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[Rosemary Mariner, guest-blogging, December 22, 2007 at 10:11pm] Trackbacks
The Americanization of the Armed Forces-Closing Comments:

My thanks again to Eugene and the thoughtful commentators for an interesting discussion.

In November of this year, General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In his remarks, he described what was at stake in a war against a global extremist threat as "the power of our values...whether the authority of those who treasure the rights of free individuals will stand firm against ruthless and pitiless men who wantonly slay the defenseless."

It is significant to this debate that General Casey identified "the rights of free individuals" as part of what the United States is fighting for.

Prof. Browne has constructed an argument for legal discrimination, built on the premise that evidence from the theoretical field of evolutionary psychology justifies gender classification because of inherent sex differences.

Yet this field of research cautions that nothing in evolutionary theory privileges males over females,nor does it prescribe social roles for either sex.

If this line of reasoning is adopted (again), then an adult female citizen's individual status is secondary to class membership. Gender classifications also work the other way around by discriminating against men, notably in the areas of parental rights and conscription.

The analogy to racial discrimination in the military is absolutely relevant. While the pernicious stereotypes were different, proponents of racial segregation argued just as ardently that black men couldn't fight, be trusted, and impeded cohesion because of inherent racial differences. The individual rights of African Americans were viewed as contrary to military effectiveness.

In the end, it was military effectiveness that finally ended racial segregation in the Army. During the Korean War, desperate for replacements, General Matthew Ridgeway formally asked the Army to racially integrate the National Guard and Army divisions under his command.

We can argue in circles about cohesion, pregnancy, double standards, physical strength, political correctness --dueling studies; down in the weeds-- but in the end it comes down to a fundamental choice: Do adult citizens participate in the public sphere as individual human beings first, equal before the law, or our group affiliations paramount?

There is no inherent dichotomy between a gender-integrated force and military effectiveness. The traditional principles of military leadership apply to gender integration as they do to everything else. The inclusion of women enhances military readiness by increasing the overall pool from which to draw the best recruits. Men and women have successfully served together, including under combat conditions, for years.

There is an additional benefit to a gender-integrated force which goes back to citizenship. The more American women are equal participants in the armed forces, the greater stake they have in the common defense. It is American citizens, through the constitutional process, that ultimately determine what constitutes military effectiveness.

Happy Holidays to All

Rob Perelli-Minetti (mail):
We can argue in circles about cohesion, pregnancy, double standards, physical strength, political correctness --dueling studies; down in the weeds-- but in the end it comes down to a fundamental choice: Do adult citizens participate in the public sphere as individual human beings first, equal before the law, or our group affiliations paramount?


Basically, this statement makes it clear that Captain Mariner is not interested in any of the concerns the commentators have raised - for her, it's all about individual choice, and that trumps any arguments concerning military effectiveness. It's just careerist feminism rather than obvious radical feminism.

I feel had. Why didn't she just say so at the outset? Then all of us would not have wasted our breath trying voice our concerns.

Captain, it's been real, and it's been good, but it hasn't been real good.

Well, I've enjoyed the comments from a number of thoughtful men and women who care about the military - my best wishes to all of you for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, perhaps our paths will cross again.
12.22.2007 10:27pm
Malvolio:
Do adult citizens participate in the public sphere as individual human beings first, equal before the law, or our group affiliations paramount?
That's an argument that proves rather too much. If women, despite any disabilities inherent in being women, are entitled to be in combat, why not blind people? Why not paraplegics?

The purpose of the US military is to protect democracy, not to practice it.
12.22.2007 11:04pm
frankcross (mail):
Rob and Malvolio, you're completely wrong in your interpretation of that passage. It shows a certain odd defensiveness, I think. She is simply saying that women should be judged on their abilities, not stereotyped based upon their status as women.

So she actually means the opposite of what you suggest. It's not feminism, simply saying that our military would be more effective if it simply took the best candidates for service, regardless of gender. I find it odd that you can't understand this.
12.22.2007 11:08pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
The good Captain is mistaken in saying that serving in the military has anything to do with rights or with citizenship.

You needn't be a citizen to serve in the military. You need not be a citizen even to be an officer. I had a Canadian in my outfit once who was a second lieutenant in the USMC. I have no idea why.

There are lots of reasons for being excluded from the military. By the Captain's logic, quadrapalegics (sp?) should be allowed to serve in the military, and the infantry no less.

I know many deaf people as my wife is deaf. Every deaf man I've met has told me how much he wants to be in the military. By the Captain's logic, they should all be allowed in the infantry. I'm sure the same goes for those who can't see.

The military does not exist for any person's right to a career. It exists to inflict our nation's will on other nations or peoples when our goverment so desires.

I'm not a big fan of General Casey, seeing as how his failure to understand how to fight a war led to a lot of men in my battalion getting killed, but I still think this quote of his, and the cherry picking of quotes out of context from the others is rather sophomoric. None of these men were talking about putting underqualified people – that is, women – in the infantry.

I was fairly disappointed by Browne's analysis, I think some of his arguments were going too far. Using weak arguments only serves to take credibility from other good arguments.

But I'm even more disappointed by Capt. Mariner's discussion. She is too fixated on feeling that she has a right! A right, damn it! Foot stomping insistence that an argument is correct does not make it so.

By the logic of the good Captain, we would only be encouraging careerism, the debasement of service by focusing on careers, retirements, etc. at the cost of mission accomplishment. If the Captain's insistence on participation for the reason of rights and opportunity were accepted, then we will tend even more to have people in the military solely for the benefits and not for the good of the country.

If women are to be in ground combat arms, the reasons must not be the ones she has given here.
12.22.2007 11:35pm
Bender (mail):
Professor Mariner has not made nearly as logical nor as empirically buttressed an argument as Professor Browne. At the Oxford Union this would be a no contest win for Professor Browne. Even more so if Professor Mariner's unwillingness to respond to her critics is taken into account. I'm more convinced than ever that the US military should be sexually segregated the way it was circa WW II.

By the way, in that War, contrary to what Professor Mariner seems to believe, sexual segregation in the military did not prevent women from serving their country in the military, nor did it reduce US women's patriotism. My impression is, in fact, that compared as groups American women in those days were generally far more more patriotic and supportive of the military than are today's American women.
12.23.2007 12:48am
Elliot123 (mail):
Perhaps the Conspirators can invite someone to seriously champion the cause of women in ground combat units? Capt. Mariner didn't put up much of a fight.
12.23.2007 1:57am
Wondering Willy:
There are a few major questions here, and to the extent anyone cares what I think, here are my views after the debate.

1. If women are to serve, should basic requirements (whatever those may be) be relaxed so that more than a miniscule number are able to serve?

No. Relaxing basic requirements to achieve a "critical mass" of women should be restricted to Sandra Day O'Conner's fantasy world, in my opinion. It seems to me that the military has, over the years, reached a level of optimization with regard to its various basic requirements. These should not be lowered for political reasons, i.e. getting more women into service. If women are to serve at all, they should be held to uniform standards.

