December 7, 2015
IN this entry about the Pentagon’s decision to admit women to all combat roles — a decision which was clearly foreordained before the bureaucratic charade of testing women to see if they could do it — a reader explains why women do not belong in combat even if a minority of brave and strong Amazons can actually do it. His comments are in response to another reader who maintains that women can perform well in certain military roles.
[T]he argument that a “few females could do it all” is wholly insufficient to justify inclusion of women in the combat arms, and even in many combat support/service billets. Here’s why: Men act – and perhaps more-importantly, bond — differently in a co-ed environment than they do in the presence of other males.
Elite all-male military formations are characterized by brotherly love, i.e., the willingness of individual soldiers (Marines, airmen, sailors, etc.) to “take a bullet” for one another. The espirit d’corps of traditional (male only) units depends wholly upon trust, shared sacrifice and the notion that each man is shouldering his share of the danger, risk and hardship associated with military service – up to and including combat.
Moreover, enlisted men trust their officer leaders only when they fulfill a very specific set of criteria – namely, leaders (whether NCOs or officers) must be seen as being the best at everything they do. Bluntly, the men must see their leaders as alpha and not beta males. Second, leaders must be seen to share the same hardships and dangers as the men they would lead. Third, the true leader never asks his men to do something he himself is incapable of doing or unwilling to do. At the very least, he may no longer do those things, but he once did. Finally, the true leader puts the needs and welfare of his men before his own. He doesn’t eat, he doesn’t sleep – until the needs of his men have been addressed. He is the first on the field of battle and the last off of it. Although rank hath its privileges, he cannot be seen to enjoy too many comforts his men do without – or he risks losing respect of his men.
The introduction of women into heretofore all-male formations is enormously destructive to the unit cohesion, espirit d’corps and morale of those units – and this outcome is independent of the capabilities, talents and skills of the females themselves. The very presence of women profoundly alters the willingness of men to trust one another, sacrifice for one another and ultimately, risk harm and/or death for another.
The strength of the wolf really is the pack – and that pack is male.
Those who oppose the inclusion of women into the combat arms solely on the basis of how much weight an individual woman can carry or how well she fires her individual weapon in comparison to her male counterparts have already lost the argument; in effect, taking this stance tells the cultural leftists that if they find one woman who can carry a heavy rucksack or fire her weapon as well as any individual male soldier (even the most sad-sack and mediocre one) – then their objections to women in the infantry, etc. will no longer be valid.
However, even if we take your argument at face value, women still fall short.
Re: “But for several years back in the 1980s I was assigned to an airborne military intelligence unit at Fort Bragg and there were SOME females who jumped with full equipment, including a 15-pound M-60 tripod (in addition to their 60-lbs of equipment, and marched ten miles at night with the rest of us.”
On the basis of your time in the military, you probably know that carrying a 60 lb. ruck plus a fifteen pound tripod is a fairly typical load for a foot-soldier or paratrooper. Carrying that does not mark an individual as an extraordinary soldier – or even an exceptional one. Friends recently-retired from (or still in) the Marines, Army Special Forces, and the like tell me that men in such units routinely shoulder loads in excess of one-hundred pounds – and on extended long-range patrols and missions, one-hundred fifty or even two-hundred pounds aren’t unheard of.
There are reams of studies, medical findings and much more – many from military physicians and researchers – attesting to the fact that women cannot and do not hold up under such physical loads as well as men. Even the most-elite females are incapable of surpassing standards set by the physically-fit, typical eighteen year-old male recruit fresh from basic or boot camp.
It should also be borne in mind that performance during training (even when that training is strenuous) is most-emphatically not the same as operational performance – let alone performance under fire. If I had a dollar for every would-be female super-soldier who thinks she’s hot stuff because she can run a decent time in a five-K or do a few pushups or sit-ups, I’d be a wealthy man. Here’s the problem: the APFT isn’t combat, not even close.
The Pentagon, anxious to please those politician-feminists on the ‘Hill, does a neat little switcheroo to show that women really and truly are cutting it in today’s inclusive armed forces: they “gender-norm” the physical fitness and readiness tests, then they relentlessly promote and publicize the women who can “cut it,” and finally, the perfumed princes fudge testing and performance data which contradict the officially-approved, politically-correct version of events. The services have been hiding inconvenient, contradictory, or politically-troublesome data for decades going back to the late 1970s/early 1980s when the service academies were sexually-integrated. Like their cultural Marxist counterparts in places like the USSR, history which does not comport to the officially-sanctioned version of events is erased, hidden or otherwise neutralized.
As you have probably figured out already, I am a traditionalist who is against women in the military in anything except the traditional support and medical roles. However, I am not blind to the fact that I am something of a dinosaur in today’s world –a throwback, if you will – and that changes happens whether we like them or not. At the very least, I believe that if we are going to have large numbers of women in the armed forces, perhaps even in the combat arms, then we ought to at least segregate units by sex. Doing so would perhaps mitigate some of the most-deleterious effects which arise from forceful sexual integration.
Moreover, to date there has not been a comprehensive, politically-unbiased, scientifically-sound and independent study concerning the pros-and-cons of the all-volunteer force structure, in particular as regards the integration of women and open homosexuals into the ranks. True, the Pentagon and DOD and the services themselves have done numerous “studies,” but these have often been self-serving, biased and less-than-rigorous. The armed forces, one might say, know where their bread is buttered, institutionally-speaking.
It is unwise to make policy on the basis of politically-motivated cant, ideology and the institutional covering of posteriors which are now so common in the armed forces and in politics, but that is exactly what we have done.
In closing, if you are interested, you might find the book “Coed Combat” by Kingsly Browne to be worthwhile. His treatment of the subject is, in my view, evenhanded and thoroughly-researched.
Posted by Laura Wood in Uncategorized