Skip to comments.Mean Girls in the Military
Posted on 06/28/2004 6:33:18 PM PDT by wagglebee
Members of Congress are demanding answers to their questions about scandalous behavior photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. How could this happen? they ask.
But this is not the first time that they have been warned about personal indiscipline and inferior training in the military. Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba observed in his scathing report that military police soldiers at Abu Ghraib were weak in basic military occupational skills.
How could this happen?
Consider the effect of co-ed basic training, imposed on the Army in 1994. Two years later, sex scandals erupted at Aberdeen Proving Ground and basic training facilities. An independent advisory committee headed by former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker studied the issue in 1997, and declared unanimously that [Co-ed basic training] is resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion, and more distraction from training programs.
In 1998 the House passed legislation to end co-ed basic training, but the Senate called for a congressional commission instead. Key findings of that 1999 commission escaped notice, but in 2002 an Army briefing conceded that gender-integrated basic training was not efficient, and effective only in sociological terms. Nevertheless, the controversial program continues.
The irreplaceable process of soldierization - which transforms immature young people into disciplined soldiers - must compete with hours of sensitivity training. Drill sergeants have to spend time keeping the boys and girls apart, and distracted trainees fail to learn essential lessons about respect for legitimate authority and restraints on military power. The diversion of time leaves some basic trainees deficient in critical building block skills necessary for advanced instruction.
In surveys taken during the 1999 study, 78 percent of Army leaders said that discipline had declined in gender-integrated basic training. Social experiments - particularly the unrealistic theory that men and women are interchangeable in all roles and military missions - have failed the test of Abu Ghraib. Equal opportunity abusers are not typical, but the debased activities of a few Americans reveal what can happen when unformed soldiers - lacking a firm grounding in legal, moral, and ethical values - wield unsupervised power over other human beings.
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski claims she did not know about the abusive behavior and sexual misconduct among her MPs. How could this happen?
Failure to ask the right questions can create explosive conditions. In 1999, following a drunken brawl, soldiers who thought that Army Pfc. Barry Winchell was homosexual clubbed him to death in the barracks of Fort Campbell. Some experts speculate that the crime might have been averted if commanders had freely questioned everything going on in that sexually tense environment.
We dont know why higher-level commanders averted their eyes from homosexual and heterosexual misconduct in the cellblocks of Abu Ghraib. Their failure to ask questions, however, is consistent with former President Clintons convoluted dont ask, dont tell policy a set of expendable enforcement regulations designed to circumvent the 1993 law affirming that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
Some commanders have interpreted dont ask, dont tell to mean that they should avoid asking questions about any kind of inappropriate sexual behavior. The concept undermines sound principles of leadership, and encourages sexual misconduct of all varieties. The Bush Administration should enforce the homosexual exclusion law, but eliminate Clintons dont ask, dont tell policy/regulations.
There are other flawed military practices that require candid review and revision. In 1994 then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin issued directives that deliberately removed risk of capture as a factor in the assignment of female soldiers. A few exemptions remain, but Aspins rules have imposed unprecedented burdens on our female soldiers.
On March 23, 2003, three servicewomen were captured during the ambush of the 507th Maintenance Unit in Iraq. Nine months later, NBC and ABC News fleetingly aired excerpts of a disturbing Iraqi video showing the battered faces of the unconscious, sexually assaulted Pfc. Jessica Lynch and her dying friend, single mother Pfc. Lori Piestewa. Immediate release of that graphic video might have changed the course of the war.
In 1992, experts proposed a solution for that possibility. Specialists who train potential prisoners of war in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) techniques testified before the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. They said it was necessary to use special exercises to desensitize the men so that the enemy would not exploit the captives heightened concern about female colleagues being physically and sexually abused. The SERE trainers added that the entire nation would have to be conditioned to accept combat violence against women.
The Commission rejected that idea as a step backward for civilization. Female soldiers and mothers nevertheless are being deployed in or near previously all-male land combat units. Officials responsible for Abu Ghraib pretended that gender differences and human failings would not matter. The resulting photos suggest otherwise, and inscribe yet another black mark on a continuum curving downward toward incivility and a cultural breakdown. So much for the idealistic ungendered military theory pursued during the Clinton years.
Soldiers are recruited from the civilian world, where male bashing has become commonplace. According to the Associated Press, violence among girls, including vicious fights at birthday parties and dances, has increased dramatically. Popular films celebrate mean girls, and some lines of greeting cards promote man-hating as a joke. Now we see a wickedly demeaning, poster-perfect photo of a female soldier looking down on a naked Iraqi man tethered on a leash. The war between the sexes, provoked by mutual resentments, has just gone nuclear.
How could this happen? There are many causes, but nothing will change until Pentagon officials eliminate problematic social policies that undermine sound principles of leadership, military discipline, and American cultural values. The social engineers have had their chance. For the sake of servicemen and women, and a strong national defense, superior basic training in the Army and high standards of leadership must be restored.
How could what happen? Mean girls? Are they still crying about the panties? This is soooo played.
"I can only imagine how much worse it will get if Hitlery ever becomes POTUS."
According to bjclinton, Hillry was co-president, we got two for the price of one and what a price that has been.
Now not much of the babel of Clinton speaks to the military. Probably because the first act as president he set in motion the "gays" in the military. Now which one of the two co-presidents fits that description.
