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[Rosemary Mariner, guest-blogging, December 18, 2007 at 1:24am] Trackbacks
The Americanization of the Armed Forces-Overview:

My thanks to Eugene for the invitation to guest blog and to Prof. Browne for a copy of his book. Also, my thanks to all for considering a different perspective on gender integration in the military and the much larger issue of how to best provide for the common defense of the republic.

My central premise is that military effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of the best qualified individuals in a gender integrated force, including combat roles. Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits. Women are neither inferior nor superior to men; we are all individuals first and foremost, accountable for our actions.

Not only does this make for the best defense, it is consistent with the oath that all servicemembers take to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I emphasize the word republic (from the Latin res publica, or the people's thing) because the connection between citizenship and military service is as old as the concept of self-government; those who govern themselves protect themselves. Conversely, warrior aristocracies claiming a monopoly on the use of force based on their inherent superiority (birth into the nobility) are long viewed as antithetical to republicanism. This is in part because the reciprocal of protection is often obedience.

In the American example, the debate over the nature of the armed forces and who serves predates the republic. Issues of inclusion and exclusion are a constant thread in U.S. military history, both in (and between) the professional "regular" army and America's various citizen-armies. The same is true of the Navy. Military historian Alex Roland argues "that personnel is the most important topic...Who is going to fight, under what terms, and with what consequences? This is the fundamental question of American military experience."

Thus, the so-called "feminization" of the military over the last one hundred years is really part of what I call the Americanization of our armed forces.

In addition to teaching military history, the focus of my research is on the connection between military service and republican citizenship, --not gender issues. While I normally don't get into the "women in combat" debate for reasons that Mark Grimsley pointed out, I've decided to engage this time for several reasons.

First, the protracted limited war in Iraq will eventually force a new debate on the composition of the U.S. armed forces. The impact on readiness of current ground combat exclusion policies is but one facet of a much larger public discourse that needs to take place.

Some of the most contentious issues will include the use of armed mercenaries, integration of the Reserve Component, and conscription. While I am adamantly opposed to conscripted military service or labor (national service), there are advocates on the political right and left who are already pushing hard for both. Invariably, the proposals include some degree of female liability.

Secondly, there appears to be widespread misunderstanding about what constitutes military readiness and how it is measured by the armed forces. It is difficult to have a serious debate until such terms are understood in the context the military uses them.

Last, but not least, Prof. Browne's central justification for excluding women from combat seems to be the notion that women are inherently inferior to men, based on "new evidence" drawn from evolutionary psychology (EP). In other words, the individual doesn't matter. Yet, as Edward Hagen of the Institute for Theoretical Biology explains EP, "nothing in evolutionary theory privileges males over females, however, nor does evolutionary theory prescribe social roles for either sex."

This appeal to natural superiorty is reminiscent of Social Darwinism, where proponents of racial superiority misappropriated the work of Darwin to advance their social agendas. It was used to justify Eugenics and a lot worse. Arguments of supposed innate superiority (as opposed to demonstrated individual ability) have no place in prescribing the participation of adult citizens in America's public institutions.

Hopefully, in addition to addressing Prof. Browne's arguments, I can add some illumination on these and other larger issues central to providing for the common defense.

Finally, a few points of clarification on my background. On the issue of how to abbreviate my naval rank, it is well estabished that the Navy does not speak English. Having been retired and in the academic world for some time, Eugene's use of Capt. is fine with me.

The relevant point is that I am a practitioner who retired as an O6, not an O3. In addition to my aviation and shipboard experience, I have significant experience from while I was on the Joint Staff in how military readiness is evaluated on the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of warfare. My Joint Staff tour included various field assessments of Joint Task Forces which made it very clear that the Navy and Air Force have it much easier than the Army and Marine Corps.

That being said, there was nothing extraordinary about my career outside of the first female context. I was not a combat pilot nor do I claim to have any first hand knowledge of ground combat. My career spanned the years when Navy and Air Force women were prohibited by law from flying aircraft actually engaged in combat missions. We could get shot at, but not shoot back.

However, having lived through the "pink and blue" military force that Prof. Browne advocates a return to, I know why there is no going back. The risk rule and other paternalistic policies were as unfair to men as they were to women. They proved unworkable in the Gulf War. The issue now is whether we change (and if so, how) the ground combat exclusion policies.

There are many valid concerns about introducing women into direct ground combat forces. There are also many valid concerns that current exclusion policies are making it more difficult for commanders to get the job done while maintaining a legal fiction that women aren't in combat. It is time to review the current policies.

My next post will provide a brief historical overview of women in combat and address some of the current issues in Iraq and Afghanistan. I look forward to reading your comments.

smrad8:
I admit that I've leaned toward the opposite side of the question, albeit with limited knowledge. Judging by this post, the qualifications of Capt. Mariner, and the clarity of the argument she proposes, I'm looking forward to hearing her views. And kudos to Eugene and the other conspirators for lining up such knowledgeable guest bloggers.
12.18.2007 1:43am
Gaius Obvious (mail):

Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits. Women are neither inferior nor superior to men; we are all individuals first and foremost, accountable for our actions.


Then explain the use of gender norming in the PT scores for the Army. Why are 18-year old female soldiers allowed an easier standard (15:36 for a 2-mile run, 42 push-ups) than 51-year old male soldiers (14:24, 59)?
12.18.2007 1:45am
Random1L:
Gaius Obvious,


That doesn't strike me as a fair demand. Capt. Mariner, in the very language you quote ("Participation should be predicated..."), does not purport to advocate for every aspect of the status quo. More specifically, she does not even reference the "gender norming" you speak of. I don't see why she should have to explain a particular Army requirement when there is no indication that she supports it.

Of course, if Capt. Mariner chooses to defend the PT gender norming, I will sit here meekly.
12.18.2007 2:15am
Tiger (mail):

Then explain the use of gender norming in the PT scores for the Army. Why are 18-year old female soldiers allowed an easier standard (15:36 for a 2-mile run, 42 push-ups) than 51-year old male soldiers (14:24, 59)?


Gaius, you missed the should in the quoted text. Her post doesn't do anything to explain the different standards, because she's implicitly arguing that it's not a prudent double-standard. RM's point is that it doesn't make sense to exclue women from combat on the basis of being women. Each potential soldier must be evaluated based on some objective criteria of combat ability. If 25% of female recruits can run 2 miles in 14:24 and do 59 push-ups (or whatever standard the military decides is acceptable for a combat-sufficient soldier), then we should be willing to place those 25% in combat.

I imagine RM's response would be: don't normalize it to gender, don't normalize it by race, don't normalize it by age. Just determine a good standard that's makes a good soldier, then take everyone that exceeds that threshold.

The percent of women that can reach that standard will be lower than the percent of men that meet it, but by flatly disallowing women in combat, the military is arbitrarily restricting its potential soldier pool. This will become more of an issue the longer our armed forces are at war. It may not have been an issue had we walked out of Iraq in 2005. But as the war there and in Afghanistan pushes on, we'd prefer that our soldiers don't grow exhausted because we weren't willing to put combat-capable people into the fight because of notions of gender.
12.18.2007 2:34am
HankP (mail) (www):
Finally, someone who understands what "standards" mean. Set the requirements that are necessary, then let individuals who meet those standards participate. Anything else is mere prejudice, an assumption that every individual must inherit the most common characteristics of the group they belong to.
12.18.2007 2:52am
Tek Jansen:
Standards can be set for different reasons. There are likely minimum physical fitness standards, below which a person becomes too much of a liability. Standards can also be set to select for a type of person - say, an individual who is willing to hard. If the latter is the motivation behind the pushup/2-mile standards, it makes sense to set the objective standards based on gender because the same amount of work may lead to different physical results.
12.18.2007 3:54am
common sense (www):
Having been a combat leader in a ground combat unit, I have many reservations about women in ground combat units. I suppose the first, and one of the most empirically supported, is the lowering of standards for men once women enter a field in the military. West Point now allows a higher percentage of men to enter non-combat arms, which I find to be a poor policy. History shows us that once we allow in the exceptional women who can meet the requirements that we have now (which, incidentally, should be increased, but that's another debate), there is a push to lower the admission standards to allow a representative group of women in. People in previous posts have pointed to firefighters and the police. Once the door is open, it doesn't close again.
12.18.2007 6:49am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
If we no longer have gender-normed standards, do we keep the same standards or lower them for both men and women?
12.18.2007 7:46am
Swede:
"Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits"

Despite the slogan "An Army of One", that's really not true. There's no such thing as a Super Soldier, and in combat the group dynamic is everything. So, sorry, but after having served in combat arms and service/support, the dynamic is everything. The drama found in mixed units is simply not worth importing into the line.
12.18.2007 7:46am
Dylanfa (mail) (www):
If 25% of female recruits can run 2 miles in 14:24 and do 59 push-ups (or whatever standard the military decides is acceptable for a combat-sufficient soldier), then we should be willing to place those 25% in combat.

I imagine RM's response would be: don't normalize it to gender, don't normalize it by race, don't normalize it by age. Just determine a good standard that's makes a good soldier, then take everyone that exceeds that threshold.

The percent of women that can reach that standard will be lower than the percent of men that meet it, but by flatly disallowing women in combat, the military is arbitrarily restricting its potential soldier pool.
The number of women who can meet the standard is going to be a lot closer to 2.5% than 25%. Few people understand that women are vastly weaker in upper body strength. Running ability is closer but the difference are non-trivial.

In any case, if the standards for men make sense, and a vanishingly small number of women can meet them, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend the extra money (recruiting, female specific facilities/equipment, etc.) to allow a tiny number of women into the Armed forces even if they could do the job.
12.18.2007 7:51am
William Spieler (mail) (www):
"An Army of One" has been discontinued, for what it's worth.

Welcome, Capt. Mariner, and thank you conspirators for providing us with her views.
12.18.2007 8:31am
Temp Guest (mail):
This isn't very promising. Professor Mariner is starting off with a straw man argument. Professor Browne never suggested that women were inferior, just that they were unsuited for certain roles in the military. If Professor Mariner were to suggest that men are unsuited for bearing children it would be absurd for anyone to accuse her of suggesting that men are inferior to women. I'd prefer if she left cheap debating tricks for presentation to less sophisticated audiences.
12.18.2007 8:34am
libertarian soldier (mail):
"I emphasize the word republic (from the Latin res publica, or the people's thing) because the connection between citizenship and military service is as old as the concept of self-government; those who govern themselves protect themselves. Conversely, warrior aristocracies claiming a monopoly on the use of force based on their inherent superiority (birth into the nobility) are long viewed as antithetical to republicanism"
It depends on your perspective. The people who coined the phrase res publica restricted its military to those rich enough to provide their own arms, and restricted command above the level of the century to the aristocracy. It was only after the Marian reforms were accepted (i.e. after the Sullan backlash) that enlistment of the Head Count into the legions was the norm--and facilitated the end of the republic (except in name).
I hope the author's analysis of effective forces will not based on the unconstrained mode of limitless resources, since in the real world resources are constrained.
I also hope her discussion of mercenaries will reflect that according the GC Protocol a mercenary has to be "neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict", which would exclude Americans.

And if the author is retired, her rank is CAPT/Capt (ret.) To leave off the qualifier is more misleading than however it is abbreviated.
COL (ret) libertarian soldier
12.18.2007 8:42am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Ma'am, I have to disagree with some of your premises.

1. Women are, in fact, quite inferior physically.

2. Your presumption that there is a warrior aristocracy in the nation is absurd. Comparing the exclusion of women to a male aristocracy misses the point. Women are not suited for the job, period.

3. Even if you could find a rare few (no where near that 25% suggested by Dylanfa, probably closer to 0.25%) that can withstand the rigors required of ground combat, they would be too disruptive an influence on the whole.

4. There is no "right" to be in combat. It is an obligation and a necessity. When we start obliging women and young boys to fight, then we're in big trouble. Women generally have the physical ability of young boys. Would you say that we should allow 14 year olds in ground combat? Only when the enemy is marching down Pennsylvania Avenue and we are more than desperate.

5. Women flying combat aircraft is more acceptable but only because we haven't had a serious air threat since Korea. When we get to where an enemy can actually get past our air defenses and start bombing our cities and our ground forces, and airports, we might want to reconsider women even in air combat, but that's not going to change anytime soon. We have 100% air superiority over the entire globe wherever we choose to go, so air combat is no longer much in the way of real fighting.

6. If women were so suited for ground combat, explain why in the history of the entire world, across every culture no nation has ever found it useful to have women in ground combat, save for extreme times when defeat is looming? Ground combat has not changed much in its nature. Nor have women and men. You can wish for an agenda of women being equal to men in all respects, but it isn't real.

7. You comment about women being excluded from ground and air combat roles being unworkable only highlights that we had already gone too far. If we're serious about defending this nation and its interests, we should return to a more exclusionary role for women.

Sanity is defined as the degree to which one perceives reality accurately. Our nation need not become collectively insane and imagine it to be real that women have a right or a benefit to the nation to be in ground combat.
12.18.2007 8:47am
Bart (mail):
Prof. Mariner:

My central premise is that military effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of the best qualified individuals in a gender integrated force, including combat roles. Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits. Women are neither inferior nor superior to men; we are all individuals first and foremost, accountable for our actions.

To provide context as to my point of view, I served as a Sergeant with the 307th Engineers, 82d Airborne and later as an infantry platoon leader with the 1/7 Infantry attached to the 1st Armored during the Persian Gulf War.

Based on your position above, are you advocating that women seeking to serve in the combat arms meet the same requirements as the men in my infantry platoon in stark contrast to the present lowered standards? We are talking about the informal requirements for infantry, which are far higher than the minimum requirements for male soldiers as a whole.

If this is the case, I doubt a fraction of one percent of the women currently serving could make the cut.

If this is not the case, then you are lowering standards for the combat arms and will get soldiers killed.
12.18.2007 8:48am
Happyshooter:
The number of women who can meet the standard is going to be a lot closer to 2.5% than 25%.

I think it is going to be a lot closer to zero percent. My army service was in a military police unit where most women were unable to mount the M-60, and none of them could mount the M2HB or Mk19. Likewise only a few could change ammo or charge the weapons.

Also, they could not wear body armor and their equipment and move any distance either in the field or the MOUT trainer, after PT training and many tries. We stopped wearing body armor in MOUT after that, because they could not climb the rope grappel even when knotted (most still couldn't after we left off the armor but it was easier on the men who had to lift them) and they could not do the sewer trainer and were exhausted by the stairs and after a few room drills.
12.18.2007 8:51am
Scipio_79:
There is a warrior aristocracy in this country and the military likes that. I was once told by a recruiter that if two applicants are identical in everything but a history of family military involvement, the one with the family history will be chosen. When at Marine Corps OCS, all candidates are told that the Corps hopes that service in the Corps for your family will become a tradtion if it isn't already. We have a warrior elite, like or not.
12.18.2007 9:16am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Scipio, there is a percentage of people in the military who are generational, but this is no different than any walk of life. To be a true aristocracy, it would have to exclude or nearly exclude those out of a family relationship. As it is, multi-generation military is not that great in numbers.

I also presume you're talking about officers. Outside of officers, multigenerational enlistments are not unheard of, but certainly not the norm. The majority are not, and I've never known any enlisted recruiter to turn down any qualified recruit.
12.18.2007 9:29am
William Oliver (mail) (www):
"I think it is going to be a lot closer to zero percent."

Heh. I joined the Army later in life after I had already done most of my professional training. When I went through boot camp, I did so with a group that was mostly my age, ranging from mid 30s to mid 50s -- most of us had been recruited for specific skills. Needless to say, we didn't break any records with our PT results (though we all had to meet standards). Some of the younger folk did quite well -- particularly those who were going on to specialized combat units rather than the basement of a bunker in Washington, DC.

Nonethless, we stumbled through it. One of the most amusing things I remember was going through some of the common soldier skills training and coming to the part where we learned how to dig foxholes. Our instructor was a delightful petite young woman E3 who could not have weighed more than 95 lbs.

She picked up the entrenching tool and told us how to properly dig the foxhole. One of the women in my unit noted that it would take a long time to dig a foxhole the way our instructor said, and asked what to do if we were under fire. Our instructor laughed and said "OK, this if for the ladies. If you ever have to dig a foxhole quickly, you need a George. Let me show you." She then shouted for George, and this 6ft 6in huge guy came lumbering up. Our instructor then added "In case of emergency, attach George to the entrenching tool and continue as previously instructed."
12.18.2007 9:41am
Lugo:
What Skyler said. Right on the money.
12.18.2007 10:01am
Scipio_79:
Skyler,
You are correct. I was speaking of the officer corps. Of course enlisted recruiters will take anyone they can get.

However, while they do not require a history of military service, the military does encourage generaltional service and likes to see it on officer applications.
12.18.2007 10:01am
DrObviouSo (mail):
Americanization of the Armed Forces-Overview
Really? That's what we are calling it?

I"m pretty agnostic about this topic, but I read it with great interest, However this type of language creep is doubleplusungood.
12.18.2007 10:02am
Bart (mail):

Scipio_79: There is a warrior aristocracy in this country and the military likes that. I was once told by a recruiter that if two applicants are identical in everything but a history of family military involvement, the one with the family history will be chosen. When at Marine Corps OCS, all candidates are told that the Corps hopes that service in the Corps for your family will become a tradtion if it isn't already. We have a warrior elite, like or not.
12.18.2007 9:16am

Skyler: Scipio, there is a percentage of people in the military who are generational, but this is no different than any walk of life. To be a true aristocracy, it would have to exclude or nearly exclude those out of a family relationship. As it is, multi-generation military is not that great in numbers.

Scipio is correct that we are developing a military class, but I would agree with Skyler that this class is not excluding others from the military.

The men in my family back at least three generations have generally served in the military - mostly enlisted, some officers, with both NCO and officer tours in my case.

I am hardly alone. In the service, I found many similar families in the South and to a lesser extent in the other parts of the country.

What worries me is not that we have military class in this country, but that we are also developing an equally dedicated non-military class of families whose members rarely if ever serve and who disproportionately fill our academic and political elites. In my discussions on legal and political blogs, I have come to the sad conclusion that the cultural divide between these two classes is often profound. This is a sure recipe for trouble in the future.
12.18.2007 10:03am
rarango (mail):
As a retired professional soldier I enjoyed Professor Browne's thoughts and I look forward to CAPT Mariner's. I will echo those who have already thanked the conspirators for running these comments.
12.18.2007 10:15am
SenatorX (mail):
"...we are all individuals first and foremost, accountable for our actions."

