Looking back at soldiers as far as we can see, from tribal warriors to organized armies we see endless lines of mostly young men. The Greek legend of female warriors, the Amazons, was not unique but none of the Greek or other writers we recognize seem to have seen any Amazons, nor have archaeologists turned up significant evidence of their reality. That’s a long time (and a lot of dead young men) committed toward doing certain things in a particular way. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has just ended it all.
As all over say, six years of age must now know, the United States Army has been ordered to assign women to infantry. The women’s movement has reached its apogee, progressing to the very top of territory previously reserved to men: the patriarchs must now share with women the precious right to die on battlefields at enemy hands. Another Progressive success!
A serious matter, we wish to examine the facts seriously, avoiding visceral reactions to arrive at a reasoned, fact-based conclusion about this and related leaps in human social progress. We don’t wish to join those indulging in emotions or clinging to ‘We’ve never done it that way’ thinking. (Besides, we have done it that way, if gradually.)
Though obvious, we’ll state the two perennial reasons women haven’t fought in ordinary circumstances: First, women are smaller and physically weaker than men. Second, a woman can make one baby a year at best, while men can make well, lots. ‘Til recently, the math for women in battle just didn’t compute. Obviously, the calculation has changed today, modified by both social changes and technology.
Infantry carry into battle now, 63 to 132 pounds of weight, depending upon the assignment. Mr. Panetta assures us that only women who can do that (it can be troublesome for plenty of men) will be considered for infantry, so that’s no problem. Not all women are weaker and smaller. The motherhood thing? Women have killed over 50 million nascent babis since Roe vs. Wade approved abortion, they no longer need men to have them and where they do use men, they increasingly don’t marry them. The whole maternal shtick has been largely abandoned by women’s leaders. Any woman with the right to kill her expected child certainly shouldn’t be excluded from the right to be raped and disemboweled on a battlefield merely on account of her sex. Uh, that didn’t come out exactly as intended, but you get the idea…
Unfortunately, though our leaders call themselves ‘Progressives,’ they are not; when it comes to staffing the military, they are pathetic laggards. While Africa is often seen as primitive and backward, the many essentially permanent wars there have brought military staffing to a very sophisticated level, necessitated by the shortage of money and resources. Our leaders need to study the place; there is much to learn about killing the most opponents (and any others standing around) with the least resources and effort. An outstanding model for this should be a help in these economically challenging times; bringing in women who expect to be paid the same as men solves no budget issues. And the model exists, it’s called: “The Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA).
Its’ qualifications are impressive; it has operated in half a dozen countries since about 1986 on a completely private basis, entirely without support from legitimate sources. It has recruited and utilized an estimated 66,000 troops (some of whom still live). It has remained under constant attack and is operative today in spite of the best efforts of African and other governments. A very effective model!
Probably the most progressive idea exploited by the LRA has been its use of children as soldiers. It is the foremost practitioner of this military advance and has conclusively proven the success of the idea. As with women, children were mostly excluded for inadequate size and strength but the changes that have empowered female warriors have empowered children too. But only Joseph Kony, the LRA’s leader, seems to have seen that. While spears, swords and heavy WWII weapons were too burdensome for middle and high-school aged children, modern light caliber (and cheap) assault weapons are quite manageable. Unlike adults, children are usually in good physical shape to start with. And children can be paid much less than women!
Recruiting offers yet another advantage; adult women must be persuaded to volunteer for service; children are minors and so their signatures are worthless. One simply follows Kony’s proven path; send out a few truckloads of soldiers to round up the needed contingent from accessible schools, etc. where the recruits are available. That is efficient, costs little and wastes minimum time. While it is true that initially, the LRA met objections from some parents of the children, very few executions were necessary to cope with that. This method recruits more than ten times as many new soldiers as persuading women ever did, at a fraction of the cost.
Training is another advantage here; Mr. Kony has again led the way. Professional adult soldiers require extensive equipment and training but child soldiers do not. You hand them AK-47s or AR-15s, show them which end the bullet exits and how to reload, provide a little practice and they’re ready for use. Their usual use is of course, against civilians, preferably unarmed ones. These soldiers have not been particularly effective against professional, high-tech armies but are excellent at roadside bomb placement and can often be used as a source of suicide bombers, since replacement is cheap and rapid.
It should be obvious at this point that once the historical objections to female soldiers are removed, no reason remains for excluding children from military use. Rather, ignoring them is an indefensible omission, a waste of resources—women usually represent a larger, longer and more costly investment in education and training than do children yet to finish school. And where is there a better use for whiny, unpleasant teenagers?