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Rethinking women in combat
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 01, 2008

I'm an old dog and I've resisted the concept for years. But I'm rethinking it now in light of what the many women who've served in Iraq and Afghanistan have done - in combat.

I still resist putting them in combat MOSs, such as infantry or armor. I don't think women should serve as infantrymen, and while I'm sure that there will be some who howl in protest, there's a certain aspect of male bonding which occurs in combat that is both necessary and desirable that the inclusion of women would, in my opinion, upset. And my experience says that sort of a relationship among combat infantrymen is critical to their success. So to be honest, there are circumstances in which I think a "no women allowed" rule still makes sense. But not because they're necessarily unable to handle exposure to combat.

When I look at what women like Spc. Monica Lin Brown and Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, both awarded the Silver Star for valor, have done in combat, it seems the "no women in combat" horse has left the barn - forever. In Iraq and Afghanistan, both non-linear battlefields, women are in combat, daily.

And they seem to have responded magnificently. Sgt. Hester was involved in an action in which 27 insurgents were KIA, six wounded and one captured. She was in the thick of it. But so was Spc Ashley Pullen, who was awarded the Bronze Star for valor for that engagement. Their unit was an MP unit.

Another MP cited for valor is Spc Teresa Broadwell, awarded the Bronze Star with "V" for her action in an ambush:
Broadwell stood atop her Humvee’s turret, but she was too short to see through the weapon’s peep site. She instead relied on tracer rounds to target her fire accurately. And accurate she was: without her quick trigger, several U.S. troops would not have made it out of the death trap alive – because, as one lieutenant later told The Washington Post, “She was up there doing what we trained her to do as a gunner… She kept [the enemies’] heads down.” She did so even as explosions landed in front of her vehicle, and constantly threw her back. Each time she got back up and continued firing off quick, methodical, deadly bursts. A number of soldiers were awed by her calm demeanor.
Spc. Brown is a combat medic serving in Afghanistan and, by all accounts, doing a fantastic job. But recently, after the award of the Silver Star (and the increased visibility of such an event) she was pulled from "the front lines" - i.e. serving as a combat medic with a combat unit.
"We weren't supposed to take her out" on missions "but we had to because there was no other medic," said Lt. Martin Robbins, a platoon leader with Charlie Troop, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, whose men Brown saved. "By regulations you're not supposed to," he said, but Brown "was one of the guys, mixing it up, clearing rooms, doing everything that anybody else was doing."

In Afghanistan as well as Iraq, female soldiers are often tasked to work in all-male combat units — not only for their skills but also for the culturally sensitive role of providing medical treatment for local women, as well as searching them and otherwise interacting with them. Such war-zone pragmatism is at odds with Army rules intended to bar women from units that engage in direct combat or collocate with combat forces.

Military personnel experts say that as a result, the 1992 rules are vague, ill defined, and based on an outmoded concept of wars with clear front lines that rarely exist in today's counterinsurgencies.

"The current policy is not actionable," concluded a Rand Corp. study last year on the Army's assignment of women. "Crafted for a linear battlefield," the policy does not conform to the nature of warfare today and uses concepts such as "forward and well forward [that] were generally acknowledged to be almost meaningless in the Iraqi theater," it said.
In fact, especially given the cultural necessity and the nature of the conflicts, it is flat out wrong. And my guess is Spc Brown is less of an exception and more of the rule about how women are performing their tasks overall. It makes no sense, in critical MOSs such as combat medic, to exclude talented, competent and willing soldiers from such duty just because they're female. But I've come to believe the same thing about soldiers who are gay.

If we are going to encourage and accept women in the military, we have to understand that the possibility, even the likelihood that bad things might happen are a part of their service just like it is for any man. And again, while I think there are a few MOSs from which women should still be excluded, the rule of "no women in combat" is simply a sham that has no basis in reality anymore. It is also detrimental to mission accomplishment.
Military officers in the field and independent experts have said it is both infeasible and contrary to the Army's own warfighting doctrine to prevent women from serving in proximity to — or together with — all-male combat units in today's war zones. They contend that if the goal of the policy is to protect women from capture or bodily harm, it cannot be done in the scramble of conflicts such as those in the Middle East.