I like this angle at least. Also, I for one would rather have American women in combat than mercenaries.
12.18.2007 10:26am
Another Kevin (mail):
@libertarian soldier -

Contrary to military practice, it is usual in civilian life to address and refer to retired and reserve officers by the titles they held when on active duty, and to abbreviate those titles according to the rules of ordinary English. Moreover, except on first use, one ignores the distinctions between the ranks of first and seccond lieutenant; lieutenant commander and commander; lieutenant colonel and colonel; and the various ranks of general officer -- addressing them as "lieutenant," "commander", "colonel," and "general" or "admiral," respectively.

It is not misleading to do so unless the author is implying falsely that the officer in question has current command authority. It is merely a courtesy intended to recognize the officer's honorable service to his country.

Hence, while I might first refer to you in a written piece as Col. Libertarian Soldier, Seventh New York Infantry (Ret.) (Not knowing your real name, I can't look up whether to put in a Guard or Reserve regiment, or simply to use AUS, USMC or USAF), in subsequent references, you'd simply be Col. Soldier, or spelt out Colonel Soldier. In no case would I use the telegraphic abbreviations of titles in the civilian world.

It's analogous to the abbreviations for the names of the States. On a letter, I'd use the abbreviation MA for "Massachusetts." In a bibliography, I'd list a publisher as "Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley," with the traditional abbreviation. The Postal Service codes simply are not used in formal writing; they are for the convenience of the Postal Service.
12.18.2007 10:31am
lrC (mail):
>My central premise is that military effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of the best qualified individuals in a gender integrated force, including combat roles. Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits.

Military performance depends on teams (skilled groups), not individuals. People don't need to be "best qualified"; they just need to meet minimum standard. "Best qualified" must also include "suited to the rigours of the environment" (ie. life in the field or at sea) as well as technical and academic checkboxes. "Group traits" can not be assumed away if they happen to be part of the reason the team functions as such. To emphasise: one does not "participate", one serves as a member of a team. It would be helpful if the premises were rephrased to remove the flavour of a high-school intramural sports program mission statement.

Some women are capable of combat service, just as some men are incapable of it. The issue hinges on whether "some women" is "very few women", whether there are any costs of "participation" (eg. unacceptable reductions of standard), and whether the costs outweigh the benefit (the increase in the size of the pool of people willing and capable of serving in a particular arm).

With respect to standards: the standard is the minimum, and the minimum is good enough. If the minimum performance standard for one person is deemed acceptable for a particular gateway (eg. entry into basic training, completion of basic, entry into infantry school, etc) then it is applicable to everyone.

>"In case of emergency, attach George to the entrenching tool and continue as previously instructed."

In case of emergency, George is probably going to be already occupied wherever his physical attributes make him most useful. But that raises the point: that even in a non-gender-integrated field unit, tasks are typically assigned to whoever has the most talent and acumen. Not everyone has to be George. But not everyone can hand off to George, either. Anyone who has observed a small team in action knows that members will pick up slack for each other from time to time for temporary weaknesses, but that a person who presents a continual burden erodes group cohesion.
12.18.2007 10:38am
Joe Bingham (mail):
Last, but not least, Prof. Browne's central justification for excluding women from combat seems to be the notion that women are inherently inferior to men, based on "new evidence" drawn from evolutionary psychology (EP). In other words, the individual doesn't matter. Yet, as Edward Hagen of the Institute for Theoretical Biology explains EP, "nothing in evolutionary theory privileges males over females, however, nor does evolutionary theory prescribe social roles for either sex."

Straw man already?
12.18.2007 11:02am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
IrC.

Not to mention reduces the chance of accomplishing the mission.

Does that count, now? It's been a while since I've been in.
12.18.2007 11:03am
john w. (mail):
Capt. Mariner wrote: " ... Last, but not least, Prof. Browne's central justification for excluding women from combat seems to be the notion that women are inherently inferior to men, .... This appeal to natural superiorty is reminiscent of Social Darwinism, where proponents of racial superiority misappropriated the work of Darwin to advance their social agendas. It was used to justify Eugenics and a lot worse. ...."

In other words: "I am woman; hear me whine." We are not even 10 minutes into the debate, and already she is playing the misogyny card!! EUGENICS??? ... Sheeesh!

I never heard Prof. Browne even come close to claiming that "women are inherently inferior to men." The only things I heard him claim were that (1) the vast majority of women have *much* less physical strength than the average male and would therefore be at a huge disadvantage in hand-to-hand ground combat, and (2) Males are hard-wired by evolution to 'kill people and break things' whereas most women aren't; those psychological differences would presumably make it even more difficult for most women to become effective ground combat soldiers.

A very few of the commenters (myself included) raised additional, subjective moral/sociological objections, suggesting that it is fundamentally barbaric and uncivilized to unnecessarily expose women to high risk situations as long as there are still any able-bodied men left standing. But this was a minority viewpoint, and I certainly didn't hear Prof. Browne endorsing it. And in any case, that traditional, chivalrous viewpoint would be summarized as "women are more valuable than men," NOT as "women are inferior."
12.18.2007 11:04am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Don't they have women in combat in Israel? Not very many (Wikipedia says there are only about 450 women in combat units in the IDF) but we don't need to speculate when we can look at actual evidence. Anyone know anything about the women who are in IDF ground combat units have done?
1. Women are, in fact, quite inferior physically.
Did you really need to use this particular choice of phrase? They significantly outlive us, and generally have a lot fewer heart attacks and strokes, and put up with the toll imposed by growing a little person inside you and pushing it through orifices that aren't quite big enough. And aren't they typically more flexible too? Granted, they are weaker than men, and strength, unlike heart attack susceptibility, is important in ground combat, but that's a far cry from being inferior. I hope this isn't what you meant, but using "inferior" to mean "weaker" helps to confirm the suspicions of feminists like me who are inclined to suspect that banning women from combat has more to do with preserving someone's notion of female inferiority than with legitimate military considerations.

As for physical fitness testing requirements, the fact that they change for men based on age suggests (but does not conclusively prove) that the idea isn't to ensure that all the men meet some minimum level of physical fitness, but is more like getting as much as possible out of each serviceman, ensuring that each serviceman is seeing to his physical fitness, and creating a general fitness culture. So it would be something like "be all that you can be" which mitigates in favor of lower numerical requirements for women on tests of physical strength. Granted, those numbers for women seem to be lower than those for even considerably older men, so I'm open to the argument that the women would be too weak to perform critical ground combat functions.

In any case, preventing women from flying planes into combat sounds pretty darn hard to justify based physical weakness. What does flying planes have to do with upper-body strength?

DISCLAIMER: I am one of those effete liberals from a nonmilitary family, and don't know much about the combat or the military. This is why I'm merely agnostic on women in ground combat roles, even though I'm a feminist.
12.18.2007 11:06am
Joe Bingham (mail):
It's actually really disappointing to see that in the first post from someone who clearly has some good arguments to offer. I hope Prof. Browne will be allowed to return and restate his actual position as presented in his previous posts, and that in the meantime Ms. Mariner will revisit those posts to attend to his arguments.
12.18.2007 11:07am
CasualScientist:
>Last, but not least, Prof. Browne's central justification for excluding women from combat seems to be the notion that women are inherently inferior to men, based on "new evidence" drawn from evolutionary psychology (EP). In other words, the individual doesn't matter. Yet, as Edward Hagen of the Institute for Theoretical Biology explains EP, "nothing in evolutionary theory privileges males over females, however, nor does evolutionary theory prescribe social roles for either sex."

This seems like a flagrant straw man to me.

Simply using the phrase "superiority" changes the context and the moral value significantly, compared to a slightly more accurate phrase like "physical superiority," let alone "more physically suited to the task." Claiming that Prof. Browne says that males are flatly "superior" is a significant distortion, since it makes his argument sound vastly less palatable.

Similarly, the idea of "privileges" and "social roles" misses Prof. Browne's point in the same fundamental way. Just as he didn't claim that men are "superior", nor did I read his arguments to claim any sort of "privilege". And I'm sure he wouldn't consider it a question of "social role", but of "capability." More importantly, EP provides not evidence, but explanation. If women are (on average) less suited to combat, it is because of their physical or personality characteristics. Those characteristics may follow from EP (or may not!), but it is the characteristics that matter, not why they exist.

I'd like to make clear that I'm not trying to take sides in the debate here; I'm not military, and I don't consider myself sufficiently well-informed to have an educated opinion. Hopefully that'll change by the end of this segment, but Capt. Mariner will need to avoid such straw-man arguments if she wishes her side to come out more convincing once all is said and done!
12.18.2007 11:07am
Just a thought:
"Military performance depends on teams (skilled groups), not individuals."

I hope that Capt. Mariner addresses this, because I think that it is a very compelling argument against women in combat positions. Top combat performance requires team cohesiveness as much (or even more) than each individual's physical abilities. Even if a women meets the high physical qualifications (upper body strength, stamina, etc.) required for combat, her presence in a unit is detracts from the cohesion of the squad or unit.
(Though race or sexual orientation might possibly also detract from team cohesion, I don't think that it comes anywhere close to that from gender.) It's not sexist to observe that, in a group, men are more quickly and more easily comfortable with other men than with women, and vice versa.

Creating all-women units wouldn't solve the problem because there would still be a lack of cohesion in the larger military group, as a unit is just one small part of an army.
12.18.2007 11:18am
Elliot Reed (mail):
re "Americanization of the Armed Forces":
However this type of language creep is doubleplusungood.
I think "Americanization of the Armed Forces" is kind of dumb, but it's the kind of harmless contentless feel-good rhetoric that people in these sorts of debates use all the time (calling your side "pro-choice" or "pro-life", naming your national sales tax plan the "FairTax", etc.). The Orwellian language choices are the ones that mislead as to content, like "assault weapons", which sounds like a specific type of military weapon but is really just a random list of guns with nothing much in common, or "enhanced interrogation techniques", which sounds like they're just a step above normal when they're really torture techniques that were beloved by the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge because they allow the infliction of horrendous pain without leaving marks.
12.18.2007 11:28am
Happyshooter:
Creating all-women units wouldn't solve the problem because there would still be a lack of cohesion in the larger military group, as a unit is just one small part of an army.

Maybe. My experience is that enlisted level team cohesion fades fairly quickly at higher levels. At the company unit level it is still strong, at the battalion/squadron (200-500 men) level it is there as a strong group ID (ie in an airport bar: "Who are you with?" "3/6--you?" "VMA-214"), at the regiment/division level it is fairly vague.

In my army time group ID faded quickly above the battalion level unless the soldier was a member of special unit such as 101st air assault or ranger.
12.18.2007 11:30am
cjwynes (mail):
As Skyler points out, there is no history of women serving in ground combat in the ordinary course of war. People who argue that gender roles are "socially constructed" seem to overlook the fact that they always seem to wind up being "constructed" in much the same way across all cultures at all times. That tells me that there's a real and immutable distinction between the sexes that lies behind the definition of social roles.

While "identifying the best qualified individuals" is great in theory, in practice we are all people with limited time and resources. We cannot evaluate every aspect of every person on a case-by-case basis, we have to use shortcuts. Those shortcuts are the dreaded "stereotypes" that get a bad rap in today's world, but which evolved as useful, time-saving generalizations about the expected strengths and weaknesses of members of certain groups. Sure, anytime you generalize about a group of people you may wind up missing out on somebody who would be just what you're looking for, but the fewer outliers there are, the less likely that investigating the individuals of that group will have benefits outweighing the costs.

I can't say it's a good start for her rebuttal. They say "lead with strength", but she's led with ad hominem attacks on her opponent, dancing just around the edges of calling him a sexist patriarchal oppressor blah blah blah etc etc etc.
12.18.2007 11:31am
Happyshooter:
but it's the kind of harmless contentless feel-good rhetoric that people in these sorts of debates use all the time (calling your side "pro-choice" or "pro-life", naming your national sales tax plan the "FairTax", etc.).

Great, then we will call your position "Stupid dumb evilness", and mine "Great smart wise plan". Oh, and my team will run all the professional journals so we will enforce those terms.
12.18.2007 11:34am
Crew Chief (mail):
The problem with women in combat are the men in combat. It's simply not possible to mix young men and women with hormones in high gear in remote, stressful situations and not expect there will be sex involved. Not that there's a problem with the sex itself. The problem comes when people pair up. Then the jealousy begins, favoritism, courting, and breakups. It's just a distraction at a time and place that doesn't need it. Yes, the military attempts to train these reactions out of soldiers. But that training in and of itself is a waste that wouldn't be needed without a coed force, and the idea that young men can be trained to ignore the sex of a woman is laughable anyway.

Men in combat also tend to "protect the girl". Remember the huge issue when there was a young female soldier captured during the invasion of Iraq? The army pulled out all the stops to recapture her. That was nice, but had she been a he the situation could have been evaluated on it's merits. There could have been more people killed in a desperate attempt to recapture the girl.

The issue with gays in the military is identical. The problem isn't the sex. But when men begin to pair up, they're not spending 100% of their efforts fighting the enemy while staying alive.

This country isn't desperate enough to require women in combat. There is no right of a women to demand it, any more than men have a right to be allowed into combat with any number of disqualifications.
12.18.2007 11:36am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Creating all-women units wouldn't solve the problem because there would still be a lack of cohesion in the larger military group, as a unit is just one small part of an army.
Do you have any actual evidence of this? We have women in the armed forces now (in non-combat roles) and the IDF has (a small number of) them in combat roles. Is there any evidence of what the effect on unit cohesion has been, or how it's affected overall military performance?

Sorry, but I'm not going to consider anecdotes or personal impressions to be much by way of evidence: it's just to easy to find what you want to believe in personal experience.
12.18.2007 11:39am
Chuck Simmins (mail) (www):
The Jessica Lynch rescure was more complex than Crew Chief portrays it.

The Army would have gone all out for any MIA that they knew the location of. Indeed, rescues abound in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The MoH given to Murray in Afghanistan was part of a rescue in which over ten soldiers died and no one was actually saved until days later.

In addition, the Lynch op was part of an overall clearing op to eliminate an enemy force that was behind our advance and clearly threatened our supply lines.
12.18.2007 11:45am
common sense (www):
Elliot- its hard to come up with links on something that is difficult to measure, such as cohesiveness, and when the results might be politically incorrect. Also, sometimes enough anecdotes indicate a trend, although correlation does not equate to causation. In my case, the introduction of women to our FOB in Iraq (which happened on a schedule around medics' rotation) resulted in a fairly predictable increase in discipline problems and medical issues. Although women increased the size of the medical pool, they caused more issues than they solved. I am not sure how much was a result of poor training by their parent unit since we didn't own the medics per se, and favoritism shown to women in that unit. However, it was an objective problem that lowered our readiness and combat effectiveness.
12.18.2007 11:46am
Skyler (mail) (www):
It's like clockwork when someone claims that the Israelis have women in combat roles. If the thread continues, we'll see it mentioned at least once every 3 hours.

So, it has to be rebutted, yet again.

Yes, the Israelis tried it and it was such a colossal failure that they stopped doing it and refuse to do it again.

Oh, and Elliot, you don't need to describe yourself as an effete liberal. One's political persuasion is irrelevent when presenting an argument, or should be. As is ones' military background.

But it does require an understanding of the real world. I'm not sure why you disagree with the observation that women are physically inferior to men. Yes, being weaker is by definition inferior. We need not distort the language. If it is true that men are more susceptible to heart attacks, that is irrelevent since most of that susceptibility comes at an age that we're not addressing here. The same is true is there is any difference in length of life. This is an aspect that is of no relevence to this argument. For the purposes of anything we discuss here, women are physically inferior to men.
12.18.2007 11:47am
Happyshooter:
Sorry, but I'm not going to consider anecdotes or personal impressions to be much by way of evidence:

And that's because a trained and serving person's judgment and observations are worthless, but some grad student who took a mil history class once and and now is in a soc masters course is well able to judge unit cohesion factors during drive by observations.
12.18.2007 11:47am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Rosemary Mariner
RE: Women In the Combat Zone

Would you please address this....

TO: Rosemary Mariner
RE: Women In the Combat Zone

Would you please address this....

Sex, soldiers and consequences at Bagram -- WorldNetDaily today*

I've other matters as well. But this will do for a start.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A woman's place is not, repeat NOT, forward of the COMMZ. -- CBPelto]

I've other matters as well. But this will do for a start.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A woman's place is not, repeat NOT, forward of the COMMZ. — CBPelto]

P.S. TO: blogmeister at volokh.com/comments....

How on God's green Earth can you put in a link that is NOT going to violate the 60-character limitation?
12.18.2007 11:49am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Apologies of Previous Post

But when this silly system refused to post my intended article, with a link to an item at WorldNetDaily on this very subject, things got garbled and confused when I tried to do it again and determined that I had to do the 'link' via circumlocution.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you really want to foul things up, it takes a computer.]
12.18.2007 11:51am
Paul A'Barge (mail):
"military effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of the best qualified individuals in a gender integrated force, including combat roles"

Good lord. Here we go, down the rat hole. Are you from Mars? If not, please stop now.

This isn't a parlor game or a theoretical debate. The winning of battles hang in the balance here. This is no place for nonsense.

If you're going to peddle this nonsense, at least have the common decency to tell us about your combat experiences. Please describe the combat situations in which you were a direct participant. How many enemy kills are you responsible for? How many enemy have you dispatched in hand-to-hand combat? How many of your wounded fellow warriors have you picked up and carried to a more safe position, and how far did you carry him?

There is a scene in "300" in which a deformed Spartan asks Leonidas for permission to join the fight against Xerces' army. Leonidas makes a telling point about what is required of a warrior.

Women have a place in the US military but no place in combat. Trying to peddle this "based on the individual" nonsense in our politically correct era is worse than sophistry, it is dangerous.

You need to think long and hard about the consequences of your argument. You're not going to die on any battle field as a result, but brave warriors will.

And their deaths will be upon you. Take note of that.
12.18.2007 11:52am
lurker-999 (mail):
"It is simply not possible to mix young men and women with hormones in high gear in remote, stressful situations and not expect there will be sex involved."

Or even old men and young women, for that matter!

But there's the ideal solution: If we so desparately want to have women in combat, just let 'em wait until they're post-menopausal. That way, you won't have all those unit cohesion problems --- and they'll scare the Hell out of the enemy soldiers as well ;-) I know, I'm a sexist pig: So sue me.
12.18.2007 11:53am
Chuck Simmins (mail) (www):
I would also remind folks than men come in all shapes and sizes. Few qualify as SEALS or Green Berets. Should that be seen as a strike against men in the military? Can a male soldier weighing 160 pounds be reasonably expected to easily move another soldier weighing over 200? No. It's just common sense that some tasks will be difficult or impossible for any given soldier under some circumstances.

