Truths About Women in Combat

As usual, I don’t catch up to the best of Ricochet until they’re discussing it on the podcast, at which point I’m well behind the conversation I once scrounged $3.47 to join.  The discussion on Myths About Women in Combat has certainly been an edifying overview of the state of the public policy debate on the subject, but has been a bit short on the gritty human reality of the situation.&amp…

  1. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    Very, very informative, this — and, alas, in no way surprising. Especially the part about sexual disruptions. Put young men and young women together in intense, emotion-ripping situations, and . . . well, how not?

  2. Charlotte

    Thank you for your well-written post and for your service, B-C-P-R-S.

  3. cdor

    Raw, honest, and real, straight from the tip of the spear. There is no way to argue the BCPRS experience. Others might have different one’s, but none more truthful.

    Thank you, “snake”.

  4. katievs
    Despite these truths, I think that women in combat is one of those things (along with open homosexual service) that I can’t help but support in theory and on principle, even while I know it will be subtly disastrous in reality.  Perhaps it’s generational — as much as I hate it, I realize I’m shaped by the postmodern post-feminist zeitgeist — but this strikes me as an inevitable step in social evolution.  I’m resigned to it, just as I’m resigned to the fact that the effectual superpower military we’ve long known and loved will soon enough reach parity with our Euroweenie counterparts.  I’m resigned to it, but nobody can make me like it. ·

    This is the part of your post I don’t quite understand.  (I appreciate the rest of it very much.)  It seems to me there’s a big difference between being resigned to disastrous policy and supporting it.   Further, to my way of thinking, it’s a mistake to think in terms of “social evolution”.  (Isn’t that a progressivist notion?)  When high and deep values and principles are at stake, shouldn’t we fight?

  5. Freesmith

    “Despite these truths, I think that women in combat is one of those things (along with open homosexual service) that I can’t help but support in theory and on principle, even while I know it will be subtly disastrous in reality.”

    That sentence, redolent with the fetid smell of self-immolation and despair, is the end-product of Cultural Marxism.

    We know the theory will lead to disaster, but we can’t stop believing it.

    An earlier army generation had a song that described where BCPRS is at. Perhaps you remember this, one of its stanzas.

    “Well, I’m not going to point any moral; I’ll leave that for yourself Maybe you’re still walking, you’re still talking You’d like to keep your health. But every time I read the papers That old feeling comes on; We’re — waist deep in the Big Muddy And the big fool says to push on.”

    At least the soldier in this song still had the mother-wit to know that his leaders were fools and to not follow them to doom.

  6. Britanicus

    For some reason it won’t let me quote.. From Freesmith: “That sentence, redolent with the fetid smell of self-immolation and despair, is the end-product of Cultural Marxism.” Wonderful sentence. Reminds me of something Steyn would say, only slightly more bitter. On a serious note, the part about the sexual disruptions is very disturbing. Several of my friends who are serving–one being female–attest to similar situations and they remark about the frequency and the extent of such disruptions. Granted, this is all anecdotal, but it doesn’t paint a rosy picture.

  7. Look Away

    Integrating women into combat roles is not a new push. As an active duty US Army officer serving in the Carter years, I witnessed a big push for women in combat roles. A large number of those female involved in the tests were given medical discharges due to cracked pelvis and shins. The female body had a tough time with load bearing equipment, machine guns and basic ammunition loads.Also, during that “time of the month” all of which seemed to coincide with field duty, females were granted up to 5 days of bed rest. You can imagine the morale impact on the males soldiers. When Reagan was elected, these experiments disapeared. One good result came of it however, The US Army changes from running in combat boot to running shoes. A measure designed to save the female shin and knees, but saved mine as well. We also traded the .45 caliber pistol for the 9mm pistol and for a small time, basic training stopped teaching use of the bayonet because females could not “employ” it efficiently.No one has dicussed how other military organizations handle this issue. I believe that both the Israeli and Russian militaries in the past and present segreagated men and women in combat roles.

  8. FreeWifiDuringSermon

    The greater sexual lack of control of men at any age but especially those at an age to serve in combat is a great point here.  Add the stress of real combat and the extreme closeness of a platoon and you’re looking at all sorts of damaging drama as is described here.

  9. Spin

    Having spent, on more than one occasion, several weeks at a time on a tank in the woods, I can tell you one thing:  I am glad there no women on it.  Not that I don’t like women, because I do.  Maybe there are other combat jobs where it makes sense, but not on a tank.  But I think backwards…

  10. Wacky Hermit

    As the world’s only female misogynist, I can totally see #1.  Most women don’t belong in combat, if only because they’d just as soon drop their guns to claw out the eyes of their fellow females.  Women are more vicious to other women than men ever are to men.  And many women have no qualms whatsoever about using their, ahem, physicality, to their advantage in order to screw over their rivals.

