~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
All this week I’ve been witnessing some of the end zone dancing taking place among various groups regarding the recent decision to allow women to fully serve in combat roles alongside the men. There are many variations on the theme, of course, but the editorial board at the Gray Lady probably summed the general sentiment up fairly well.
The Pentagon’s decision to end its ban on women in combat is a triumph for equality and common sense. By opening infantry, artillery and other battlefield jobs to all qualified service members regardless of sex, the military is showing that categorical discrimination has no place in a society that honors fairness and equal opportunity.
Equality is great, isn’t it? Respect and unbiased treatment of everyone regardless of gender or any other metric you’d care to name is a principle which I believe most of us can agree upon. And I still maintain that both men and women should be given a fair and equal shot at any job which they can adequately perform. And yet, when it comes to the idea of American women serving in combat roles on the front lines during war, I am a hypocrite. A throwback. A dinosaur.
I am a dinosaur as well....................
It is complicated. It is individual ability. It is cultural. It is the military justice system and the civilian justice system. It is the military environment and the civilian environment. It is equality of opportunity vs equality of outcomes. WHAT?
First, there are some physical qualities in which men and women are statistically unequal. Next, there are social/cultural differences that are sometimes real and sometimes perceived. For example, there is a generalized belief in the ability of women to nurture the young better than men. This of course is not absolute, but has deep roots in family and regional culture. I suggest that it is more prevalent in rural settings than urban ones and is more likely to be held by those more senior in age than those who are younger and have been exposed to the current mantras of cultural leaders.
However, individually, some women may be able to do the same job as a man. This has been demonstrated in both justice systems (military and civilian) and both environments (military and civilian).
Personally, I have no problem with a woman doing the same job as a man as long as the existing standards for qualifying to do the job are met. However, should the standards be changed to accommodate physical differences in male and female statistical ability, I have a problem with that.
Since I fall into the more “senior in age” category, I also have a problem with the implied undermining of cultural norms with which I was raised. To me, a woman is to be protected from vile, harsh and demeaning conditions as much as possible. Allowing them to voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way violates my sense of cultural mandate to “protect” them from these conditions. However, our society no longer seems to appreciate the need to protect the ability of women to nurture by protecting them from the conditions that might harden them emotionally and psychologically.
If we re-read the Declaration of Independence, it says that “…all men are created equal…”. Clearly, this means that all men (generic for people) are created POLITICALLY equal. Unfortunately, this is not how it is read today using the talking points of class warfare.
Why is it such a big deal that the restriction on duty assignments has been lifted by the Pentagon? Because, the military forces of the US have been the proving ground for social policies eventually implemented in the nation at large. The big difference is that the military services operate under the military legal system and the society at large operates under the civil justice system. They are entirely different systems but they are both based in the Constitution as fundamental law.
The big deal is that it does not matter what your attitude toward a policy is in the military as long as you carry it out. This is a significant contrast to the role of attitude in the civilian society. If the social engineers can’t make something work in the military environment, where attitudes and personal beliefs must be subordinated to mission and policy, then it is a good bet that it won’t work in the civilian sector where there is less control.
Now, let me qualify what I said above: “ I have no problem with a woman doing the same job as a man as long as the existing standards for qualifying to do the job are met.” I do have a problem with a woman doing the same job as a man if it undermines my sense of cultural mandate to “protect” them from vile, harsh and demeaning conditions as much as possible.
So, I am conflicted on the issue. It is complicated.
I see where you are coming from and agree =/= not =<= or =>= . Is this not the identical problem with minority admissions to Medical Schools, Law Schools, research Universities, upper tier Private Universities - and the multilevel qualifying system for achieving equality of diversification without regards for test standards. This desire for forcing a perceived equality of results has diminished the quality of the graduate and the reputation of the schools in the general market. It is very interesting when those that preach the diversity rule is prime jump off the ship when it comes to Asians - they commonly refuse to admit the Asian that has a perfect SAT score as they have determined that they have too many Asians in the University - California was great at this one.
