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Ban on Women in Military Combat Positions Lifted

  • There seems to be a difference between combat and front lines according to some of you. When people go to war, real war that includes hand to hand combat, do you really want a woman there? Men turn into animals and women would get the short end of the stick. Some of you idiots keep pointing out that Israel does it. Do you know why? Because they only have 4 million people in their country. They need them. We are the third largest country in the world and don't need to have women serving on the front line. We just don't.

  • think you meant NO difference between combat and front line according to some.

    This post was edited by jgdomino 18 months ago

    Pic Sigs are for losers.

  • The difference between combat and front lines is somewhat real (REMF covers more ground than thought) but I personally think this is good. Just go all the way.

    Meaning they register for the draft, too.

  • I'm a Marine from the infantry and have seen combat. I've also worked in the private sector for 5 years. I didn't deal with many women Marines so take that for what it's worth. I'm going to do away with political correctness so feel free to call me a sexist, but I'm just trying to be as objective as I can from my experiences. I'm speaking generally so please do not point to shining examples. I know they exist.

    1 - On a personal level, there is no way in hell that I would want to serve with women unless they are handling my paperwork or food (not being sexist, they were cooks in the chow hall when I was in). They bitch more and I have not met many who can carry their own weight (literally and figuratively). There are exceptions I'm sure. Again, speaking generally.

    Civilian analogy: Lazy person at work that nobody wants to assign work to because he/she will just cry, complain about it and do a lousy job. I think we can all agree that we don't want to work with people like that.

    2 - Unit cohesion and security will significantly be decreased because of sexual tension. In the rear (pun intended), it's ok to have female Marines around because they're not usually seeing action. But in the field, you can't have two Marines fucking around (literally and figuratively) when they're supposed to be watching out for everyone else. That is how you get people killed. And for those of you who think that duty should be enough to keep dicks in pants, then I will direct you to Bill Clinton, General Petraeus, etc. Duty, maturity, education and whatever else you think may prevent a human from having sex, will not be enough. We're only human.

    Civilian analogy: Any scenario where you have a girl who is a 3 or 4 in normal society and suddenly finds herself in an extremely stressful environment with a captive audience of testosterone charged alpha males with a guy/girl ratio of 14:1. You tell me.

    Also, how many offices have you worked in where there were ZERO hookups/relationships? Then imagine working in an environment where you spend 24/7 with your coworkers.

    3 - Aside from the potentially sexist (I assure you that I'm not trying to be obnoxious, I can do that if I try, believe me) comments above, how are you going to make the military more efficient? I'm not saying females can't hack it physically, but why should taxpayers have to pay more to find a female who can? The bottom line is that the dropout rate for females will be higher than it is for males. I have no empirical evidence to back this up, but I will make this bet all day if any of you are willing. Each of the dropouts incurs a cost. Whether it's an opportunity cost for time or for the training that they endured. Imagine if all CEO's were to be this way.

    Civilian analogy: If you're hiring, why would you go to NC State if you can go to UMD. Not to say that NC State doesn't have talented people, but you don't have unlimited time nor budget to travel/hold information sessions/etc., so why not try to get the most for your efforts and stick to UMD?

    Another civilian example: You want to train one person for a crucial management role in your company. Are you going to try to train multiple people for the sake of "giving everyone a chance" even though you've seen the performance of each employee, or are you going to focus and train the person that you think has the best chance of succeeding?

    4 - If it goes through, draft women into the infantry also. Why should they have it both ways? Let's see how that goes.

  • SATerp

    Here's some thoughts from a female soldier. Read the link, there's a lot there:

    "...Everyone wants to point to the IDF as a model for gender integration in the military. No, the IDF does not put women on the front lines. They ran into the same wall the US is about to smack into: very few women can meet the standards required to serve there. The few integrated units in the IDF suffered three times the casualties of the all-male units because the Israeli men, just like almost every other group of men on the planet, try to protect the women even at the expense of the mission. Political correctness doesn’t trump thousands of years of evolution and societal norms. Do we really WANT to deprogram that instinct from men?

