Congressional panel: It’s time to let women serve in combat

posted at 10:08 pm on December 10, 2010 by Allahpundit

If you thought the endless arm-wrestling over DADT was fun, wait until feminists have this on their plate. The Navy already opened up submarines to women sailors earlier this year, but Army and Marine infantry have yet to follow suit.

Here’s your chance to sound off, vets. An idea whose time has come, or no go?

The Defense Department should eliminate restrictions on women serving in combat units and end all “gender restrictive policies,” according to a blue-ribbon panel created by Congress…

Many of the longstanding reasons for keeping women out of combat units do not hold up under scrutiny, the commission’s research found.

A five-page analysis prepared for the commission concluded that women do not lack the physical ability to perform combat roles; gender integration will not negatively affect unit cohesion; and women are not more likely than men to develop mental health problems.

However, keeping women out of combat units and combat-related job fields can reduce their career opportunities, particularly in the officer corps and in the Army and Marine Corps, according to the commission’s research.

The “risk rule” barring women from dangerous tasks was rescinded by the DOD ages ago, but to this day direct combat remains male-only. The obvious benefit to lifting the ban: More recruits available to fight, which should mean shorter tours of duty for combat troops generally. The obvious (non-physiological) concerns: “Fraternizing” at outposts when things get dull, worries about rape if women troops are taken prisoner, cultural concerns about how occupied populations might respond to female soldiers, and this one from Wikipedia’s nifty summary of objections to women on the front lines:

In On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman briefly mentions that female soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces have been officially prohibited from serving in close combat military operations since 1948 (in 2001, subsequent to publication, women began serving in IDF combat units on an experimental basis). The reason for removing female soldiers from the front lines is no reflection on the performance of female soldiers, but that of the male infantrymen after witnessing a woman wounded. The IDF saw a complete loss of control over soldiers who apparently experienced an uncontrollable, protective, instinctual aggression

Melody Kemp mentions that the Australian soldiers have voiced similar concern saying these soldiers “are reluctant to take women on reconnaissance or special operations, as they fear that in the case of combat or discovery, their priority will be to save the women and not to complete the mission. Thus while men might be able to be programmed to kill, it’s is not as easy to program men to neglect women.”

I was going to suggest that myself as a concern before reading it at Wiki. Feminists will bristle at it because it denies women an opportunity for essentially paternalistic reasons, but if we’re talking about a truly instinctive behavior, then there’s not much to be done. The question, then: Is it insurmountably instinctive? The whole point of military training is to steel the mind so that it doesn’t succumb to instinct under stress. If troops can be trained to stand their ground under lethal fire and (in other nations’ militaries, at least) to serve side by side with gay soldiers, why can’t they be trained to treat women combat troops the same as men? We’re pushing at the limits of mental discipline here, potentially. Is this a bridge too far?


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I don’t much mind the sight and smell of dead male soldiers. Somehow dead women and children are different. They bother me a lot.

Linh_My on December 11, 2010 at 3:55 PM

The primary duty of the military is to defend, protect and preserve this nation and its citizens. Any policy that puts obstacles in the way of fulfilling that duty is by definition harmful to the defense, protection and preservation of this nation and its citizens.

The military could not function properly in the form of racially segregated units, so it was necessary to integrate the ranks. It is not necessary to put women in combat nor to allow gays to serve openly. If either of those policies detracts from the military’s ability to fulfill its primary duty, then neither should be instituted. If that makes it more difficult for women to rise through the ranks or requires gay members to keep a lid on their sexual preferences, so be it. The military is not a democracy nor is it a social laboratory. Nor should it be weakened by the demands of political correctness.

SukieTawdry on December 11, 2010 at 4:00 PM

After the first time an OP/LP gets overrun and the horror stories of hand to hand combat and the screams of the wounded chick who was dragged off and raped all night long before being mutilated and left to be found by her platoon make it into the press, this may not seem like such a brilliant idea.

Alden Pyle on December 11, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I watched a group of a dozen soldiers training at our local bike track, 5 miles around, trotting in full gear, in the heat and humidity. The lone woman wasn’t making it, so a guy on each side of her propped her up by the arms as they ran. Why would combat be any different.

Paul-Cincy on December 11, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Its not any different. Watch any Army PT test in a mixed unit and you’ll see the same thing. While we were in Kuwait I made my guys go on IBA (body armor) runs with me. We’d run 2-3 miles with 40 pounds of armor. Women simply cannot do it.

Look at the APFT Standards for men vs women. Men have to finish the 2 mile run 3 minutes faster than women to pass. While women only have to do 19 pushups to pass, men have to do 42. (These are for the 17-22 age group).

Jason Christopher Hartley summed things up pretty well in his book Just Another Soldier. He’s an Infantryman in the New York National Guard and served in Iraq before I did.

