against their wills to die for causes they do not support. Let them experience first hand the horror that awaits. Let them hear the sound of a sucking chest wound, see severed limbs, scattered entrails. Let loose the dogs of war.

    Perhaps women will bring a sanity to public policy that makes war a less acceptable alternative that it currently is. No longer old men voting for another war for young men to die in, but women voting against a war no one deserves to die in.

    (I reposted a 2nd time, somehow the first post landed out of sequence)

  • http://www.SaintLouisAcupuncture.com Dr. Eric
  • RobJ

    As a fat guy who dreams of riding in a limo some day, I am deeply offended by your comparison of me to our nation’s leaders. Furthermore, in this day and age…wait, where did I put my Cheezy Poofs?

  • Elmwood

    I know women are more than capable of performing most of the roles carried out by men in our military. But why would a women want to? I think the fact that they want to perform roles traditionally carried out by men says that it has more to do with power and a preceived unfairness about the fact that men and women are different. My military experience would have been way better without directly serving with women IMO.

    The great nation of Litchenstien–a small catholic country with a constitutional monarchy–didn’t allow women to vote until like 1984. This is a pro-life country that has no military and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world on a per capita basis. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    • Elmwood

      It’s spelled Liechtenstein BTW. Not only can I not think so good, I can’t spell.

  • Elmwood

    Stu, your awesome. I couldn’t agree more even though my experience was in the chair force.

  • http://www.fathermyfather.com Jessica

    Why is it that whenever society does something to give women more “equality”, they end up getting hurt in some way? I don’t think I can take much more “equality.”


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