Not all women will measure up just as not all men will. Our male soldiers lose in hand to hand combat situations, too. The real key to close combat is to fight smarter, not to be the biggest.
12.18.2007 11:53am
Elliot Reed (mail):
there is no history of women serving in ground combat in the ordinary course of war.
There wasn't much by way constitutional republican democracy either—until we did it. Nor was there any (known) history of running a four-minute mile—until Roger Bannister did it. And so forth and so on. "It's never been done before, therefore it must be impossible/a really bad idea" is simply a bad argument.
12.18.2007 11:55am
DrObviouSo (mail):
Happyshooter, thank you for that. I needed a good smirk.
12.18.2007 11:56am
Mark Field (mail):
I, for one, am glad to see Capt. Mariner off to a good start. Browne's arguments were, in part, based on group classifications rather than individual performance. Capt. Mariner has done well to eliminate those offensive and invalid arguments in her first post. Now she just has to make her affirmative case.
12.18.2007 11:59am
Paul A'Barge (mail):
"However, having lived through the "pink and blue" military force that Prof. Browne advocates a return to, I know why there is no going back"

You left out the Marine Corps, which never "went forward" and the IDF which has gone back.

Putting women in combat is not going forward. It is marching to defeat.
12.18.2007 11:59am
Alcyoneus (mail):

Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits. Women are neither inferior nor superior to men; we are all individuals first and foremost, accountable for our actions.


This is obviously preposterous.

We do not build combat forces on individual heroics. Since Napolean, armies have been built on the mass levee. Armies must create and sustain forces based on human performance in the aggregate.

This means basing policy decisions on statistical measures, i.e. valid and true generalizations, that are likely to produce adequate combat forces. Ms. Mariner goes wrong at the outset.

By way of competing ethos, I'm a former US Army Infantryman. I've personally seen the poor results from integrated land combat forces.

Many posters here have asked for evidence that women cause combat units to under-perform. Although, this misplaces the burden of proof onto the negative, I've included links here:

UK MOD study
A good summary
12.18.2007 12:03pm
Mark Field (mail):

There is a scene in "300" in which a deformed Spartan asks Leonidas for permission to join the fight against Xerces' army. Leonidas makes a telling point about what is required of a warrior.


Great. The current Administration makes torture policy on the basis of "24". Now were told to make military policy on the basis of "300". Can we teach science on the basis of "Star Wars"?
12.18.2007 12:04pm
rarango (mail):
If we are to rely on empirical studies of unit cohesion in combat, we don't have a large literature to choose from. What studies there are (Morris Janowitz, SLA Marshall) are based primarily on post combat interviews. Combat, and unit cohesion in combat, is not amenable to scholarly designed studies. It is possible, of course, to look at unit cohesion in a non-combat environment, but I would suggest that combat is a unique environment. (Thanks to Cold Warrior for making that point in an earlier thread)
12.18.2007 12:08pm
lurker-999 (mail):
Elliot Reed (mail): " 'It's never been done before, therefore it must be impossible/a really bad idea' is simply a bad argument."

Right! Just because nobody in the past ever successfully taught a pig to sing, doesn't PROVE that it can't be done.
12.18.2007 12:10pm
Objective Commenter (mail):

This appeal to natural superiorty is reminiscent of Social Darwinism, where proponents of racial superiority misappropriated the work of Darwin to advance their social agendas. It was used to justify Eugenics and a lot worse.



Oh, boo. Talk about arguing in bad faith. What cheap rhetoric. Her entire "argument" is: "Why do you hate vagina?"
12.18.2007 12:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Rosemary Mariner [Captain(?)]
RE: Concerns &Issues

"There are many valid concerns about introducing women into direct ground combat forces. There are also many valid concerns that current exclusion policies are making it more difficult for commanders to get the job done while maintaining a legal fiction that women aren't in combat. It is time to review the current policies." -- Rosemary Mariner

Indeed.

The first is the fiction.

A female Army 'Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR)' platoon leader is NOT in combat because those types are not supposed to 'fight'. Bull pucky. They're working on the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA).

This is just more politically correct obfuscation, i.e., lies. Lies get people killed in combat; one way or another.

RE: Capabilities and Limitations

How many women are capable of working weeks on end in the muck and filth of a combat zone? Carrying 100+ pounds of equipment out the door of a C130 inflight? Humping 80 pound rucks and equipment? Going the last 200 yards under heavy fire to close with an entrenched enemy and killing them in hand-to-hand combat?

Heck. Damned few. And YOU know it.

We're talking serious 'clueless' here if you think they're up to that.

Then there are the logistical aspects.

Which is more important in supplying a combat force cut off from it's regular lines of supply? Food? Bullets? Kotex?

Imagine the 101st at Bastogne with women making up a large part of the combat forces.

Then there is the business as related to in the WorldNetDaily article I cited above.

I seem to recall, in my professional readings at IOAC in 1980, something about the draconian measures Marshall Tito had to implement in order to keep his co-ed partisans focused on fighting the Nazis instead of on each other. I believe it was summary execution by the company commander in front of all members of his command.

Combat is historically described as long periods of boredom punctuated by brief episodes of terror.

Bored people WILL find something to do. And, if you put a man and a woman on LP/OP in the middle of the night, well ahead of your principle line of defense, they'll figure out something to do.

Indeed, based on what I heard at LEDC '92, from veterans of GWI, that male-female truck driving team was captured by an Iraqi patrol because they were tired of driving and were doing something else when they were caught with their breeches down.

Same thing happened at Fort Carson in early 80s while I was there.

There was a call for a medical evacuation due to a cold injury. The battalion could not raise it's direct support ambulance team. The battalion XO went looking for them. Found them. Using the cots in the back end of their ambulance for recreational purposes.

Hope that gives you more for your thesis, Herren Captain.

Looking forward to reading it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. -- Thomas Jefferson]
12.18.2007 12:11pm
Just a thought:
Maybe. My experience is that enlisted level team cohesion fades fairly quickly at higher levels.

Happyshooter, true; I agree. But I'm also thinking of the fact that in combat settings, one unit will be fighting alongside another unit, and that in life and death combat situations, ease of interactions between members of different "teams" is very important.

Elliot Reed,
Do I have any actual scientific evidence that women in a team of men lead to a lack of cohesion? Do I have scientific evidence that generally men are more quickly and easily comfortable with other men rather than women? No. But you need not throw out common sense, and mine and yours and everyone else's personal experiences just because it hasn't been statistically documented.

Obviously men can work closely and effectively with women - it happens every day in thousands of offices around the world. But no one's life hangs in the balance. Combat - which is a life and death situation - requires a group to come together to work for a common goal as quickly and efficiently as possible, and it seems to me that this is more difficult with team members of different genders.
12.18.2007 12:12pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
It's like clockwork when someone claims that the Israelis have women in combat roles. If the thread continues, we'll see it mentioned at least once every 3 hours.

So, it has to be rebutted, yet again.

Yes, the Israelis tried it and it was such a colossal failure that they stopped doing it and refuse to do it again.
Really? That does sound like a serious strike against women in combat. Link?
Oh, and Elliot, you don't need to describe yourself as an effete liberal. One's political persuasion is irrelevent when presenting an argument, or should be. As is ones' military background.
I actually have a limited disagreement: virtually all arguments are, to to a limited extent, arguments from authority. Whenever the arguer introduces a new factual premise, they're implicitly asking the audience to trust that they're being honest and know what they're talking about. My lack of military background was part of an admission that I don't actually know much about the military.

And sadly ad homenim arguments are not as rare on this board as they ought to be. I figured that since somebody was fairly likely to accuse me of effete liberalness anyway, I might as well insulate myself from the charge by admitting to it.
12.18.2007 12:16pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Go get 'em, Captain!

I read Prof. Browne's arguments; they shouldn't be too hard to shoot down.
12.18.2007 12:22pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: just a thought
RE: No Proof, Eh?

"Do I have scientific evidence that generally men are more quickly and easily comfortable with other men rather than women? No. But you need not throw out common sense, and mine and yours and everyone else's personal experiences just because it hasn't been statistically documented." -- just a thought

Actually....that's EXACTLY what they want to argue; "You have no proof. So, whatever you say is only anecdotal and of no worth."

However, I'm reminded of how frequently 'common sense' is accurate.

Case in point....Denver International Airport (DIA)....

When Denver's government was looking around to find land to build a newer and bigger airport on, they visited the area to the northeast of the city.

As part of their research, they asked the people in the area what they thought of the idea. Many of the old-timers said it was a bad idea. Why? Well, they said, because they get more fierce thunderstorms and funnel clouds than any other part of Colorado along the Front Range.

The researchers blew these reports of 'common sense' off.

The land was purchased and construction began.

Meanwhile, a few miles west of there, in Boulder, CO, NOAA was starting tests on the then-new doppler radar system.

Guess what they discovered....

...those crazy old-timers, with their 'common sense' were right. That land, in the Spring and Summer was rife with funnel cloud formations inside of fierce thunderstorms.

Heck, four years earlier, while driving along I-70, east of Denver, I watched a C141 scrambling to save itself from under a thunderstorm.

It had just taken off from Lowry AFB and it looked, for all the world, to be hanging in the air by an invisible string. Unmoving at a 30° angle.

I watched in wonder, trying to figure out what has happening when all of a sudden a huge dust-storm started directly underneath it. It was caught in a micro-downburst.

It did manage to scramble out of it.

The point here is that when people like Elliot Reed, and perhaps Captain Rosemary want to make a point, they won't accept common sense, if it flies in the face of their theory.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Science is Truth. Don't be misled by facts.]
12.18.2007 12:25pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Yuck. Gender brings out the trolls.
12.18.2007 12:34pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
The point here is that when people like Elliot Reed, and perhaps Captain Rosemary want to make a point, they won't accept common sense, if it flies in the face of their theory.
Remarkably, one person's common sense is another person's ideologically-induced bias. When I tell you it's just common sense that my law school would be rife with sexism and bias against women, and my experience confirms that, you won't buy it because it goes against your preconceptions. And then when you ask the other students you'll find that their perception of the same issue depends mostly on demographics (sex, preexisting political views, etc.) and the events they've witnessed actually have little to do with it. People (myself included) are just awful about this, especially when we're dealing with something as hard to pin down as sexism or unit cohesion. The whole point of trying to do objective research is to help us get past our preexisting biases.
12.18.2007 12:37pm
Drill SGT (mail):
Basic facts about me:
- Combat vet (VN)
- Staff REMF (GWI)
- former Drill SGT
- Former field grade combat arms officer (armor)
- Former OR analyst
- current spouse of a NG field grade officer (lawyer)

a couple of comments:

1. as SLA Marshall pointed out in Men Against Fire, soldiers don't fight for God and country, they fight for "the respect of their squad mates"

2. regardless of how high tech the weapon systems, combat at the pointy edge of the spear (e.g. Infantry, Armor, and Combat Engineers) is all about unit cohesion. Those that have it win, those that don't lose.

3. (thus far, fairly straight forward). Unit cohesion in the squad or tank crew is about a shared warrior ethos, shared experiences, and frankly male bonding about how we're bigger, tougher, and meaner than those SOB's on the other side of the lines and frankly, tougher than the rest of the squads in our unit.

4. ground combat leadership is the toughest job in the world. everyone needs to be confident that everyone else is pulling their fair share of the dirty jobs. The idea that the Sarge is playing favorites, and Jane doesn't walk point is a morale killer. women in those direct combat jobs make the leadership job tougher, and hurt unit cohesion on average.

5. women are different than men. They have better hand eye skills and less testosterone. They make good pilots and intel analysts. They have poor upper body strength and make terrible direct combat troopers. The basic gender bias in the PT tests says it all. Add to that the gender difference in body mass. Even when a 120 pound woman can run as fast as a man in a test, she won't be able to do that when both are wearing 100 pounds of gear and its 110 in the Iraqi shade.

6. Ok assume 1 in 1000 enlisted women (and we need to focus the discussion on enlisted women and not female USMA grads.) can perform the real set of direct combat job skills wearing 80 pounds of crap in 110 degree. And she can do that aligned with the 50th percentile of 11B'S or 19E MOS's. So we have 1.2 million folks in the Army (all compos), and say 13% roughly are women? so that's roughly 150,000 women overall and 150 that can meet the standard, of course only 50 are in the Active Army. Now factor in choice. How many WANT to be riflemen, instead of medics or MPs or truck drivers. your 50 becomes 5.

(little aside: in Germany in 77, I was in a combat brigade near the border. Division wanted to assign women to the BDE HHC. The BDE CDR initially refused. not because he was against women (his wife ultimately outranked him as an Army SES civilian, when he wad only a BG) no, because he refused to take any women until Division sent him 3 and a female SGT. One was too much work. 4 was a managable number in a unit of 77.)

7. Bottom line. the Army isn't a social experiment. It is all about combat readiness, not about freedom and individual rights. there are not enough enlisted women who are both willing and capable of meeting the honest workload requirements in a direct combat squad or tank crew to make it cost effective to do so.


effectiveness not individual rights
12.18.2007 12:39pm
SenatorX (mail):
I am not so sure the argument of technological and biological science advancements to offset physical differences has been adressed completely. It's easy to think of what has worked in the past but the future is going to be much different. If anyone has read Dan Simmons think of the Ousters and all those modifications. If full powered battle armor, battle mechs, or highly modified bodies were in play would it make a difference? You could fall back on the sex dynamic issues but really that could be managed too. I know where most are comming from and I have hard time disagreeing but are we just thinking to small? I imagine a future where people will be into some extreme body modifications.
12.18.2007 12:40pm
Rob Perelli-Minetti (mail):

I emphasize the word republic (from the Latin res publica, or the people's thing) because the connection between citizenship and military service is as old as the concept of self-government; those who govern themselves protect themselves. Conversely, warrior aristocracies claiming a monopoly on the use of force based on their inherent superiority (birth into the nobility) are long viewed as antithetical to republicanism. This is in part because the reciprocal of protection is often obedience.

In the American example, the debate over the nature of the armed forces and who serves predates the republic. Issues of inclusion and exclusion are a constant thread in U.S. military history, both in (and between) the professional "regular" army and America's various citizen-armies. The same is true of the Navy. Military historian Alex Roland argues "that personnel is the most important topic...Who is going to fight, under what terms, and with what consequences? This is the fundamental question of American military experience."


Captain Mariner correctly, in my view, understands the critical importance to a republic such as ours of the issue of who fights. Although we now have an entirely professional military - except, perhaps for one enlistment junior enlisted personnel and some ROTC-commissioned junior officers, such a military would have been anathema to the Founders. However, despite the country's reliance primarily on militia or volunteers until the First World War, it should be noted that our officer corps has been primarily professional (in the higher ranks) since the early days of the republic. And, Captain Mariner's service, the Navy, has almost always been (again junior enlisted and some junior officers excepted) a fully professional service, which gives a different perspective.

Even with the strong devotion to the 'citizen soldier' concept in the 19th century (the impetus for such institutions as the Virginia Military Institute, Norwich University and the Citadel, all in the first half of the 19th century, as well as the requirement for military training contained in the 1862 Morrell Act establishing the Land Grant Colleges), the officer corps has always been primarily professional, especially at levels above regimental command.

One of the critical issues today, which I would like to see Captain Mariner address, is the fact that the upper and upper-middle classes are no longer significant sources of the officer corps of any of the services (except, perhaps, the Navy, where the yachting traditions of the (primarily Northeastern) upper class still makes attendance at Annapolis socially acceptable in a way that attendance at West Point is not). I would be particularly interested in her thoughts about the appeal of the academies to upper and upper-middle class young women -- I have known several and found them very impressive in many ways, though I think the jury is out on whether they could withstand the rigors of close combat.


There are many valid concerns about introducing women into direct ground combat forces. There are also many valid concerns that current exclusion policies are making it more difficult for commanders to get the job done while maintaining a legal fiction that women aren't in combat. It is time to review the current policies.


Herein, I think lies the real rub. There are no easy answers to these issues, and reasonable men and women can differ. At my alma mater, VMI, women cadets are held to the same physical standards as male cadets, which is not true at the federal academies or in the services. It means fewer women excel physically, and correspondingly fewer women are even willing to submit themselves to the regimen, but it does mean that women who do make it are accorded more respect and more likely to be treated equally by their maile classmates. Even so, there remains discomfort with women at VMI.

However, I think it is crucial that as a society we discuss and come to some conclusions about these knotty issues. While I try to remain open-minded, my own Burkean tendencies probably make me lean more towards emphasizing combat effectiveness over other factors, because if our forces do not win, the values of the larger society, including equality, will not prevail.
12.18.2007 12:46pm
Sk (mail):
1) Suppose you were having your house re-roofed. Suppose if it wasn't re-roofed in time, you would be blown up by a hand grenade. Would you choose a crew of men, or a crew of women? I would bet my life savings that there is not a female reroofing crew in the entire country.

Men are stronger than women. Strength matters in combat.

2) I applied for military scholarships as a high school student. I was found unqualified to be a pilot because I was too tall (specifically, I had an excessive 'sitting height.') That reduced my chance of earning an airforce scholarship. In theory, I could complain. Aircraft could easily be designed to allow people of my sitting height to fit. But it would be expensive and benefit a very small number of people. My 'rights' to be a pilot were outweighed by the military's 'rights' to fight wars in a cost-effective manner. (I put 'rights' in quotations because they aren't really rights. In fact, it should say, my 'opportunity' to be a pilot was outweighed by the military's 'choice' to fight wars in a cost-effective manner).

Rights talk isn't appropriate in this discussion. it is entirely reasonable to restrict the opportunities of a very few (tall sitters for pilots, females for combat soldiers) to maximize efficiency and minimize cost. The military is not obligated to be 'fair' (Whatever that means). It is obligated to be efficient.

Sk
12.18.2007 12:58pm
LTDan (mail):
Senator, that sci-fi stuff is a long, long way off.
Lightweight batteries and/or fuel cells to power little stuff like my radio or NODs haven't arrived yet. I'm not holding my breath for powered armor.

irc is right on about the team dynamic. We need the best individuals, true. But I would rather take 5 guys who are across the board 70 or 80 percent performers that work as a tight, integrated team than 10 110 percenters who can't come together to accomplish a goal. I'll say again, that the number/percentage of women that could hack it in combat arms is extremely small to begin with (those minimum standards you throw out don't apply to the infantry). The number of women who can physically do the job and integrate themselves with the men who do the job is much, much smaller still. When you factor the cohesion issues in on top of that (be they a form of sexism or not), you stand a great chance of overall negatively impacting performance of the team. Cost/benefit analysis points to no women in combat.

With all due respect to CAPT(ret) Mariner's career, Skyler's point about air combat is on the money. Yes, pilots have to be in great shape (to withstand g forces). Yes, they face great risks in training and combat. Hell, I'd even say that as a population pilots, male and female, are probably in most measurable ways superior to grunts. But combat experience of the two communities isn't comparable. A few hours of very stressful, technical work accompanied by hot meals, showers, mandated adequate rest vs. hours of trudging in the heat with 60-80 pounds of gear, often with limited showers, sleep, meals, constant fear of the enemy, etc. It's a different world. Don't get me wrong, I love those flyboys and all the bot death they can bring to my fight. But there is a reason the ground commander is the commander of the overall battle.
If there are any Joint Tactical Air Controllers (actual pilots who serve as forward observers for ground units) I'd love to hear their opinion.