Does this mean that all standards necessarily make sense? Arguably no. I am an attorney, and a damn good one, in my opinion. Graduated near the top of my class, law review, etc. However, unless I spent a lot of time getting in shape, I could not meet the military's physical ability requirements. Is that really such a big deal? Couldn't the military just always make sure I'm stateside negotiating contracts and trying courts martial? Yes, they certainly could. But what if I have to be deployed into a war zone? What if an IED hits my convoy when I'm riding to the military courthouse in Baghdad to prosecute a court martial, and I have to drag a fallen comrade behind cover? Trust me, I'm not the guy you want doing that sort of thing.

So yes, I think it's fair to say that I could effectively serve the military if I were never deployed to a combat area and did my JAG duties stateside. But the question then becomes whether or not this is economically worthwhile for the military. Does it make sense to let people in service who cannot be deployed into war zones? I think not. I think the military has made a rational economic decision that it's generally a poor idea to let people into service with those sorts of duty restrictions. So it doesn't bother me that the military has some restrictions that may seem superficially silly, i.e. what difference does it make how long it takes a JAG to run a mile, but when one takes the broader economic view of the costs associated with relaxing standards on an individual basis, it makes sense that the military has done what it's done.

2. Assuming then that women will be allowed to serve if uniform standards are enforced, should they be allowed to serve in combat?

No. The question here, I think, remains basically an economics question. I believe it's fair to say that very, very few women would meet the physical qualifications for combat. Accordingly, given that there appear to be substantial costs associated with gender integration in combat roles, should we go ahead and eat those costs out of some civic or legal notion that women should have equal opportunity in the military?

I think the answer remains no. The job of the military is to fight and win wars. But that's understating it slightly: if we fielded an all-women force, with our equipment and training, we could probably still defeat just about any battlefield enemy. But the job of the military is not just to fight and win wars; it's to fight and win wars with minimum casualties and economic costs.

Because of the costs associated with women in combat positions, many of which have been articulated by the various other commenters, it does not make sense to me that women should serve in combat.

3. Should women serve in the military at all?

Before this debate, I would have said yes, but that their duty should be restricted to non-combat roles. (And I know that there is some dispute about what a combat role is.) After the debate, I'll admit to being uncertain of the answer here. I would like to think that there is no problem with women serving in roles that are not likely to see combat, but I am beginning to wonder whether even that is worth the costs associated with it.

4. What's the best policy going forward?

Taking politics out of the equation seems to be the best idea. This seems to be a question for the generals, not the politicians.
12.23.2007 7:00am
Drill SGT (mail):
I thought I was done with these posts, but a thought (I know, I have so few of them) came to me that I want to share, but first two comments from previous posts:


1. Richard Aubrey:
In her various posts, the captain ignores the eight-hundred pound gorilla:
Standards will always be gender-normed.
Infantry combat is not gender-normed
.




2. Drill SGT: If the Canadians after 18 years can field a force of 6 infantrywomen trained at some standard out of a force of 65,000 that seems to be an effectiveness rate of 1 in ten thousand. I think that opening up direct ground combat to women will result in worse career results for women as a whole, since it will require a de-norming of many current PT standards and promotion standards.


Now my thought for the week:

Isn't the Captain's basic premise: That American values require that individual rights take precidence over presumed group qualities?

Isn't this on its face, an anti-affirmative action premise?

It seems to me that Sandler's AA Law school graduation rate studies transfer here pretty well. Force women to compete in areas where they are not qualified and ultimately you hurt their performance at all levels.

If we "fully integrate", using Ms Mariner's choice words, ground combat slots, that seems to me to require de-norming all physical and educational requirements. Everybody competes the same standard. OERs, PT tests, number of merit badges, combat assignments, all de-normed.

Using "individual rights" as the legal basis, how are any AA goals justifiable on promotion boards? For women or minorities? Let the Best qualified individual get the promotion or assignment regardless of group membership seems to be the good captains goal. Be careful what you seek unless you can max your PT tests, get your EIB, Ranger tab, and jump wings. 95% of male infantry 2LT's can do all of these.
12.23.2007 8:38am
common sense (www):
American citizens through the constitutional process do not determine what constitutes effective. The number of dead bodies and ground gained on the battlefield do. To me, that is the central flaw in your argument. You do not care about the military as a military organization, but as a vehicle for social change. That perception makes me question the reason behind your own service. I certainly hope that anyone with authority to change the status quo looks at the military as a tool for fighting the nation's wars, and not as a tool for social change, or else the consequences will be bad for everyone who is affected at the ground level.
12.23.2007 9:00am
K Parker (mail):
Wondering Willy, I was with you up to this point:
Taking politics out of the equation seems to be the best idea
But if you can find a way to bell that cat, outside of "Sandra Day O'Conner's fantasy world", more power to you!
12.23.2007 9:39am
Carolina:
The Canadian situation, in my opinion, is a microcosm of Capt. Mariner's performance in this entire debate.

She breezily asserts that Canada has opened up infantry combat to women. It is left to commenters to point out that SIX -- as in one, two, three, four, five, SIX -- women are actually serving in the infantry in Canada, and all of them are in one platoon. Which suggests some sort of affirmative action feel-good showpiece platoon with some token women, rather than real integration of women into infantry units.

I mean, come on, if the U.S. Army had had a single "integrated" platoon with six black soldiers in 1940, would anyone have taken seriously a U.S. Army assertion that it was integrated?

I hate to be this harsh, but citing disingenuous and misleading "facts" that end up, after examination, mitigating against her arguments seemed par for the course for Capt. Mariner in this debate. Color me unconvinced.

This sort of disingenuous nonsense
12.23.2007 9:50am
Wayne (mail):
If only it were true "American citizens, through the constitutional process" determined the measure of battlefield effectiveness. History would not be as we know it.
12.23.2007 10:04am
Gary Anderson (mail):
Capt. Mariner wins, hands down, over Prof. Kingsley Browne.

Look at where they're both at...

He's free to sputter safely from the sidelines; she's dedicated ourl lives to protecting our freedoms.

Well done, Captain. The above commenters, along with Kingsley, will take some time getting used to the fact that there are individual women who are stronger and more efficent fighters than they, who presume entitlement merely because of their chromosomes. Some will eventually get it -- having a competititive, qualified daughter often helps; some will go to their grave convinced of their inherent superiority being born male.

Let's let individuals compete with neutral standards. If a woman bests you, so be it. Away with affirmative action -- racially, sexually, religiously, or based on legacy standards.

Either you can do the job or not. America needs to get competitive and do away with these entitlement attitudes.

Let the gays in if they're qualified, along with women, blacks and Hispanics. Treat violations of policy as behavior-related, not pre-determined in group classifications. America needs to learn how to compete again, with no special preferences doled out. Or else, the newest superpowers are going to eat our lunches.
12.23.2007 11:00am
Gary Anderson (mail):
And god help us if we elect Barack Obama commander-in-chief, when we all know how competitive he would be a candidate were he not a black man.
12.23.2007 11:01am
Carolina:

Well done, Captain. The above commenters, along with Kingsley, will take some time getting used to the fact that there are individual women who are stronger and more efficent fighters than they, who presume entitlement merely because of their chromosomes. Some will eventually get it -- having a competititive, qualified daughter often helps; some will go to their grave convinced of their inherent superiority being born male.