Across Afghanistan, female medics such as Brown are regularly sent to serve with combat units. "The real catch was to have a female medic out there because of the cultural sensitivities and the flexibility that gave commanders," said Maj. Paul Narowski, the executive officer of Brown's battalion. "It is absolutely not about gender in terms of how well they will do," he said, adding that he does not know why Brown was pulled out.
Watch the video at the link for Spc Brown above. And read the whole story. It is obvious the male soldiers in that unit have fully accepted Brown as one of their own and a valued member of their unit. It is time for the Army to officially rethink their 1992 rule concerning women in combat. As we used to say in the Army, it has been "OBE" (Overcome By Events).
 
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I’m still against it.

Israel desperate for manpower went all out and then backed off for a reason.

In Iraq, the injury/casualty rate is so relatively low, I don’t think any negatives get much of a chance to manifest itself and any that do can be absorbed and ignored for the sake of a PC front.

I think the presense of women is destructive to comradery and organization. But there is also a potential negative with emotional relationships that may develop, especially with young adults who don’t think when it comes to such relationships.

Imagine if group of hostiles just killed your girlfriend 5 minutes ago and now they are trying to surrender. Would it be harder for you to accept their surrender? Do you think everyone could overcome it? I’m sure a fellow male soldier would create the same dilema, but not to anywhere the same degree a romantic relationship would.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
In not in the military, never have been, but i think i agree with you about the issues of adding women create. But what about keeping it same sex in each unit or whatever? I think there is definitely something to be said for keeping the sexual tensions out of combat, but would it work if segregated?
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Israel desperate for manpower went all out and then backed off for a reason.
That’s the point - they went "all out". I’ve been very clear where it is appropriate to include women and where it isn’t.
I think the presense of women is destructive to comradery and organization.
As I indicated, I believe that’s true in certain units and I specifically indicated which. But my experience (and apparently those of many active duty types) doesn’t match your opinion when women are included in other types of organizations in the Army.
Imagine if group of hostiles just killed your girlfriend 5 minutes ago and now they are trying to surrender. Would it be harder for you to accept their surrender?
No harder than if they had just killed my best friend and comrade in arms.

Joshb:
In not in the military, never have been, but i think i agree with you about the issues of adding women create. But what about keeping it same sex in each unit or whatever? I think there is definitely something to be said for keeping the sexual tensions out of combat, but would it work if segregated?
I guess theoretically you could, but practically it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

I think careful review of our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, where women have played an important role, should be undertaken and adjustments made in the rule where appropriate. But I think a rule which unilaterally declares "no women in combat" is simply outdated.(and, as noted in the article, no longer supported by our doctrine).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Imagine if group of hostiles just killed your girlfriend 5 minutes ago and now they are trying to surrender. Would it be harder for you to accept their surrender?
As McQ said, I think I’d have just as rough a time if they’d killed my male buddy...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
As McQ said, I think I’d have just as rough a time if they’d killed my male buddy...
I disagree entirely.

But let’s test this.

I would like you to tell your respective girlfriends/wives that if someone broke into your house while your buddies are over and they shot someone, you would feel & react equally if they shot her as if they shot one of your buddies.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I would like you to tell your respective girlfriends/wives that if someone broke into your house while your buddies are over and they shot someone, you would feel & react equally if they shot her as if they shot one of your buddies.
It would be hard to increase my response to her getting shot from the baseline of my buddy getting shot, considering I’d shoot and kill the intruder...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I would like you to tell your respective girlfriends/wives that if someone broke into your house while your buddies are over and they shot someone, you would feel & react equally if they shot her as if they shot one of your buddies.
You’re trying to equate apples and oranges relationships. Buddies at home are not relationally the same as those you serve with in combat. Those you serve in combat with have about the same level of relationship that you might have with a wife.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Those you serve in combat with have about the same level of relationship that you might have with a wife.
Please McQ, "Don’t ask, Don’t tell..."