I hate to say it, but a alot of pro-women in combat folks have never served and won't accept anecdotal evidence. I'd day give them what they want and let them reap what they sow, but somehow we military guys get blamed if the PC agenda doesn't work out.
12.18.2007 1:03pm
David M (mail) (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/18/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
12.18.2007 1:11pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot Reed
RE: You're Right

"Remarkably, one person's common sense is another person's ideologically-induced bias." -- Elliot Reed

It all depends on whether or not one is willing to accept factual evidence.

RE: You're Wrong

"When I tell you it's just common sense that my law school would be rife with sexism and bias against women, and my experience confirms that, you won't buy it because it goes against your preconceptions." -- Elliot Reed

I'll accept your report, as I've seen similar reports from credible sources that corroborate your report.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Your prejudice is showing.
12.18.2007 1:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. I see you failed to respond to any of my other reports.

I wonder if the the 'good captain' will do the same.....
12.18.2007 1:19pm
SenatorX (mail):
"Senator, that sci-fi stuff is a long, long way off.
Lightweight batteries and/or fuel cells to power little stuff like my radio or NODs haven't arrived yet. I'm not holding my breath for powered armor"

Closer than you think LTDan

Battery breakthroughs have occured recently with nanotubes and should be hitting the market in the next few years.

Anyway the time it takes to develop doesn't affect my argument. As I see it the real problem is just cost. How much should be spent on individual soldiers?
12.18.2007 1:23pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: SenatorX
RE: Well....

"Closer than you think LTDan

Battery breakthroughs have occured recently with nanotubes and should be hitting the market in the next few years." -- SenatorX

Wake me when it comes to reality.

RE: What Price Glory, Captain Rosemary?

"Anyway the time it takes to develop doesn't affect my argument. As I see it the real problem is just cost. How much should be spent on individual soldiers?" -- SenatorX

How much you got to spend, Senator?

And how many such equipped soldiers do you need?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[And when you ask them;
"How much should we giiiiiive;
They only answer;
"More! More! More!" -- Favorite Son, Credance Clearwater Revival]
12.18.2007 1:30pm
Truth Seeker:
I love it when a PC academic who is used to the fauning of other PC academics and clueless students finally enters the real word and has it pointed out how misguided her beliefs are! Welcome to reality! Note that only the usual "left of Mao" contingent agrees with her.
12.18.2007 1:31pm
Luke:
I did my four in the USMC infantry (as a 0341), and I have some observations to make based upon that experiance.

First, in the infantry, there is no expectation of privacy. And this is something that a lot of you are taking for granted.
Showering together, and standing guard over a squadmate who is taking a dump are only small snapshots of the actual living conditions. Unless you are on liberty or leave, you are always with the members of your platoon. There is no privacy. Even if you try to sneak off to the can with a dirty magazine, your squadmates know exactly where you are, and what you're doing. (In some facilities, they may be sitting on the next toilets, with no seperating walls between.)

Second, it does not matter if you are only 140 lbs soaking wet. The biggest SOB is always the casualty in casualty drills. And you'd best be able to carry him. Both of your lives may depend on it.
When I was in, I weighed around 190 lbs. Throw on sweat-soaked flack jacket and deuce gear, and I was pushing 270. Without a weapon, piece of crew serve weapon, ammunition, helmet, or backpack. On a march (AKA "hump"), it wasn't unusual for me to be packing more than my body weight before I even picked up a piece of the crew-served weapon.
And I was about average size. There are some big ol' boys out there.

Third, if women are allowed at a standard that they have trouble meeting, there will be a lot of political pressure to lower the standards.
You can see this throughout the current military standards.

Fourth, many women are perfectly willing (nay, eager) to exploit their sex and attain power over others. In the military, this is no different, but there's a lot more control to be had. Whether this was one of the two female-led prostitution ring scandals at the Comm school while I was at MCAGCC, or the Motor-T driver who had to pee, was mortified that someone might see her doing so, and got the Regimental Commander to stop a live-fire regimental exercize and have everybody turn away from her direction. (And no, those aren't the only such anecdotes I have. Despite being fairly isolated from those gender games by virtue of being in the infantry.)
There's a reason the acronym "WM" (officially "Woman Marine") is often used for "Walking Mattress".

Fifth, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of idealistic young men volunteering to join the infantry. There is no need to expand the applicant pool. (And make no mistake, nearly all people in the infantry explicitly volunteered to serve in the infantry.)

Sixth, we currently have the most powerful military in the world. We know our current system of men-only in combat roles works. You do not try to fix what isn't broken.

Now, there might be some women out there who play well with others.
But from having spent some time around sororities and the medical proffession, I have to say that, IMX, it is far from the norm.
The thought of a cohesive all-female unit is one that my wee brain simply cannot accept without a lot concrete evidence, over a significant amount of time.
Ditto that with respect to a mixed-gender unit.
12.18.2007 1:38pm
LTDan (mail):
Development is one thing, fielding is another...
Check out those huge power cables. What will they be attached to in the field.

Plus, is it truly ruggedized and ready for use in field conditions? No. It is hard to keep 4 trucks running perfectly all the time.

That stuff won't field any sooner than a decade or two from now.

There still is the aggression factor. Men are in fact, generally more aggressive than women. Aggression in combat is necessary to win.
12.18.2007 1:40pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Luke
RE: It's Not Broken....

"You do not try to fix what isn't broken." -- Luke

....from YOUR astute perspective.

But, from their perspective, they're not getting what THEY want. And what do women want? Mostly self-aggrandizement. [Note: Check out some of the discussions at Dr. [InstaWife] Helen's and Advice Amy's blogs.]

Military effectiveness, success on the battlefield and the fate of the Nation take a second seat in their eyes. Therefore, from their perspective, it IS 'broken'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Ever see a diarrhea ward in the middle of a jungle? I did when amoebic dysentery raced through my infantry battalion at the Jungle Warfare Training Center, Panama Canal Zone. We couldn't dig the slit trenches fast enough. And even then we were never really sure just what it was we were digging in....

Are you listening to what you want to get into here, girls?
12.18.2007 1:44pm
Chris Newman (mail) (www):
It looks as though it might already be possible to focus the question presented in a constructive way:

There seems to be little room for disagreement that combat is extremely strenuous and that physical requirements for those who engage in it need to be exacting. There also appears to be little dispute that if the same exacting standards are applied across the board, only a relatively small fraction of women will meet them. Several people have expressed concern that allowing women to even try to meet them will create pressure to lower the standards for women to let more through, or even to lower them across the board. Capt. Mariner will speak for herself on this point, but I see nothing in her initial post to suggest that the type of egalitarianism she espouses would demand anything other than women being given the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities, neither being excluded categorically nor having standards relaxed simply to let them in. Assuming this to be the case, then the only question is whether there is any factor other than physical ability that would justify categorical exclusion of those few women who could meet the requirements. (I note that the UK MOD study Alcyoneus linked reaches the same conclusion on this point: that physical ability does not justify any categorical exclusion of the 1% of women who could meet the standards.)

The key sticking point appears to be that of unit cohesion. The UK MOD study Alcyoneus linked concludes that women do have innate tendencies to be less aggressive, but that the obstacles this poses to unit cohesion can be overcome by training in non-combat situations. With regard to combat situations, the UK MOD study says simply that we don't know. The study concludes that the only way to know is to risk troops in combat, and since there is no compelling gain in military effectiveness to be obtained as a result of the experiment, nothing justifies the risk.

I think this leaves us with three main questions:

1) What, exactly, are the cultural and psychological factors (on the parts of both men and women) that present impediments to unit cohesion in mixed sex settings? To the extent that these are cultural factors, it seems possible that they can be overcome. Even to the extent that they are somehow innate, I would venture to guess that the 1% of women capable of pushing themselves to meet the physical standards of combat are likely to be outliers psychologically as well.

2) Can these impediments be overcome by training and acculturation? I think in discussing this we have to be careful not to minimize the problem. We're not talking simply about corporate sensitivity training here. The fact is that for millennia soldiers have been socialized to overcome their human instinct of self preservation in large part by specific appeal to their sense of manliness and their role as protectors of women. Whether we like it or not, the masculine gender role and the psychological package that goes with it are a large part of what convinces men to risk and sacrifice their lives. Card carrying Battlestar Galactica fan and cheerleader for gender neutral equality though I am, I do wonder whether the price of breaking the gender barrier in combat is not merely teaching men to get along with and respect women under stress, but finding a whole new way to motivate them to be soldiers in the first place. I don't claim that this is or should be insurmountable; indeed I hope it isn't. But I think it needs to be confronted.

3) The final question, assuming that we conclude whatever impediments exist can be overcome, is whether the price of doing so is worth it. It sounds as though Capt. Mariner may well have arguments to the contrary, but it appears at first blush that the motivation for integrating women into combat is not any potential for rendering the military more effective but rather a political goal. I don't claim that such a goal is invalid, but if the real underlying goal is to avoid making women second class citizens, then we need to ask whether the combat exclusion really does this and whether the political gains to women from eliminating it would justify whatever costs we would incur in retooling our military to be combat integrated.
12.18.2007 1:51pm
Drill SGT (mail):

It sounds as though Capt. Mariner may well have arguments to the contrary, but it appears at first blush that the motivation for integrating women into combat is not any potential for rendering the military more effective but rather a political goal. I don't claim that such a goal is invalid, but if the real underlying goal is to avoid making women second class citizens, then we need to ask whether the combat exclusion really does this and whether the political gains to women from eliminating it would justify whatever costs we would incur in retooling our military to be combat integrated.



Why not experiment in an academic setting first? :)

let's have The Dept of Ed and the NCAA abolish all gender differences in college athetics. all colleges would just field 1 basketball team, wrestling team, football team track team etc. no women's or men's gender based teams.

women would have full political rights to participate in all sports based on sheer ability and drive. after all Capt Mariner's position is:


My central premise is that military effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of the best qualified individuals in a gender integrated force, including combat roles. Participation should be predicated on individual performance and not presumed group traits. Women are neither inferior nor superior to men; we are all individuals first and foremost, accountable for our actions.


If the teams come out better (e.g win more battles) then we should proceed to the Army.
12.18.2007 2:05pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Chris Newman
RE: UK Studies

You seem to put a LOT of credence in studies conducted by the UK.

Frankly speaking, I have serious doubts as to the veracity of studies conducted by a group that is so egregiously politically correct as to be surrendering its national sovereignty before our very eyes, last week. Not to forget how they, as a government, are bending over backwards to appease the fanatic Muslims in their midst.

Their credibility strains credulity. Except that of the more credulous, here.

RE: The First Assumption...

"Assuming this to be the case, then the only question is whether there is any factor other than physical ability that would justify categorical exclusion of those few women who could meet the requirements." -- Chris Newman

....and your 'only question', amongst several....

....you seem to be overlooking one glaring problem; sexual relations.

Why is that?

You talk glibly about 'unit cohesion', but what do you mean by that? Does any of it have anything to do with men and women squabbling over sexual access to each other?

Let's go back to your UK study....

"The [UK MOD] study concludes that the only way to know [the affects of mixed gender combat formations] is to risk troops in combat, and since there is no compelling gain in military effectiveness to be obtained as a result of the experiment, nothing justifies the risk." -- Chris Newman

So, you're willing to risk other peoples' lives, and worse, for your social experiment?

Okay. You should immediately go forth and organize such a unit and be an integral part of it.

We'll throw you into Tikrit and see how you fare.

Peronally, I'd rather take lessons from history. Why don't the Israelis have co-ed combat units any more?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Wise men learn form other people's mistakes. Most people learn from their own. Fools NEVER learn.]
12.18.2007 2:09pm
john w. (mail):
... as SLA Marshall pointed out in Men Against Fire, soldiers don't fight for God and country, they fight for "the respect of their squad mates" ...

That undoubtedly explains why men will climb out of their relatively safe foxhole and run across a field of live fire to take out an enemy machine gun. It does not explain why they enlist in the first place(or in the case of draftees, why they show up instead of heading for Canada).

I believe that the main thing that motivates them to enlist in the fiirst place is some kind of (possibly subconscious) belief that they are protecting 'their' women and children.

If I'm wrong, please prove it; but if I'm right, then the presence of women in combat would (over the long term) undermine the motivation of the men to fight.
12.18.2007 2:11pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
Regarding "Republic" and citizenship, would this promote the old Heinlein idea (good book, bad movie) that the full benefits of citizenship should be conferred upon only those who have served? (Including the right to vote?)

On a more realistic note, what is the opinion of foreign nationals who serve? They do not fit into the paradigm of a connection between citizenship and military service. Unless of course it has been oftentimes used as a reward.
12.18.2007 2:12pm
TLove (mail):
"There wasn't much by way constitutional republican democracy either—until we did it. Nor was there any (known) history of running a four-minute mile—until Roger Bannister did it. And so forth and so on. "It's never been done before, therefore it must be impossible/a really bad idea" is simply a bad argument."

No. Most ideas we deal with are not new. Democracy, constitutional or otherwise, is as old as writing, and Madison et al. were not winging it. Not common, but not unheard of. Madison et al. were addressing the historical fact that the few attempts at democracy in the past had eventually been overthrown by the military. (My favorite in this ilk is the southern politicians pre-civil war argument that there was no society in history that did not keep slaves - and they were right).

Roger Bannister? We've been timing running for maybe 100 years. So who knew? My guess is standard issue humans, over then next 1000 years, are not going to run a mile under 3:30, whereupon we will be able to safely conclude that there is some fixed issue there.

Militaries co-exist with farming. We've been hacking at each other for 1000s of years in this fashion, and no one can point to the successful large scale use of women in ground combat or for that matter air combat, ever (the Russian women night-bomber pilots occupied a combat role least requiring unit cohesion - night ground attack - and were not numerous and were not continued after the war). Every society, every type of warfare, every outcome, every where, every time, no women.

Once you've tried something for 15,000 years or so, and no one has succeeded at it, you might want to step back and re-consider your premises.

Three other observations: First, the combat job least like the others is fighter pilot. The nearest thing on the ground is sniper (although sniper requires a physical strength that pilot does not). Most of the cited examples of female success in a warrior role, including the good Capt. and the Russian women, is as a pilot. This seems to be evidence that women should not be in combat, rather than the should be, because they have enjoyed a modicum of success only in the one combat job least like the others. Perhaps we confine women to being pilots and snipers?

Second, the "increase the pool of candidates" argument advances nothing. There are many jobs in a modern military that except under the most extreme circumstances do not experience combat. Recruiting women for those jobs frees the current male occupants for combat. You can increase the total pool of candidates by recruiting women for fundamentally non-combat jobs.

Lastly, I find it amazing that academics forget their college careers and what is going on around them in their current jobs, so I will remind them. When you put a large number of 18-25 boys and girls and boys together, you get lots and lots of sex. At least that is my fond recollection, perhaps your mileage sadly varied. Kids, away in a strange land, with no supervision, what a surprise. The problem with this in a combat situation (and actually in a corporate situation as well) is that sex creates a second hierarchy, in addition to and affecting the overt military hierachy, and automatically and inevitably, by its very existence, undermines the explicit military hierarchy. This is the only justifiable argument against gay men in the military - the introduction of a second set of distracting social issues (did he/she get promoted on merit or sex?, i.e. inside the hierarchy or outside). Nepotism creates the same dual hierarchy issue. To assert that this is not a crucial issue is silly. Sex in the office may get you fired, sued, and divorced, but usually not killed. In the military, on top of all that, it may also get you killed.

I am looking forward to the good Capt's commentary, although by already mis-characterizing the arguments against combat women, my expectations, like the physical training standards that were applied to her in the military, have already been lowered.

Perhaps the good Capt could start by explaining in detail why she thinks the conclusions drawn by the Israelies are wrong, and indeed what exactly she thinks the Israeli experience was.

The she could give us an analysis of the role of and effect of sex in the military.

Then she could address how flying a C-130 is just like sitting inside a tank or fighting house to house in Faluja.

/My personal appeal to authority: I know how to fly airplanes and I had a really good time in college./
12.18.2007 2:12pm
Chris Newman (mail) (www):
Can anyone point us to reliable information on the Israeli experience in this regard? If it is true, as has been asserted, that they tried integration and found it to be a failure, it would be useful to know exactly how they tried it (e.g., did they hold women to the same physical standards as men) and how exactly it failed.
12.18.2007 2:14pm
lurker-999 (mail):
"let's have The Dept of Ed and the NCAA abolish all gender differences in college athetics."

Extend the idea to professional athletics as well. As soon as an all-female football team wins the Superbowl, I for one will withdraw all my objections to women in combat.
12.18.2007 2:18pm
common sense (www):
Small point: snipers are nothing like pilots. Unless pilots put all of their gear in a drag bag, move overland for miles, approaching their targets in the end by crawling with enough food, water, commo gear, and batteries to last for days unsupplied, and sit in a hide for days without the ability to leave except in an emergency. Actually pulling the trigger has little to do with the actual job of a sniper, and indeed, and the best never do, instead passing information back to their parent units, which over time is generally more valuable than taking a couple of shots against HVT's.
12.18.2007 2:23pm
Drill SGT (mail):
John w,

you are correct on both your points.

1. patriotism and sense of adventure are the big drivers for recruiting intoo direct combat and elite units.
2. training and education plays a role more in recruition support (e.g trade ) jobs

3 "defending the women folk", like "child in danger" are hard wired into mammal psyche.
12.18.2007 2:28pm
HBowmanMD:

Chuck Simmins (mail) (www):
I would also remind folks than men come in all shapes and sizes. Few qualify as SEALS or Green Berets. Should that be seen as a strike against men in the military? Can a male soldier weighing 160 pounds be reasonably expected to easily move another soldier weighing over 200? No. It's just common sense that some tasks will be difficult or impossible for any given soldier under some circumstances.

Not all women will measure up just as not all men will. Our male soldiers lose in hand to hand combat situations, too. The real key to close combat is to fight smarter, not to be the biggest.


Chuck, I'd rather chance my rescue by a (say) 160 lb male pararescue specialist being able to lift my 190 lb, 6'3" pilot carcass than a 160lb female pararescue specialist. The male PJ will have sufficient upper body strength to carry me if necessary, the female, despite being the same mass would not. It's as simple as that.
12.18.2007 2:33pm
Chris Newman (mail) (www):
Chuck:

1) I responded to the UK study simply because it was proffered as evidence that integration undermines unit cohesion, and because it happened to be readily available online. I don't doubt that Prof. Browne's book cites much other relevant information, some of which may well support farther reaching conclusions on this point. I have no stake in defending the validity of the study, but your potshots at it based simply on the idea that the UK is a PC kinda place don't strike me as very persuasive.

