Skip to comments.Donít Lift the Combat Arms Exclusions
Posted on 11/29/2012 6:32:03 AM PST by Bill Russell
There is a new lawsuit the federal courts demanding all exclusions barring women from ground combat positions be dropped in the name of equal opportunity. This would be a great mistake. We have achieved the right balance of opportunities for women and the requirement to maintain certain sex-based exclusions to meet our national interests.
Women, such as General Ann Dunwoody, are commanding at the highest levels and serving effectively in many combat, combat related, and intelligence related roles. There are many brave women who are flying combat missions and out on patrols in Military Police, Civil Affairs, and Intelligence roles alongside the Infantry in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. When working the Infantry, they are performing roles that men are incapable of in those cultures to gather critical intelligence and provide inroads through healthcare and education to the veiled half of those societies. These women have proven themselves more than capable of defending themselves when attacked. To date, two women have been awarded Silver Stars for bravery under fire while defending their units in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But there are realities of warfare that remain the same as they have throughout history, and there are certain types of units that must remain all male. While there are some very physically fit women who can outperform the average man at endurance and strength tests, they are the rare exceptions to the rule. When it comes to the pure applications of brute force and ignorance that goes along with closing with and killing other men who are actively trying to kill you, under conditions which require physical exertions that exceed those of any NFL game, men are simply more suited to the occasion. The reality is far different from what Hollywood portrays in the movies.
Imagine if our sense of political correctness required that 20 percent of one NFL teams starting lineup include women. It would fundamentally change the game. The effects on the capabilities of our ground combat units would be no less than the effects such a move would have on a professional sports team. But the cost would be much higher.
There are physical differences between men and women that no amount of social engineering can overcome. The starkest example I can think of goes back to my college judo team. We had the best womens college player in the nation on our team. But she could not throw most of the men she practiced with. I remember seeing her pinned once in a free play by a smaller man who had just joined the team and whose only grappling training was in a required PE wrestling class.
This truth of physical strength in martial endeavors applies when carrying 70 to 100 lbs of gear up the side of a mountain at 10,000 feet above sea level to root Al Qaeda members out of caves, when repairing the 3 ton track of an M1 tank in the snow, and to all the tasks related to the movement and operation of a field artillery piece or other heavy armored vehicles. Then there are the political realities of implementation which are completely ignored by those advocating the removal of the combat exclusions. The most important is that it will make women subject to the draft. Without the exclusion, there is no legal justification to drafting only men into military service.
All those arguing for this, need to consider the NFL analogy again. While they might argue that women should be allowed to play in the NFL if they could meet the standards, do they really want to make the argument that an NFL team must make a quota and implement different strength and speed standards for those women who want to play, but are not quite as strong and fast as the male players? Do they really want to make the argument that women should be called up and forced to play on that NFL team? Would they then expect that team to win, when it plays against teams which do not have those requirements?
Once the barrier preventing women from voluntarily serving in the Infantry is removed, there will be no legal barrier to preventing them from being forced to serve in the Infantry. Is this what our country wants?
William Russell is a retired Infantry Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Army and has served in Desert Storm, the Balkans, the Iraq War, and the Pentagon on 9/11. www.williamrussell.net
It’s already “lifted”
The public pronouncements surrounding this action are pure nonsense. It will be interesting to see if the legal arguments are along the same lines. If so, it will be a hard case to make even given the encouragement and support that they will get from the Justice Department.
Three of the four young women are Reservists. I’d like to hear the legal discussion of exactly what a “career” in the Reserve Components is and why inability to serve in excluded occupational specialties causes great harm to that “career”. As the article points out, women are serving in combat today and not just incidentally. Their mission is different from the mission of all male units, but they are receiving credit for combat experience and they are expected to perform a combat role appropriate to the capabilities of their unit. If they were asked to hump a 90+ pound rucksack up a mountainside at 10,000 feet, most would fail, and would pay a price in the career sweepstakes. The real failure, however, would be on the part of the nation who allowed them to be put in that situation to begin with.
It was once said that you can find no atheists in foxholes. I’d say that still applies to the ACLU.
But why? I don't understand? A woman with a gun can defeat even the most intractable enemy.
And a woman without a gun can whoop even the most highly trained male combat veteran...even in a stand up fight.
The movies tell me so. It must be true.
A “career” in the Reserves may be different than what you think. Many who appear to be on active duty are reservists on active duty, not regular army. RA are guaranteed jobs, reservists on active duty not so much. Then, the ones that meet monthly and for 2 weeks in the summer are subject always to being ordered to active duty. So yeah, it is actually a career.
I don't think there are many enlisted women banging on doors to get infantry ground combat postings. Why is that? Are the enlisted smarter than the officers or are they less power hungry?
The days of extended active duty for Reserve Component soldiers is coming to an end. A small percentage will qualify for full time positions in the Guard and Reserve in the Army, the Marines fill those positions with Regular Marines. Entry into and promotion within the full time Reserve force is highly political, exclusion from certain combat units has little to nothing to do with it.
There is another side to putting women into combat. We have already seen when women soldiers are captured, especially in the Middle East where women are considered inferior, they quickly become victims of rape and sadistic sexual attack. There is also the sexual side of putting men and women together in combat conditions. Unless all the other men they serve with are gay, sexual dalliances are inevitable as well as rivalries and jealousies. I don't see this as a good thing in combat.
One was a helo pilot.
Women already serve in those roles. They are excluded from a few military specialties: infantry, armor, special forces, field artillery and there are legitimate, practical reasons for the distinction.
The problems with even these positions is that airplanes and helicopters crash or get shot down. Now that crew member is in a more dangerous position because they are usually in a hostile environment by themselves and maybe injured or have injured other crew members with them.
Aircrew training has been watered down because of women.
All pilots are drafted into the infantry once their birds are shot out from under them.
And let us not forget that to men, every tree is their urinal. The gentler sex...not so much.
One is a Marine Corps Officer who is resigning her commission. The other three are reservists: an Air National Guard Major who is a pilot, A former USMC Captain who claims that she left active duty because her career progression was hampered, and an Army Staff Sergeant wounded by an IED.
Its all a sham, political theater. They understand that most civilains haven't a clue how the military really works and know that liberals will sign up for anything in the name of "fairness".
well I only know about Army and darn tootin’ the National Guard slots are highly political....ick, when I was in back in the 80s we couldn’t get enough people to stay full, I was reserve on active duty for 3 years and reserve for 8, then quit to be a sahm
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