Really I don’t see that much problem putting women down to the Battalion level, ANY battalion level.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Those you serve in combat with have about the same level of relationship that you might have with a wife.
I think PFC Ross McGinnis, Medal of Honor recipient demonstrates that.
Ask yourself what motivates a man to throw himself on a grenade to save his comrades.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Completely and utterly ridiculous. Anecdotal examples of valor in no way mitigate the damage gender integration has done to the military. Fraternization has destroyed discipline in many units. We constantly lower training standards in order to accommodate females, in many cases omitting events because almost none of our female “colleagues” can complete them. We’ve destroyed our ability to function as foot mobile fighting units, all the while financing an ever expanding DOD child care apparatus. Junior Marines and Sailor routinely marry each other prior to deployments in order to collect family separation pay and BAH. It’s as if we’re going out of our way to find the most expensive way to produce the least effective military.

Less than a week ago I watched a female officer take off her gear and rest before continuing her trip to her room on the second deck of our COB. I live on the fourth deck and have never had any trouble reaching my room, including the times I was returning from 20 click foot patrols. I’ve served in both integrated and non-integrated units. It’s not a simply a matter of some women being less capable than some men. It’s a matter of almost all women being less capable then almost all men—and yes, it still is possible to be deservingly recognized for heroism despite being utterly incompetent in another necessary aspect of combat arms. Gender integration is reducing our military to a pathetic joke and getting my friends killed.

And no people don’t react to seeing there lovers killed as they do to seeing their brothers in arms killed. Nor do they treat them the same during work up, or while standing post, or while on patrol. This doesn’t work. There’s no way to objectively evaluate the issue and arrive at any other conclusion.
 
Written By: vermin
URL: http://
There’s no way to objectively evaluate the issue and arrive at any other conclusion.
Ummm ... but that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I notice you also skip past a lot of the caveats I talked about as well.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
We’ve destroyed our ability to function as foot mobile fighting units,
Really women screwing up the Ranger/SOG-V patrols? Didn’t know womyn were present in LIGHT INFANTRY COMPANIES.... When was the last time the US Army conquered someone whilst it was on foot, oh yeah 1917....
It’s as if we’re going out of our way to find the most expensive way to produce the least effective military.
Funny seems a fairly successful military so far....

Junior Marines and Sailor routinely marry each other prior to deployments in order to collect family separation pay and BAH
Unlike the old days when they just married their high school sweet hearts and had kids...
Less than a week ago I watched a female officer take off her gear and rest before continuing her trip to her room on the second deck of our COB.
Living proof right there, if you can’t make it to the second floor of the BOQ then you have no business being in the military...I mean just because she might be an intell or logistics puke, she really ought to be able to make it up to the second floor. Hope you called her C.O. and had that placed on her next OER, "Can’t make it to the second floor in her IBA."
Gender integration is reducing our military to a pathetic joke and getting my friends killed.


Really I thought that was snipers, IED’s and VBIED’s, plus the odd mortar round and RPG round...I’m sorry for your friends, but how many can that really be, with only 4,000 KIA in 5 years, just how many friends have you lost...don’t you mean "friend" or just a few "friends"? And how did the womyn in the military get your friends killed? They weren’t manning the GPMG, they weren’t manning the TOW; they weren’t manning the mortars, they weren’t manning the Strykers or the M-1’s or the M-2’s, so just HOW DID those womyn get your friends killed?

So you’re idea is to replace the 11% of the force that’s female? Or are they going to be just in WAC Finance/AG units? Give me a call when you try that...I want to see the fun, as tanker crews and transport crews, and maintenance teams, and S-2 shops all lose their female components and you big bad combat arms dudes try to fight without them, until the holes can be made good. Have fun deploying, staying supplied, and paid.....

Note: not a soldier never been one...Sorry for the loss of your friends in combat. Thank you for your service. That having been said, you make a very poor case for the other side.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Physiological differences between men and women are numerous...
No one is claiming otherwise - however, again, no one is demanding they be in the infantry either.