Click here to read what he said.

Logboy on December 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM

The military could not function properly in the form of racially segregated units, so it was necessary to integrate the ranks.
SukieTawdry on December 11, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Don’t fool yourself. When we were replacing the outgoing unit in Iraq, members of the Georgia National Guard, we were surprised to learn they were largely segregated. Most were not shy about their racism. Blacks only bunked with blacks and vice versa. They did not mix unless it was mandatory (patrol, formation, etc).

Logboy on December 11, 2010 at 4:24 PM

No.

princetrumpet on December 11, 2010 at 5:23 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on December 11, 2010 at 12:37 AM

 

Good times, right? Semper Fi!!

But if you are having to work twice as hard, doesn’t that indicate a problem that should be addressed?
 
Cheesestick on December 11, 2010 at 12:39 AM

 
I found a number of problems while I was in. My 1st Lt was one of them. He seemed to have a problem with female Marines. It didn’t matter that I scored a 293 on my PFT, I had to continue to PT with the platoon while my male Marine counterparts who also scored high PFTs were able to skip PT. Because I was female I somehow needed the extra PT.
 
If a male Marines falls out of a hump or a run, oh well. No one seems to care. If a female Marine falls out of a hump or a run, it’s because she’s weak. I wasn’t going to be the “typical” female Marine, so I worked twice as hard as everyone else because they expected me to fail. I shot expert on the rifle range, and even though I was married, I held off on having children because I didn’t want to be the “typical pregnant female Marine”.
 
Females didn’t do pull-ups for the PFT, we did the flexed-arm hang, but that didn’t stop me from doing pull-ups during PT. While I couldn’t do 20 pull-ups, most of the males couldn’t either. 9 was my max and that was about 6 more than a lot of the males could do.
 
I’m rambling… my point is, I was just as physical as most of my male counterparts. In some cases I was superior, and in some cases I got my butt kicked. I worked very hard to be the very best Marine I could be, and given the opportunity could have been very competitive with the male Marines. Are there wimpy female service members? Absolutely, but there wimpy male service members too.
 
To simply state that I should’t serve in combat because I’m female and weaker than my male counterparts is something I strongly disagree with.

Bex on December 11, 2010 at 5:48 PM

OK, I’ve been in the Reserves since ’85 and, so far, haven’t been to combat. Take my comments for what they’re worth:

I’ve known *some* women who could hang with the guys. Most can’t. Of course, most men in our society aren’t fit for military duty, so that doesn’t answer the question if some should serve. Heck, I couldn’t make it through 11B training at this point in my life. If it were just about ability, I’d open up the combat arms to any women who could meet the standards.

The real problem is that we are in abject denial about human sexuality. As usual, Ann Coulter has it exactly right. Racism and sexual desire are not the same thing. According to our politically correct experts, racism is a purely learned phenomenon, whereas sexual desire is inherent in a person. (Just ask them about the programs that attempt to “cure” gays — you’ll get an earful.)

We have tried to de-sexualize the young men in our military. We’ve gone as far as to get rid of girly magazines in the PXs, which means that they aren’t supposed to have even the same drives as men in the civilian world.

The stories I’ve heard from pretty much every reurning Soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is that females — including officers — can make a heck of a lot of money if they are willing to take economic advantage of what nature done give ‘em. In previous wars the men would “mix” with the locals, but that’s typically not a possibility in Iraq and Afghanistan. General orders don’t keep young men from being young men.

I’m not trying to insult anyone here. We have to deal with REALITY, not PC-fantasyland BS. Men in the military are usually in the prime of their horniness and we send them to a g*dforsaken hellhole and expect them to adhere to the sexual constraints of cloistered monks.

Abelard on December 11, 2010 at 5:51 PM

235 is a horrible pft score, especially considering how lax the standards are for women. That’s the equivalent of just barely passing by the male standards.

And it’s just made up to say that men are allowed to fall out of humps or runs without consequences. It’s an automatic page 11 and remedial pt in most grunt units.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:13 PM

vermin, she said 293 NOT 235.

PFTs are out of 300 unless they have radically changed them in the past few years.

SgtSVJones on December 11, 2010 at 6:20 PM

ooops

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:22 PM

I was thinking about what 9 pull ups would be by male standards, but that would be 245, so I was still wrong.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Only ONLY if women meet the same physical standards as men, otherwise you are sending both the men and the women out to die.
The physical standards exist for a reason. Unfit soldiers and sailors are more likely to die themselves, and they are sometimes unable to render aid to others, who then die of neglect.
End the double standards, and there would be less push back.

And, yes, some women can pass the tests using male grading. I’ve seen women do it.
I respected them for it.
I’ve seen other women skate by on their lower standards and not make any effort at all. I had less respect for them.

