Women + Front-Line Service = Disaster

I realise that I've written on this subject before, but now might not be a bad time to revisit it. It should be plainly obvious to anyone with half a brain that lifting restrictions on women serving in front-line combat is a spectacularly stupid idea. It's not like this should surprise anyone:
For years, Sgt. Kelly Logan* believed that women should be allowed into combat units, that "it didn't matter if you were a man or a woman—there is one standard, we all meet it, bond, and drive on with the mission." Then came her 1997 tour of duty with peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. "I had a complete change in attitude," she says. "When we had to do things like digging and reinforcing bunkers, the guys ended up doing most of the physical work. The women tended to move themselves to the sidelines." Logan watched resentment build until it undermined the unit's morale.
She also observed that many women were "so unprepared for heavy-duty soldiering that they would have endangered the unit in a crisis." Patrolling in Bosnia required soldiers to remain on high alert and in full battle gear, including flak vests and ammo. Says Logan: "The equipment prevented many of the women from moving as quickly as men, let alone being combat-effective."
While some women may be up to the rigors of combat, she says, "they are the rare exception. And for some individuals, it was only a matter of time before the platonic bonds progressed to sex, and then all kinds of disruptions ensued."
Logan has reluctantly concluded that "women cannot bond with men in a unit the same way men do." But she cannot say so openly, and insisted that her real name not be used. "It can definitely hurt your career to speak your mind publicly about these things."
The expectation in military units has always been that you pull your own load. But an Apache helicopter pilot told me that his female crew chief simply refused to carry her tools, which weighted 60 to 80 pounds.
"The Army is supposed to be about not showing favoritism," says Desert Storm veteran Sam Ryskind, who was a mechanic in the famed 82nd Airborne Division. "But the females I trained with were de facto exempted from any heavy-lifting jobs."
Whether it was changing truck tires, loading cargo, or even moving heavy cooking pots into position on the chow line, Ryskind says men "always pulled the hard work. Pretty soon this made it an us-and-them situation."
While these experiences do not reflect actual combat conditions, they point to the kinds of intractable problems that would arise if women were in combat units.
In 1994 an Army rule barring women from hundreds of "combat support" positions was eliminated. Meanwhile the Army tried to institute tests to match a soldier's physical strength to a specific "military occupation specialty," or MOS. Then it was discovered that the tests would have disqualified most Army women from 65 percent of the more than 200 MOSs. The tests were scrapped.
(h/t everyone's favourite curmudgeon, Fred Reed)

Anyone ever seen a movie called G.I. Jane? It's apparently about what happens when a woman tries to become a Navy SEAL and was made back when Demi Moore was pretty, sane, and unmedicated. (Ah, to be young and stupid[er] again...) From what little I remember of what I think was a pretty terrible movie, I recall that the idea of a woman taking on the kind of hellish, mind-breaking training that a SEAL goes through during the BUD/S course to be more than a little absurd. I've written before about how women in my Krav Maga classes are both slower and weaker than I am, and as a result do not pose a serious challenge or training foil for me.

This harsh reality is made even more stark when one puts women in situations for which they are simply not physically suited. Say what you will about the one-size-fits-all mentality of any modern, effective, and cohesive military- the rules for combat units are the same regardless of age, weight, or health. If one cannot meet the requirements of front-line service just like every other trooper, the morale and cohesion of the entire unit takes a hit, and that unit's effectiveness in battle decreases.

I have never enlisted in any military, and I almost certainly never will, so it is fair to say that I cannot judge members of the military by the standards that I judge others. All I can do is point out what basic logic and empirical evidence tell me is true. It is a simple and obvious truth that men and women are physically and mentally very different. Physical trials that men can endure without significant damage would break a woman very quickly, and attempting to deny this is nothing short of stupid.

Now, I have no idea how well a mixed-gender unit will hold up in combat. I have no idea whether women will break and run with any greater frequency than men; I have no idea if women will stand their ground, fight and die for their fellows, any more than men will. All I can do is point to literally millennia worth of evidence showing what a brutal and hellish business war truly is, and ask whether anyone in his right mind truly believes that it is right or even necessary to expose women to that kind of insanity.

Comments

  1. I think sending a 100% female unit into combat would be a great experiment. They would be wiped out by 3 Taliban fighters, their children, and a goat.

    I really don't see the point with women learning Krav. Have they ever done full contact man vs woman? A woman wouldn't be able to stand a full on punch from a man.

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    1. Ha. A palpable hit, bro, well played. We have definitely come a long way from the days when the Spartans could confidently claim that their women could have stood against the Persian hordes.

      Your point regarding Krav Maga is correct. I've yet to see a woman strike with the kind of speed and force that even the most unfit guys in the class can manage. Now to be clear, I have no particular objections to women learning how to defend themselves. I do have a big problem with standards being lowered to accommodate them when they are plainly weaker and less physically fit than their male counterparts.

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  2. Women probably will end up in combat brigades, and it will be seen as a great advancement in equality. Our enemies will also think that we are so weak, depraved and cowardly that we are sending our women to fight our battles.

    I think that this nonsense will go on until we have the first female Daniel Pearl uploaded to liveleak and reported in the papers, with the addition of a brutal gang rape. Then I think they MIGHT see some sense.

    It's just a shame for all the people who will loose lives, limbs and minds in war before this social experiment is stopped.

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