2) I don't disagree with you: the problem of sexual relations and their effect on cohesion and morale are very relevant. I suspect, though, that being under enemy fire may be the one thing that can get a 20 year old guy's mind off sex.

(Just as an aside here, doesn't Plato have an argument somewhere in the Symposium that an army of lovers would be invincible, because no-one would want to dishonor themselves in front of their beloved? I'm certainly not citing Plato as an expert on combat, but I am open to arguments that the dynamics of sexual attraction are not necessarily inimical to being good soldiers.)

3) Perhaps I wasn't clear. My third point was precisely that we need to ask whether the cost of successful integration (which includes the risking of lives that would be needed to achieve it) is justified by whatever goal we are trying to achieve. I think this is a serious question and I for one would not risk other people's lives lightly. That doesn't mean I am unwilling to listen to arguments as to why it might be worthwhile.

I think you have a valuable perspective, Chuck. I for one would appreciate it if you'd present it with a little less snark.
12.18.2007 2:34pm
Drill SGT (mail):

lurker-999
"let's have The Dept of Ed and the NCAA abolish all gender differences in college athetics."

Extend the idea to professional athletics as well. As soon as an all-female football team wins the Superbowl, I for one will withdraw all my objections to women in combat.


arguably, pro teams could recruit women now.

I think the better test for the good captain's hypothesis would be college coed contact sports in pads (FB or LAX), with unitary locker rooms and coed hotel rooms on the road. the full rifle platoon experience.

see if the teams played better and had better cohession.
12.18.2007 2:35pm
SenatorX (mail):
I guess my point is just that most of the arguments against women serving in combat may change in the future. If conditions were met would you accept women into this role or would you just move the goalpost back? I wonder.
12.18.2007 2:37pm
lurker-999 (mail):
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www)wrote: "...Military effectiveness, success on the battlefield and the fate of the Nation take a second seat in their eyes...."

IIRC, Last week, during the comments that followed Prof. Browne's posts,one of the women-in-combat advocates finally came out (in a refreshing burst of candor) and pretty much said that. I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but basically the comment was "Male/Female equality is SO important that it is worth the price of causing unnnecessary battlefied casualties to achieve it, and even worth risking the survival of the country."

Rational arguments aren't going to have any effect against that kind of ideologically-induced blindness. ... Especially ironic when you consider that if we lose the next Big War, we will most likely be losing to a bunch of jihadi fundamentalists whose idea of 'equality' is to take equal turns with each of the women in his harem.
12.18.2007 2:42pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
History supposedly has it that the Theban Sacred Band was made up of pairs of lovers, an older man and a younger one. The older man was made strong by the idolization from the younger man, and the younger man had an example to live up to.
So goes the story.
It was apparently a kind of part-time unit, with little turnover. Dumping a bunch of horny kids without sexual structure into a unit and expecting them to come up with the same structure, which would ameliorate the two-hierarchy issue--as the Thebans is silly. It appears, so goes the story, that the pairs were formed prior to enlisting.
If there is any more on the subject of the Theban Sacred Band--most of mine comes from Mary Renault--it might be useful.
12.18.2007 2:43pm
Chris Newman (mail) (www):
It just occurred to me that when Plato was thinking of an army of lovers, he was of course imagining an all male, all-gay army. So maybe instead of trying to put women in combat we should be scrapping DADT and trying to up our recruitment of gay soldiers... ;)
12.18.2007 2:44pm
HBowmanMD:

Scipio_79: There is a warrior aristocracy in this country and the military likes that. I was once told by a recruiter that if two applicants are identical in everything but a history of family military involvement, the one with the family history will be chosen. When at Marine Corps OCS, all candidates are told that the Corps hopes that service in the Corps for your family will become a tradtion if it isn't already. We have a warrior elite, like or not.



You're missing the point. If there were two equally (well) qualified candidates for either an officers slot or an enlisted slot, both would be taken, and a lesser-qualified individual would be bumped.
12.18.2007 2:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Chris Newman,

If I get it correctly, the pairs were formed first.
Pot luck with a bunch of individuals would be a problem, IMO.

And, considering what Desperate Housewives is supposed to be about, the stability of a unit featuring either gay or het pairs seems dicey.
12.18.2007 3:07pm
GV_:
I have no opinion on whether woman should be fighting in combat. With that out of the way, a few random points.

The “experiment” with sports is off base. Athletes, including college athletes, are probably nearly all in the top 3 or 4 percent of the population in terms of being in shape. So even if no woman could compete with your typical NBA or NCAA player in basketball, it would add nothing to this argument. It would prove, at most, that women are not in the top 3 or 4 percent of the most fit people in this country. But surely there are a lot of men currently in the army who could not meet that requirement. In other words, no one seems to be arguing that some women would be physically more fit (or however you want to phrase it) than all men or even more physically fit than an elite man; instead, people seem to be arguing that some women could meet the basic physical requirements that men must meet.

My second point. I've seen no evidence (only stories or guesses) regarding the number of women who could meet the minimum requirements imposed on men. Given that there's no evidence, I suspect people's intution says more about them than it says about the right answer to the quesiton.

My last point. A few people have mentioned that "only" one percent of all women could meet the minimum physical requirements. I know this is just a guess, but I thought it was worth pointing out that if this is true, it would mean 1.5 million women meet the physical requirements. Of course, not all or most of those women want to join the army or fight in combat,but "only" one percent is still a large number of women.
12.18.2007 3:15pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
GV. If a satisfactory number of women could meet the men's minimum requirements, we wouldn't see separate and lower minimum requirements for women.
Let's presume, for grins, that it really is "1%". What is the gain from having one percent more women in the combat units versus the various costs?
12.18.2007 3:31pm
HBowmanMD:

GV:

My last point. A few people have mentioned that "only" one percent of all women could meet the minimum physical requirements. I know this is just a guess, but I thought it was worth pointing out that if this is true, it would mean 1.5 million women meet the physical requirements. Of course, not all or most of those women want to join the army or fight in combat,but "only" one percent is still a large number of women.



Not quite. Perhaps 1 or 2% of women in the appropriate age cohort (18-30 or so) can meet these requirements. In fact, I'd be surprised if the number is that high within that cohort.

Lets conduct an experiment (funded by the USGov) and actually measure the fitness of women in that age range. See how many meet the USMC standards for a recruit (not gender-normed).
12.18.2007 3:32pm
Elliot123 (mail):
The military may be capable of judging who qualifes for combat, but I doubt our society is capable of accepting their judgement. We live in a world where disparities in group representation is taken to be evidence of discrimination.

We have seen forty years of lowering standards to allow for more equal group representation in schools, companies, and government. Many affirmative action programs are simply the imposition of lower standards for some minority.

Is there any reason to think the militray will escape the same fate?
12.18.2007 3:43pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
HB. It would seem reasonable to send women through USMC bootcamp using men's standards and see how many can graduate. Theoretically, getting in while somewhat sloppy is different from the kind of Marine the line units expect to have show up ready to go.
12.18.2007 3:44pm
john w. (mail):
I have a simple question (but only for the folks with actual ground combat experience, not for the armchair second-guessers):

On average, would a combat infantry platoon consisting of, say, 40 men and 4 women perform in combat (a) better than, (b) equal to, or (c) worse than, a platoon consisting of just the 40 men by themselves?
12.18.2007 3:49pm
JOe:


Prior to WWII and even during WWII we isolated blacks from the superior white soldier because of the perceived inferiority of the black man as a solider. Obviously, numerous black regiments, tuskeegee airmen, etc., proofed us wrong. Due to the sucess of the black soldier, the subsequent intergration of the armed services, we are what be described as a better fighting force (ie the sole purpose of our military)

In the posts over the last 3-4 weeks - I havent seen any documentation supporting a similar result with the female soldier. The only objective evidence on the subject appears to have been Israel's decision to reduce the role of female combat soldiers over the last 10 years.
12.18.2007 3:50pm
Happyshooter:
The 24th Infantry regiment served very poorly indeed, and was a slap to the all black units who had gone before.
12.18.2007 4:01pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: john w
RE: WWMD?

"...if I'm right [about why men enlist in the first place is to 'protect their women back home'], then the presence of women in combat would (over the long term) undermine the motivation of the men to fight." -- john w

Could be correct.

On the other hand, consider this....

If men are sometimes hard-pressed to pass by a stricken comrade-in-arms while crossing that last 100 meters to engage an enemy in close combat, what would they do if they saw a woman member of their team struck down?

I think I heard, somewhere, that this was the problem that the Israelis encountered and why they no longer have co-ed combat units. I'd need to dig that one up again. But certainly the IDF would 'share' such lessons with US.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[In war, as in law, possession is 9 points out of 10, and the Infantry are the bailiff's men.]
12.18.2007 4:02pm
Rob Perelli-Minetti (mail):

HB. It would seem reasonable to send women through USMC bootcamp using men's standards and see how many can graduate. Theoretically, getting in while somewhat sloppy is different from the kind of Marine the line units expect to have show up ready to go.


It's not completely the equivalent, but women do go through the VMI Ratline (the approximately 6 month long traditional "adversative" training system) and are graded on the same physical training criteria as men within the Corps. The system is as much psychological as physical, but women who survive do have to pass a men's PT test, if barely. The number of women who are even willing to try it is small - perhaps 8-9% of an incoming class -- and not all of them stay, but some do and excel. Would they be qualified as combat arms officers or as SOPs officers? I just don't know. The view within the Corps and the alumni is very much mixed, but if I had to go into combat with any given group of women, women VMI graduates would be my first choice.
12.18.2007 4:04pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: HBowmanMD
RE: The Rescue

"I'd rather chance my rescue by a (say) 160 lb male pararescue specialist being able to lift my 190 lb, 6'3" pilot carcass than a 160lb female pararescue specialist. The male PJ will have sufficient upper body strength to carry me if necessary, the female, despite being the same mass would not. It's as simple as that." -- HBowmanMD

I did not witness this particular bit of anecdotal evidence about this sort of thing, I had just been assigned to my second tour in the 82d and my brigade had just come back from an off-post exercise in Yakima. But a similar situation, albeit from a different perspective, was the talk of my fellow officers....

During the exercise a tank ran over a soldier on the ground, crushing him in the abdomen and pelvis.

A medivac helicopter was called in to evacuate the mortally injured soldier.

The litter team from the helo consisted of one male and one female medic.

Upon seeing the condition of the dying man, the female medic 'lost it'. Other soldiers of the man's unit had to do her job for her.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If the enemy is in range, chances are you are too.]
12.18.2007 4:12pm
agesilaus:
Commenting on the idea that combat flying doesn't require upper body strength. Well modern fighters are designed to the strength limit of the pilots. They can subject the pilots to 6 or 8 G (or even more). A pilot is laying back and daydreaming while subjected to 8 Gs he still has to function, he must still scan the controls and watch what's happening outside the aircraft. That 5 pound helmet now weighs 40 pounds, and your 10 pound head now weighs 80 pounds. A big muscular neck is needed to let you continue to keep your head in constant motion, a head and helmet that now weigh 120 pounds.

The same thing applies to arm motions.

Strength is important to combat flying, maybe not to flying an Orion but to fighter pilots it is.
12.18.2007 4:14pm
Drill SGT (mail):

Prior to WWII and even during WWII we isolated blacks from the superior white soldier because of the perceived inferiority of the black man as a solider. Obviously, numerous black regiments, tuskeegee airmen, etc., proofed us wrong. Due to the sucess of the black soldier, the subsequent intergration of the armed services, we are what be described as a better fighting force (ie the sole purpose of our military)


integrating Army units is and interesting but not completely comparable event.

1. integrated units are tougher to lead. by this I mean that both blacks and whites look at the leader and can perceive biases (+/-) that may or may not exist

2. the pool of black men fit for direct combat jobs is much larger than the comparble pool of women, making the payoff better



Chuck(le)
[In war, as in law, possession is 9 points out of 10, and the Infantry are the bailiff's men.]


my verision is:


The war is over when your infantrymen plant the flag on the ruins of the enemy's capital.
12.18.2007 4:14pm
common sense (www):
John W.,
For the sake of argument, I'll distill combat to a simple battle drill, react to enemy contact, and assume the place of a PL. For survivability and sustainability reasons, its important to destroy the enemy as quickly as possible. My 1st SL will encounter an enemy, establish a base of fire, and get a quick sit rep back to me. If the enemy is small enough, I will order him to assault through, which is essentially a frontal assault. In doing so, I assume (well, if its my platoon, I've ensured this capability through training) that all members of that squad are able to physically conduct such an assault. This entails 3-5 second rushes in very disciplined lanes, attempting to maximize fire and cover. Once you get close enough to the enemy, it may involve shooting him at point blank range, in a worst case scenario. If the enemy is too large to assault through, I will instruct the squad leader to suppress the enemy, and possibly send forward additional resources to enable him to do so, up to and including the entire platoon. Then I will lead one of the other squads to a flank position, and assault through the enemy position while incrementally shifting my point squads fire away from my location as we move through the enemy's location. Once the enemy is destroyed, we will quickly consolidate and re-organize, fall back into march order, and get out before any potential enemy counter attack or artillery fire. So, because contact can dictate my march order or who is required to assault through an objective, I need to know that all of my Soldiers can, without fail, physically do so. I will not take a Soldier who is not capable of doing so. In addition, I have to know that each of my Soldiers will see their buddy to the right take a bullet to the chest, and shift right to cover his lane and continue moving forward. I need to know that if that enemy is too large for my platoon to handle, I can break contact, and in doing so, any of my soldiers can drag that buddy backwards under fire, then throw him on his shoulders and break contact. If I can be sure that the four women can do all of that without me having to think twice about which squad is on point, then we can move on to other battle drills, forced marches, and the really complex tactical scenarios that good infantry platoons train against. I'd love to take a platoon with four women how can meet that physicality requirement for extended training cycles, and can demand the respect of the people I'd eventually have to promote her over, and see how the platoon turned out. However, absent 4 such women who haven't decided to become pro athletes and can deal with being privates despite being in the absolute cream of the crop physically for their sex, I'd rather take 40 men (actually, 34, but that's not the topic) than 40 men and 4 women who'd I'd have to account for.
12.18.2007 4:20pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Chris Newman
RE: Discussions

“I responded to the UK study simply because it was proffered as evidence that integration undermines unit cohesion, and because it happened to be readily available online.” -- Chris Newman

I’ll admit not to have seen it. However, I would like to. Do you have a link you could provide me with/

“I have no stake in defending the validity of the study, but your potshots at it based simply on the idea that the UK is a PC kinda place don't strike me as very persuasive.” -- Chris Newman

Actually, you do have a stake. Albeit more remote than those of us who deal with the front line issues. That is IF you’re an citizen of the United States. More direct if you have children of military age.

“I don't disagree with you: the problem of sexual relations and their effect on cohesion and morale are very relevant. I suspect, though, that being under enemy fire may be the one thing that can get a 20 year old guy's mind off sex.” -- Chris Newman

See my comment to john w about this (above).

“(Just as an aside here, doesn't Plato have an argument somewhere in the Symposium that an army of lovers would be invincible, because no-one would want to dishonor themselves in front of their beloved? I'm certainly not citing Plato as an expert on combat, but I am open to arguments that the dynamics of sexual attraction are not necessarily inimical to being good soldiers.)” -- Chris Newman

Don’t get me started on homosexuals in the military. I see the problem therein as identical to that we touched on vis-a-vis men and women and combat-zone-boredom.

“Perhaps I wasn't clear. My third point was precisely that we need to ask whether the cost of successful integration (which includes the risking of lives that would be needed to achieve it) is justified by whatever goal we are trying to achieve. I think this is a serious question and I for one would not risk other people's lives lightly. That doesn't mean I am unwilling to listen to arguments as to why it might be worthwhile.” -- Chris Newman

I may well have misunderstood you in that. I apologize for my oversight.

“I think you have a valuable perspective, Chuck. I for one would appreciate it if you'd present it with a little less snark.” -- Chris Newman

Snark comes with the turf. Especially after mucking around in it for 27 years. Maybe I have a genotype similar to Ambrose Bierce. I understand he was a regimental officer of federal troops during the Civil War. I think he’s pretty snarky....and effective as well.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Peace, n., A period of cheating amongst nations between two periods of war. -- Ambrose Beirce, The Devil’s Dictionary]
12.18.2007 4:20pm
agesilaus:
From Neptunis Lex Blog:

"truth, a little bit concerned, although we struggled to hide it from our peers.

You see, with 7.5 g's available, the FA-18 that we both grew up flying was considered a high-g airframe. Seven and a half g's is no joke, it's the real deal. At 7.5 g? Your standard, Mark I, Mod 0, fleet naval aviator, who checks in at maybe a buck-eighty with his boots on concrete weighs a little over 1300 pounds at 7.5 g.

It's that whole mass vs. weight thing you read about in high school.

That's a lot, 1350 pounds. A lot.

More than you'd think.

A lot.

But we'd done it successfully for the better part of three years, so we knew we had that.

But the Viper had a little more to offer. Nine g's, in fact. Which is only 1.5 g's more than the Hornet's 7.5, so it probably doesn't seem like that big a deal to you.

Which is only because you'd never pulled 9 g's. And neither had we. At 9 g's, that fleet standard pilot would be clocking a shade over 1600 pounds. Which is the better part of a Michael Moore more than 7.5 g's gave you."

"So we weren't entirely sure we had that. Nine g's, that is. And there's always the lingering concern that AHA! finally! the company will discover that critical chink in your armor, the one that turns you from fighter pilot into mere mortal, the one that means you'll be banished to Coventry, or submarines, or some other, more horrible fate. This would come in the form of being unable to hack the maximum g. Passing out under pressure. And then doing the "funky chicken.""
12.18.2007 4:34pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: agesilaus
RE: Really?

"Strength is important to combat flying, maybe not to flying an Orion but to fighter pilots it is." -- agesilaus

Then why do all the new fighter planes US turn out have 'fly-by-wire' controls. It's like sitting in a wrap-around video game. Damn little arm movement is involved when you've got on hand wrapped around a joystick for aeronautics and weapons while the other manages speed and other controls that are at the fingertips.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[It's all in the wrist.]
12.18.2007 4:35pm
JohnS:
Re: Israeli women, see Mackubin Thomas Owens

I also just discovered the Center for Military Readiness, a site with a very definite point of view on women in combat; I think it's fair to say they oppose it.
12.18.2007 4:37pm
vince manning (mail):
Former buck sergeant, US Army Alaska, former senior drill sergeant, Forts Dix and Benning, former Airborne Ranger. Women have an extremely limited role in the armed forces, as they should, and have no role to play in combat. Individual cases may present a basis for an exception, but not a basis for policy. Political agendas fare poorly when masquerading as someone "in the know". A Navy captain?Please.
12.18.2007 4:39pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: agesilaus
RE: Follow-On Question

What are the stats on flight performance between men and women in similar aircraft?