TABoLK on December 11, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Only ONLY if women meet the same physical standards as men

But no physical fitness test measures all of the relevant factors, so just passing by the male standards doesn’t mean much.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:37 PM

And even removing the physical component from the equation, there remains the spectacle of fraternization, sexual assault, sexual harassment etc. Unfortunately, many members of the military as it exists today have never known anything but the thoroughly dysfunctional environment produced by gender integration, and seen to take for granted that these problems are just part of life.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:43 PM

And it’s just made up to say that men are allowed to fall out of humps or runs without consequences. It’s an automatic page 11 and remedial pt in most grunt units.
 
vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:13 PM

 
I’m telling you how it was in my unit. They fell out all the time and I didn’t see a single one of them hanging out for remedial. There were a lot of females there, though.
 

But no physical fitness test measures all of the relevant factors, so just passing by the male standards doesn’t mean much.
 
vermin on December 11, 2010 at 6:37 PM

 
So how do you measure whether a male is qualified for combat? Just because he’s a man he’s automatically qualified?
 
Tell me I can’t fight on the front lines because it isn’t good for morale, or for some other reason (like men can’t behave themselves, as you mention above), but don’t tell me I can’t fight for my country because I’m weak without giving me an opportunity to try.

Bex on December 11, 2010 at 6:54 PM

The military doesn’t exist to provide you with opportunities, nor does it have the luxury in most cases of hand selecting individuals.

Frankly there’s a lot of men who end up in combat arms units who shouldn’t be there, but because women are on the average less physically able than men, including them in a unit shifts the average and the standard downward, which hurts both the unit as a whole and its members as individuals. What it boils down to is that its not worth incurring all problems associated with gender integration in order to draw upon a population which is less physically capable as a whole.

I’m telling you how it was in my unit. They fell out all the time and I didn’t see a single one of them hanging out for remedial. There were a lot of females there, though.

I’m sure you’re right. This is a perfect illustration of the culture difference that exists between your part of the Corps and mine. Frankly, that kind of complacency coming to infantry units is my biggest fear.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Is this a bridge too far?

Yes. Absolutely.

oldleprechaun on December 11, 2010 at 7:15 PM

I’m telling you how it was in my unit. They fell out all the time and I didn’t see a single one of them hanging out for remedial. There were a lot of females there, though.

It also depends what the criteria is in your unit for remedial pt. Say your leadership decides that anyone who runs slower than a 23:00 pft has to go to remedial, in that case a woman could would have lost twelve points out of 300, still making a good score possible, but still be required to attend remedial pt sessions. A man, on the other hand, would have lost 30 points, and be well on his way to a mediocre pft.

I’m not saying that’s how remedial should be handled. Frankly, PT tests are extremely overrated as a measurement of anything relevant to combat. But similar differences exist in the real world performance of male troops compared to the performance of female troops.

How do you think you would score if the test consisted of digging holes or lifting sandbags onto a roof while wearing gear? I spent far more time in Iraq doing those things than I did jogging 3 miles.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I give you the exploits ofRAVEN 42. Read it and think of the dumb statements posted.

On Sunday afternoon, in a very bad section of scrub-land called Salman Pak, on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, 40 to 50 heavily-armed Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy of 30 civilian tractor trailer trucks that were moving supplies for the coalition forces, along an Alternate Supply Route. These tractor trailers, driven by third country nationals (primarily Turkish), were escorted by 3 armored Hummers from the COSCOM*. When the insurgents attacked, one of the Hummers was in their kill zone and the three soldiers aboard were immediately wounded, and the platform taken under heavy machinegun and RPG** fire.

Along with them, three of the truck drivers were killed, 6 were wounded in the tractor trailer trucks. The enemy attacked from a farmer’s barren field next to the road, with a tree line perpendicular to the ASR***, two dry irrigation ditches forming a rough L-shaped trenchline, and a house standing off the dirt road. After three minutes of sustained fire, a squad o f enemy moved forward toward the disabled and suppressed trucks. Each of the enemy had hand-cuffs and were looking to take hostages for ransom or worse, to take those three wounded US soldiers for more internet beheadings.

About this time, three armored Hummers that formed the MP Squad under call sign Raven 42, 617th MP Co, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to the 503rd MP Bn (Fort Bragg), 18th MP Bde, arrived on the scene like the cavalry. The squad had been shadowing the convoy from a distance behind the last vehicle, and when the convoy trucks stopped and became backed up from the initial attack, the squad sped up, paralleled the convoy up the shoulder of the road, and moved to the sound of gunfire.

They arrived on the scene just as a squad of about ten enemy had moved forward across the farmer’s field and were about 20 meters from the road. The MP squad opened fire with .50 cal machineguns and Mk19 grenade launchers and drove across the front of the enemy’s kill zone, between the enemy and the trucks, drawing fire off of the tractor trailers.