It is then not about the equality of opportunity it is the desired minority that needs to have the equal opportunity of results regardless of cost or quality. Either we are all equal or we are not all equal - leaving one out by gaming the numbers or standards is cheating the individuals that worked hard and made the grade. JMHO
JB, It doesn't seem complicated to me, but I am pretty simple-minded. Men and women serve equal roles in life.....neither inferior or superior to the other. By their very physical make-up, one will excel better than the other. That is certainly relevant to this discussion. Of course there are other considerations, but trying 'nudge' nature in some direction which is not intrinsic, is just a political move.
If your house is on fire and you are trapped on an upper floor, who would you rather see climbing the ladder to save you? A man who has been required to meet the highest physical standards or a woman who has had the physical standards lowered for her? I know who I would want to see…
I guess, that makes me a dinosaur too.
I want one of these - good old idea comes to it's time.
Ah come on now! What we have is brilliant strategy from the Pentagon. To start with, they want to put a fox hole in the homosexual's fox hole---this will achieve somewhat of a balance, and increase combat readiness. In the next instance, a great legal maxim is achieved: two wrongs do in fact make right. Finally, we can see a path to full government funding of abortion, especially after the enemy rapes our young women. Dang---that's three birds with one shot!
Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, the former head of the U.S. Special Forces Command, says infantry and other front-line units are no place for women, and it has nothing to do with their courage or capabilities: I agree with LT. GEN. William Boykin –men & woman have the ability to serve side by side in service, be it law enforcement or the military in a moderate number of situations. How other countries run and train their military should in no way determine how the U.S. runs its military. Leaders of the world's most powerful and effective fighting force, the U.S. military, don't need to listen to media activists recommending that we become a larger version of the Canadian military. I believe the reality of this decision is a sign that our troops are not getting enough qualified enlistments, are fed up with multiple rotations, are currently dealing with increased effects of fellow soldier suicides, have increased pressures of family break ups, have increased financial pressures to include higher than normal bankruptcy rates, and the list goes on ad infinitum. US MARINES BOOT CAMP and the Special Forces boot camp are different in a multitude of ways from standard initial training for all the services with regards to recruits. All of this posturing and all of the opinions are sadly being made in what amounts to a peace time planning situation.
"The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment, and they have never lived nor fought with an infantry or Special Forces unit," Boykin said in a statement released by the conservative Family Research Council, for whom he now works. "These units have the mission of closing with and destroying the enemy, sometimes in close hand-to-hand combat. They are often in sustained operations for extended periods, during which they have no base of operations or facilities. Their living conditions are primal in many situations with no privacy for personal hygiene or normal functions." Integrating the genders in direct-combat situations "places additional and unnecessary burdens on leaders at all levels," Boykin said. "While their focus must remain on winning the battles and protecting their troops, they will now have the distraction of having to provide some separation of the genders during fast moving and deadly situations.
When we introduce sex into the equation everything changes – now we finally come to the crux of the main problem - human nature. A certain amount of sexual tension exists in an office environment, especially one filled with young adults of both sexes. However, workers are only together eight hours a day, five days a week, and most of the time; they're working alone, on their own tasks. Even in this environment, two lovers, especially if they aren't getting along, or if one of them is a manager, can be distracting, create problems for upper management, and reduce the productivity or effectiveness of an office. Multiply the sexual tension several-fold for a war overseas, where young soldiers are away from loved ones for long periods of time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working or even sleeping together as a team in a much more stressful environment.
It's not necessary for the physical & logistical makeup of the U.S. military to be representative of the population and a military career is not a "right, actually far from it. The military must hire and train with the understanding that the next war may have to be fought much differently than the last war - World War II was a different type of war from the Vietnam War (long guerrilla war), which was different from the first Gulf War, just for example. At some point in the future, we may face another war similar in logistics & scope to World War II. Many rules and standards that seem to work in relatively short wars, where the U.S. faces a much weaker foe militarily, may cause problems in a different type of war.
Similarly, policies that can be made to work in a peacetime or a training environment may not work very well at all on the battlefield - Liberal journalists applaud mixed male-female units, but in a long-term, evenly fought, intense war, will the time, manpower, and money needed to enforce policies regarding sex, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women and mixed male-female units help or hurt a d erode our effectiveness?