    Regarding physical limitations, not only will a tiny fraction of women be able to meet the male standard, the simple fact is that women tend to be shorter than men. I ran into situations when I was deployed where I simply could not reach something. I wasn’t tall enough. I had to ask a man to get it for me. I can’t train myself to be taller. Yes, there are small men…but not so nearly so many as small women. More, a military PFT doesn’t measure the ability to jump. Men, with more muscular legs and bones that carry more muscle mass than any woman can condition herself to carry, can jump higher and farther than women. That’s why we have a men’s standing jump and long jump event in the Olympics separate from women. When you’re going over a wall in Baghdad that’s ten feet high, you have to be able to be able to reach the top of it in full gear and haul yourself over. That’s not strength per se, that’s just height and the muscular explosive power to jump and reach the top. Having to get a boost from one of the men so you can get up and over could get that man killed..."

    No Better Critics | The Weekly Standard

    Read conservative news, blogs and opinion about Barack Obama, Combat, War on Women and women from The Weekly Standard, the must read magazine available in online edition.
  • I always thought the main reason a country goes to war is to protect it's womenz and childrenz.

    Seriously, I heard a combat soldier call in to a radio show the other day, and he described a situation he was in in Iraq: His unit was pretty much stuck in a Humvee for days when it was scalding hot outside for their entire mission. They were mostly peeing in bottles and taking off their shoes and sox to air them out, and this soldier described what their hygeine was like and it was pretty disgusting. He said he wouldn't imagine women would fare well in situations like that, and also that the men wouldn't feel very comfortable doing the things they were forced to do around women, and visa versa.

  • This illustrates what I was saying. People like Terps99 have no idea what they are saying. They think women can perform the same as men in every situation. They can't and when the situation is about life and death, I'd rather not worry about being politically correct.

  • multiple awards

    Sounds like men catching feelings.

  • neal990

    The concerns about being sweaty and smelly in confined spaces with men seems silly to me. Women don't join the military these days expecting it to be like finishing school. The physical limitations thing is a much bigger concern.

  • No one's saying women can perform the same as men in every situation. That's ridiculous. But if you can find one woman capable and willing to fighting alongside men without burden, she should be afforded that opportunity. The point isn't to dilute the work force - rather, if done right, it can strengthen it.

    Rubber, I respect you for your service, but your arguments could just as easily apply to why there shouldn't be gays in the military. In fact, most work industries would be homogeneous if we used generalizations to dictate who does or doesn't merit opportunity.

  • Spoke to my friend this weekend. He was a special forces medic. These were his main points (paraphrasing):

    1) Women are significantly more susceptible to mechanical injuries on the battlefield (those not attributable to enemy fire) due to the inferior strength of their muscles, bones, and connective tissue. Even if you have a woman who is strong enough to meet the physical strength requirements, she is still going to be more prone to broken bones and things like ACL tears because her bones are more porous than a man's bones and her ligaments are going to be even more weakened by the more muscular build she will have to maintain.

    2) Strength is not linear. It can't be measured by how many pushups an individual can do, for example. As someone alluded to above, men have significantly more "explosive strength" at their disposal for things like jumping, lifting, or pulling. His example was that if a man and a woman are capable of lifting the same amount of weight in a weight room, that doesn't necessarily translate into the woman being able to muster the explosive strength needed to drag a wounded comrade in short bursts.

    3) Battlefield first aid would have to be modified significantly. For example, some drugs cannot be administered to both men and women. Many of the drugs that can be administered to both sexes would have to be dosed differently. For instance, he might have to carries two types of syrettes of morphine or two differently-dosed antibiotics. He could envision them handing out different kits for each sex, adding to the already considerable weight of his pack. Additionally, medics would have to undergo female-specific medical training. And in special forces, everyone is cross-trained on all the specialties that aren't their own, meaning everyone would have to receive female-specific medical training.

    4) He was adamant that rape and unplanned pregnancies would occur more than people realize. Having to take the pregnant woman off the lines is the same as a casualty in terms of unit effectiveness.