Why of all committees would Armed Services Committee be the one Hillry gets herself upon?
Everything about these two seems to be obsessed about "sex" and making it one and the same as a "spiritual" status.
An except from a retirement letter I sent to a close friend with many starts. This letter was writtene xplaining why I decided to retire and in this letter I disucssed many issues and concerns.
. . .
There seems to be a lack of strong military leadership to stand up against the trend towards de-militarizing the military. The often mocked "macho" chest-thumping behavior is warrior behavior. At all times, in print media, TV news, popular shows, schools and even in the squadron we see strong, manly behavior mocked, scorned and subverted in favor of politically correct feminized traits. This is a complex issue that challenges even the best sociologists and beyond my meager ability to articulate. Nonetheless, it is wrong, morally wrong to sacrifice the development of warrior skills and ethos in favor of short-term politically correct agendas. My own experience in war, on the ground, highlight the fact that it is bloody, violent and draws out the primal instincts of the hunter. Therefore, the front lines of war are no place for women. Look, I have seen women in warrior roles and, almost without exception, these women soon affect forced manly mannerisms. Why? Social pressure? Perhaps. But more likely is the acceptance that macho behavior is warrior behavior--aggressive, competitive, combative and necessary to win in a life and death struggle. This is not "natural" behavior for a woman, it is unnatural.
If one believes in evolution, warrior behavior developed as a result of millions of years of genetic conditioning, it can not be legislated by fiat. As Harry Summers said a few years back when we discussed this subject, "The train has left the station" on this subject. He was implying the debate was over. Maybe, but as I look at it, the train may have left the station but that doesn't mean it's on the right track and I am definitely on the wrong train.
Superb column, Elaine Donnelly! And keep on banging the drum!
Except = excerpt
starts = stars
writtene = written
xplaining = explaining
Bad night. (Root canal today. On drugs.)
My question is:
Do any other countries have co-ed military?
Do similar problems exist? Have solutions been found that we could learn from?
I really don't think male soldiers can be "desensitized" to real or threatened violence against women soldiers. It's against human nature. And there is no way on earth that the public could be likewise desensitized. Hence the sensationalism around the Jessica Lynch saga.
Israel has a co-ed military, and I don't believe they have the problems we do, which I think is partially due to the religious atmosphere among (most) Israelis.
True, but they have only one religion, judaism. We have several including, unfortunately, Islam. The problem is distraction and diminished unity. It is a negative byproduct of diversity.
The problem is women dont belong in the military in a combat role. Thats it plain and simple. All the BS articles the PC crap , the equal rights of women, dont change the basic fact women dont belong in Combat.
Gunny, modern intellectuals don't believe in nature, unlerss they are attempting to defend something like homosexuality. THAT, to them is "natrual," ie.e inborn. But differences between the sexes? Somehow, no, even though the differences between men and women is obvious to the casual observer. Confused? Join the crowd.
They need to quit their hand wringing and start looking at the people being beheaded around the world. So some of Saddam's guys had dog collars and leashes put on them and were disrespected by the evil gender they despise so much, it's nothing compared with what they would do to prisoners.
In 1998 the House passed legislation to end co-ed basic training
It's not a social experiment.
Elaine (who is really good people and really concerned about an effective military) is being a little too kind to the memory of PFC Winchell. Winchell's "girl" friend was a full time drag queen with an Adam's apple and a man's voice. The liberal press played up this "bereaved lover" while playing down some of the person's circus-freak characteristics, but if you read enough of the righteous braying about poor, sensitive Winchell beaten up by those unthivalized thavages, you'll be able to fill in the blanks.
Mind you, Winchell could have given you change for a $9 bill (all in threes) but that did not justify murdering him. (Throwing him out, yes, killing him, no). The command, hypersensitive to Clinton Era accusations of "persecuting" homosexuals, had refused to act on the troops' unhappiness with a barracks mate that was willing to take the "mate" part literally. They were told that Winchell would have to be caught in a gay sex act in the barracks before the command would move to dismiss him. Winchell was smart enough to do his buggery elsewhere. Unfortunately, with a commander who would not follow regulations, poor Winchell became the victim of drunken vigilantes.
The Army landed on the murderers with both feet (as it should have done) but that CO should have gotten an OER that stank like a billy goat carcass... and I bet he didn't. The whole incident was an inexcusable failure of leadership.
Criminal Number 18F
Aw Jay Leno pointed out after this "scandal" broke,
"There are men here who will PAY five hundred dollars for a woman to do that to them!"
So, why is the media still stirring this old s#!t?
Virtually every nation has a co-ed military when you consider the role women fulfill in administrative, logistical, and medical assignments. The problem isn't women in the military; the problem is women in combat. And I have yet to find a single historical precedence where a military has successfully fielded women in combat.
As for the Israeli combat women, that is a myth spread by people with a political agenda (feminists and anti-military activists). There are many articles written about the true history and role of women in the Israeli military; here is a link to one published on a US Air Force Web site: The Israeli Fighting Women: Myth and Facts
I served in the military both pre- and post-women in combat. I can tell you from first-hand experience that women in combatant units is a disaster. There are many official studies and reports--as well as personal accounts--about the problems, disadvantages, and dangers of women in combatant units, but all the information gets buried and ignored.
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