The point is about women being in combat - right now that’s not allowed by rule. However in reality they’re in combat every day in the non-linear battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The point is its seems rather stupid to prohibit what is happening daily out of necessity and circumstance (and because of doctrine).
...women who can pull their fair share of the load expected of 11B’s and 0311’s ...
One more time for those slow on the uptake, no one here is suggesting they be placed in infantry units.

In fact, I specifically say the opposite beginning with the third sentence in the post:
I still resist putting them in combat MOSs, such as infantry or armor. I don’t think women should serve as infantrymen, and while I’m sure that there will be some who howl in protest, there’s a certain aspect of male bonding which occurs in combat that is both necessary and desirable that the inclusion of women would, in my opinion, upset. And my experience says that sort of a relationship among combat infantrymen is critical to their success. So to be honest, there are circumstances in which I think a "no women allowed" rule still makes sense. But not because they’re necessarily unable to handle exposure to combat.
So let’s try to stick with the broader point of women, in appropriate MOSs, serving in combat as they’re doing daily anyway.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I don’t see what the big deal is about gender integration, but I was an MI soldier, anyway. My Army experience was co-ed from the day I arrived at 43rd AG at Fort Leonard Wood to the day I ETS’ed.
 
Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://
McQ, I’m just curious on this one: What’s your position on women having to register with the Selective Service? Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that women would only be drafted into "appropriate MOSs."
 
Written By: Hoystory
URL: http://www.hoystory.com
They should register.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’ve got my third post featuring the Marines’ Lioness program scheduled for 2 pm EDT today. I’ve covered both Silver Star winners. I’ve also covered the story of Amanda Pinson, KIA in Iraq, who was standing at a bus stop on base when she was killed.

I have interviewed women who are at the same risk as men in Iraq. They make two points. They do the same work as their male comrades. Sometimes female soldiers play games.

I would not care to challenge Ashely and Tasha Gerken, or Rebecca Hobson to their faces about the work they are capable of doing. I firmly believe they could kick my butt.

Women manipulate men and men manipulate women. If you use this as your primary excuse for excluding capable women from military roles they can perform, you basicly concede that we have no free will to choose our behaviors.

Gamel Awad was caught sleeping with an enlisted woman. His excuse was his PTSD. Let’s face it. People do stupid things through their own free will. The fact that some people might make stupid choices should not affect how we staff our military.
 
Written By: Chuck Simmins
URL: http://northshorejournal.org
They should register.
Not my wife. No way in hell.
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
McQ,

I did not ignore your caveats; I disregarded them because they were meaningless. You stated that units such as infantry and armor need a certain element of male bonding to succeed. Why would a combat engineer battalion or an MP company not benefit from the same advantage? My point is that because even so-called support units must be able to fight and win, often in the less desirable position of having been ambushed, rather than having initiated an attack, those units cannot be thought of as less deserving than combat arms units of every edge possible merely because they are not labelled as such.

Suppose my pathetically out of shape stair-climbing officer’s convoy had struck an IED on the way to our COB. Would she have had the strength to pull a 190-pound man and his gear through the turret of a burning humvee? To free herself from an MRAP which had been knocked on its side? To participate effectively in the appropriate counter-ambush drill? To sprint to the aid of a wounded Marine? What if the attack had come from a sniper on the second floor of a building? Would she have rested on the way there, or just been too tired to fight when she got there? Could she pull me to cover if I had been wounded and the decision to break contact had been made? Obviously, the answer to each of these questions is: maybe, and I’m sure a woman has done each of them at some point. But a stronger, more fit person would be more likely to successfully complete each task. And that’s the point. The entire objective of any military preparation is to give a unit the greatest chance of success possible. By including individuals who are less physically able, not because we need to, but because we choose to, we have not done that, and it has caused us to be less effective. In order to believe that it has not, you must either incorrectly believe that the inclusion of less physically able members does not reduce a unit’s combined combat effectiveness or wrongly believe that the integration of women has not resulted in the inclusion of smaller, weaker persons.