The MP’s crossed the kill zone and then turned up an access road at a right angle to the ASR and next to the field full of enemy fighters. The three vehicles, carrying nine MPs and one medic, stopped in a line on the dirt access road and flanked the enemy positions with plunging fire from the .50 cal and the SAW machinegun (Squad Automatic Weapon). In front of them, was a line of seven sedans, with all their doors and trunk lids open, the getaway cars and the lone two story house off on their left.

Immediately the middle vehicle was hit by an RPG knocking the gunner unconscious from his turret and down into the vehicle. The Vehicle Commander (the TC*****), the squad’s leader, thought the gunner was dead, but tried to treat him from inside the vehicle. Simultaneously, the rear vehicle’s driver and TC, section leader two, open their doors and dismount to fight, while their gunner continued firing from his position in the gun platform on top of the Hummer. Immediately, all three fall under heavy return machinegun fire, wounded. The driver of the middle vehicle saw them fall out the rearview mirror, dismounts and sprints to get into the third vehicle and take up the SAW on top the vehicle. The Squad’s medic dismounts from that third vehicle, and joined by the first vehicle’s driver (CLS trained****) who sprinted back to join him, begins combat life-saving techniques to treat the three wounded MPs. The gunner on the floor of the second
vehicle is revived by his TC, the squad leader, and he climbs back into the .50 cal and opens fire. The Squad leader dismounted with his M4 carbine, and 2 hand grenades, grabbed the section leader out of the first vehicle who had rendered radio reports of their first contact. The two of them, squad leader Staff Sergeant and team leader Sergeant with her M4 and M203 grenade launcher, rush the nearest ditch about 20 meters away to start clearing the natural trenchline. The enemy has gone into the ditches and is hiding behind several small trees in the back of the lot. The .50 cal and SAW flanking fire tears apart the ten enemy in the lead trenchline.

Meanwhile, the two treating the three wounded on the ground at the rear vehicle come under sniper fire from the farmer’s house. Each of them, remember one is a medic, pull out AT-4 rocket launchers from the HMMWV and nearly-simultaneously fire the rockets into the house to neutralize the shooter. The two sergeants work their way up the trenchline, throwing grenades, firing grenades from the launcher, and firing their M4s.

The sergeant runs low on ammo and runs back to a vehicle to reload. She moves to her squad leader’s vehicle, and because this squad is led so well, she knows exactly where to reach her arm blindly into a different vehicle to find ammo-because each vehicle is packed exactly the same, with discipline.

As she turns to move back to the trenchline, Gunner in two sees an AIF***** jump from behind one of the cars and start firing on the Sergeant. He pulls his 9mm, because the .50 cal is pointed in the other direction, and shoots five rounds wounding him.****** The sergeant moves back to the trenchline under fire from the back of the field, with fresh mags, two more grenades, and three more M203 rounds. The Mk 19 gunner suppresses the rear of the field.

Now, rejoined with the squad leader, the two sergeants continue clearing the enemy from the trenchline, until they see no more movement. A lone man with an RPG launcher on his shoulder steps from behind a tree and prepares to fire on the three Hummers and is killed with a single aimed SAW shot thru the head by the previously knocked out gunner on platform two, who now has a SAW out to supplement the .50 cal in the mount.

The team leader sergeant–she claims four killed by aimed M4 shots.

The Squad Leader–he threw four grenades taking out at least two AIF, and attributes one other to her aimed M203 fire.

The gunner on platform two, previously knocked out from a hit by the RPG, has now swung his .50 cal around and, realizing that the line of vehicles represents a hazard and possible getaway for the bad guys, starts shooting the .50cal into the engine blocks until his field of fire is limited. He realizes that his vehicle is still running despite the RPG hit, and drops down from his weapon, into the drivers seat and moves the vehicle forward on two flat tires about 100 meters into a better firing position. Just then, the vehicle dies, oil spraying everywhere. He remounts his .50 cal and continues shooting the remaining of the seven cars lined up and ready for a get-away that wasn’t to happen. The fire dies down about then, and a second squad arrives on the scene, dismounts and helps the two giving first aid to the wounded at platform three. Two minutes later three other squads from the 617th arrive, along with the CO, and the field is secured, consolidation begins.

Those seven Americans (with the three wounded) killed in total 24 heavily armed enemy, wounded 6 (two later died), and captured one unwounded, who feigned injury to escape the fight. They seized 22 AK-47s, 6x RPG launchers w/ 16 rockets, 13x RPK machineguns, 3x PKM machineguns, 40 hand grenades, 123 fully loaded 30-rd AK magazines, 52 empty mags, and 10 belts of 2500 rds of PK ammo.

