I think most people that know me would admit that I like women. I admire them, respect them, and have cheerfully worked for them several times. I admire and respect most of the women I’ve met in the Army and the other services. But I see storm clouds on the horizon. I hope my readers of the gentler persuasion will not be offended when I say that women have absolutely no place in combat arms units.
Sadly, there is a slice of the Diversity Industry that doesn’t want little things like reality to intrude on their happy little illusion that the sexes are equal:
The Defense Department should eliminate restrictions on women serving in combat units and end all “gender restrictive policies,” according to a blue-ribbon panel created by Congress.
The move would end the military’s long tradition of all-male combat units and open up career fields like infantry and armor to “qualified women.”
The recommendation by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission will be included in a formal report to Congress and the White House in March.
The commission met and discussed the combat exclusion policy for females at a meeting Dec. 3, said Erica Lewis, a commission spokeswoman.
Many of the longstanding reasons for keeping women out of combat units do not hold up under scrutiny, the commission’s research found.
A five-page analysis prepared for the commission concluded that women do not lack the physical ability to perform combat roles; gender integration will not negatively affect unit cohesion; and women are not more likely than men to develop mental health problems.
I guess it is easy for the commission to reach these conclusions, since the outcome was essentially predetermined. No diversity commission has ever released a report that said things were hunky dory and no further changes were needed.
- Women do not lack the physical ability to perform combat roles– Yeah, as a matter of fact, they do. Oh, I suppose you could find about 1-2% of the female population that has the upper body strength and endurance to serve. But the fact of the matter is that very few women have that kind of constitution, and are never likely to gain it without an investment in conditioning that far outstrips the ability of the Army to provide it. The demands of the infantry in Afghanistan are so great that steroid use among men in combat units is becoming an issue. And if women are so physically capable of performing to the same standards as men, why do they have a different set of standards on the Army Physical Fitness Test?
- Gender integration will not negatively affect unit cohesion– Bullshit. Take a look at what has happened with the Navy. While many women serve honorably on board ship, there are innumerable stories of women becoming pregnant and unavailable to deploy with their ship. That means either some sailor has to have his shore duty cut short to fill that gap, or the ship goes to sea shorthanded. The same problem will arise in the combat arms of the Army and Marines. And mid-level officers will tell you that no matter how many problems they have with sexual relationships in the ranks, the word has come down from on high that integration is a success, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, and it they would like to avoid early career termination, they best sing along with the choir. The great passions and tempers in a combat arms unit are hard enough to keep under discipline without adding the drama of sex to the mix. If you can remember all the bitterness and recriminations of failed relationships in high school, imagine that in a situation where the male to female ratio will be at best 8 to 1, and when you break up, you can’t even get away from them. And don’t give me that pap about prohibiting relationships in a unit. It’s an order that won’t be obeyed. You can’t put a bunch of healthy 18-25 year olds together and not expect sex to be high on the “to do” list. Every commander in a combat units knows that maintaining moral and esprit de corps is a great challenge, but it absolutely must be met for a company or battalion to have any hope of success in its mission and keeping casualties to a minimum. Why add to the commander’s burden?
- Women are not more likely than men to develop mental health problems– Maybe, maybe not. I can’t say I’ve ever heard this advanced as a reason to keep women out of combat units. And frankly, how do they know? They don’t have a control group of women with prolonged exposure to combat to base their judgment on.
The article above goes on to discuss the concept of non-linear battlefields:
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown current policies and their references to “forward” units to be outdated. In some situations, women in non-combat jobs have faced more danger than male infantrymen.
“The enemy is no longer clearly and consistently identifiable, and all units are essentially exposed to hostile fire,” the commission’s research paper concluded.
“Additionally, the spatial concepts of forward and well-forward are inappropriate and lacking to convey the complexity of operations such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
That’s a nice bit of legerdemain. While it is true that in some isolated incidences combat support and combat service support units (where women serve alongside men) have been exposed to combat, the fact remains that the combat arms, and the infantry in particular, are far more exposed to enemy action than other units. The statistics of the casualties sustained bear this out. And there’s a huge difference between being subjected to the occasional rocket or mortar attack, vehicle ambush or IED attack, and the infantry’s job of going into the enemy’s lair and kicking in his doors.
A final thought: the premise of the commission is fatally flawed. The stated goal of the commission is to increase the diversity of the services. That’s the wrong goal. The goal should have been, what can we do to increase the combat capability and readiness of the services. But that would have yielded a far different report.