I assumed from your post that you and I are in agreement that the nature of modern conflict renders the distinction between combat arms units and support units meaningless. Your caveats were, therefore, just as meaningless. Any member of any unit in a combat zone may find him or herself in a position which requires the attributes of proficient combat troops. By including females, who are on average much smaller and weaker than men, in units deployed to combat areas we have ensured that a larger number of troops in those units are less able to function successfully in combat. You have not evaluated this issue objectively. You have cited the notoriously bogus Rand Study and anecdotal accounts of specific events as if they somehow make physiological realities irrelevant. Letting people who can’t proficiently perform combat tasks anywhere near a combat zone is irresponsible and borderline criminal, regardless of sex or MOS. That is what we’ve done, and it has cost lives, despite the fact that some of your readers consider the number of deaths so insignificant as to be irrelevant.

More significantly, it’s not simply a matter of what happens in combat, or even in a combat AO. The physiological differences between men and women are evident and relevant during training. When participating in the same training events women get hurt much more often, resulting in more of the unit receiving less training. It also requires the unit to train only to the level which the, on average, less capable women can attain, rather than challenging events which make the unit as a whole more proficient. We, of course, are ordered to treat women differently while simultaneously pretending they are not different, and to pretend that their lack of proficiency is not hurting the unit when it obviously is.

Describing the US military as successful is grossly simplistic. We’re an industrial superpower fighting a collection of clever little men armed with salvaged artillery propellant and bongo trucks. It’s like having the Yankees play a little league team and claiming their inevitable victory proves that everything they did during the game was a good idea. If such a game were played, the Yankees would undoubtedly win by a wide margin even if they decided not to bring their gloves to the park. Nonetheless, they would have been less successful than they would have been wearing their ball gloves, and I would I would still be right in claiming that playing baseball without gloves is asinine and damages the effectiveness of the team. They might some day have to play Boston, and the “gloves are outdated crowd” might get them all killed and compromise the security of New York. Our goal should not be to maintain a military which is capable of beating third world insurgencies into submission. It should be to field the best military possible.

As for those of you who think you have a better grasp on the nature of modern warfare than I, do you have any idea how obnoxious and ill-informed you come across when you make silly little misinformed claims about what I do for a living? Despite the claim the Army has not cleared anything on foot since WWI, I have been on a dismounted patrol nearly every day for the past four months, and so have many of the soldiers here. It’s remarkably hard to sneak up on anything in a battleship seven-ton and remarkable easy to get blown up when using tactics and vehicles which confine you to improved roads. Fallujah was cleared on foot with mechanized and combined arms support. So were Hue,Tarawa and Okinawa, all of which took place after 1917. The fact that forces rarely (but not never) march large distances to battle is hardly relevant. When running wearing 90lbs of gear in 120 degree heat, the differences between men and women are obvious after several meters, or a single flight of stairs. Long range recon patrols lasting several days are still very much a part of our tactical tool box. The idea that the importance of dismounted combat or combat support units has been lessened is just something a stupid person made up at some point.

Finally, to the jackass who had the gal to call me a liar, you do realize that nearly a third of those four thousand insignificant deaths came from the Marine Corps Divisions in which I have spent the vast majority of my 10 year career, right? Are you really so simple minded that you feel justified in accusing me of lying about the deaths of people I consider family simply because I happen to take a different position than you regarding an issue about which I am the far better informed? Or do you really think that this five year operation has been such a happy little cakewalk that no one in the military knows more than one person who has been killed in it? And actully, Joe, I have a friend who was hit, though not killed, by shrapnel from an RPG after in part because his female gunner lacked the upper body strength to take a 240G from condition 3 to condition 1 while wearing body armor. However, when I said that gender integration gets people killed, I was refering to the fact that it has caused us to lessen training standards, reduced the overall physical prowess of units, required us to spend vast amounts of money on things other than training and equiptment, and created an environment where the discipline necesary to function effectively is viewed as a quaint relic of the past.
 
Written By: vermin
URL: http://
I did not ignore your caveats; I disregarded them because they were meaningless.
Mmmmm ... so this isn’t a discussion, it’s a lecture?

Oh, and thanks for mentioning Hue - although I never fought there I did get to know a place relatively close to there rather intimately - I believe the guys called it the Ashau valley. In total I spent 28 years as an infantryman.