Paging the Straw Man, Straw Man please use the white courtesy phone . . . .

I am a 34 year old out-of-shape lawyer. I am quite comfortable admitting there are women who would be "stronger and more efficient fighters" than me. But, ahem, that is not the question. I'm am not in the infantry. Nor do I claim the Army should take me.

The question is whether there are women would be "stronger and more efficient fighters" than the men the US Army has already doing this job. And there probably are 50 or a hundred or even a thousand such women who have both the physical ability and the desire to join the ground pounders.
But this is a relative handful.

Turning our ground combat branches upside down so 5 or 10 women a year can graduate from West Point and enter the infantry strikes me as a very poor bargain, and Capt. Mariner's arguments have only reinforced this view, in my humble opinion.
12.23.2007 11:26am
common sense (www):
So although Prof. Brown's argument is stronger, as its actually supported by some facts (although not strong as it should be), and the CAPT lacks any factual evidence, you give her the win because of her service? If this logic is sound, then shouldn't she lose because of the number of servicemen and women who have posted on this board arguing against her?
12.23.2007 11:39am
Swede:
"It is significant to this debate that General Casey identified "the rights of free individuals" as part of what the United States is fighting for."

No, what's significant is that neither General Casey nor any combat commander is requesting that women be brought into the combat arms.
12.23.2007 11:40am
Erin (mail):
I think that Capt. Mariner, while far less glib than Prof. Browne, has made some very good points, and did not let herself become distracted by a bunch of "oh noes! pregnancy!" handwaving. (Dude, it's called an IUD. If the Army can make you get innumerable barely-tested vaccinations, they can make you get an IUD ... Or, better yet, on a more efficient cost basis, they could invest in a cheap reversible male contraceptive, and make THAT mandatory. Would have solved the problem of so many abandoned Amerasian kids after Vietnam, no?)

Here's the argument I don't think any of Capt. Mariner's critics have successfully refuted. America, rightly so, is considered the land of individual liberty. The more we try to take away those liberties in the name of "National Security!111!!!Eleven!" (wiretapping, anyone? The news today of Hoover's "little list"?) the more we chip away at the very ideals we're supposed to be fighting for and upholding -- and one of those ideals is that we're all created equal. We don't all have equal capabilities, or, sadly, equal opportunities, but we are all equal in the eyes of the body politic, or should be. By manifestly declaring women UNEQUAL, especially to defend the country where women have more legal and social equality than 90% of the world, we sully and weaken our own bedrock foundation.

"But, but but but ... this is LIFE OR DEATH!" Well, in other situations, we accept quite a bit of death for equality and the cause of individualism. Let's take the driver's license, which is for many Americans a potent symbol of freedom. In a very strict, actuarial sense (no question of patronizing relaxed standards) young men are much, much worse drivers than young women (measured in accidents per miles driven). That's why their insurance rates are so much higher. In 2004, according to BTS stats, there were 45,000 fatalities in transportation accidents. If we were serious about using gender-based differences to save lives and improve our security, we'd keep young men from driving. 3,897 servicepeople have died in Iraq so far, according to AP this morning. (Of course if you include Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the conflict, that adds about another 80K to the total.) So why don't we save all those lives and keep men from driving? Because it's unAmerican to restrict people based on membership in a class.

There is, of course, no "right" to drive, and there's no "right" to serve in the armed forces. But we accept all people who pass the test to drive, regardless of their membership in a class (except perhaps the class of undocumented worker) and the armed services should work the same way. Pass the test? Welcome to the service, soldier.

(The funny thing, of course, is that younger women are actually starting to drive ALMOST as aggressively as men -- again, measured by actuarial standards -- so what does that say to the people who have claimed that women will never, by their natures, be as aggressive as men? If it's happening behind the wheel of the car, where else is it happening?)

Many thanks to Capt Mariner and Prof Browne for this discussion.
12.23.2007 11:42am
frankcross (mail):
Just for the record, it is not clear that Prof Browne's argument was supported by facts. He asserted a lot of claims without citations to supporting evidence, because of the limitations of the blog. To determine whether his argument actually is supported by facts, you would have to buy his book and investigate the underlying studies and examine their evaluation and citation.

The Russia WWII example would seem to show that women are not inherently incapable of being effective in combat. Though it doesn't follow that the Russian experience is a good guide for today's US policy.
12.23.2007 11:58am
common sense (www):
Erin,
The problem is that men and women are physically different, and the fact that people want to ignore that undermines their argument. Men and women are not created equally, and its a shame that science that points this out is usually shouted down. However, men and women have different medical needs, physically develop in different ways (not just puberty, but the way their bodies react to training stress in the gym), and have different hormones illustrates that there are differences. Are these differences important? Maybe not for most things, so its okay to ignore them and allow men and women to compete equally, with no ill-effects. However, the military is not such a place. And wouldn't forcing an IUD, or equivalent in men, be the same restriction of freedom that you complain about? The military is already willing to chip away at bedrock freedoms for its Soldiers (see, 1st Amend). The Supreme Court has held its acceptable. It just makes sense that its acceptable. And as for the life or death, yes we accept some increased chance of death for freedom, but we have always as a nation been willing to give up some freedom for national security. Look at the Civil War and World War II. Although we must be careful about this (and I agree, domestic wiretapping now doesn't pass the test), keeping women out of the ground combat forces is without doubt both acceptable and appropriate.
12.23.2007 12:06pm
Rob Perelli-Minetti (mail):

Rob and Malvolio, you're completely wrong in your interpretation of that passage. It shows a certain odd defensiveness, I think. She is simply saying that women should be judged on their abilities, not stereotyped based upon their status as women.

So she actually means the opposite of what you suggest. It's not feminism, simply saying that our military would be more effective if it simply took the best candidates for service, regardless of gender. I find it odd that you can't understand this.


This is absolutely incorrect. If you read the entire series of posts and comments, you will see that a number of the commentators are not opposed to women in the military, and, on principle not opposed women in combat IF the women will be able to perform at the same level as men and will be contributors to military effectiveness rather than detracting from military effectiveness. Such commentators, and I include myself among them, have raised issues concerning the ability of women to perform at the levels expected for (especially) elite and close combat units.

For us, military effectiveness is paramount. If you don't win, all the nice politically correct gender equality regime we have in civilian life will not matter a whit. It's not about individualism, it's about winning wars.

Captain Mariner has basically dismissed those arguments in the passage from her post I quoted. We're talking about whether women in any significant numbers (and I think everyone would agree below a certain threshold it would make no sense to change the way the military is organized to accommodate the wishes of a few, though we could disagree on the threshold) are capable of meeting standards that have not been gender normed, and she ignores the whole discussion, or rather dismisses it in the quoted paragraph.