Now to include women will force the SOP and command structure to address a myriad of factors not the least of which - the entire structure has NO PRIVACY what-so-ever, NO modified PT TRAINING, NO SEPARATE SHOWERS, sleeping on board ships, sleeping-eating-living in open air foxholes. In other words NO PRIVACY of any kind to speak of. Morale and unit cohesion are pooh-poohed by the left, but have historically been a very important element in military success or failure - In athletics, professional coaches understand this, and those with a basic understanding of human nature and a general knowledge of military history should also understand the importance of morale and unit cohesion. To modify a female’s physical nature to endure US MARINE BOOK CAMP or Special Forces would deform the female entirely, over extend muscle build up, require haircuts, NO MAKE UP of any kind, they would be required to run distances with the same time frame and distance as males without exception, the O courses, MEDICAL CARE in LINE UNITS do NOT have anything even close to OBGYN, CORPSMAN not trained to deal with a plethora of female issues. Have you ever crossed a swamp with green slime on the surface and then get out, buddy up and check for leeches? How is that going to work? They can enter and be in parts you can’t think of. When deployed in theatre areas ‘monthly’ can NEVER BE USED as someone else has to carry the share. Women can die more quickly to being in swamp waters with a virus a lot easier than men, and for the most part men do not worry about those issues. A TRAINING PACK and rear echelon pack is much lighter than a GRUNT PACK, then you add to that the joy of a vest 'flak jacket that rubs nipples raw, in some cases to the point of bleeding, staying in a fighting position or bunker for days without coming out, they share the pot and again NO PRIVACY, in a tank, the crew may not get out and use the side of the road or a bush for days, so the ammo can pot has to suffice, no privacy again. GRUNTS just do not have that luxury. Your budge rips off the clothing to get at the wound to treat the issue, silk would be dangerous because it melts under heat, hence why you go with cotton briefs. Sometimes grunts come across a stream and post guards in combat so troops can rinse off as it may have been weeks since a real bath, and yet again NO privacy.
Physical strength still matters - Some political elites and media commentators have noted that a lot of military equipment can be operated by pushing buttons and that strength tests and the lowering of physical standards for women are irrelevant & unimportant. The problem is that in a war, especially a longer, more intense war, like World War II, soldiers may have to perform tasks that they were not originally trained to do. Versatility is a desirable characteristic in a soldier. Strength can also affect speed and endurance, which are crucial on the battlefield. "If a soldier is wounded in battle...a collocated support soldier may be the only person in a position to evacuate the wounded soldier on his own back. In this environment, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive. Lives should not be put at needless risk just to satisfy 'diversity metrics' for the career ambitions of a few."
Could a woman grab a man and slice his throat? China troops have over 200 hours in hand to hand combat techniques. US MARINES earn rankings or are not promoted – period. Pugal sticks, knife fighting - yes NO HOLDS BARED. I could envision it now in Boot camp, and that would be the easy part. There could be no expectation that any slack is given because to offer that slack is to endanger the other marines, other troops, other team members. When the average BOOT MARINE PLATOON or SF qualifiers are formed it’s about 60 to 70 boots. The graduation numbers vacillate quite a bit, most of the time even with men in decent shape; over half are discharged or dropped from the program. The talking bobble heads in the news media clearly have absolutely no idea.
Admittedly, this is less of a problem for peacetime troops, or in recent wars where we've had an overwhelming battlefield advantage and the engagement is considered short-term, but we don't know what the future will bring - a protracted, more evenly matched, deadlier WWII type war will bring this problem to the forefront. The intense male bonding of a "non-sexual" nature was crucial to unit cohesion, morale and effectiveness in many past wars. Regarding sex, what's going to happen if a leader appears to show preferential treatment to his lover? Critics will counter this is against SOP and policy therefore it should never happen – but we all know how that works out don’t we? What if he has to pick a few soldiers for a dangerous mission - will his lover be included? What happens to morale and cohesion if some soldiers are receiving sex on a regular basis and some are not? This issue alone could affect a myriad of situations that we have never had to solve to this point. What if some soldiers are extremely jealous or show stalking tendencies? What happens if a soldier is willing to literally fight for his/her love interest? Is this going to amount to what some claim will be just a distraction or in fact will it be a cascade of problems that snow ball into an avalanche?