Surely the AF and Navy are keeping such data. But we so seldom see it mentioned.

One would think that if women were doing as well as or better than men, someone would be boasting about it.

On the other hand, if they aren't doing well, I could see why the information is suppressed. Sort of like the way the FDA suppressed the benefits of alcohol consumption since the '70s; politically incorrect.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Never mind the facts - I know what I know. -- Some FDA flack in the '70s]
12.18.2007 4:40pm
Pliny, the Elder (mail):
I am a LTC about to mobilize (again), but that is not what I want to discuss. I used to be a serious student of philosophy of science and I remain fascinated by the manner in which evolution is dismissed everytime it purports to reach any interesting conclusions about humans. Other than for poking fun at fundametalists, of what use is a field of science that must be ignored every time it (arguably) reaches a conclusion.
12.18.2007 4:48pm
SenatorX (mail):
"Don’t get me started on homosexuals in the military. I see the problem therein as identical to that we touched on vis-a-vis men and women and combat-zone-boredom."

Ahh I have long suspected this. I view it as the same reasoning that the moslems have about gays. It's being "woman like" that is the problem. One clue is the focus on whether you are a "giver or reciever".
12.18.2007 4:50pm
Drill SGT (mail):

The “experiment” with sports is off base. Athletes, including college athletes, are probably nearly all in the top 3 or 4 percent of the population in terms of being in shape. So even if no woman could compete with your typical NBA or NCAA player in basketball, it would add nothing to this argument. It would prove, at most, that women are not in the top 3 or 4 percent of the most fit people in this country. But surely there are a lot of men currently in the army who could not meet that requirement.


GV, I'm not talking about the NBA, and we're talking about the strength and endurance needed to be a light infantryman (marine). able to walk and run for hours carrying huge loads, in bulky gear, while being aware of threats from all sides. do that for weeks. you vastly underestimate the endurance and fitness required. yes, many nearly all support soldiers can't compete on that level and neither can any but a handfull of wmoen soldiers.
12.18.2007 4:52pm
cathyf:
Let's presume, for grins, that it really is "1%". What is the gain from having one percent more women in the combat units versus the various costs?
I can postulate one possibility... In Iraq right now, a significant part of the mission of Army and Marine combat troops is training Iraqi Army combat troops. There is lots of evidence (although anecdotal) that the training mission is made more effective by the interaction between an Iraqi squad and an American enlisted soldier who can kick the butts of every Iraqi in the unit and everyone knows it. I am willing to believe that, in that role, a single American enlisted woman who can kick their asses is as effective as 1000 American enlisted men who can do the same.

From that point of view, 1% is a pretty good win, worth the costs. Even 2 or 3 tenths of 1% is probably above "break even".

But that argument has a fairly important characteristic -- it really only works well if you limit women in the "butt-kicking" ranks to women who are truly ass-kickers. Lowering standards is, if anything, counterproductive.
12.18.2007 4:56pm
Drill SGT (mail):
Chuck,

I'm a pilot, but not a jet jock.

2 points.

1. body size matters, like goldilocks, not too short, not too tall, etc. hand have a forearm length long enough to reach the stick when weighing half a ton.

2. neck muscles matter. though the controls are fly by wire, at 6g's your head weighs 100 pounds. good (huge) neck muscles mean you can turn your head and live while pulling g's
12.18.2007 5:00pm
common sense (www):
Cathyf,
I doubt the Iraqi soldiers would pay attention to a woman long enough for her to show her dominance. Its bad enough that Jewish Soldiers have to hide their religion when in training roles. Women can't do that as easily. Its almost impossible to keep the Iraqis in training and in the army. Force them to listen to women, insulting their manhood, and they will flee in droves.
12.18.2007 5:02pm
Rob Perelli-Minetti (mail):
cathyf wrote:

But that argument has a fairly important characteristic -- it really only works well if you limit women in the "butt-kicking" ranks to women who are truly ass-kickers. Lowering standards is, if anything, counterproductive.


The problem with this argument is that we really don't know (1) how many women are "truly ass-kickers" and, (2) of those (statistically probably very very few) who are, how many of them would be ready and willing to sign up.

In warfare, the results of failure are catastrophic, and so, intuitively, our tolerance for anything that increases the probability of failure is limited to begin with, even if the risky action also might be beneficial.

Any analysis of the increase in risk is subjective, but no serious observer would deny that the risks are real. Likewise, the potential benefits are highly speculative. A further problem is that many (at least most people who have seen military service and especially ground combat) believe the risks of failure are risks to the unit as a whole, the benefits seem primarily to inure to the individual women for whom opportunities are provided - assuming they don't end up as casualties.
12.18.2007 5:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: JohnS
RE: NRO Article

Thanks for that link. Sort of what I had heard some time ago.

RE: The 'Protective' Israelis Men

"For one thing, according to the late Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, women reduced the combat effectiveness of Haganah units because men took steps to protect them out of "fear of what the Arabs would do to [the] women if they captured them."" -- Article Extract

There were a number of women with Jessica Lynch in that ill-fated Maintenance Company the Iraqis ambushed early in GWII.

Jessica Lynch was, in my honestly held opinion, kept alive because she was pretty, young, blonde and she looked like a what an Arab would call a western Christian, i.e., a 'Person of the Book'.

On the other hand, Lori Piestewa, of the Hopi Indian Nation, was captured and later died. I recall hearing are report of how her body was found in what amounted to a shallow mass grave near the hospital where Lynch was rescued. Some reports of the discovery seemed to indicate that those in the grave had been executed.

I'm searching the web now, but I cannot find much information about the discovery. As it is becoming 'disappeared'. There IS one report of how she did not die in the initial ambush, but was wounded and evacuated to the same hospital as Lynch and that she died there. But the original article has become 'disappeared'.

My point here is that I suspect that the Israelis know their enemy better than we do. It is my considered opinion that because Piestewa was murdered by her captors because she did not look like a member of the 'People of the Book' and Islam calls for their murder if they will not accept Islam if captured and the question is put to them.

But that's just my personal opinion.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Listen to what they're telling you. It could be the truth.]
12.18.2007 5:15pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Pliny the Elder
RE: And....

"Other than for poking fun at fundametalists, of what use is a field of science that must be ignored every time it (arguably) reaches a conclusion." -- Pliny the Elder

...your exact point here is.....?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Pass the wine that is giving you this Truth.
12.18.2007 5:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Drill SGT
RE: Pilot Stuff

"1. body size matters, like goldilocks, not too short, not too tall, etc. hand have a forearm length long enough to reach the stick when weighing half a ton." -- Drill SGT

Yeah. Had a friend who wound up flying Chinooks because he was too tall for the snakes.

"2. neck muscles matter. though the controls are fly by wire, at 6g's your head weighs 100 pounds. good (huge) neck muscles mean you can turn your head and live while pulling g's" -- Drill SGT

Saw that one coming the moment I hit the 'Post Comment' button.

But a cervical collar can help support a pencil, er swan neck. And a lot of women have had LOTS of practice saying 'No'. [Note: Gives them lots of neck exercise, so they can swivel it around.]

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. My eyesight wasn't good enough to follow in my Father's flight path. So I took to jumping out of them instead.
12.18.2007 5:23pm
George Wellington (mail):

Last, but not least, Prof. Browne's central justification for excluding women from combat seems to be the notion that women are inherently inferior to men, based on "new evidence" drawn from evolutionary psychology (EP). In other words, the individual doesn't matter. Yet, as Edward Hagen of the Institute for Theoretical Biology explains EP, "nothing in evolutionary theory privileges males over females, however, nor does evolutionary theory prescribe social roles for either sex."

This appeal to natural superiorty is reminiscent of Social Darwinism, where proponents of racial superiority misappropriated the work of Darwin to advance their social agendas. It was used to justify Eugenics and a lot worse. Arguments of supposed innate superiority (as opposed to demonstrated individual ability) have no place in prescribing the participation of adult citizens in America's public institutions.



Just to be clear: does everyone agree that these two paragraphs consist of total bs?
12.18.2007 5:29pm
Happyshooter:
Just to be clear: does everyone agree that these two paragraphs consist of total bs?

Yep.
12.18.2007 5:34pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Geroge Wellington
RE: Total BS?

"Just to be clear: does everyone agree that these two paragraphs consist of total bs?" -- George Wellington

Affirmative.

RE: Her Basic Premise

She's not arguing about effective fighting units. She's arguing about the 'rights of individuals'.

It's the same old song and dance we've heard for the last 100 years. And it is STILL just so much horse-hockey when it comes to fielding a fighting machine that can win wars.

They should learn to live with it.

Case in point.

My sister married an Iranian expat. He's got a Ph.D. in biochemistry and has taught at Duke. [Note: He moved on before it went down the toilet into PC oblivion.]

Guess what happened to my security clearance.

Not my fault, by any stretch of the imagination. [Note: Unless I took up the Muslim approach to a close family female marrying outside her 'tribe'.] But I'd never see COL because of the slight possibility that there might be some leverage there....if he went 'south' on US.

I can live with it. But these self-serving people who cannot abide the FACT that there are problems with combat formations being 100% effective in battle if they are there can't get over their 'personal problem'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Mission ALWAYS comes FIRST!]
12.18.2007 5:46pm
Drill SGT (mail):
Just to be clear: does everyone agree that these two paragraphs consist of total bs?


yep,

different is not superior/inferior, just different. If women are inferior to men in one area, they may may be superior in another. language skills for one.
12.18.2007 5:46pm
john w. (mail):
cathyf wrote: " ...In Iraq right now, a significant part of the mission of Army and Marine combat troops is training Iraqi Army combat troops...."

What you are describing is *NOT* combat, even if the troops who are doing it happen to be officially designated as a 'combat unit.'

Combat is blood and guts -- literally. Combat is the smell of your buddy's brains frying after they were splattered onto the hot barrel of a machine gun. Combat is shoving your bayonet into the stomach of another human being, without stopping to think about it. Combat is seeing your best friend wounded, and having to leave him/her lying there while you continue the advance. Combat is hand-to-hand fighting to the death with a man who (if you are a typical female) is twice as strong as you are.
12.18.2007 5:51pm
Erin (mail):
It seems to me that it's the attitudes of the men, not the presence of women, that is the barrier to unit cohesion. Whether it's 'worth' changing those attitudes seems to be the question.

I have a lot of experience in being the only woman in all-male groups (including competitive teams, both sports and non-sports, and for a good part of that time I was the captain of the non-sports teams) and found that men who had a problem with my 'girliness' were also men who had problems with any kind of structure that did not have them as top dog. So, in a military context, I'm sure they would have been grousers and complainers -- no matter who was serving next to them. If it wasn't a woman holding them back, it would be a black man, or a Jew, or a guy from Schenectady.

There were often 'privacy' issues as well: I shared a lot of facilities, etc. with no problems (and these were college-age men, as pointed out above). If people are treated matter-of-factly (without leering, comments, etc) it's pretty easy to work around these issues. (And if you say that men are "naturally" going to make comments, etc., the old "boys will be boys" argument, I would wonder why you think someone who can't even control his mouth is automatically more suited for the quick decisionmaking of combat?)

Undoubted, we want to have an effective military. It would be extremely effective for us to take strong boys from their mothers at birth, raise them in an all-male environment, and train them exclusively for combat. But we don't do that, because that's not the kind of society we are, and that's not the kind of society we want to fight for. So how do we balance the need for a well-equipped fighting force with the need for a society worth fighting for, one that allows qualified individuals the honor of fighting for their country?
12.18.2007 6:00pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Erin
RE: Sports Teams vs. Combat Teams

"It seems to me that it's the attitudes of the men, not the presence of women, that is the barrier to unit cohesion." -- Erin

Ignorance is bliss, ain't it.

How much weeks have you spent with an infantry squad in the muck of a jungle after jumping into it?

Or did your team go back to a motel after the 'big game'?

How many of your team-mates were killed or seriously wounded?

What did you and your college boys do for 'fun' when you were bored after several weeks of sitting around in the same motel doing nothing but waiting for the next 'game'? I suppose you had no television or radios or CDs or DVDs or even newspapers there. Just each other.

In short, your analogy breaks down rather early. Don't you think?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. All of this. ALL OF IT, is another reason why I support the idea of Universal Governmental Service (UGS).

After the kids leave high school, for whatever reason, their a-- belongs to Uncle Sam, for at least two years.

The first six months is training, i.e., Basic and advanced, if they're inclined for military service. If not, after basic, it's whatever sort of training whatever branch of the government is they're going into; GSA, US Forest Service, VISTA, Peace Corps, etc., etc., etc.

After their term of service is over, it's the GI Bill, as of post WWII era. AND they get to VOTE. [Note: Yeah. It's Heinlein, but it works.]

If they fail, there's no GI Bill. And they don't get to vote.
12.18.2007 6:24pm
SenatorX (mail):
Military men are misogynists, news at 11. Maybe if you are told "don't be pussy" long enough in training it grows on you?

I thought it was an excellent post Erin.
12.18.2007 6:31pm
George Wellington (mail):

Erin the Sexist, Today: It seems to me that it's the attitudes of the men, not the presence of women, that is the barrier to unit cohesion. Whether it's 'worth' changing those attitudes seems to be the question.

Erin the Sexist, back in the Prof. Browne threads: I remember reading a study that women pilots were better able to undergo g-forces (i.e., less likely to black out in spins) than men, and that they also did better on tests of attention and comprehension of instruments. If it were proven that women were better pilots/gunners along that axis, wouldn't it be worthwhile to modify equipment to have women take over their jobs? We can make stuff lighter fairly easily; it's harder to make brains better. It would save lives too, presumably, to have the best possible pilots ... [sic] And what about all-women units? No precious male lives would be lost, unit cohesion not a problem, and you can bet the volunteer women soldiers would be the gung-est of the gung-ho.


As Point of Fact put it then, "This is clearly an argument that women have better brains than men and should take over their roles in combat, at least as pilots. She is arguing no males should be pilots because men have inferior brains to women. If you cannot see that, you are illiterate."

Perhaps the problem isn't the attitudes of men, but the fact that Erin is a female chauvinist.
12.18.2007 6:33pm
Brian K (mail):
If I'm wrong, please prove it

isn't it your responsibility to prove that you are right? especially with more controversial and dubious claims. otherwise, what's to prevent me from saying your a child molester or some similarly evil thing and expecting you to disprove it?
12.18.2007 6:51pm
SenatorX (mail):
American Military : Bastion of Socialism? Size 12 shoes only, others need not apply!
12.18.2007 6:53pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
isn't it your responsibility to prove that you are right?

No. That is Rosemary Mariner's obligation. And she isn't off to a good start.
12.18.2007 6:57pm
Brian K (mail):
Aegis,

she as the responsibility to prove her arguments, just as you have a responsibility to prove yours.

demanding that someone disprove something that you just made up out of thin air is not an intelligent argument.
12.18.2007 7:08pm
MarkField (mail):

Just to be clear: does everyone agree that these two paragraphs consist of total bs?


No, I think she fairly characterized much of Browne's argument. That said, I'm happy to see her get his bullshit out of the way, because I'm interested in her affirmative case, not the weaknesses in Browne.
12.18.2007 7:09pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

No, I think she fairly characterized much of Browne's argument.



And most people here disagree with you. Look at that.


she [h]as the responsibility to prove her arguments,



She can start by not mischaracterizing Professor Browne. Even if persuasive to you, knocking down strawmen with cheap, third-grade level sophistry is fallacious.
12.18.2007 7:20pm
Erin (mail):
George, I have said all along that it should be "the best person for the job" ... and although I don't think that all women are better than all men, I certainly think I'm better than you, if all you have is name-calling.

And Chuck, you're absolutely right. It was certainly not the stress of watching people be killed, but it was as high-stress as you can get without risk of mortal injury. It was back in the dim mists of time pre-iPod and pre-DVD, so there were also long hours of boredom &isolation involved (again, without the fear that our lives were at risk). I do believe though, and I believe from my own experience and with conviction, that when people are inclined to treat others with respect, that they can work as a team no matter what the circumstances.

And I'm totally with you on national service ... if it's not just "make the young-uns do it". Everyone above the age of when service starts should either have to pay $$ in forfeit or commit to serving in retirement. AND I'm only in favor if my national service job is based on my ACTUAL APTITUDES, and not just "here sweetie, girls are good at language -- here's some typing for ya! Have fun!"
12.18.2007 7:29pm
mrsizer (www):
I hate to admit this, but Chuck is right: The issue with women and gay men is almost exactly the same. It's sex. It's that simple.

Face it: Combat-ready humans are sexy both physically and psychologically. Could people be trained to ignore that? Perhaps, but that very training would make them less effective. How can someone be aggressive yet ignore available sex right next to him, especially when bored?

Keep women and gay men out of combat units. Serving at all is another question entirely - there are a lot of military desk jobs that don't require any unit cohesiveness.

My appeal to authority: Gay Male SSgt USAF (question to the abbreviation police: What's the appropriate suffix for "honorably discharged after 4 years when I did not reenlist because I realized I was gay and the Air Force wasn't the place for gay men"?)
12.18.2007 7:31pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
although I don't think that all women are better than all men, I certainly think I'm better than you, if all you have is name-calling.

The dude quoted your comments verbatim. We can read. How is that name-calling?
12.18.2007 7:45pm
Greg (www):
Pliny:


I remain fascinated by the manner in which evolution is dismissed everytime it purports to reach any interesting conclusions about humans. Other than for poking fun at fundametalists, of what use is a field of science that must be ignored every time it (arguably) reaches a conclusion.


1. Evolutionary psychology is to science what economics is to math.

2. Evolution is a theory of biology that has extraordinary consequences IN biology.

You'd think that a serious student of the philosophy of science would know these things!


And most people here disagree with you. Look at that.


Right, because the truth of a statement is determined by the number of people who believe it. For a person who uses the words "strawmen," "sophistry" and "fallacious," you'd think you'd recognize ad populum arguments and try to avoid them.
12.18.2007 7:46pm
john w. (mail):
Chuck Pelto wrote: " ... I support the idea of Universal Governmental Service (UGS). ...After the kids leave high school, for whatever reason, their a-- belongs to Uncle Sam, for at least two years. ...Yeah. It's Heinlein, but it works. ..."

Huh??? Didn't Heinlein believe very passionately that military conscription is a form of slavery, and that slavery is always wrong, even when (or perhaps especially when) the government is doing the enslaving?

I thought the "Starship Troopers" thing involved offering the voting privilege as a reward for **voluntary** military service.
12.18.2007 7:49pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

Right, because the truth of a statement is determined by the number of people who believe it.