If Captain Mariner is uninterested in the evidence and in the proper framing of the questions, then she's not interested in the most effective military. She's either interested in equality for it's own sake -- which has no place in the military -- or she's interested in making it easier for women officers to get career tickets punched.

On reflection, I think DrillSGT was right on an earlier thread that women should be careful what they ask for, because if any women are permitted into the elite ground combat units, the ones who can't meet the same standards as the men will find their careers wrecked, and the ones who don't go to airborne, ranger or special forces schools will find themselves at a greater disadvantage than they do now.
12.23.2007 12:19pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"He's free to sputter safely from the sidelines; she's dedicated ourl lives to protecting our freedoms."

So what? How does that effect the issue?
12.23.2007 12:23pm
frankcross (mail):
Rob, she is not uninterested in the evidence and in the proper framing of questions. Her post was about group rights. Normally, we don't stereotype by group. She is just saying we shouldn't do so here. She didn't dismiss military effectiveness, that's just bad reading comprehension.

Whether women are capable of performing in combat units is a different question. The paragraph you quoted is simply her statement that they should receive an equal chance to demonstrate their merit and not be stereotyped as excluded because of gender.
12.23.2007 12:37pm
glangston (mail):
Skyler (mail) (www):
The good Captain is mistaken in saying that serving in the military has anything to do with rights or with citizenship.

You needn't be a citizen to serve in the military. You need not be a citizen even to be an officer. I had a Canadian in my outfit once who was a second lieutenant in the USMC. I have no idea why.




Likely this comes from the fact the Canadian was in fact born in the USA and had dual citizenship. I won't say for a fact that there haven't been exceptions but the qualifications do say officers must be citizens.
12.23.2007 12:52pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Glangston,

No, he was a Canadian citizen exclusively. Whenever we had a classified briefing, or even one with NOFORN (no foreign) material, we had to ask him to leave. He later became a US citizen after he was a first lieutenant for a year or two.

Remember, for every rule there is a waiver.
12.23.2007 1:50pm
Ken Arromdee:
If the Army can make you get innumerable barely-tested vaccinations, they can make you get an IUD

It would certainly solve this particular problem, but we both know that the Army won't be allowed to do that.
12.23.2007 2:17pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
Frank Cross,

It it is true, it isn't a stereotype. It is true that stereotypes are generalizations; it is not true that all generalizations are stereotypes. Science is predicated on generalizations; their value is that they are accurate.

There is no doubt that Prof. Browne's argument, while imperfect, is a better explanation of historical and contemporary reality than Capt. Mariner's. The Captain has not met the burden of proving a change in military policy is justified. Indeed, she never even got around to explaining what the new policy would be. Perhaps that is related to the fact that she lacked any hard data on what the policies currently are. She could not even pinpoint how many women currently serve in combat units. The only way you could have found such a non-argument persuasive is to have been prejudiced.

prej·u·dice
n.
1. a. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
12.23.2007 2:52pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Erin actually makes better arguments than Capt. Marineer, but she's still wrong.

I would say that Americans do have a right to move freely about the country by automobile. Certainly there are standards of behavior associated, but the same is true for walking. The only reason governments like to deny that driving is a right is because they have gotten away with it and they enjoy the taxing and licensing revenue. But that's another debate. The point is that even if you decide that driving is a license, there is no reason to exclude males from driving because the difference in accident rates is not as large as the one we're discussing. It's substantial, but it is not a nearly universal result.

If you can't hear, you can drive. If you don't have two functional legs, you can drive.

With ground combat assignments, there is no right. If you don't have two functional legs, you don't belong in the infantry. If you're a woman you're incapable of meeting the standard as much as a blind man is incapable.

Carolina: As a 34 year old out-of-shape male lawyer, give me six weeks of training and you'll be in shape and capable of doing everything we expect of anyone in the infantry. I have no doubt in my mind. Until you reach about the age of 50, most men are able to do so. The impact of age is that older people are less likely to be healthy, but if they are healthy, they are just as strong for the most part. Yes, a 21 year old may be a tad faster (but not always, I still run faster than most of the young kids), but 34 is hardly old by any measure.

The problem with requiring a test of ability is that the test is too severe to administer. How do you create a test that stresses a body for weeks on end with poor food, little rest, and no end of work? And this is a test that can only be accomplished after getting each individual in a high state of conditioning. The expense and the risk of such a test is prohibitive.

But we know that given sufficient motivation, any average man can do the job. Very few, approaching zero, women can hold up under such a test.

We don't test for this level of performance because we can't. But we should not forget that this is what our military is expected to do.
12.23.2007 4:39pm
Dave D. (mail):
.... Capt. Mariner claims to want individuals judged on their merits and not by their group affiliations. So does Erin. But in another place, at another time, they are oh so glad to enjoy the advantages and privileges that arise from their sex alone, and not from any merit. The entire affirmative action framework is built on it.
..Their arguments are duplicitous. That they are somehow to be taken seriously here, on this question, when they are at the same time reaching back under the table for that bribe of unfair advantage is ludicrous.
12.23.2007 5:27pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Like I say, perusing the comments only reinforces that we should continue to "argue out" these issues, because it will take individual men a good deal of time to adjust to the fact that, yes Virginia, there are women qualified to serve in combat, while the "thinkers" sit on the sidelines, sputtering about their actions and qualifications.

Thank you Capt. Mariner for making the argument, making it well, and helping some of the sideline-sitters understand that it is competitiveness -- not some gender-based entitlement presumptions -- that will help America achieve the best possible results in the future, for those truly IN IT TO WIN IT.
12.23.2007 5:49pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
But in another place, at another time, they are oh so glad to enjoy the advantages and privileges that arise from their sex alone, and not from any merit.

Fear not, Dave D.
First you make the merit-based argument. Then you change the world.

It all starts somewhere ... and sadly, you're on the wrong side of the presumptions, giving advantages based on sex, just as once your type assumed superiority based on race. The Kingsley's of the world will be passed over when we judge on merit, and naturally that's the time we begin to see them start to fight tooth and nail.
12.23.2007 5:54pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Perhaps the Conspirators can invite someone to seriously champion the cause of women in ground combat units? Capt. Mariner didn't put up much of a fight.

I'd have to agree with this sentiment. The problem with this 'debate' is that you have one person (Brown) who is a very good debater, and another (Mariner) who is not. Furthermore, most of the commenters were on Brown's side. So it is hard to tell whether Brown is actually right on the substance, or whether the pro-women-in-combat position was just not very well represented.
12.23.2007 6:15pm
George Larson (mail):
Capt. Mariner

I have a question.

"In the end, it was military effectiveness that finally ended racial segregation in the Army. During the Korean War, desperate for replacements, General Matthew Ridgeway formally asked the Army to racially integrate the National Guard and Army divisions under his command."