I am sure, and confident, that ANY FEMALE can try to take the tests and post the PT, time, & numbers. MEN TRAIN FOR WAR. It’s not fun – it’s brutal, no holds barred, and NO RULES BUT FIGHT TO WIN period, even if they had to bite the nuts off the man trying to kill them. IT has absolutely no similarities to anything in the movies like it or NOT. KBAR in the GUTS and drag the KNIFE SIDE TO SIDE GUTTING the person, all the while accepting that both will be cut in knife fighting, it goes both ways. In another view as the man your fighting is begging for his life for you to back off, pausing for a split second turns the tables and he guts YOU. GRUNTS FIGHT TO WIN, to SURVIVE. IN USMC or Special Forces you EARN your right to be there, and what you do, NO ONE offers you an EASY WAY, or a free ride, YOU EARN IT, work to keep it, and understand that LIVES OF OTHERS ARE ON THE LINE and depend on your follow through. If you cannot give an order to a man, or woman in this case knowing full well they may very well get killed or die in the process – this is NOT THE PLACE to begin to practice. IT HAPPENS, PEOPLE DIE, it’s not politically correct and it’s worse than the words written here. Accept that and understand it but PC will not keep you or the person next to you alive.
Very well said. Thank you. Let's hope what you have to say on the subject prevails.
Our military is a killing machine. Our killing machine must be better than all other killing machines that would threaten our freedom and way of life, otherwise we can and will eventually lose them. Our comfort and reliance on our technological superiority has allowed us to forget the capitalist system and free enterprise that brought that to bear. Our debts and spending have yet to cripple our defenses, but they will. The Chinese spend 100 billion dollars per year on their military. We give them 100 billion dollars on interest alone to our debt to them.
On a nuclear attack submarine, space is extremely limited. Space is premium. Everything designed and placed for function and efficiency. Things kept as small as possible so our subs are as manueverable and as invisible to sonar as possible. Three people must rotate out of one bunk. No one has their own space other than a small locker. So where are we to find the space to place a separate bathroom for women? What must be removed? How much larger, and in turn more vulnerable must we make our fast attack submarines to accomodate women? What should be left out? Ships are gone for three to six months at a time usually. In a full scale war, this could conceivably be much longer. Should there be a gynecologist on board for the women? Which member of the team should be removed so there can be one if there should be one? Which member of the team should be lost because she ends up pregnant?
Every dollar that has and is spent on sensitivity training, modifying our ships, lawsuits, counselors, and catering to the medical needs of women is a dollar that is not spent on improving our killing machine in relation to the threats posed by other killing machines. Every dollar then is not just wasted, it is a missed opportunity to kill the best. This is the same for every dollar spent in efort to nation-build rather than to further the enhancement of our killing machine. We grow weaker in relation to external threats daily. Those chickens will come home to roost.
When I was in the military, men had to do 51 push ups, women only 38. Why? If you are detained by a group of people, and are desperate to avoid the interrogations and confinement to come, are you more apt to take on the six foot tall, 180 pound man holding a weapon if you get the opportunity or the 5'4" 130 pound woman? The mere attempt puts all other people involved in that situation at risk. In this scenario, the potential success of relieving the woman of her weapon entices the detainees, and can create a lethal situation for many involved where it may not have existed without her being there. Do we expect the women to fireman carry men off the battlefield, or just drag them? What do we expect our men to be able to do? Why? What do our fire departments expect? Why?
Why does a culture develop norms for a man to protect a woman in the first place? Why is it then that we would expect a man in the military to behave differently coming from a culture with those societal norms ingrained in his psyche? The instinct to protect, and act contrary to the best interests of the mission puts all at risk. It comprises the mission. If the mission is for our killing machine to exterminate a threat, what are the ramifications of failure?
I wonder what message it sends to potential external threats when a nation is comfortable to hide behind their women, and allow their women to do their fighting for them? Does it entice or embolden them? Does that possibility alone put us more at risk?
Personally, I want the most capable, ruthless, sadistic and scary killing machine protecting the liberties of our nation, and securing our way of life for our posterity. Frankly, I could not care less how anyone else feels about that.