Thursday, January 24, 2013

Women in combat: a bad idea

From RR: flirting with disaster. This’s the title of West Pointer Brian Mitchell’s book giving the proof behind common sense that this is wrong. (Summary: most women aren’t strong enough; sex damages discipline and morale — the ultimate fraternization and another thing wrecking marriages at home, and pregnancy; and women can cry their way to a discharge easier.) A truism I’m not particularly interested in but there’s lots of conservative commentary to pass on.
  • Sailer: Enlisted women have been overwhelmingly against this change, although some of the most ambitious women officers see restrictions on women in combat as an impediment to promotion. But, so what? It’s not like any of this matters in a practical sense. If more co-ed combat degrades American military performance, it’s not like the Axis is going to win WWII, it’s that a few more brave Americans will get killed in some inconclusive puttering around in Mali or wherever. This kind of thing is like gay marriage: a symbolic war on the realities of biology. Repeating a conservative point going around: guess this means we’re not serious about war.
  • Disgusted in DC: This will not end well. I predict that the policy will be reversed only when there is some sort gross feminist-splitting atrocity such as jihadists raping women combatants. I am dying to know what the peacenik feminists will have to say about this - the Joan Baezs and the Holly Nears and the Judy Collinses of the world. Or all of the ’90s Lilith Festival chicks. Will they say that this is an advance in civilization and womanhood? The left isn’t about peace but power and entitlement. (I understand a good thing about Baez is she never wholly bought into the pinko thing, which is why, besides changing tastes, this talented singer’s been in relative obscurity for 40+ years. Makes sense since capitalism made her millions.) Peer-pressure liberalism isn’t about reason but misguided emotions.
  • And: It might be the case that fewer women will join the military, period, if there is a serious risk that they would be fighting on the front lines when they otherwise would not. If that is the case, then diversity bean-counters will have a problem. Also, I suspect that there are very few women that would have any interest in actual combat and those that would be would, ironically, likely come from the more conservative white rural or small town lower-middle class/working class that feminists tend to detest in real life, though champion in the abstract — the same class from which women police officers are derived. Similarly, unless they are lesbians, the women who would serve in combat are precisely the type of women that share the same folkways and outlook as the evangelical Protestant chaplains, pastors, and culture warriors who would be the first to loudly deplore this new development. The cross-currents and rip tides in the culture wars are going to be very interesting, indeed.
  • Defense analyst Stuart Koehl: Yeah, I’m going to have to fire a broadside about this one. As my friend Martin van Creveld said to a Congressman back in the 1990s, “The very fact that you would think about sending women into combat shows you are not serious about war”. Unless they make service in combat arms mandatory for women. they will have a real problem filling the enlisted ranks, most of whom know quite well what a shit hole the battlefield is. This whole movement has been pushed by a handful of careerist female officers, who realize their promotion prospects past O-4 are limited unless they can get a command slot in a “combat” unit. How odd that my whole professional life has been devoted to driving out careerism from the military and instilling it with true professionalism, only to see the whole notion overturned in the interests of sexual egalitarianism. Well, just as the Church learned it could not run co-ed monasteries, the military will learn it can have co-ed combat units. Unfortunately, a lot of brave young men and women will die before the lesson is learned.
  • Anthony Esolen: I hope the feminists will be split, but I doubt it, even after an atrocity. The only people feminists hate more than they hate men are women. And now for my outburst — my wife recently told me about the latest Christian call for a “new feminism.” I am sick of it. I don’t want a new Nazism, or a new Communism, or a new feminism — and I want to shout, “Since when does the whole world revolve around you and your needs anyway!” Those poor slobs in the platoons will have to have their guts shot out or their legs blown off because some fucking academic feminist who would have trouble toting her suitcase across the street has some point to prove. Absolutely sick of it. I have a dream — I have a dream that one day all men in this country who work with their hands and their backs will say, “Screw the whole lot of you — you build the bridge then! You load the ships and trucks! You clear the fields!” In two weeks we’d all be getting hungry ....
  • Greg Laughlin: Why would women want to be in combat? I’m sure for career-minded military women, being in combat and earning a CIB is a great way to move ahead. But what a price to pay. Who wants to see their friends have their guts blown or their head blown away — and just to advance the cause of feminism? We live in a sick age.


  1. Any man who remembers a time in his childhood when he and his friends were forced by an adult authority figure to let a girl join in their play can probably predict how combat soldiers will react to an aggressive, careerist woman officer bossing them around. I predict a wonderfully toxic mix of resentment, self-censorship, passive-aggressive "accidental" rudeness, and a great sigh of relief when the b***h finally leaves.

  2. I think that the "real" men may vacate the military in large numbers over time, and at all ranks and grades. And there may be many cases of malicious compliance. How come we don't see large numbers of women in the Israeli army? When there were women combat units, they suffered very high casualties. How many Arab males on the other side willingly surrender to a woman army combat unit? Perhaps we will also get to see how nature really rules in this matter. Nature may mean that not many women go into men's combat specialties in large numbers. Right now there are about 50,000 females in uniform throughout the entire armed forces.

  3. Anonymous11:23 am

    Adeodatus, the Israeli army found that it invigorated the enemy to have women fight them directly, it let them know that the Israelis were a bunch of dishonorable cowards, and yes, the record wasn't pretty, as of now, they've changed policy to make sure that women work in supportive positions, still risky, yes, still armed with a defensive weapon, yes, but not the same as being the frontline, advancing fighting force. Frankly, anyone who wishes can call me sexist, but I would rather risk myself getting riddled with lead, put in the heat of something that could mess me up, than put my wife, who has the health and bone density risks of having previously given birth multiple times, right on the frontline, not to mention it doesn't sound right for her to be away from the kids for extended periods of time, and I mean days at a time as opposed to hours as their mother. It's better if I take the real risk getting drafted in a foreign land, and not feeling the need to honor and protect a woman is something I simply wouldn't ever want myself to practice a double-standard on.

    Dano, it's worse than childhood, at adulthood, an extremely small fraction of women would match up to the athletic fitness requirements of a fit, full-frontline comnbat soldier, and yes, you may need to do more than just lift a man of 175-200lbs plus a little extra baggage for distances of anywhere from a few hundred yards to over a mile. When you consider that an elite few women are actually capable of that, is the extremely small fraction worth it? I honestly don't think so, and I also don't like the idea of combat recruitment for the precedent of drafting women, which are simply respectably different from men, in a number of ways. I wouldn't be pleasantly enthusiastic about a woman who has post-traumatic stress disorder diving right into motherhood following a tour of duty.


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