No, but whether an argument has been mischaracterized can't be determined abstractly; it's intersubjective. If (1) out of the audience that heard an argument, 90% (and the speaker) say it meant XYZ, and 10% say it meant ABC, and (2) those 10% also agree with a critic of the speaker who can be shown to argue fallaciously, and (3) those 10% also criticized the speaker in the past (whether rationally or irrationally), it suggests that that 10% is biased. Now, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust a biased adversary on whether his opponent's argument has been mischaracterized, I would rather rely on the whole audience that heard the argument. That's inductive, not deductive, so your criticism makes no sense.
12.18.2007 7:55pm
Drill SGT (mail):
Capt Mariner (and Erin)

one needs to make a clear distinction, as I do between:

1. service in Direct ground combat units. (infantry, armor, combat engineers primarily)

2. serving in ground units that find themselves in combat. (e.g. truck units, MPs, etc)

3. direct combat in non- ground units. (e.g. pilots, aboard ships)

most of us have some quibbles, but no huge issues in classes 2 &3. women can some and contribute. some women are better than some men in these jobs

however, I think ALL of us who have been in direct ground combat units in combat think that there are almost no women capable of operating at the 50th percentile, and that overall, women in those units negatively impacts unit performance even if it is career enhancing for the woman in question to serve there.
12.18.2007 7:59pm
Pliny, the Elder (mail):
Greg

I thought my use of the past tense was clear enough. Apparently not.
I am not sure how one can bracket a scientific theory's consequences within the science, unless one is an instrumentalist of some sort.
I am, however, willing to leave those questions to the actual philosophers of science, WHICH I AM NOT!
12.18.2007 8:16pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

American Military : Bastion of Socialism? Size 12 shoes only, others need not apply!


There's more than a grain of truth to this and in fact most of the griping in the military comes from the fact that it is a socialist organization by nature and as Americans we tend to prefer individualism.

Although the size 12 is a bit much, it's a fact that there are sizes of people, no matter how capable or motivated, that are simply not allowed in the military.

It's a fact that certain physical characteristics will prohibit the most physically fit and patriotic individual from joining up.

My wife is deaf and I can't count the number of her friends that are excited to learn I'm a Marine Officer and go on to tell me how much they want to be a Marine or a soldier. Many of them, including my wife, will say this is unfair, that deaf people should be allowed to join the military because they have no lack of patriotism.

I don't normally get into controversial conversations at parties so I typically nod and say, "yeah, that's too bad, I hope they find a way to let deaf people join up someday."

But they know and I know that this will never happen and should never happen. I suppose some take this wistful thinking as serious commentary.

I think our society has done the same thing with women in the military. We are so far removed from our base animal existence that we no longer, as a culture, tend to understand the value of brute strength in warriors. How many people out there in the US have to slaughter their own meat before they eat it? Close to none. We go to the grocery store and buy something that is packaged up by other people. The dissociation with a bleeding animal is nearly complete. So is the dissociation with combat.

Very few people experience the rigors of what warriors must be capable of doing. Very few people experience the direct contact with the need for warriors. In the past, when wars came to the gates of the city, or into the villages, people knew and understood the importance of men being able to fight.

Xena warrior princess is just a television show. It's not real. But for lack of real contact with warriors and what they do, it is perceived as real. And so we have these inane discussions.
12.18.2007 8:29pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

Xena warrior princess is just a television show.


No way. It is more than just a TV show.
12.18.2007 8:35pm
Erin (mail):


The dude quoted your comments verbatim. We can read. How is that name-calling?


When my name is changed to "Erin the Sexist" that's name-calling.

And what part of "If it were proven"

in

If it were proven that women were better pilots/gunners along that axis, wouldn't it be worthwhile to modify equipment to have women take over their jobs?


did YOU not read? If we can agree on a standard for a job and X percentage of women meet it and only less-than-X percentage of men do, wouldn't women be better for that particular job? You seem to be arguing for that when it's the men who are in the X, rather than the less-than-X category ...

And yes, combat is combat, and non-combat is non-combat. But I seem to recall that there's been a lot of discussion about how some of those "non-combat" positions get real messy, real fast ... are we going to keep redefining what roles women are and are not suited for?

Here's my take, which is what it has always been (certain people's reading comprehension may vary): Set a (real) standard for a job. If you can meet it, the job's yours, and any whining about how girls are going to bring cooties into your clubhouse is just that: whining. And for god's sake, don't tell me you just can't keep it in your pants, soldier(s of both sexes). You've got to do (and be) better than that. Where's that military discipline I keep hearing about?

(And if "protect the women, any women" is so hard-wired into the male psyche, how is it that so many women all over the world are abused and killed by men, every day?)
12.18.2007 8:45pm
Toby:

I suspect, though, that being under enemy fire may be the one thing that can get a 20 year old guy's mind off sex.

I wonder what planet this guy is from. On my planet, male lust is increased after near-death experiences. Some have attributed the traditional rapine finale to winning a battle to this. A weak corrolary in the last few years attributed significqant increases in canoodling to merely watching your team win in sports.
12.18.2007 8:55pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
Erin,

It seems to me that calling you a sexist is a conclusion based on evidence (your past statements). I think George calling your past statements sexist is a fair read, especially since you seem to be sarcastic about the value of male life, e.g., "precious male lives" and seems to suggest that male brains are impossible to fix (which is, in its best light, implying inferiority). Maybe we disagree about the meaning of sexism, but here is wikipedia's take:


Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred towards people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the individuals.

Sexism can refer to subtly different beliefs or attitudes:


The belief that one gender or sex is inferior to or more valuable than the other;

Female or male chauvinism

The attitude of misogyny (hatred of females) or misandry (hatred of males); as well as

The attitude of imposing a limited and/or false notion of masculinity on males and a limited and/or false notion of femininity on females, or vice versa.

A feeling of distrust towards the opposite or same sex, most frequently operating at an unconscious level.


Now maybe calling you a sexist is unfair. One can make sexist statements without being a sexist 24/7, I guess. And maybe it was name-calling for George to call you a "female chauvinist". But it seems very fair to call your past statements sexist. You seem to have some real hostility for men that you might want to work on.

That's my take.
12.18.2007 8:56pm
Anonymous Reader:
As a female Marine, I have read these discussions and posts with much interest (and sometimes disdain). Despite having an almost exclusively administrative specialty, I served as a female search force commander following the second battle of Fallujah in 2004. My (all female) team and I worked hand in hand on a daily basis with infantry units as well as Iraqi Police and Army forces. I witnessed firsthand the initial panic of commanders having to deal with "women" in their areas of operation, as well as the astonishing effectiveness of professional Marines, men and women, working in a combat environment. I am absolutely certain that the key to their successful integration was and remains NCO and Staff NCO leadership.

I am not saying that I want to be a grunt or that I necessarily advocate a change in policy, but like every other Marine I know, I am physically and mentally prepared for whatever mission I am assigned, combat or not. Despite national policies or anecdotal reasons why it would never work - I am here to tell you that because it is essential to mission accomplishment on the ground in Iraq, men and women work together closely on the "front lines" of the battlefield everyday with minimal issues and will continue to until ordered otherwise.
12.18.2007 9:03pm
john w. (mail):
" ...(And if "protect the women, any women" is so hard-wired into the male psyche, how is it that so many women all over the world are abused and killed by men, every day?)..."

Care to give us some **VERIFIABLE** statistics as to how many women worldwide are 'abused and killed' per day by men as a percentage of total world population; and then compare that with the number of men who are 'abused and killed' by other men.

My hunch is that both of those will be very small numbers -- and that the former will be way smaller than the latter.
12.18.2007 9:14pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
My hunch is that both of those will be very small numbers -- and that the former will be way smaller than the latter.

My hunch is that a sexist wouldn't care what the actual facts are. I imagine female sexists aren't any more reasonable than their male counterparts.
12.18.2007 9:16pm
cathyf:
What you are describing is *NOT* combat, even if the troops who are doing it happen to be officially designated as a 'combat unit.'

Combat is blood and guts -- literally.
Well, it takes a lot more than blood and guts to win a war. And just looking at this last war, it looks to me like the inability to frisk a female suspected suicide bomber can get everyone killed just as effectively as the inability to hump 180 lbs of equipment. The main strengths of our enemy in this case is that they are war criminals -- they pose as civilians and hide behind women and children. Fighting against war criminals requires close contact with civilians, including women and children. If you want to say that fighting against war criminals isn't "combat" -- well, sure enough, you have a point. But then if you want to use that definition of "combat" then what we need in "combat troops" are a small specialty that we can mostly eliminate in the military.
12.18.2007 9:41pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
The main strengths of our enemy in this case is that they are war criminals -- they pose as civilians and hide behind women and children.

This was true in Vietnam, too, so I don't see how that advances an argument for changing the military.
12.18.2007 9:42pm
HBowmanMD:

agesilaus:
Commenting on the idea that combat flying doesn't require upper body strength. Well modern fighters are designed to the strength limit of the pilots. They can subject the pilots to 6 or 8 G (or even more). A pilot is laying back and daydreaming while subjected to 8 Gs he still has to function, he must still scan the controls and watch what's happening outside the aircraft. That 5 pound helmet now weighs 40 pounds, and your 10 pound head now weighs 80 pounds. A big muscular neck is needed to let you continue to keep your head in constant motion, a head and helmet that now weigh 120 pounds.

The same thing applies to arm motions.

Strength is important to combat flying, maybe not to flying an Orion but to fighter pilots it is.


Virtually everything in the inventory newer than a C130/B52/KC135 has boosted controls, and doesn't require a great deal of strength. The P3 that was rammed had to be forced around, but the P3 is a near duplicate of the C130 in terms of systems.

In fact, the stick in an F16 moves 1/4" in every direction from it's center. Thats all.

And while I wore a helmet (HGU-26) that weighed about 8 lbs when I was flying F4's, the current helmet weighs about 3 1/2 (HGU-55/P)

Women are often better able to be fighter pilots (well, not better than I was :) ). They can withstand G-forces better, and usually have better reflexes. The problems with women in fighters comes with the possibility that they will be shot down and captured. Is America ready to deal with the possibility of a fighter pilot being captured by the enemy, raped, tortured? Read about what the Hanoi Hilton POW's went through and ask yourself why we should encourage women to be in that position.

We (the American public) isn't talking much about what happened to then Maj Rhonda Cornum, MD when her SAR helo was shot down during desert storm...she was raped while in captivity. Are we willing to have a female crew member raped, become pregnant, and then have the attendant problems when the pregnancy or potential infant are made known?

None of which has a hell of a lot to do with women on the ground in infantry roles, however.
12.18.2007 9:42pm
Dave D. (mail):
...I don't think it matters what the facts are, or anyones experiences. Neither side accepts the bonafides of the other. There isn't enough proof in the universe to persuade either side they're wrong.
..This isn't a fact based decision, it's a political decision thats going to be based on ideology, just as inserting women into the fire and police services was. Whatever testing is used to cover up the facts will be rigged, as it is now.
...The only way women won't be used in combat is when the feminists are discredited by the bodies of women, by the stories of women, by the sight of young women being drafted to suffer and die in combat in numbers that shock their conscience are raise the revulsion of WOMEN.
...This is going to happen, so lets speed it up.
...Since Congress gets to make this call, I want to tell the Congresswomen and men who sponser this legislation that , if my Granddaughter is called, I will hold you PERSONALLY responsible. You will know what I know about close quarters fighting.
12.18.2007 9:52pm
GV:
It seems to be a universal maxim that when a blog post on any blog results in more than 100 comments, the quality of commenting quickly deteriorates.

As somebody who is agnostic on this issue but would like to learn more, I’d ask that those of you who are simply wasting everyone else’s time to stop posting. If you have something new or interesting to say, that’s great. I’d like to read it. But please, before you post, if you’re trying to argue with somebody else about whether somebody’s post is sexist or if you’re trying to make some unfounded generalizations about the history of the sexes or if you’re simply trying to score cheap debating points, think about whether anybody is going to care about reading your comment. Chances are, nobody does. I suspect many people will simply stop reading the comments, which is a shame, because they’ll miss interesting comments, like Anonymous Reader’s, posted at 9:03 p.m.

I suspect that if some of you read your recent comments and ask yourself, "Is anybody likely to care what I have to say or ask here?," there'd be a number of comments missing. I'm not saying your comment must be some brilliant observation. My earlier post certainly wasn't. But given that the number of comments on this topic are quite high, please try to be diligent about posting substantive, on-point comments.
12.18.2007 9:53pm
HBowmanMD:

john w. (mail):
Chuck Pelto wrote: " ... I support the idea of Universal Governmental Service (UGS). ...After the kids leave high school, for whatever reason, their a-- belongs to Uncle Sam, for at least two years. ...Yeah. It's Heinlein, but it works. ..."

Huh??? Didn't Heinlein believe very passionately that military conscription is a form of slavery, and that slavery is always wrong, even when (or perhaps especially when) the government is doing the enslaving?

I thought the "Starship Troopers" thing involved offering the voting privilege as a reward for **voluntary** military service.


Yes, Heinlein did think that (one of his quotes was any nation that needed to be defended by conscripts wasn't worth defending), and in the book, Service was voluntary - and guaranteed to be fairly miserable for the recruit: Testing survival gear on Pluto, or for the blind something like counting fuzz on a caterpillar by touch, things of that nature. Further, service was for 2 years or as much longer as they wanted you (even absent a war with bugs).
12.18.2007 9:54pm
MarkField (mail):

And most people here disagree with you. Look at that.


I think the majority of posters in this thread are NOT Capt. Mariner's target audience. They've already made up their minds. I haven't, so I think my view of Browne's arguments counts much more than yours. Of course, I'd think that anyway....


She can start by not mischaracterizing Professor Browne. Even if persuasive to you, knocking down strawmen with cheap, third-grade level sophistry is fallacious.


She characterized him (or at least some of his arguments) quite well. I'm impressed that she dispensed with those briefly but cogently and seems ready to move on to the real issues instead of getting distracted by the cowpies Browne tried to pass off as arguments. I'm interested to see if she can make her affirmative case.
12.18.2007 10:16pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

I suspect many people will simply stop reading the comments, which is a shame, because they’ll miss interesting comments, like Anonymous Reader’s, posted at 9:03 p.m.




I thought that comment was very interesting and noteworthy as well. But part of its value was that it didn't necessarily advocate for a change in military policy, that it wasn't misandrist, and that it didn't mischaracterize Prof. Browne's arguments in previous threads or accuse anyone who may have found his arguments worthy of consideration of harboring misogynistic beliefs.

Perhaps Capt. Mariner should take note.
12.18.2007 10:20pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

I think the majority of posters in this thread are NOT Capt. Mariner's target audience. They've already made up their minds. ... I think my view of Browne's arguments counts much more than yours. Of course, I'd think that anyway....


Thanks for admitting your bias. I'm glad we can move on now.
12.18.2007 10:23pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

But given that the number of comments on this topic are quite high, please try to be diligent about posting substantive, on-point comments.



Since you sought fit to single me out, I don't think examining whether someone has an agenda for making their argument is irrelevant. One meme that keeps arising is that this is a political decision and that we're really judging whether the costs outweigh the benefits and the benefit of "equality" as some define it simply doesn't outweigh the cost of more dead soldiers or reduced military effectiveness especially since the few numbers of women who would meet the new "equality"-based standards wouldn't be sufficient to justify a change in policy without the "equality" considerations as motivation for the change. So it makes perfect sense, given Capt. Mariner has redefined military effectiveness to mean "equality" as she sees it -- a tautology to be sure -- to examine whether the factual predicate for moving towards "equality" -- that women are being discriminated against now -- exists. And it certainly matters if, say, all the advocates of "equality" don't have any verifiable facts to support their beliefs and insist on the truth of those beliefs while making sexist side-comments. (You don't really believe in equality if you're a sexist, now do you?) Which brings in to focus your comment, GV: you suggest there are ample women to make for female inclusion in hand-to-hand combat units perfectly doable. Let's assume that's true. Do you have any evidence -- at all -- that that pool of women is being discriminated against in the enlistment process? Or is the "no women in combat" policy itself your proof that this large pool of qualified women exists, i.e., "It's dsicriminatory, so it must be discriminating against somebody!"?
12.18.2007 10:35pm
Drill SGT (mail):
Aegis

the pool of women willing to enlist and go into direct ground combat jobs is extremely small

the pool of women willing to enlist who would meet the honest objective strength and endurance requirements of those jobs is also very low.

the intersection of the two pools is a tiny tiny number of enlisted women.


it is a political exercise, not one that increases US effectiveness.

(but I think you know that)
12.18.2007 10:45pm
GV:
Aegis of Blogistan, I think the last half of your previous post demonstrates the point I was trying to make. You stated: "[Y]ou suggest there are ample women to make for female inclusion in hand-to-hand combat units perfectly doable." I never said or suggested that. Re-read my posts. As for questioning the motivations of the commentators who disagree with you, ask yourself this: in your experience of reading blogs, have you ever been swayed by someone's attempt to discredit the motivations of those posting on one side of the debate? I doubt it. I don't plan to comment again in this thread, but I hope in the next post on this subject, you make more of an effort to stay on topic. If you do, I suspect you're more likely to convince people like me who are currently on the fence. There is going to be a high volume of comments on this topic, and I’d appreciate it if you made an effort to keep snarky posts or posts attacking the motivations of people you don’t know to yourself.

Drill SGT, you stated: "the intersection of the two pools is a tiny tiny number of enlisted women." I've seen this asserted a whole lot. Perhaps it's true. But where is the evidence that it is true? If I'm trying to make up my mind on this issue, a bald assertion on an empirical question by an anonymous commentator on a blog is not going to help me change my mind. If somebody could provide statistical evidence on this point, it would moot about 35% of the comments on this topic. People are making assertions on both sides. I’m sure we’ll continue to see assertions on this issue in the next comment thread. But does anybody have actual data or are we left with arguing whose speculation is right?
12.18.2007 11:07pm
Michael Mahoney (mail):
See Dec. '07 U.S. Naval Institute "Proceedings" magazine, pg. 58 Uncommon Valor. A Marine combat correspondent's camera goes on the blink and he takes up his rifle, enters combat and witnesses the KIA of St. Rafael Peralta that has Medal of Honor potential. Could/would a woman do what Lance Cpl. Kaemmerer did? Would she even be allowed? Half of the issue and the cover are devoted to women in the military.
12.18.2007 11:25pm
cathyf:
The main strengths of our enemy in this case is that they are war criminals -- they pose as civilians and hide behind women and children.

This was true in Vietnam, too, so I don't see how that advances an argument for changing the military.
Other people on this thread, and on the previous Browne threads, are arguing (quite persuasively) about women in combat and how it affects the effectiveness of the military at winning the conflict. I am making the rather simple argument that a military tactic which increases our enemy's effectiveness is problematic in exactly the same way that a military tactic which decreases our own effectiveness is problematic. And having male members of all-male units pawing civilian women because they are in all-male units and thus there are no women available for the task of distinguishing female civilians from female unlawful combatants when fighting a counter-insurgency in a culture where pawing women is highly provocative is a military tactic which increases the effectiveness of our enemy. Vietnamese culture doesn't find simple contact with women to be particularly provocative, so the analogy with Vietnam is irrelevant.