If you want to discuss this rationally without all the d*ck measuring and hand-waving, let me know.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Points to make (am I the only female who has commented so far?)...

Selective Service? Why do we still have it and what percentage of 18 year old males register? In the end, should we need a draft ever again, it’s not about fairness, is it. So draft men who can serve in any combat or non-combat MOS. That’s not what this discussion is/was about.

The needs of the military should prevail and frankly, in this conflict, there’s been a marked *need* for female troops to be in harms way. They’re necessary at checkpoints and have been brought along during house to house missions to diffuse hostility... I say "have been" because I don’t know if that’s another thing that was stopped as soon as anyone at home found out about it. They’ve served honorably as medics and honorably in combat. And here’s a clue... it helps to actually be *trained*.

Unless I’m mistaken, at the beginning of this conflict support troops of either gender didn’t get much for combat training. It’s hard to have your mind in the right place if you’ve never had the least suggestion that you ought to put it there.

And part of putting your mind in the right place is self-identity. You don’t get that by Congress-critters and others at home having a cow when they find out female Marines are attached to combat units doing door-to-door searches in the bad parts of town.

Men have an important identity as protectors, but women do too. It’s not the same identity. Women-protectors aren’t the same as men-protectors. But they are every bit as able, mentally, potentially, to deal with and deal violence. Just threaten one of my children and I’ll demonstrate that to you.

Someone said, what if it was your wife got shot? How about if it was your sister? There *are* other male-female relationship models to work with here. There are other male-female relationship models to work with for unit relationships than sexual ones.

And women can have honor, just as much as men.

I feel humiliated for Spc. Brown. She’s a hero and what is the response? You don’t *get* to be a hero. Being a hero is not for you because you’re a girl. The same with the other women mentioned.

Sgt. Hestor is incredible... or ordinary, I suppose. She did her job. And the reward for that was probably the end to security patrols by MP units that had any female members. Not allowed. Not allowed to be a soldier, not a *real* soldier. Only pretend for you!

 
Written By: synova
URL: http://
McQ

I mentioned the patrols I’ve been on and the length of time I’ve spent as a grunt only as direct responses to the posters who claimed that we do not fight on foot any more and questioned my claim to have had multiple friends die in Iraq. Please feel free to point out any hand waving I may have done, so that I can redact it. While you’re at it, please feel free to respond—with something other than a report on your own circumferemc—to any or all of the points I have made.

As for your caveats, and your failure to respond to or even acknowledge the reasons I gave you for not considering in my initial post, once again: All units in combat AO’s, regardless of MOS, must be prepared to fight as if they were infantry units; therefore, not doing everything possible to maximize the combat capability of any unit is unacceptable and getting people killed.

I do not think that the women who have acted heroically have recieved awards only because they were female. I do, however, maintain that not feilding the most capable force possible has cost lives.
 
Written By: vermin
URL: http://
Please feel free to point out any hand waving I may have done, so that I can redact it. While you’re at it, please feel free to respond—with something other than a report on your own circumferemc—to any or all of the points I have made.
After you respond to mine instead of waving them off as "meaningless". The resume was more to help you get it through your head that you’re not lecturing someone who doesn’t have a pretty ground-level understanding of what infantry combat is about.

The post, to make the point again, isn’t about infantry combat - you, and others, seem not to understand that. Nor is it about putting women in combat units.

It is about a rule which bars women from combat (and combat areas) and my point that the non-linear battlefield has made the enforcement of such a rule both a sham and a detriment. A sham because women are in combat every day, and a detriment because our newly published doctrine actually puts the units to which women are routinely assigned into combat areas without regard to the gender available in the units.

That is the point of this.

Now, if you want to address THOSE points, go for it, but all the other of your points were pretty much acknowledged in the original post.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"And women can have honor, just as much as men."

I don’t think anyone is questionaing the honor or courage of women. If it is not specifically mentioned I assume it is just taken as a given.
The question is (or should be) whether the sociological and other problems of having women, with their attendant physical limitations, closely integrated into mostly male units and/or in combat outweigh the benefits.