The three wounded MPs have been evacuated to Landstuhl. One lost a kidney and will be paralyzed. The other two will most likely recover, though one will forever have a bullet lodged between second and third ribs below his heart. No word on the three COSCOM soldiers wounded in the initial volleys. Of the 7 members of Raven 42 who walked away, two are Caucasian Women, the rest men-one is Mexican-American, the medic is African-American, and the other two are Caucasian-the great American melting pot.

They believed even before this fight that their NCOs were the best in the Army, and that they have the best squad in the Army. The Medic who fired the AT-4, said he remembered how from the week before when his squad leader forced him to train on it, though he didn’t think as a medic he would ever use one. He said he chose to use it in that moment to protect the three wounded on the ground in front of him, once they came under fire from the building. The day before this mission, they took the new RFI bandoliers that were recently issued, and experimented with mounting them in their vehicles. Once they figured out how, they pre-loaded a second basic load of ammo into magazines, put them into the bandoliers, and mounted them in their vehicles—the same exact way in every vehicle-load plans enforced and checked by leaders!

Leadership under fire-once those three leaders (NCOs) stepped out of their vehicles, the squad was committed to the fight.

El Coqui on December 11, 2010 at 12:26 PM


SGT Jason Mike
-A combat medic who fired the SAW and M4 simultaneously (as well as the AT4) during the ambush, was a Specialist at the time and was awarded the Silver Star


SGT Leigh Ann Hester
-Also awarded the Silver Star and was the female NCO you spoke of.

SSG Timothy Nein-The Squad Leader who was also awarded the Silver Star, later upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross

SgtSVJones on December 11, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Link to score charts for the Marine Corps combat fitness test. The test was designed to be more relevant to combat than the traditional test. The fact that a 50 year old male has to beat an 18 year old female by big margins in all events illustrates the absurdity of this entire notion.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Jason Christopher Hartley summed things up pretty well in his book Just Another Soldier. He’s an Infantryman in the New York National Guard and served in Iraq before I did.

Click here to read what he said.

Logboy on December 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM

I’d hate to think that mere procreation is all that motivates our troops. If Hartley’s world actually existed, there would be a lot more rapes.

unclesmrgol on December 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM

A lot more than what?

I despise my country for doing this to us and then having the gall to question us for our inability to win wars fast enough. I have one week left, and I’m disgusted by what I’m leaving behind.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 8:40 PM

A lot more than what?

I despise my country for doing this to us and then having the gall to question us for our inability to win wars fast enough. I have one week left, and I’m disgusted by what I’m leaving behind.

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 8:40 PM

One in three. That means that two in three don’t. As for me, if the squad leader can’t take no for an answer, the he is the problem, not the woman.

SgtSVJones on December 11, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Thank you for that. Nein sounds like the penultimate leader. Everyone was ready. And Hester went into the trenches with her leader and did what she was trained to do.

unclesmrgol on December 11, 2010 at 9:07 PM

One in three. That means that two in three don’t. As for me, if the squad leader can’t take no for an answer, the he is the problem, not the woman.

Of course the squad leader is the problem, but the fact that there aren’t “a lot more” sexual assaults than the huge number there are doesn’t counter Christopher’s point.

The point is, we can’t function efficiently as a combat force while simultaneously presiding over sexual conflict, and the best way to eliminate sexual conflict from the equation is to remove sexual attraction.

Did you really mean to say that Nein is the second to last leader?

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 9:19 PM

If you take the emotion out of the equation and realise the ultimate goal is to defeat the enemy

then you realise it is about efficient use of resources to get the most kills for a buck, so to speak

you must then understand that to cater to small groups is an inefficient use of resources

you will spend more on one woman combat soldier or outward homosexual than you will for one man

mathematically speaking makes the decision easy

it’s the left that constantly tries to burden with costs

they do not care about what is in the hearts of woman and gays

Sonosam on December 11, 2010 at 10:16 PM

OK, I am gay. And, think that gay men can and should be able to serve if they are able ……… women to serve in combat units………….no.

SC.Charlie on December 11, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Gee, remember the good old days, when the military was there to win wars for us, instead of to promote the social agendas of the left?

morganfrost on December 11, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Did you really mean to say that Nein is the second to last leader?

vermin on December 11, 2010 at 9:19 PM

No. Penultimate means “behind the ultimate” where “ultimate” is the last, or greatest, or the best (from the superlative of Latin ulter -tra -trum “that which lies beyond”). One uses penultimate to associate humility with ultimate-ness — the same sort of humility that SSgt Nein had in accepting his award.