Why did General Ridgeway make this request? President Truman had officially desegregated the armed forces in 1948. I know it had not occurred in Korea or Japan in 1950, but I thought it had to do with local commanders, not Congress. What additional authority did General Ridgeway need?
12.23.2007 6:54pm
Dave D. (mail):
Mr. Anderson wrote : " Just as once your type assumed superiority based on race."
...No, I never mentioned race, or assumed superiority about anything. If there is any assumin' going on, it's yours. How quickly you race hustlers rush in to cover and obscure your exposed hypocracy.
12.23.2007 7:13pm
frankcross (mail):
I'm intrigued by Dave D's post. He seems to suggest that Capt. Mariner is disreputable for arguing against gender-based exclusion of women from combat but arguing for gender-based affirmative action. Now, I don't think he has any idea what the Captain's position is on affirmative action. But set that aside. Do the advocates of his positions not realize that the exact hypocrisy that they charge applies to them? They say group rights are bad, except when they like them?
12.23.2007 7:14pm
SenatorX (mail):
The people who have left their argument at the "military effectiveness trumps all" spot have failed to convince. Others have pointed out places that show effectiveness clearly isn't an overriding principle. To re-hash the obvious are self imposed limits we put on types of weapons, tactics, and recruitment. I understand we don't exactly train soldiers to think about morals but they exist anyway. Further the doctrine of autonomy exists whereby any U.S. soldier is expected to NOT follow an order he believes is immoral. "Soldier skin that kid as an example to the others" is a legitimate order to deny and if you don't then you will be told later in court you were supposed to.

I'll say it again. There are a lot of things we could do differently to make the military more effective. The fact that I can find a couple examples easily should put that to rest. Instead the military tries to be as effective as possible under the conditions of its existence. This includes the weapons that have been procured for it, the training it has achieved for a mission that comes up, the number of forces it has to deploy, and yes the moral and social laws that have been put on it by its donor civilian society.
12.23.2007 8:11pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

Frank Cross: Do the advocates of his positions not realize that the exact hypocrisy that they charge applies to them? They say group rights are bad, except when they like them?



That's true of academic liberal theorists, too, including feminists. Indeed, the hypocrisy appears to a limit of feminism itself. It seems the cure is pluralism. But what does that have to do with Capt. Mariner's arguments?

The objection to Capt. Mariner's arguments as requests for undefined special privileges -- a very old objection -- has little to do with group rights in general. Rather, it has to do with the fact that she's got plenty of tendentious and fallacious rhetoric, but little to back it up, nor is it clear what she's asking for or what the rhetoric is all about.
12.23.2007 9:14pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):

I'll say it again. There are a lot of things we could do differently to make the military more effective. The fact that I can find a couple examples easily should put that to rest.



True. They could switch to cotton underwear instead of polyester. That would increase effectiveness by .2%. But since it would cost only $200,000, it is a better investment than adding 15 women to combat units at a cost of $20 million, which would increase military effectiveness by .01%. See the form of my argument? Capt. Mariner failed to do this.
12.23.2007 9:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Senator.

How about some specifics?

If programs like Ranger School are opened to women, and if standards are not dropped or normed for women--proponents of full integration insist on not norming standards until at least six hours after integration shows results they don't like--and women can't hack it, what about the careers of women who can't hack it, compared to their careers now when they are not expected to. DrillSgt made the point their careers are, effectively, over. I'd figure few of those now making O3 would do that well under the new system. Why is this a good idea? I can think of a couple of reasons, but why would a feminist or proponent of full integration think it's a good idea? The only answer I can think of is that there will be a necessary reduction in standards. Did you get that memo?
One reason for being cognizant of civilian casualties is to help win a war, even if it costs us dead grunts, as it has. Does full integration help us win wars at the presumed price of dead grunts.?
The Navy changed its requirement in boot camp from having two guys carry a litter case through a simulated ship in distress to having four guys--because not enough women graduated--do the carrying. Getting through the passageways of a warship which has been hit is tough enough for two guys with a litter. Four is impossible. What's the upside?

Be specific. At the risk of being maudlin, "Tell it to the parents of the dead sailor/soldier." Your son died because we changed out standards to allow women to serve in combat arms. Didn't help with the war, but the feminists liked it.
12.23.2007 9:27pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
No, I never mentioned race, or assumed superiority about anything.

Then you agree that qualified individuals should not be kept out solely based on their gender. Just as qualified individuals were once kept out, solely based on their race? Excellent. I thought you were arguing that women overall were inferior -- as Kingsley did -- and therefore as a category, they should be excluded. My apologies; I see you too accept Capt. Mariner's arguments then.
12.23.2007 10:49pm
SenatorX (mail):
See the form of my argument?

Yes it's just not a very good one. Cost in dollars is what’s important? The fiat money/inflation cost is the easiest of all costs to bear. Not only would any cost you imagine to be a blip in the sea, you can expect MORE spending on the military in the future. The credit contraction is just getting starting and the government is sure to spend, spend, spend to create jobs and put money into the economy as a response(they already are).

Sorry Richard but you will have to do better than that. You have already been shown so I am not sure why you don't see. Basically though how do you justify any soldier’s death to their parents? You certainly don't do it by saying "they had the best equipment we could give them". Because you know, it's not true right? A soldier’s death is justified by such things as the reasons the soldier joined, the things the soldier believes in worth fighting for, and the actual actions of following through on the promises they make. In other words what you tell a parent of a dead soldier is they died fighting for principles. Since they enlisted in the U.S. military you would have to assume it was the principles typically associated with America.

See you basically have it all backwards. First comes something worth defending, then comes the people to defend it. Nobody is volunteering to defend military efficiency.
12.23.2007 10:51pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Your son died because we changed out standards to allow women to serve in combat arms.

Lol. Those with sons currently serving understand that it is better to accept qualified individuals, than to continue lowering the standards to accept those with penises. At some point, you look for the most qualified to serve alongside and one day to save your life -- man, woman, black or white, straight or gay.

Those arguing for male-only combat troops are the ones sitting safely on the sidelines, whose sons will come closest to combat service in their video games. Offer up your own "grunts" first, then come preaching to the rest of us about who you predetermine should be in, and who should be excluded. I hear there running a shortage, and plenty would love to sit out their third tours of duty and let those qualified serve. Of course, your sons are probably 4-H or addicted to Ritalin, bad eyesight, sore feet, etc. etc.
12.23.2007 10:57pm
Mike Keenan:

And god help us if we elect Barack Obama commander-in-chief, when we all know how competitive he would be a candidate were he not a black man.

I am disappointed to see that overt bigotry here.
12.23.2007 11:46pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
Cost in dollars is what’s important? The fiat money/inflation cost is the easiest of all costs to bear. Not only would any cost you imagine to be a blip in the sea, you can expect MORE spending on the military in the future. The credit contraction is just getting starting and the government is sure to spend, spend, spend to create jobs and put money into the economy as a response(they already are).


This is both irrelevant and sad. Capt. Mariner had no facts and did not make a cost comparison. Your little digression on inflation is pointless.
12.24.2007 12:02am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Actually, Gary, many of those arguing against are or were soldiers and have the view of soldiers.

We still have not settled the issue of gender-norming. Are all the proponents of full integration willing to insist that gender norming should disappear and the standards required be those applying now to men? And to wait on full integration until after gender norming disappears?

