So it looks like outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to gut our military readiness on his way out the door, by unilaterally allowing women to serve in units that engage in close combat. Apparently the leftist platitude that Grrrrl Power™ can do anything will now meet the pointy corners and sharp edges of reality in an arena where people get killed even if they do everything right.
Mark my words: either the Obama White House and the Department of Defense will claim success by lowering the standards for women, or they’ll do it by lowering them for everyone and claiming everything is now “fair.”If woman and men are not different in any meaningful way, why are there no NFL linewomen? If such a creature could be created, don’t you think that the cold, calculating capitalists running those franchises would jump at the opportunity to employ her? Think of the merchandising opportunities and priceless P.R. to be had. The glaring and obvious absence of women from the NFL — not to mention the NBA, NHL, and MLB — should tell you something about human biology, and in professional sports death on the job is about as common as a unicorn fart.
The physical strength and endurance standards required for close combat participants to survive and accomplish their missions have been well-known for generations. Women can do some things better than men, and a few of those things are physical. Women are often more flexible than men, can fit into tighter spaces, and tend to have better fine motor skills. Unfortunately such abilities do you no good when the task at hand is muscling 155mm artillery shells into the breech of a howitzer. Or replacing a section of tread on an M1A1 tank that just threw a track. Or throwing a frag far enough to reach the enemy and not hit your buddies when it detonates. Or using a fireman’s carry to bring a wounded and screaming 230 pound soldier wearing 50 pounds of gear out of the line of fire. Or humping a full ruck and a weapon through the Hindu Kush for a week on patrol. Or climbing a collapsible boarding ladder up the side of a hijacked supertanker. Or … well, you see my point.
In close combat, you don’t get to call a training time out when things get difficult. You don’t get to stop the patrol to change out a soaked maxi pad. You don’t get special consideration from the enemy when your monthly cramps and hormonal mood swings hit. You don’t leave your unit and head back to the continental US just because you find you have a kid on the way. You live in filth, blood, grime, heat, cold, rain, and snow, all while the enemy gets regular and unscheduled opportunities to try to kill you. You don’t let drama, emotion, sex, dating, or any of a million other distractions interfere with your core mission of killing the enemy, breaking his stuff, sapping him of the will to fight, and persuading his supporters that they have better things to do than oppose you.
At least, if you hope to limit friendly casualties and be an effective military, you don’t. If your goal is to provide career opportunities for people with two X chromosomes, then you do what we’re starting to do now.
During my nine years of military service, I watched many a military female capitalize on her sex to skate by. It was tacitly encouraged (just look at the different scoring scales for physical fitness tests in the military, for starters). Rare is the active duty male commissioned officer who will voice his confirmation of my own first hand observations, lest the Screeching Harpies of Diversity and Tolerance™ eviscerate his career. Pour encourager les autres.
Are there women who actually can meet the physical standards? Presumably. I suppose there may be ~0.05% of the military-age female population who can. Of those, I suspect the majority do not want to be in a close combat unit. And even if a tiny cohort of women are both willing and able to meet the physical standards of close combat, we still must ask if the negative effects of their presence in such units — and the cost involved in making accommodations for their biological needs — are worth the expected benefits.
The overriding question to address whenever we consider a change to our policies on close combat units is: “Is it more likely than not that this change will help the unit kill the enemy, break his stuff, crush his will to fight, and sap his supporters’ commitment?” If the answer is anything other than an unqualified YES, then the proposed change should be scrapped. Period.
Other than a very few extreme genetic outliers, women cannot meet the current physical standards required of infantry/armor/artillery/SOF troops. Mark my words: either the Obama White House and the Department of Defense will claim success by lowering the standards for women, or they’ll do it by lowering them for everyone and claiming everything is now “fair.” If they hold women to the same standards that men must meet today, all the way through January 20, 2017, I will donate an additional $5,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project. My $5,000 is safer than Barack Obama’s college transcripts, and you know it.
This will not end well, and it will get American troops killed who would otherwise have lived.
10:25 PM Update: More commentary below, from guys who’ve been in it up to their eyeballs (and even one gal).
Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal by Captain Katie Petronio, USMC
10:40 PM Update: Let’s take a look at NASA’s comparison of female vs. male muscular strength.
Note: Female strength as a percentage of male strength for different conditions. The vertical line within each shaded bar indicates the mean percentage difference. The end points of the shaded bars indicate the range.
Reference: 16, p. VII-50; NASA-STD-3000 204
But hey, let’s not let uncomfortable reality get in the way of boosting female self-esteem to even more stratospheric heights.
1/24/12 5:30 PM Update: Heather MacDonald reminds everyone of the obvious.
Feminists routinely deny Eros — except when it suits them to exploit their sexual power. Only someone deliberately blind to human reality could maintain that putting men and women in close quarters 24 hours a day will not produce a proliferation of sex, thus introducing all the irrational passions (and resulting favoritism) of physical attraction into an organization that should be exclusively devoted to the mission of combat preparedness. Reported “sexual assaults” will skyrocket, and of course it will only be the men who are at fault. Any consensual behavior leading up to the “assault” — getting in bed with your fellow grunt drunk and taking off your clothes, for example — will be ignored, since in the realm of sexual responsibility, women remain perpetual victims, at the mercy of all-powerful men. Expect a windfall to the gender-sensitivity-training industry, which will be called in both before and after the entry of women into combat units to eradicate endemic male sexism.
It’ll be just dandy for unit cohesion, don’t you think?