In theory, it sounds good, like all cockamamy ideals do, but apply a little reality and the whole fabrication falls apart.
Men and women are just different. We are meant to be complementary parts of a whole, not identical soldiers marching side by side. This is where the next step of the true War on Women, experimenting with that very idea, in allowing women to be part of infantry, cavalry and special forces of the American military is bothersome on a primal level. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the made up of largely civilians Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (DACOWITS) want us to suspend our understanding of nature and support the idea that women can serve our country next to men in the most challenging conditions in combat with no adverse consequences.
In a word: poppycock.
There are so many reasons why this is a BAD idea it’s not even funny. Aside from the possible romantic entanglements and, um, results, both progeny and emotional, there’s the basic instincts that even some non-feminist women refuse to believe men have. Men are protective of women in dangerous situations. They just are. And then there’s the, uh, female crap that inevitably results when more than two women are in proximity, nevermind being with a bunch of guys with no other female companionship. Men, as a group, just don’t know how to deal with it, let alone be in command of a bunch of feuding females.
Which leads to the idea of women in command positions (quite possibly the final goal) to be able to deal with that. Anyone who has had a multitude of jobs under both men and women knows that maybe one in ten women in chief seats are really capable of being in command. (This is my experience. Other people may have different ones.) The rest are the reasons why a lot of us left various jobs. It’s no different in the military. A relative who served in a unit after a woman CO was Peter principled up said that she should have been court-martialed several times over for various offences (none sexual). It was a quota appointment which resulted in near mutiny.
In all cases where a woman is in control and in over her head in the process – why? Why put not just the woman, but the underlings through that? Quotas? Diversity? An effort to ingratiate the organization or company with whiny feminists? National defense is too important for quotas and phoney diversity. So is experimenting with women in combat.
The reality of combat and conditions of existence in war is NOT the stuff of romance novels regardless of how it is presented. There’s nothing romantic about it. In the last two days, quite a number of war veterans have made that plain in comments and writings all over the blogosphere. These guys go through hell and back for us. They really do. Life in battle as illustrated by those who have been there is beyond unpleasant. It is not a way to simply bond with fellow humans, either. Regular operational work, particularly for Marines, the regular branch of service most demanding, is beyond the scope of “difficult” in the modern context and the rigors are such that, truthfully, not all men are capable of it, let alone women – any woman – for prolonged periods.
In a MUST READ (I’m not kidding. This is a story that needs to spur a serious third party study of women in combat) article, Captain Katie Petronio, USMC, writes of her experience as a woman in combat situations, and the resulting repetitive stress injuries and hormonal changes that came about as a fruit of her time in the field. Another Marine woman I know who is not a combat officer, but dedicated, has also done considerable damage to her body in trying to keep up with men. Two does not a trend make, but given the reports of women washing out of some of the more advanced training units and the stress fractures and other injuries suffered during Marine TBS (The Basic School) training for officers, and the fact that the Marines will not relax their standards for physical requirements due to their overall mission, data gathering might well be in order to counter arguments from well-meaning (in their minds, anyway), but terribly ignorant civilians, that women are just the same as men, even in combat. And note in Capt. Petronio’s piece, that it is not the women in the Armed Forces calling for increased presence for women in combat, but civilians. (Who’s side are they really on?)
Granted, the Marines are not the Army or regular Navy, but the closest branch to Army infantry and special forces physical demands. As such the experiences of women Marines are worth studying. Due to the lack of women in combat, such information is scarce. It could well be that this little experiment of Secretary Panetta and DACOWITS will prove what so many of us know instinctively and the Israeli Army learned the hard way – women in regular combat units just will not work.
(According to more than one account in the last couple days, the Israeli army in 1948 had problems with maintaining command after young men saw “women shot to pieces.” The result was a bloodlust for the enemy and a fight to the death, not strategic combat. That is not the way effective units operate.)
Do we really want that as part of our military operations? In the name of “equality” compromise the cohesion and capabilities of our national defense?
In the name of mythical “equality” do we want to do this to women? There are plenty of ways to serve without destroying one’s body and the effectiveness of combat units.
Do we really want to put men with noble missions (such as our freedom) in danger?
I certainly hope not. The men in the infantry, cavalry and special forces have offered their lives to maintain our freedoms, what there are left. The least we could do is let them do their jobs without distraction.
This is not to say that women should not be given the opportunity to serve in the military. In some cases, such as logistics operations, women are many times more effective. Medical and legal positions are options. Air traffic control. Mechanics, if one has the aptitude. There’s no reason why a woman can’t be in a turret guarding a base with a weapons grade ordinance. But the field…that’s another story.
We ladies are just not built for that. We’re built to carry babies and work medium levels for extended periods, not to carry 60 pounds of equipment over 20 miles day after day without taking the time to fully recover from each marathon like some men can. It’s time to accept that.
To think otherwise is a Grand Delusion.