Bravery Hurts

Women in Combat: Another Nail in the Coffin

January 30, 2013

Multiple Pages
Women in Combat: Another Nail in the Coffin

On January 23, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women in combat. He gave the generals three years to open up all positions to women, and if any of them think there is a job women can’t do, they’ll have to explain themselves.

The combat arms—infantry, armor, and artillery—are closed to women for good reasons: They can’t do the job, and they keep men from doing the job.

Drones and laser-guided munitions haven’t changed things for a grunt: You still have to run up hills with an 80-pound pack, live in dirt for weeks, and hump 96-pound 155mm artillery shells onto the back of a truck. Your buddies count on you to carry them out of the fight if they are wounded, and they can’t count on someone with half the upper-body strength of a man.

An extensive 1994 Army study of men and women—written by a woman—discovered the obvious: “The average woman does not have the same physical capacity, nor can she be trained to have the same physical capacity as the average man.” There were tests with practically no overlap. On Maximum Lifting Strength, the worst 2 percent of men were at the 92nd percentile for women.

Soldiers may have to kill or be killed at close quarters. All your enemy needs is an extra inch of reach, an extra pound of muscle, or an extra burst of speed, and he will use that advantage to kill you. No one is talking about putting women on professional sports teams—we might lose a game!—but the military is now asking for weak links that could get the whole squad killed.

Last year, a lady Marine captain named Katie Petronio wrote an article for the Marine Corps Gazette called “Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal.” She is a pretty tough gal—she says she could bench-press 145 pounds and squat 200 pounds—but when she worked with men in the field, “the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines.”

“A soldier’s job is to find the enemy and kill him—yes, him—not to be part of a giant experiment in egalitarian fantasy.”

She writes that if women join up, the infantry is “going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females.” Some of these toy soldiers will break before they even see the enemy and then spend their lives drawing disability pay they don’t deserve.
Women in combat? Combat means close quarters. During the 2003 Iraq invasion, Marine Ryan Smith rode in an amphibious assault vehicle designed for 15 men. There were breakdowns and “by the end of the invasion we had as many as 25 men stuffed into the back.” They went 48 straight hours in the vehicle with no sanitation, and men got dysentery. “When an uncontrollable urge hit a Marine, he would be forced to stand, as best he could, hold an MRE [meals ready to eat] bag up to his rear, and defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face.”
 
When they got to Baghdad:
 

We had not showered in well over a month and our chemical protective suits were covered in a mixture of filth and dried blood. We were told to strip and place our suits in pits to be burned immediately. My unit stood there…naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers.

 
Squad Leader Smith does not want women in combat.
 
As ex-Marine John Luddy explained in a Heritage Foundation report, there are other reasons why women don’t belong at the front:
 

[I]n the one historical case where women were deliberately placed in combat—in Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War—they were removed within weeks. The reason: It was clear that men reacted to the presence of women by trying to protect them and aiding them when they became casualties instead of continuing to attack. The Israelis also learned that unit morale was seriously damaged when men saw women killed and injured on the battlefield.

 
Men take crazy risks to make sure women are not captured and to rescue them if they are. Remember Jessica Lynch, the 100-pound supply clerk who got into a traffic accident during the Iraq invasion and was taken prisoner? The Army told colossal lies about her Rambo-style knife fight with Iraqis—she went down on her knees to pray and never fired a shot—and then went to absurd lengths to get her back. There was a diversionary battle to draw off Iraqi troops, and a joint team of Delta Force, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, and Air Force Pararescue Jumpers—with much better things to do—snatched her from a hospital that turned out to be unguarded.
 
PFC Lynch was lucky. She fell into the hands of a regular Army that treated her well. But what would the Taliban do with a captured American woman? Gang-rape her, for sure. Then would she disappear into the most wretched brothel in Afghanistan or come back mutilated and pregnant and a psychological wreck?

Finally, there is sex. As one Marine Corps veteran 
explains, “Male bonding is what takes the hill. And male bonding just doesn’t happen with women around.”
A soldier recently put it this way on a Web page:

The Infantry squad is, hands friggen’ down, the backbone of any armed conflict. They can do anything, anywhere, anytime—because the lives of their buddies depend on it. The bond between men in an Infantry squad is like no other….The addition of women would utterly turn the squad’s level of cohesion and unity upside-down faster than anything. The female would become the center of attention, and the butt-end of every joke. Morale would be a crushing weight dragging the squad down into the dirt.

It destroys what the Army calls “group cohesion” if a man has been jilted by the squad tart and then has to listen to her squealing all night in someone else’s foxhole.

The military hands out condoms as if they were candy, but accidents happen. In the 1990s, 
Navy Captain Martha Whitehead testified before a military commission that women were three times more likely to be “non-deployable” than men, and that 47 percent of the time it was because they were pregnant.

In 2009, so many pregnant lady soldiers were being evacuated from Iraq that Major General Anthony Cucolo ordered a court martial and possible jail time for any woman in his command who got pregnant—and for the man responsible. “I’ve got a mission to do.” he said. “I’m given a finite number of soldiers with which to do it and I need every one of them.”

There are other problems. From 2006 to 2011, the rate of violent sex crimes in the military shot up 64 percent, with an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults in 2010 alone. Women are 14 percent of Army personnel but are 95 percent of sex-crime victims.  (The Army warns there will be more cases of men raping men now that homosexuals don’t have to worry about being kicked out, but that is a different problem.)
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he thinks women in combat will help solve the problem of sexual harassment. He pushed Leon Panetta very hard to lift the ban. “I have to believe,” he explains, “that the more we can treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally.” This is certifiably insane.
 
A man in fighting trim runs on testosterone. That is what makes him an effective killer; it also makes him think about sex every minute of the day. Putting women on the battlefield is like shoving the cheerleaders into the locker room with the team after a football game and locking the doors.
 
Combat troops are young men who kill people for a living. In the all-volunteer Army they are there because they like killing people. The military throws young women at them and is shocked—shocked—to discover that the men don’t always behave like gentlemen. So the Navy has 
mandatory anti-sex-assault training for every sailor, and the Army has SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention). They don’t change their idiotic policies; they try to change men.
When Leon Panetta made his announcement, President Obama was delighted:

Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love.

 
He got it exactly backward. Men go to war precisely so that their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters don’t have to go. War is ultimately about national survival. Half the men could die in combat but if women survive, the men who are left can keep the nation going. A society that sends child-bearers into combat has gone mad.

Secretary of the Army Togo West once said that keeping women out of combat slows their promotions and prevents them “from reaching their full potential.” The only men who talk like that wear ribbons instead of helmets. A soldier’s job is to find the enemy and kill him—yes, him—not to be part of a giant experiment in egalitarian fantasy. Only degenerate countries put women in combat.
 
Of course, it will work for a while—with higher casualties, grinding inefficiencies, and endless lies and cover-ups. But when the century draws to a close and the Chinese write the history of what used to be the United States, they will note that it was a sure sign the place was doomed when the American soldier became a social worker with a rifle instead of a professional killer. 

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