    That being said, *some* of us women have brains and/or brawn, and the belt of self-control that keeps our pants firmly in the “on” position.  I wouldn’t like to see those two women you would follow to Hell with a pocketknife blocked from leadership positions.  If it’s what you’ve got between your ears that matters, then it shouldn’t matter what’s between your big toes, so long as you keep it to yourself.

  11. Douglas

     The most important truth about women in combat is that they shouldn’t be.

  12. LowcountryJoe

    I served in both integrated and non-integrated units.  I can attest to the integrated units being a mess.  There’s more incidents of conduct problems across the board [the spectrum and natures of the UCMJ offenses] in integrated units by far.  Whatever the reasons, women and men become huge distractions to/for each other while serving in uniform.  Even service members who avoid the quest for attention from opposite sex co-workers, and who stay out of the drama and petty jealousies, find themselves uncomfortable that they cannot truly be themselves [i.e. tell off-colored jokes; be blunt; etc.]

  13. Glenn the Iconoclast

    If one wants to read a well-written study of women in the military that cites sociological studies and anecdotal evidence, Co-Ed Combat is a good choice.  I bought a copy for my niece when she was talking about enlisting as an Army MP a couple years back.

  14. Xennady

    Great post. I’m a peacetime USN vet who served with women, and my experiences are similar. Except I can’t support women in the military at all, especially in combat. It just doesn’t work, overall.

    It seems to me a primary goal of political correctness is to force people to ignore reality by piling layer upon layer of indoctrination and threats on top of everyday experience.

    In my military experience this manifested in endless sexual harassment training, along with rapid and ruthless punishment of those who treated women like sailors. The double standard was obvious and palpable. And it still wasn’t enough. I’d guess roughly half of the women assigned to my department failed to last for one reason or another. To pick one cause and one resulting problem pregnancy was common. And pregnant women quickly went to shore duty, taking a billet that would have otherwise gone to someone returning from sea duty. That is, a tour of duty on board a ship requiring long marriage-straining family absences. Obviously bad for morale.

    But the government wanted women in the military so no mere practical problem could make any difference.

    This won’t end well.

  15. Diego Sun Devil

    Very enlightening post and comments.  This is a subject I had absolutely no knowledge about.

  16. Rosie

    I think that the theories and myths supporting women in combat roles in many instances are espoused by people who have never had the experience of engaging in martial training, for example hand to hand combat.  When a person begins to train in hand to hand combat the differences of gender physiology and temperaments became readily apparent.  Of course there will always be the very small fraction of the female population that will be able to engage their male counterparts with some parity but generally it won’t be the case.  In my experience with martial arts I have learned that I will never have the strength or agility of my male counterparts no matter how hard I train.  I can learn to use techniques to improve my chances but in a situation of brute physical force I will not prevail.  Ponder this: the female combat trainee needs to be phsically able to carry tens of pounds of equipment, carry a wounded fellow soldier if necessary, handle the recoil of a weapon and have no expectation of privacy in tight infantry units. 

  17. Aaron Miller

    Thanks for the anecdotes, all. Anecdotal evidence is often dismissed in debates, but it shouldn’t be. Anecdotes, unlike studies, can be fully contextualized.

    Regarding your third point about leadership, there are differences in how men and women lead, generally. Claire has touched on this in her descriptions of Thatcher. In roles where women can regularly excel, would female soldiers work better under female commanders?

  18. Jim Boyd

    So… does this posting mean you’re about to retire?

  19. Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake
    katievs

    This is the part of your post I don’t quite understand.  (I appreciate the rest of it very much.)  It seems to me there’s a big difference between being resigned to disastrous policy and supporting it.   Further, to my way of thinking, it’s a mistake to think in terms of “social evolution”.  (Isn’t that a progressivist notion?)  When high and deep values and principles are at stake, shouldn’t we fight? · Jun 3 at 5:29am

    “Resigned” was a poor word choice. What I meant was that I recognize intellectually that these trends are likely to continue.  I don’t believe we shouldn’t push back against them wherever we have opportunity to do so (which “resigned” implied). You can know full well the river’s not going to stop rising, but keep piling sandbags anyway. It’s an old-fashioned definition of hope, one of the more beautiful and tragic human virtues: persistence in the face of despair.

  20. Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake
    Freesmith: That sentence, redolent with the fetid smell of self-immolation and despair, is the end-product of Cultural Marxism.

    We know the theory will lead to disaster, but we can’t stop believing it.

     · Jun 3 at 5:34am

    And when we realize that the theory doesn’t line up with reality, we start looking for new theories. That’s how I learned it’s supposed to work, and that’s where I’m at on this.  I haven’t managed to come up with a theory that explains entirely to my satisfaction why women shouldn’t serve in combat units, but tradition is solidly against it, as is my own experience and that of most other servicemembers I’ve heard from on the subject. That’s two against and one abstention.  I don’t like not having theory to back it up, but I’ve got an inkling that any theory of gender roles that could successfully explain why women shouldn’t fight would bring down much of 20th-century feminism with it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s part of the reason I expect that women in combat approaches inevitability.

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