I think that sexual attraction isn’t the issue, but that unwanted sexual attraction is. It’s like desegregating the armed forces — I’m sure there were a lot of people cashiered out because they couldn’t serve with blacks, but I further submit that we are the better for it. Similarly, if a soldier can’t move beyond thinking of another soldier as a sexual object, maybe they don’t belong and should do the honorable thing before they do the dishonorable thing.

unclesmrgol on December 11, 2010 at 11:12 PM

I’d hate to think that mere procreation is all that motivates our troops.

unclesmrgol on December 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM

If you only knew…

Logboy on December 11, 2010 at 11:28 PM

SC.Charlie on December 11, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Sexist! ;)

I’m of the mind that if someone can meet physical standards set for a particular job, then they should be able to do it. I fully appreciate the allegations put forth by those much more experienced in combat operations than myself. Anyone, man or woman, who can’t react properly in a combat situation is a danger to themselves and their team mates.

Guys and gals are always going to make inappropriate decisions, because after all, we all are human. I’m not sure what the correct solution is on this. On one hand, I feel that if a woman can do the training and make it through, then they should be able to handle any sort of strain.

On the other hand, women can and do get pregnant. That’s not a bad thing, in of itself, however, I can only imagine the amount of logistical strain it would cause to take a pregnant woman out of the job she’s in and get someone just as qualified to replace her. Having no experience in that matter, I can only imagine.

Rightwingguy on December 11, 2010 at 11:36 PM

I think that sexual attraction isn’t the issue

You’re wrong. I deal with this on a daily basis.

Both unwanted and mutual attraction are problematic. Unwanted attraction leads to assault and harassment. Mutual attraction leads to fraternization and pregnancy, then often to assault and harassment.

People routinely trade sexual favors for preferential treatment, leaders are undercut by affairs between their superiors and subordinates, and we now enjoy the thriving prostitution trade that exists aboard our warships.

Think back to the Abu Ghraib scandal. Do you really think the fact that the platoon sergeant responsible for the PFC caught on film pointing at that prisoner’s junk spent his time impregnating her, rather than making sure she was behaving like a professional, had nothing to do with the scandal?

but that unwanted sexual attraction is

So we just need to ensure that all members of any given unit welcome the attraction of all the members of the unit who find them attractive right? Or should we order people not to be attracted to each other? Or, does it make more sense stop putting people in deployed units with people they are attracted to, some of whom might not share their attraction?

There’s absolutely no parallel between racial segregation and gender segregation. Racial segregation was based differences between the races that do not in fact exist. Gender segregation is based on differences that do exist.

Regarding penultimate, and not withstanding the uninvited etymology lecture, that may be how you meant it, but that’s not what it means. Penultimate means “preceding the last,” but is often misused to mean the best or at the pinnacle, which is what the context implied you meant. Assuming you meant it the way you claim in your explanation, you would have said “a penultimate,” rather than “the penultimate.” regardless, semantics are stupid and I was just asking for clarification.

vermin on December 12, 2010 at 12:20 AM

Do women in combat take medication to prevent having their time of the month?

Alana on December 12, 2010 at 12:23 AM

The obvious benefit to lifting the ban: More recruits available to fight, which should mean shorter tours of duty for combat troops generally. The obvious (non-physiological) concerns:…

Why is the question more complex than one simple question…

1) Will integrating women into the combat force make it better, worse, or about the same at achieving victory?

If better, great… if the same, equality is good. If worse… then why damage your military force needlessly?

I mean, in most of life, “fairness and equality” are lovely things; but you don’t wait for a mugger to pick his knife back up should he drop it; you kick him in the fork as hard as you can while he’s trying to figure out what is going on…

In combat situations; “fairness” may be the stupidest thing you can strive for.

Now I’ve not see the studies, tests, or research to figure out if this will be a benefit or detriment militarily… where are those studies?

Or are we just going to guess whether it will help or hurt; and risk having a worse military needlessly?

gekkobear on December 12, 2010 at 1:19 AM

vermin on December 12, 2010 at 12:20 AM

Good points. But we already have rules about fraternization which are applicable to all the cases you describe, with good reason. I would say that even if gays get to serve openly, the military will adjust itself and force said gays to behave honorably.

As for unit placement, you place a person where they will do the best job and all the rest better fall into place. We have guys that don’t like each other and we don’t expect that to change how they do their team jobs…they get to suck it up and do what orders say, until an opportunity for transfer presents itself.

If you don’t want a lecture, then please do your own etymologies before criticizing “wrong” use of a word. “Ultimate” means the last and the “pinnacle” means the highest, but we English users, just like the Latin guys who loaned us both words, have applied identical abstract concepts (best, greatest) to both words. Given SSgt Nein’s own words in his interviews, deferred to his humility in choosing “penultimate” over “ultimate”. Semantics are not stupid — the word “penultimate” was certainly used with correct syntax — you challenged my semantics (meaning). I explained and you didn’t accept my explanation. So much for that.