Gary. How would you address the point that women, now getting promoted without having to go through, say, Ranger School will shortly not be promoted because full integration means they have to?
12.24.2007 12:15am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Gary ridiculously opined:

Those arguing for male-only combat troops are the ones sitting safely on the sidelines, whose sons will come closest to combat service in their video games.


Actually, that's the opposite of what we've seen. People in the military and those who have had experience with combat are saying that based on their experiences they know that women can't do the job required. Those who only read about the military on the internet are the ones saying that we should ignore the physical inferiority of women.

In fact the entire argument for women in combat is essentially based on ignoring this fact that is so inconvenient to their sensibilities of equality. You might say that those espousing the idea of women in the infantry are simply ignorant.
12.24.2007 12:31am
Dave D. (mail):
....Of course I agree that qualified individuals should not be kept out because of gender, or of race. But I spent 32 years as a peace officer, 20 as a Sergeant, and I watched conniving people such as you reduce the qualifications to the point of absurdity in order to achieve their political goals. That's the duplicitous part of your design. Your postings here and on other threads are proof of it. You pretend to desire equal treatment without regard to race or gender, but you hide your motives and wait until you can pervert the standards.
..I watched the State Personnel Board take my Departments search for the most qualified, best prepared applicants and reduce the qualifications down to the bare minimums. You aren't really looking for the best, you're interest is in finding the least qualified, barely able troops to satisfy your social construct. You disdain the warrior ethos, the risk taking and war winning aggressiveness that characterizes success. You're goal is to diminish the armed forces. And introducing an inferior element into combat units is your method. You might fool your friends about your motives, but you're not fooling folks here. I've met lots of con men. You are just one more.
12.24.2007 12:32am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
"He's free to sputter safely from the sidelines; she's dedicated ourl lives to protecting our freedoms."

So what? How does that effect the issue?

It's a variation on the "chickenhawk" meme, and is intended/expected to cancel all further debate. I'm told that people who live in ideological echo chambers find it quite devastating.

If the political culture decides that infantry and SF units will be integrated, gender norming will be a certainty. Senior officers will scramble to make the program appear to be a screaming success. Given our current, overwhelming logistical and technical superiority (vs. potential adversaries), it would probably even work reasonably well. Well enough to cover up deficiencies, at least.

However, people tend to believe things will always be as they are now. Within a generation, likely adversaries (and some not yet on the radar) could conceivably match our technical sophistication, or even surpass it. Even if not, blinding our satellites and hacking/disabling our computer systems could bring us down a few notches. All the glowing fitness reports in the world won't swing the tide of battle if US forces have to rely on iron sights and bayonets.
12.24.2007 1:19am
Hey Skipper (mail) (www):
I completely agree with CAPT Mariner: the ability to serve in any capacity in the US military should be based solely upon merit. Gender, in and of itself, has no more to do with merit than skin color or religion.

That places the focus on merit. In an ideal world, which is not one that includes groups who worship equality of outcome without regard to equality of opportunity, there would be a merit test for each military specialty and those tests would accurately reflect the requirements of each specialty and would be applied without any regard to group identification.

In such an ideal world, nearly all the Air Force's specialties (absent speical ops) would be open to, and filled with at least some, women. Those women who possess the merit to be fighter pilots and choose to do so perform just fine. What's more, the task is objective enough, and the numbers small enough, that all those motivated by equality-of-outcome have been soundly defeated. (I am speaking as a retired AF fighter pilot, and one who has been responsible for pilot training, and has flown with women students, a couple of whom have gone on to fly fighters).

However, in that ideal world, the number of women serving in Army ground combat roles, on virtually any ship, or in AF special ops, would be essentially zero. It is only through gender norming -- a concept that CAPT Mariner completely failed to address -- that there is any female presence at all.

Which is what makes CAPT Mariner's assertion that there is a relevant analogy to racial discrimination indefensible. With African - American men, it took removing a barrier to allow them to comfortably succeed. With women, though (except, again, for the AF), it required adjusting standards, utterly without regard to the requirements of any specialty, in order for some "acceptable" number of women to be included. Note well: these diluted standards are explicit group specific barriers to entry: they allow women to pass, but exclude men who can't pass the more rigorous male standard.

Which is why some of us here are arguing about double standards: they are nearly omnipresent and pernicious. While their presence does not undermine CAPT Mariner's individual merit argument, she has neglected to consider whether eliminating those double standards would render her position true in principle, but gutted by the conspicuous absence of any examples on the ground.

I am rather surprised that my point in the previous thread that the possibility of having US female POWs gained so little traction. Since any potential enemy must rely upon asymmetric warfare for victory, the strategic cost of a US female soldier getting captured cannot be ignored.

Imagine the effect on the support for a war if videos of US female soldiers being abused -- or beheaded -- were to be available for all to see. Humans do not react the same way to a male in that predicament as they do a female. Regardless of the left's core requirement for any sort of intellectual coherence, people are not blank slates. No amount of conditioning will ever get us used to that eventuality, which means otherwise inconsequential tactical victories (capturing a few women from a rifle squad) would always lead to unwelcome strategic consequences.

Taking all this into consideration, and based upon considerable personal experience, I do not find any particular objection to women serving in AF combat aircraft. Without gender norming, a few are both physically and mentally capable, and our air supremacy makes it extremely unlikely any will get shot down and captured.

However, with regard to the Marines and Army, we must eliminate all gender norming. CAPT Mariner, if she is true to her argument, will take true equality of opportunity consequences on board without complaint, even if that means no women qualify. (Having been through Army Airborne training, I'll bet there isn't one women in 100,000 who could succeed in the absence of the gender norming that others have mentioned).

The Navy is a little different. Yes, it is true that physical standards slid considerably so women could serve on ships. However, it is also true that our sea supremacy is nearly as overwhelming as our air supremacy. While the odds of one of our ships being successfully attacked is small (USS Stark and USS Cole, anyone?), it is low enough that the other qualities women bring are not undermined by their manifest inability to adequately perform damage control duties.

So, by all means, allow women to serve anywhere in the US military, just so long as we dumpster the idiotic concept of gender norming.

And honestly consider whether the ineradicable effects on the home front of our women soldiers being abused by the enemy in the most disgusting ways should be included in the notion of merit.
12.24.2007 2:01am
frankcross (mail):
Aegis, it is very true of liberal academic theorists. And, apparently, of you. It is clear what Capt. Mariner is asking for -- equal opportunity. Dave D believes her to be "conniving," but I've got a hint he doesn't actually know her. Both of you are stereotyping, in order to rescue your ideological preconceptions.
12.24.2007 1:59pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
I think the only thing we have established throughout all these discussions is that there is precious little legal relevence to the issue. Forcing a legal remedy where there is nothing to remedy will prove, as it usually does, disastrous.
12.24.2007 2:09pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
Aegis, it is very true of liberal academic theorists. And, apparently, of you. It is clear what Capt. Mariner is asking for -- equal opportunity.