If you are not willing to countenance the changing of your tactics in order to maximize your effectiveness in winning the war, then you are doing the exact same thing that you are accusing the proponents of women in combat of doing.
12.18.2007 11:38pm
Brian K (mail):
She can start by not mischaracterizing Professor Browne. Even if persuasive to you, knocking down strawmen with cheap, third-grade level sophistry is fallacious.

your claim that this is a strawman is itself a strawman. the fact is browne did make this type of argument (here). it may not have comprised all of his arguments, but it certainly is there. it's much easier to ignore an argument than it is to actually counter it...but it only makes your position appear weaker.
12.18.2007 11:42pm
Brian K (mail):
(hit post to soon)

her post is also not solely dedicated to rebutting browne. she is trying to make an argument of her own. other people have most certainly used the argument that women are inherently inferior than men (on this very board no less). this makes it doubly important that she counter this (false) assertion.
12.18.2007 11:46pm
CM the Patriarch:
Q: Why do we allow women in the military but not in the NFL?

A: Because we're serious about football!

[gdr]
12.19.2007 12:18am
Elais:
Assumptions that men would become uncontrollable sex maniacs in the presence of gays and or women is pretty offensive. What's stopping straight guys from having sex with each other if they are so ruled by their hormones?
12.19.2007 12:19am
Elliot123 (mail):
How about having all female infantry platoons square off against all male platoons in training? Both carry the same weapons, supplies, water, ammo cans, etc. Both cover the same territory dragging all that crap with them. Both carry "wounded." Both engage the enemy after a forced march.

Does anyone remember Patricia Schroeder's response when informed women recruits couldn't throw a grenade far enough to avoid the blast perimeter? She said we should make granades smaller.
12.19.2007 12:40am
Chuck Simmins (mail) (www):
Rape is a danger for both men and women prisoners, especially in an Arab culture. There were men so assaulted in Desert Storm.

While male combat vets love the notion that men in combat are all ripped, muscles bulging, that is NOT the case. In any unit of men in combat in the United States military, you will have short and tall, heavy and light, guys who can lift twice their weight and guys who will never come close.

How you perform under stress is a very personal matter. Everyone has a breaking point, everyone has a trigger. As an EMT, I've arrived at accidents to find grizzled policemen vomiting or career firefighters crying. If you don't react to any of the horrors of combat, of life, I'm not sure I want to be in a fight alongside you. You'll do something stupid, I suspect.

I could point to a longish list of American units which were totally male and failed miserably in combat.

If the fight becomes hand to hand, many tacticians will tell you that you did something wrong. You don't fight wars hand to hand. If we did, we wouldn't need armor, choppers or arty. Every advancement in military science had as one of its goals the necessity to increase the distance between them and us.

BTW, the failure of the 24th in Korea has as much to do with the quality of their white officers as anything else.
12.19.2007 12:59am
Janus (mail):
Lively discussion. Fun.

My profile -- pilot (fighters and jet trainers, no combat); Air Force; male; old.

Real fighting is done on the ground. Strength, stamina, and willingness to be crazy aggressive are important. In general, males are better at strength, crazy, and aggressive. Stamina is a draw -- depends on motivation.

Air combat is increasingly done in electric jets with standoff weapons -- very little extreme turning and burning air-to-air -- except in training, of course. Close air support is the exception -- God love those Warthog drivers -- souped-up go-carts move faster, but they DO pull some serious G's. Irrelevant to this discussion, since G-tolerance is absolutely gender-independent.

Air engagement is 95% mental and 5% physical. Crazy aggressive is just as important in the air as on the ground, but the difference between winners and losers (assuming the hardware is equal) is preparation, processing speed, focus, and resistance to panic. Females tend to be just as well endowed as males on all counts except for crazy aggressive, and there are exceptions there, too.

I respect Captain Mariner for surviving in a occupational realm challenging for all and very lonely for females. Hope the dialogue this week sheds light in a significant way on an important topic.
12.19.2007 1:05am
Porkchop:
Rob Perelli-Minetti wrote:


if I had to go into combat with any given group of women, women VMI graduates would be my first choice.


Rob, my daughter (a proud '07 who was more than happy to leave the Barracks forever) appreciates your confidence. ;-)
12.19.2007 1:05am
Point of Fact (mail):
If I'm trying to make up my mind on this issue, a bald assertion on an empirical question by an anonymous commentator on a blog is not going to help me change my mind.

Actually, Capt. Mariner has already moved on to address the empirical claims in her next post, and it appears she lacks any evidence.
12.19.2007 2:23am
Point of Fact (mail):
in a culture where pawing women is highly provocative is a military tactic which increases the effectiveness of our enemy. Vietnamese culture doesn't find simple contact with women to be particularly provocative, so the analogy with Vietnam is irrelevant.

You must be joking if your argument is that fighting Moslems requires more female troops.
12.19.2007 2:26am
Point of Fact (mail):
I’d appreciate it if you made an effort to keep snarky posts or posts attacking the motivations of people you don’t know to yourself.

This is just about the most hypocritically self-refuting thing I've read today.
12.19.2007 2:30am
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
in your experience of reading blogs, have you ever been swayed by someone's attempt to discredit the motivations of those posting on one side of the debate?

Yes.
12.19.2007 2:47am
Old Bill (mail):
I'm a man in a combat-arms unit. I'll be galad to take the CPT's comment &opinions seriously as soon as she passes her Physical Fitness test to men's standards, and advocated all women service members do the same. Or does she believe that physical strength has no bearing on combat performance?
12.19.2007 6:19am
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck Pleto: "Don’t get me started on homosexuals in the military. I see the problem therein as identical to that we touched on vis-a-vis men and women and combat-zone-boredom."

The fact is that the military actually has no problem with gays serving in the military. They acknowledge that currently hundreds do, and there is no problem with that. Moreover, the military has acknowledged that gays make as good a soldier as heteros.

The military has a problem with gays who are actually out. So it's not the status, but rather the recognition of the status that they have a problem with. And the officially stated reason why they don't allow openly gays soldiers is that the straight guys are too biased against gays. So the actual problem isn't the gays, but the heteros.

Lastly, the number of gays who have been discharged has dropped dramatically since the invasion of Iraq. Except of course with Arabic translators, and there that discharged have increased dramatically for some reason.

Elias: "What's stopping straight guys from having sex with each other if they are so ruled by their hormones?"

Nothing at all. It's called 'fooling around while drunk." As Winston Churchill once said, "Don't talk to me about 'naval tradition.' It's a history of rum and buggery."
12.19.2007 8:36am
Abbey:
Common Sense, West Point requires 80% of men to branch combat arms (and 20% of women). This rule is enforced despite the fact that it makes women who want to be in common arms unhappy, and men who want to be in service support unhappy.

In the pre-1980 days, about 15% of cadets branched combat support. The total number of slots for combat arms/non-combat arms really hasn't changed that much. USMA still insists it is a school for "combat leaders"--and that ROTC is not--because that was the way they resisted the integration of women. It's a method of institutional survival.
12.19.2007 10:52am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Is Captain Rosemary....

"Thus, the so-called "feminization" of the military over the last one hundred years is really part of what I call the Americanization of our armed forces." -- Captain Rosemary

....REALLY the Red Queen?

I've seen this sort of shennagins with the English language before. The changing of words in order to confuse the discussion, i.e., muddy the water.

Indeed, attending the monthly General Meeting of the Denver chapter of Mensa, we heard a feminist professor of Constitutional Law from Denver University expound on how it works.

From her perspective, there were no such things as 'Constitutional Rights'. There were only 'textual rights'. The modus operandi was 'Change the text and you change the right'.

Enter the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland....

Words mean what I say they mean.


Nuff said....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you can't convince them, confuse them.]
12.19.2007 12:13pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: SenatorX
RE: Are You Talking to Me?

"Military men are misogynists, news at 11. Maybe if you are told "don't be pussy" long enough in training it grows on you?" -- SenatorX

Maybe you should not ASSUME people know who you're talking to/at/with/whatever when you post something. Remember what the First Sergeant said.

RE: Misogynists R US?

I don't hate women. Just ask my wife and any of the other women I work with on a regular basis.

Rather, I LOVE 'the smell of victory'. And I'm more interested in winning a battle than sauving someone's low self-esteem.

Which is more important to you, buckie?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. It's a life or death decision.
12.19.2007 12:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Erin
RE: Glad...

"...it was as high-stress as you can get without risk of mortal injury." -- Erin

...to hear you recognize the differences between high-stress sportif activity and mortal combat.

"It was back in the dim mists of time pre-iPod and pre-DVD, so there were also long hours of boredom &isolation involved (again, without the fear that our lives were at risk)." -- Erin

Been there. Done that. B'day 1950.

Then I took to jumping out of perfectly good airplanes in flight. Wasn't really aware of the danger involved until getting up from the first jump and noticing all the medical evacuation activit going on.

"I do believe though, and I believe from my own experience and with conviction, that when people are inclined to treat others with respect, that they can work as a team no matter what the circumstances." -- Erin

Keep the faith, baby. However, don't let personally held beliefs blind you to reality.

Consider digging a slit trench in the jungle in support of a diarrhea ward. And no chance of a shower for a month.

There's more to combat ops than the phantasm of 'glory'. There is also 'logistics'. And doing such as digging a slit trench in an admixture of mud and manure is part of that as well.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[There is many a boy here to-day who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell. -- William Tecumseh Sherman]
12.19.2007 12:37pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: john w
RE: Addendum

"Didn't Heinlein believe very passionately that military conscription is a form of slavery, and that slavery is always wrong, even when (or perhaps especially when) the government is doing the enslaving?

I thought the "Starship Troopers" thing involved offering the voting privilege as a reward for **voluntary** military service." -- john w

True.

They can opt out, but if they do....no benefits whatsoever.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[He who will not work, shall not eat. -- Paul]
12.19.2007 12:54pm
Lugo:
What's stopping straight guys from having sex with each other if they are so ruled by their hormones?

Nothing. It happens in prison ALL THE TIME.
12.19.2007 12:59pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: MarkField
RE: Target!

"I think the majority of posters in this thread are NOT Capt. Mariner's target audience." -- MarkField

Maybe WE aren't.

But she the heck IS....for us.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[TARGET! Cease fire....]

P.S. And it's not that we are locked into our thoughts. Rather, we've not seen evidence to overcome our concerns.
12.19.2007 1:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. And you haven't done anything to help alleviate our concerns....think about it....
12.19.2007 1:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: cathyf
RE: Reverse Psych, Anyone?

"And having male members of all-male units pawing civilian women because they are in all-male units and thus there are no women available for the task of distinguishing female civilians from female unlawful combatants when fighting a counter-insurgency in a culture where pawing women is highly provocative is a military tactic which increases the effectiveness of our enemy." -- cathyf

Not enough women around to 'paw', eh?

The idea is that they are not supposed to be pawing ANYONE, except the enemy, with their bayonets.

You too seem to have lost focus on the objective, which is not sexual gratification but to kill the enemy by direct fire, maneuver and close combat.

Sheesh!!!! Will women [like this] NEVER learn?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. You remind me of the BlogVader's argument against stop-light cameras.

"They're EVIL because they cause more front and rear accidents at intersections." [Note: From people following too close in the first place.]

But he never seems to reply to my comment about reduction of other forms of traffic accidents. I saw one accident in Denver of two diesel pick-ups that had simultaneously rammed an SUV...because the drivers of both trucks were betting on the 'cum' of the light signal delay at a major intersection and caught the SUV as it was legally entering the intersection.

In otherwords, your arg 'stinks'....
12.19.2007 1:13pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R
RE: I Told You People....

"The fact is that the military actually has no problem with gays serving in the military." -- Randy R

...not to go there. It's a digression that detracts from this particular thread, albeit related.

Start another thread, if you will.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Gay, n., a one-word oxymoron.]
12.19.2007 1:15pm
HBowmanMD:
Erin, please....

First of all, what exactly is a 'non-sports' team? And why does it need a 'captain'? And why not tell us the degree of intimacy that you had to experience, or the amount of accommodation that had to be made - and then have one of your male colleagues confirm it for us?

And lets set aside comparisons with women in the NFL. Lets try the same sports: Does anyone (even a naive, through-rose colored glasses viewer such as yourself) actually think that the US Womens soccer team could hold against the US Mens soccer team? That any team in the WNBA could compete against the NBA? The athletes in each group are specially trained, highly conditioned, upper 0.001% of the curve in each case, and the results would be boring for the spectators, and potentially harmful for the women.

How about Tennis: Can Justine Henin win 3 games against Roger Federer, each on their best days?
12.19.2007 1:22pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Lugo
RE: And....

"What's stopping straight guys from having sex with each other if they are so ruled by their hormones? -- Someone else, I didn't notice

Nothing. It happens in prison ALL THE TIME." -- Lugo to that someone else

....one other factor [in combat units]....

....individual small arms weapons.

But I have heard of cases of homosexual gang rape in the Army.

[Note: Why am I suddenly reminded of the scenario from The Thing, starring Kurt Russell?

They won't attack us openly, until they know they have a clear advantage in numbers.]

Regards,

Chuck(le)
12.19.2007 1:24pm
SFCMikeJ:
Because empirical evidence regarding women in combat units is almost non-existent we have to use less scientific methods. My personal observations shape my opinion that women should not be allowed in combat units.

I am a retired Infantry NCO. In the Army, NCO leadership academies are generally branch if not MOS (military occupational specialty)specific. This is not true for the first step in the academy chain called PLDC (primary leadership development course) This is a mixed gender and mixed MOS leadership course designed primarily for young soldiers to prepare them to become Noncommissioned Officers.

Leadership is taught in the classroom and then tested in a field environment using Infantry type small unit missions. These type of missions are used because they are among the most stessful to perform for young leaders. Due to a fluke in the school system when I was in I went through PLDC as an experience Infantry Squad Leader with the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) instead of as an E-4.

I am using this long winded prelude to help you understand where I come from with my opinions. I offer the following observations:

1. None of the females passed their leadership patrols on the first try. In the majority of these cases it was an inability to be agressive, assertive, and make difficult decisions quickly.

2. Many of the females used their sexuality to attempt to influence other students or instructors.

3. Extreme logistical accomodations had to be made for the females in the field. Comparing this to my experinces with the logistics in an all male unit it adversly affected the mission.

4. My leadership patrol was an ambush. Move across terrain, set up, then kill the bad guys when they move into the kill zone. Time is tight by design to increase the stress level on the leadership trainee. We barely made it to the ambush site because the females could not keep up even though we were traveling extremely light. I eventualy put the females on point (in the front) to keep the men from leaving them behind in the woods. Since we were so far behind schedule we made it to the site without a moment to spare. Time to improvise. Most of the grunts will recognize the following technique. As each soldier comes up to the position grab the strap of their LCE, pull them close to get their attention, then quickly whisper instructions on where to go and what to do since the original plan is shot to hell, then give them a push in the right direction. Remember the mission is the most important thing. Bad guys came into the kill zone in less than two minutes. We initiated the ambush and I had a "go" on the leadership patrol. I spent the next two days in and out of the JAG (military lawyers) office after being accused of "inappropriate sexual advances" by both females on the patrol. The situation resolved itself after the two females admitted that they had their feelings hurt because I talked to them in a "rude" manner. Neither had to answer to making a false accusation.

5. Men who cannot keep up their end of the stick can be cajoled, shamed, pushed, threatened or pressured into performing. It's not always pretty and polite but sometimes it is needed to accomplish the MISSION. Using these same tactics on females usually results in even poorer performance. The mission sometimes does not give you the luxury of employing nicer and more subtle motivational techniques. Failure causes casualties.

6. I have yet to meet a civilian female who hasn't asked why training has to be so hard and why we are "mean" to soldiers. I can count on one hard the number of female soldiers I know that understood and accepted why it has to so.

I could go on but this soapbox is already tall enough. Is this evidence anecdotal? You bet, and so is the evidence for the other point of view. Until I see definitive evidence to the contrary I believe sticking to the traditional, proven way of organizing, training and sending units into combat is the way to go. Err on the side of caution with this problem. I would rather have some females dissappointd that their sisters are not allowed in combat units rather than risks higher casualties in those same units.

For what it's worth.

Mike Johnston, SFC, USA (RET)
12.20.2007 12:55am
Randy R. (mail):
"Chuck(le)
[Gay, n., a one-word oxymoron.]"

Wow! Now THAT'S a knee-slapper!
12.20.2007 1:45am
M. Tobias (mail):
Interesting article by Captain Mariner. I do not have time to address every one of her points, so I'll just toss out a general overview. First of all, she is correct in stating that the best person for the job should be placed into it. This having been said, the average man is better equipped for ground combat than the average woman. This is due to the fact that there is a lot more muscle work involved in slogging along on foot on the ground than in cruising along in a vehicle, an aircraft or a ship. Woman can serve in a variety of jobs in the military that are done by men, up to and including command. But, far fewer women are able to a adequately perform an infantry mission than are men.
Thats all that I have time for now. When I have a couple of hours, we can delve into social, psychological, interpersonal and further physiological differences that cause women more problems than men in a military environment.
12.20.2007 2:52am
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Racial segregation in the military was not based on the alleged inferior capacity of blacks as soldiers. It was based on the refusal of white Southerners to tolerate blacks in any role other than menial. It was a political statement. Also, of course, in an integrated military, blacks would sometimes outrank and even command whites, which made Southerners froth at the mouth.

It should also be noted that "races" are fuzzy sets, easily blended, where as genders are deep, hard, unmeltable distinctions. (Yes, there are a handful of people who are "transgendered". And I suppose that somewhere out there is a transsexual who would be a good fighter pilot or sniper. Would the addition of that one pilot or rifleman justify making necessary accommodations for transsexuals through the entire military?)
12.20.2007 5:08pm
squeue:

genders are deep, hard, unmeltable distinctions. (Yes, there are a handful of people who are "transgendered"


Gender is deep, but there aren't only two, clearly disjoint. Gender isn't sex, they just correlate. The scale is fairly continuous from one extreme to the other with all points between reasonably well represented. The only change from society to society is whether or not it's open, or social roles mandate some kind of outward assignment. Even anecdotally, haven't you ever thought 'that guy is a total pussy'... the seed of hidden truth? Think about it again, but not as a pejorative. Some men really are less masculine than others. Same of the gals.

Anyway, this tangent of reasoning is already entirely irrelevant.
12.21.2007 12:37pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Ain't....

"Wow! Now THAT'S a knee-slapper!" -- Randy R.

....it great when reality and satire come together?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Humor is where you find it.]
12.22.2007 9:07pm