If you only knew…

Logboy on December 11, 2010 at 11:28 PM

You assume much, if I get your semantics right. But you are right — I don’t know the correctness of that which you and your hero assert, never having experienced the illuminating experience of an entire unit of “grunts” who think solely with their gonads even during their leisure time.

unclesmrgol on December 12, 2010 at 1:36 AM

Hey Allah. I need to clarify something for you. While the Army does not allow women in certain combat Military Occupational Specialties (MOS, thats your “job” that you are trained for in AIT after basic training) that does not mean they are forbidden from certain units, or even certain tasks, or from actual combat. Many roles have become sort of “catch all” and integrate multiple MOSs with both men and women, and regularly see “combat.”

Take for instance the convoy escort teams (CETs) that I ran in Iraq. We were an infantry unit, so there were no women in our CETs unless they were a medic or a “ride along.” This was different for those with the “transportation” MOS from transportation units. They are not male only units so they had women in their convoys. Remember, Rumsfeld made a lot of changes when he was in. He supported the notion of everyone being a Soldier first. Suddenly Soldiers who thought they were safe from combat (cooks, mechanics, etc) were thrown into the mix and going on patrols. CETs are not typically in our job description, but being infantry we’re pretty versatile. We do anything that involves shooting stuff and blowing sh*t up.

There is nothing forbidding women from going into combat, or even combat units, just combat MOSs like infantry, tankers, etc. If women want the 11B “light” experience then they join the MPs (military police), or as everyone else calls it, “chick infantry.”

To say that “women are not allowed to serve in combat” is a ridiculous notion invented by civilians. Combat is everywhere, even inside the wire (ever hear of mortar and rocket fire?) The idea that there is a big line in the sand that says “combat starts here, women turn back” is laughable.

As I was outside today cleaning up 20″ of fresh frozen global warming, I couldnt help but wonder, why would any woman want to serve in the Infantry?? Thats what baffles me. Its a crappy job and the most dangerous behind EOD. You carry heavy stuff all the time, march for miles, get no sleep, get blown up, shot at, watch your friends die, and generally lead a life of misery. What do they think they are missing?

Logboy on December 12, 2010 at 2:45 AM

I’m for it if it includes a mandatory draft – a certain way to eliminate the socialists from our government.

What do you want to be sally when you grow up?

Gee, Daddy, I’m torn between the joining the 82cd. Airborn, becoming a sniper, or a Navy Seal with all those underwater munitions to play with, anything to avoid being drafted and become a grunt….but if I do, there’s always those handsome strong women to share a foxhole with…

What an upside-down world we have made for ourselves. And the crazyiness gets worse every day.

Don L on December 12, 2010 at 8:37 AM

You’ve come a long way baby !

J_Crater on December 12, 2010 at 9:01 AM

SC.Charlie on December 11, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Not the same argument and you know it. I was surprised it took so long for one of our Hot Air DADT repealers to say as much. And you can save any more comments to the contrary because I wouldn’t even qualify it with any further remarks.

Gays don’t currently have any limitations to combat arms MOSs that they can apply for. Argument over.

hawkdriver on December 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM

When I said semantics are stupid I meant that it would be stupid if we spent time arguing about meaning of a word, rathe than discussing the issue at hand.

The problem with the rules against fraternization is that they don’t work, as demonstrated by the current state of affairs. You cannot discipline people into suppressing their sexual urges and we’re
wrong to try.

The point is, we’re refusing to do what necessary to have the most effective military possible, and people are dying because of it.

vermin on December 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Civilians are always imposing standards on the military they themselves cannot live up to. Accept gays, even though they are still not accepted throughout society. I’m told younger generations are more tolerant, yet gay bullying is a problem in schools. Kind of a paradox isn’t it? Accept women in combat, even though you don’t see women in the NFL, heck there aren’t even women referees. Are college entrance standards equal across the board? Nope, we all no they are not. Maybe the civilian sector can clean it’s own house before they begin criticizing ours. Just a thought, but what the heck do I know after 20 years as a Marine in the Ground Combat Element? My opinion on women in Infantry units? Absolutely not, but if we do allow it, all units should be fully integrated to include living quarters, bathrooms etc.. all barriers should be knocked down and all standards the same including physical qualifications, body fat and registering for the selective service. It is only fair.

gator70 on December 12, 2010 at 3:21 PM

You assume much, if I get your semantics right. But you are right — I don’t know the correctness of that which you and your hero assert, never having experienced the illuminating experience of an entire unit of “grunts” who think solely with their gonads even during their leisure time.

unclesmrgol on December 12, 2010 at 1:36 AM

We can’t all be heroes saving the nation from harm. Somebody needs to stay home and worry about other important matters. You know, like grammar and semantics.