"my point that the non-linear battlefield has made the enforcement of such a rule both a sham and a detriment"

That rule has been a sham from the beginning (which some of the opponents of an increased presence of women pointed out years ago). There have been many occasions when non-combat personnel have been forced to engage in combat. The Marines have known this for years, which is why they insist on training every man as a rifleman before they get more specialized training.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
From what I’ve seen, the simple fact is the army could go to a few typical American high schools, draft about four thousand males, get enough senior NCOs and officers for leadership, and in about six months have an infantry battalion ready for combat. A battalion has about 1,000 men, so I’m assuming 1 in 4 makes it through the training.

If you tried to do the same with females, you’d fail, miserably. I suspect less than 1 in 100, would make it. The requirements for long distance marching and running alone would disqualify most of them.

I’ve been doing the OPFOR thing for four years now. So I see a pretty good variety of soldiers and marines going through training exercises.

All of the females I’ve seen come through JRTC are from support units, often medics or MPs. And support units generally suck, compared to combat units. But the females are distinctly worse: they just plain suck at fighting, and unlike males, they don’t care that they suck.

There are other problems I’ve seen during stressful situations, like simulated riots and demonstrations. They have less emotional control; they show weakness or even cry in stressful situations. Females are far more prone to be timid and hesitant, and I’ve never witnessed them employ controlled aggression. Emotional control is very important when you’re trying to prevent a disturbance from escalating.

Now, maybe it’s because no one has demanded it of them. And I don’t doubt that a few can do it. But it just comes naturally to males.

The Marines have known this for years, which is why they insist on training every man as a rifleman before they get more specialized training.

And it’s no different than Basic Combat Training. Marine support units also suck, and Marine infantry is on par with Army infantry. Marines in general are just ridiculously overrated. Great at DNC, though.
 
Written By: ben
URL: http://
McQ

Having read and enjoyed Q and O for the past several years I am well aware of your background. As of yet, your been there done there factor easily trumps mine. However, effective military policy is created based on observable reality—not award points.

My posts, particularly my second, were in response to both your posts and the comments of other posters. Some of my comments were phrased as if I were addressing someone with an absolute ignorance of the nature of modern warfare because clearly that description suits some of your readership. I apologize half-heartedly if the haste of my posts made that unclear.

The fact that a person is a member of a military police force or engineer platoon rather than an infantry squad does not lessen the demands of combat. As I said previously—twice—I described your caveats as meaningless because the factors which you and I agree validate the policy against women in infantry units do not exist in combat arms units exclusively, but in all units in combat zones. Your caveats are meaningless because your distinction between combat and non combat units does not exist in reality. The truth of modern warfare is that all units in combat are combat units. If anything, the distinction between male only and integrated units should be made based on the mission of the unit rather than the MOS.

It is about a rule which bars women from combat (and combat areas) and my point that the non-linear battlefield has made the enforcement of such a rule both a sham and a detriment. A sham because women are in combat every day, and a detriment because our newly published doctrine actually puts the units to which women are routinely assigned into combat areas without regard to the gender available in the units.

It is not the rule, but the fact that the rule has not been enforced that has been a sham and a detriment. A sham because it has resulted in the highly publicized celebration of anecdotal success stories, while the constant day to day deficiencies in our readiness have been ignored, and a detriment because the Army and Navy and to a lesser extent the Marine Corps routinely place female members in combat situations in which they are not capable of functioning successfully. Standards during training have also been reduced for all members in order to allow female students to graduate training programs which has resulted in the graduation of both male and female students who are not adequately prepared for duty in combat zones. The result has been the fielding of individual warfighters who are individually less capable and collectively make up less capable units.
 
Written By: vermin
URL: http://
We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one Vermin. I simply don’t buy your arguments, although I appreciate your thoughtful response. Banning women from combat has been overcome by events and pretending otherwise seems foolish. The rule is unenforceable given the MOSs open to women and the demands of those MOSs on the non-linear battlefield.

All your points about standards, etc, are well-taken, they are mostly irrelevant as they pertain to that rather stark reality.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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