    5) When ordered to hold a position, his unit would set up a perimeter and dig a shit trench inside the perimeter. The woman soldier would have to relieve herself in the same place as all the men.

    6) This may be the most important point. Whether there's merit in it or not, neither he nor his fellow platoon members would trust a woman quite as much to perform a task with the same effectiveness as a man. If he is wounded to the point where he can't move himself to safety, he just simply does not trust a woman coming to his aid as much as he trusts a man.

    ...from the mouth of someone who served two tours in Afghanistan and two in Colombia

  • Also, he spent significant time training the fledgling Afghani army units (meaning the guys we're training to maintain sovereignty when we leave). He said that many of them would not consider taking orders from women and would frequently disparage our military for deploying women in the theater in any capacity.

  • Psychological differences are a far larger problem than dislike of yucky things or physical differences, imo.

  • Holy strawman argument, Batman.

  • Thanks for this. 1, 2, and 3 are definitely the stronger points (science!). 4, 5, 6, and the point on the Afghan units seem relatively surmountable.

  • One final point was that any time he was in any kind of covert SF mission in Afghanistan, the entire unit maintained full middle eastern style beards to help assimilate themselves into the culture and maintain cover as to the casual observer.

  • I'm not sure #6 is as surmountable as you make it seem. Whether or not you think their view is misplaced or biased, he said it's the majority view by a wide margin. You can't just legislate that away.

  • Eh, that stuff goes both ways. It's probably easier to maintain full cover as a woman in many parts of the Islamic world because you can be wearing a full burkha and no one has any clue you are some American-trained assassin underneath.

    I think the other points are way more compelling than the ones that relate to purported cultural differences.

  • I see what you're saying, but there are just applications in which integration is just not possible. A woman could not serve in that SF platoon without compromising the mission.

  • You can't legislate that away ... and it won't be overnight ... but that doesn't mean it's something insurmountable that can never change.

    Even assuming the majority of men don't think women can be trusted in combat, IF women are allowed into combat and IF they serve admirably, over time, those attitudes will start to change. (For example, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs made some statement in recent days about how he first reflected on this issue when he was in Iraq a decade ago commanding his troops, and he got into a humvee and the woman driving him around--or maybe it was the gunner--was a woman, and the gender issue didn't really strike him until then).

  • For what it's worth, the current debate is not whether EVERY POSITION in EVERY SITUATION and EVERY MISSION should be opened to women. The current discussion is whether ANY POSITION in ANY COMBAT SITUATION should be opened to women.

    To put it differently, if you think there is some mission or some particular position where integration is just not possible, then fine, don't open it up. No one is suggesting otherwise. To the contrary, I think the DoD is going about it in a measured and admirable way. This will take years to implement, even as currently unveiled. And not every position will be opened up to women. And the army will have the opportunity to take a few years to outline the various positions that it does not believe should be opened up to women. All that was done for now was to lift the blanket prohibition on women in combat.

    This post was edited by terps99 18 months ago

  • And I get that. I guess what I'm saying is that as you unveil this, there is always going to be one more woman that feels slighted when she's denied a certain position, especially when such a position connotes increased pay and increased responsibility. And as we tread this slippery slope, there are a lot of us that are worried that the military may be trending toward being PC and risk averse at the expense of military efficiency. Now we spend incalculable time and money drawing the right lines at which service is allowed or disallowed only for those lines to be challenged for many decades to come. Its more than a little troubling

  • Yes, there will be some tough decisions ahead and not everything will go smoothly.

  • The military has, in general, always gone about integration in a measured or admirable way - when they decided the time is right.

  • Cathal and terps99, why are you so for women in combat? I'm not familiar with either of you, but are either of you female (not trying to be sarcastic)? Did you serve in the military? Do you have female relatives/friends in the military? I'm just trying to understand what horse you have in this race.

    Aside from all the personal reasons (hygiene, sexual tensions and the fact that they bitch more than guys, etc.), it comes down to costs. Their dropout rates would be so much higher that it wouldn't be worth the cost. How do you justify the costs and if you were running a company, would you recruit from community colleges for the sake of giving everyone an opportunity?