Logboy on December 12, 2010 at 5:48 PM

I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of our Congressional leaders …

Hey, ya know – when I was a Submariner – I actually advocated for putting women on Subs … and was told I was an “idiot” … but whatever …

But the one thing I’d NEVER advocate?

Putting women in ground combat roles.

First of all … let’s just look at this a moment …

Navy SEAL training and Marine RECON training …

That kind of training is geared toward a VERY hard core “take-no-prisoners” … “do or die” … “never give up” kind of philosophy. SEALS who have gone through that kind of training tell me that the number one prerequisite for “making it” through is a mentality that says … “I’m going to pass this training … or I will DIE trying”. In fact, there’s a little “test” in BUDs that has a trainee dive 30 feet underwater and tie a specific knot in a rope located there. There’s two ways to pass … you can get down there and tie the knot – or you can drown trying. SEALS LOVE TO SEE THIS KIND OF DEDICATION! They’ll revive you – pat you on the behind and you’re good to go until the next test.

The physical requirements are excruciating – absolutely excruciating … which is why you have to be prepared to “die trying” or you won’t find the requisite power within you to make it.

I’m not saying women can’t make it – but I AM saying there’s damn few who could. And … what good is “integration” if you’re only going to have one or two females in the SEAL organization?

In fact, we ALL WELL KNOW – that Congress isn’t going to allow for “one” or “two” females in these kind of elite services – they’re going to actually, eventually – push and demand MORE females in these units. And the way the Navy and Marines is going to get them? Why … they’re going to lower the standards. And they’re going to completely “rationalize” their actions as they do it.

LIBERALS – DESTROYING THE US MILITARY ONE DAY AT A TIME.

HondaV65 on December 13, 2010 at 10:04 AM

I’ll just add right now – that ALL of the military services currently discriminate against males.

I’ll prove it to you …

All you have to do is look at the service physical readiness standards. Men are required to run faster, do more situps, do more pushups, do more pull-ups … than women are. Additionally – men are required to carry less body fat than women in the services.

This is true for EVERY SINGLE SERVICE.

Let me put this concisely … men in the military are held to higher physical readiness standards than women.

But, you say … “Hey, that’s not true Honda! Men are stronger and faster than women – and the PR standards are simply adjusted to ‘gender neutrality’”.

To which I say … “Why?”

How fast should a Sailor have to run? A Sailor is a Sailor – set one standard and make all live up to it! If you tell a man that he has to run 1.5 miles in 10:30 … and tell the woman she has 13:45 to do it … then that tells me that the REAL standard is 13:45. But the Navy says “No” … because they’re simply handicapping the males to ensure they put forth equal “effort” with the women. But … hey … there are three different body types aren’t there? You have Endomorphs, Ectomorphs, and Mesomorphs … and within each sex you have all three and sometimes a “blending” of a couple of these body types. An ectomorph male can certainly run a lot faster, with a lot less effort, than an endomorph male … No? So why not handicap the “ectomorph”??

It’s absolutely ludicrous – and I used to argue these points to Navy leaders when I was active duty. They’d eventually get frustrated and blow off the entire argument – because …

They don’t have an argument.

HondaV65 on December 13, 2010 at 10:17 AM

vermin on December 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM

If I get it right, Sgt Hester killed many enemy. When the time came for her to put up or shut up, she put up, going down into the trenches to root out the enemy. So you are absolutely right. People are indeed dying whem women go into combat — our adversaries.

unclesmrgol on December 13, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Right, because effective policy is based on anecdotal accounts of single events.

vermin on December 13, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Original post didn’t mention one of the biggest problems with having women in front-line combat–lack of upper body strength. No, really. You’ll need that to carry your weapon, armor, equipment, and maybe bludgeon someone to death if necessary.

Okay, some women can really kick butt. I get that. And I’m not opposed to women serving in the military at all. The simple fact of the matter is, though, that in most cases it makes no sense to pit women up against men in front-line combat. They are at an automatic disadvantage and the enemy isn’t going to play nice with them because of their handicap. In fact, chances are they will be even more brutal and savage than they would be with men.

Also, I probably said this here before, but military submarines are no place for women.

R. Waher on December 14, 2010 at 4:35 PM

We can’t all be heroes saving the nation from harm. Somebody needs to stay home and worry about other important matters. You know, like grammar and semantics.

Logboy on December 12, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Missed this one. When all else fails, go ad hominem, right?

I suspect, even discounting my love of grammar and semantics, I’ve been in more interesting situations than you’ll ever be during the entire course of your uneventful noncontributory life, wannabee.

unclesmrgol on December 14, 2010 at 7:35 PM

The Equal Rights Amendment was defeated.

Why do people insist on acting as if it were in force?

Rev Snow on December 11, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Liberalism will always be on the march trying to push things that will harm society until all people are moral and upright people.

scotash on December 14, 2010 at 8:04 PM

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