It's not true of me at all. As I said, I think group rights are irrelevant to this debate. All I wanted were some facts and a cost comparison. You, apparently, don't need any facts or data to agree with Capt. Mariner's non-arguments.

The equal opportunity rhetoric would make sense if one had a right to join the military. But you don't. It is a privilege. And maintaining the military costs money. The military is not a costless bucket of rights. It's a military. You want to change military policy, justify it, and justify it on a cost basis. How does this benefit the military and how does it improve national security? She gave no answer, nor did she explain what changes she wanted to implement. Her "argument" was a resounding failure.
12.24.2007 2:21pm
Dave D. (mail):
...No, Frank Cross, I don't actually know Capt. Mariner. I suspect that no commenter here does. But the question at hand isn't the Captains alone, nor are here methods, which are mimiced by you and others who support her desire to see women in combat. As many have pointed out, gender norming and the many guiles of affirmative action make your support of "equal opportunity" a sham. Despite the numerous examples of unequal opportunity and favoratism towards women supplied here and commonly known , both you and Capt. Mariner, and others, assert it as a remedy. I just can't believe your sincerety.
..The definition of 'conniving' that most fits your deception is this : " To feign ignorance of or fail to take measures against a wrong, thus implying tacit encouragement or consent. "
12.24.2007 2:45pm
frankcross (mail):
You're digging yourself in deeper. In fact, it doesn't take any facts or data to support equal opportunity. That's what's great about it. Group rights are not irrelevant, it's been explained why they are, the argument is just inconvenient for you so you don't want to confront it.

And equal opportunity is not limited to "rights." I don't have a "right" to any job, but I should have equal opportunity to earn it. I don't have a "right" to buy a particular house, but I should have an equal opportunity to get it by offering more.

Of course, Capt. Mariner gave the answer to how this improves national security. By expanding the pool of potential soldiers, we can be more selective in who we choose. She didn't evidence a lot of support for this position and it is worth considering the benefit vs. the cost more closely. Professor Browne did not actually provide facts either (as opposed to uncited assertions), but you didn't complain about him, did you? But you are calling her a failure, not because she was, but simply because you disagree with her. Her theoretical argument about equal opportunity was perfectly logical.

I'm dubious about women in combat, for pragmatic reasons, but I'm not so closed minded that I can't recognize the potential validity of the equal opportunity position.
12.24.2007 2:48pm
Hey Skipper (mail) (www):
frankcross:

I'm not so closed minded that I can't recognize the potential validity of the equal opportunity position.

The problem, of course, being that, seemingly inevitably, equal opportunity becomes warped into equal outcome.

Hence gender norming.
12.24.2007 3:06pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
frank,

Equal opportunity exists only where there is an equal ability. Women do not have the ability. This has been demonstrated by thousands of years of recorded history. How much more data is required?
12.24.2007 3:47pm
Ash:
How much more data is required? Just enough to satisfy the politically correct crowd. I thought that was obvious.
12.24.2007 3:56pm
SenatorX (mail):
I propose a new standard. Strong black American boys only for combat roles. And of course they get the promotions that come with the combat experience. See its been determined that on average your black americans are physically more fit than the skinny white boys and so the cost of maintaining weaker white boys is harming us in killing efficiency. As things stand now we have lower standards so that these wanna a be white soldiers are able to enter but it is no longer justifiable. If we ever need more candidates and have trouble filling slots we may lower the standards again in the future so that our genetically less able white citizens will be able to serve. Now we understand some whites will be able to meet the standards but they will not be allowed to join because it wouldn't be worth the cost. It is cheaper to go with an "all black outfit" logistically and having some whites in the mix might affect black unit cohesion. We know everyone will understand and anyone who doesn't is a racial norming political hack.
12.24.2007 5:28pm
frankcross (mail):
Skipper, that's my concern.

Skyler, that is the most bizarre interpretation of equal opportunity that I've ever heard. There is never exactly equal ability among people, or groups, but still we provide equal opportunity by treating people as individuals and letting them compete for opportunities, not stereotyping them as members of a group and denying them the chance to compete.
12.24.2007 5:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, ah, anybody around here going to talk about standards, gender norming?

How about equal opportunity to get into and out of Ranger school and women don't get in or out and so don't get promoted? We gonna need some kind of "correction factor"?

You damn betcha, and you can put money on the fact that the full-integration types have already polished their arguments for gender-norming, right after they claim to be against it.
12.24.2007 6:05pm
Hey Skipper (mail) (www):
Mr. Aubrey:

That is where CAPT Mariner was conspicuously silent:

One can't be in favor of equal opportunity and gender norming at the same time.
12.24.2007 6:11pm
Tern (mail):
SenatorX, did you answer the white courtesy phone yet?

There is much more of a difference between the genders than there is between the races.

Gender discrimination and historical racial discrimination are not analogous, nor would the removal of barriers to women in close combat be similiar to that of desegregating the Armed Forces.

The military was desegregated because efficiency required it. Racial equality was a product of this, but it was not the goal.

Here, gender equality is the goal, and military efficiency is apparently not a consideration.

The purpose of the military is twofold - to break things and to kill people. It is not to be a force for social change. If social change comes from increasing the military's ability to fulfill it's purpose, then so be it. But it should never be the driving force.

Those arguing away the differences between sexes seem to fail to understand that there are large biological and psychological differences between men and women. Particularly biological. And these differences are significant - considering women to be "men without penises" does not do justice to the differences.

Captain Mariner argues:

We can argue in circles about cohesion, pregnancy, double standards, physical strength, political correctness --dueling studies; down in the weeds-- but in the end it comes down to a fundamental choice: Do adult citizens participate in the public sphere as individual human beings first, equal before the law, or our group affiliations paramount?


She is wrong. We were not arguing in circles, and her statement amounts to an attempt to casually brush away the more successful arguments against her position without actually addressing them.

Service in the military isn't a right. It isn't even participating in the "public sphere", per se. There is a gap between the military and the public, and there should be such a gap.

Furthermore, diminishing the gender issue to a "group affiliation" is ridiculous. Being a member of the Rotary Club is a "group affiliation." Being a Eagle Scout is a "group affiliation." Gender is not.

And again, those commentators who pointed out that these arguments would apply to all people regardless of ability or disability are on point. Captain Mariner's argument would allow disabled people to serve in the military as well. After all, aren't they adult citizens of the Republic? Yet, it would be folly and madness to allow someone who is blind to join an infantry unit - an act so perverse that the inevitable consequences should result in murder charges for the idiots who would implement it.

And for the inevitable "chickenhawk" arguments, I did serve ten years in the Marines. I don't say this to argue that my point should be accepted without question, but I do have some personal experience.

There are some good WMs. ("Woman Marine.") But in practice, the way it works is different than the ideologues imagine. Perhaps one out of ten WMs are good WMs. By this, I mean that they pull their load (I was never in combat, so I can't speak to this), do okay on the PFT (never as good as most of the male Marines, but enough for a male first class PFT) and don't whine and complain more than the male Marines. That's one in ten.

The other nine rely on their gender to get out of trouble and out of what is required of them. Sergeants have to be careful with them, because even a false accusation of sexual harassment will follow you, and they aren't unwilling to make such an accusation. Sometimes the accusations are proven unfounded, and the WM is punished, other times it is the NCO's word against that of the WM, and sometimes there really is sexual harassment. But as an NCO, are you willing to take that chance? So the NCOs have to walk on pins around the WMs. WMs - even the ones who never pull their load get promoted faster than the male Marines. (Sadly enough, the ones who do, who are just one of the guys, don't get promoted.) Having spent some time in the Reserves, and gone on the two-week active duty trainings, almost every troublesome WM who doesn't complain too much and actually tries gets a Navy Achievement Medal. ("NAM"). Only one male Marine usually gets one - the one who is the reincarnation of Chesty Puller. (There is always one. He is not me.) (Disclosure: I've never got a NAM. Sour grapes, perhaps?)

So my conclusion, from my experience and not my ideology, is that the good WMs (the one in ten) are not worth the trouble caused by the other nine. I'm not sure of the value of the good WMs in combat, but I think just the experience in the rear, doing ordinary garrison stuff, makes the good WMs not worth tolerating the bad WMs. I suspect that combat experience would at least magnify this.

And physically? I won't get into how most can't or won't pull their loads, but I will quickly address the health factors after serving. My wife is also a Marine. She was a "good" WM. She pulled her load. She worked hard, she didn't complain. She's considered a disabled veteran from how her body broke down during her service. That's the consequence. FYI, she does agree with me. Years of joint pain does tend to change one's perspective.

Lastly. Many people have agreed with Captain Mariner. However, it seems that they find her arguments persuasive because they are already prejudiced in her favor. I'd find it much more admirable if the various voices of experience in here could be judged upon their merits and not dismissed because we fail to agree with your preselected position.
12.24.2007 7:54pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Would Capt. Mariner, or any other supporters of women in ground combat units, support a law passed by Congress that would prohibit any and all gender norming in the US military?
12.24.2007 8:36pm
steve-roberts (mail):
Key questions, my answers

1. What is the purpose of the military ?

To beat the enemy in combat (not to provide career opportunities).

2. Should physical standards be sex-normed ?

No, because the physical demands of combat are absolute

3. Can female soldiers meet absolute physical standards for combat soldiering the same physical standards as male soldiers ?

Yes, but very few indeed can

4. Do mixed-sex units incur a penalty in unit cohesion due to the mixing of the sexes ?

Yes. Sexual bondings and break-ups, rivalry, and jealousy are all pretty much inevitable and all affect unit cohesion

5. Do mixed-sex units incur extra costs due to the mixing of the sexes ?

Not necessarily. The decision to spend extra money in mitigation of factors affecting unit cohesion is a political one, it is a matter of opinion whether that path would be taken

6. Are there insufficient men available for combat roles ?

No. But then I believe the US military to be doing far too much combat right now.
12.25.2007 8:27am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Does following an argument into the archives constitute dorkiness?

The pro-integration folks have a uniting theme. Despite opportunity and invitation, they have completely failed to address the issue of standards and gender norming. Utterly failed.
This is not a matter of ignorance, but of deliberate avoidance.
Why?
Despite evidence that the opponents have an astonishing sum of military experience between them, Gary Anderson and others hauled out the chickenhawk bullshit.
Why?
Setting up the thesis:
Prior to GWI, there was a business in DC which could be called Pentagon Criticism. Dina Rasor, author of "The Pentagon Underground" had one of those offices. Their job, if you can call it that, was to criticise military affairs, principally but not entirely procurement.
Rasor, in her book, described her intro to the field by relating a situation in which, as a rookie, she was working for a critic office. Some of the stuff didn't make sense. She was told, she says, that the bosses explained that they didn't really want to cut the fat, but they wanted to cut the lean. But you couldn't sell that directly, so they had to lie. She quit and went into business for herself.
In an article about her visit to Detroit to lobby against the upgunning the M1 Abrams from the 105mm gun to the 120mm gun, she remarked that there was a group, led by Gene McCarthy, which was trying to weaken the military.
Her beef against the tank gun change was, when I called her, that she didn't so much care about the gun as the way the whole thing was managed. But, in the article, she was concerned, she said, about soldiers' lives.
I call BS.
It did explain various pieces of garbage floating about the media. The Detroit Free Press ran a lengthy article about how the F15 was a complete waste of money, comparing it to the A10 tank buster. The planted axiom was that the F15 with the Maverick missile had no other role than tankbusting. The internal writing indicated the guy had done his homework and knew better.
An office in DC ran a list of the shortcomings of the Stinger. As did Molly Moore of the WaPo. The shortcomings were actually nothing but a list of characteristics (backblast?check. poisonous fumes? check) of any rocket or missile.
Moore, when I called her, retreated to saying it wasn't userfriendly.
Nobody seemed interested in how the illiterate ridge runners were using it to blow the Soviet air force out of the Afghan sky.
There were many other examples.
Rasor's office, when I pressed one of her people, were concerned that the Stinger wasn't "man portable". It is, but they were bullshitting. I asked the guy what the weight of the three major components of the 81mm mortar was, expecting him to recall that the venerable 81 and its brethren in other armies had been hauled up and down hill for half a century and was certainly man portable.
Conclusion.
The proponents of full integration are not interested in full integration for itself, nor in the rights of women.
The absolutely predictable results of full integration and high standards will be attacked for disparate impact and irrelevance of standards--see many police and fire departments--and the demand will be made, successfully, for gender norming. Or the reduction--as in Navy bootcamp--in standards for both men and women.

The goal? As Dina Rasor, the most honest, although that's saying very little, of the Pentagon critics said, is to weaken the US military.

Remember RADM (ret) Gene Larocque? Don't know his motivation, but doing as he suggested would have weakened the military.

I say all this knowing that there is no way to prove intent if the other party lies. But if, when invited repeatedly to address an important issue, they refuse, we no longer need them to admit it.

Or, one could play a mindgame. If they really did want to weaken the US military and use women's participation, what would they do differently?
12.25.2007 10:26am
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
it doesn't take any facts or data to support equal opportunity

But it does take facts or data to justify a change in military policy. I didn't ask Prof. Browne to justify the change in military policy he was seeking because he wasn't seeking a change in military policy.
12.25.2007 1:36pm
Aegis of Blogistan (mail):
Of course, Capt. Mariner gave the answer to how this improves national security. By expanding the pool of potential soldiers, we can be more selective in who we choose. She didn't evidence a lot of support for this position and it is worth considering the benefit vs. the cost more closely.

She also didn't specify what the improvements were.

Or take into account that women pass lower standards, which isn't really selectivity.

I would call that a non-argument.
12.25.2007 1:38pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Gary Anderson:
It all starts somewhere ... and sadly, you're on the wrong side of the presumptions, giving advantages based on sex, just as once your type assumed superiority based on race.

What does it mean when a liberal accuses you of racism?

It means you both recognize that he's lost the argument.
12.26.2007 9:37am