The women in combat discussion continues

| January 24, 2013

I’m still in my pajamas because I haven’t stopped on this discussion all day. Not that I’m complainin’, I’m just sayin’. But I’ve run across some real moron statements in my reading today. For example, Tammy Duckworth, the newest Congresswoman from Illinois and former VoteVets associate felt the need to endorse the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s decision to allow women in the combat arms specialties. Of course, there’s not much chance that she’ll get called back into the service due to her position and the fact that she’s a double amputee, but she makes the most moronic statement I’ve read all day in Stars & Stripes;

As a combat veteran I know the inclusion of women in combat roles will make America safer and provide inspiration to women throughout our country.

I’d like her to explain to her constituents how this will make the country safer. And in light of the two women who washed out of the Marine Infantry Officers Course, the only two who volunteered, how does that inspire anyone? But generally, the only people I’ve read who are whooping and hollering about this decision are women who will never serve as combat soldiers.

And, yes, she has a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat, but what does she know about real close up combat? She was wounded when the helicopter she was flying was shot down, so she never humped a ruck, never kicked a door down, never pointed her weapon at someone who was trying to kill her. Never maneuvered a squad or platoon in a firefight. So that “As a combat veteran…” thing rings a bit hollow.

Earlier today, when I read one of my Facebook friends of the VoteVets variety celebrating the decision, I asked if she was going to reenlist to take advantage of the new policy. I got the sound of crickets in return. Another, of the IVAW variety (not Army Sergeant), who I asked the same question, made several excuses as to why she wouldn’t.

And then I read, thanks to our buddy Adam Weinstein at Mother Jones, that idiot who calls himself the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marty Dempsey, says that allowing women in the combat occupations will cure the sexual harassment problem;

If the United States had previously allowed women to serve officially in military combat roles, including special operations forces, there might be fewer sexual assaults in the armed services, the Pentagon’s top general told reporters Thursday.

Having studied the issue of rampant sexual misconduct in the ranks, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that he has concluded that the phenomenon exists partly because women have been subordinated to men in military culture: “It’s because we’ve had separate classes of military personnel.”

Really? This ranks right up there with his conclusion that the green-on-blue attacks were the result of cultural insensitivity on the part of our troops in Afghanistan. How are we separate classes? I’ve seen women at all ranks, including General Officers.

Dempsey and Panetta went on to tell the media that the service chiefs were all behind the policy. They said the same thing about the DADT policy change, too. Then we found out that not all of the service chiefs were particularly happy about it. Then the Secretary and Chairman said that the services can request opt-outs for some jobs. I don’t see that happening. Demi Moore did a great job at BUD/S, so that’s proof that women can handle any job, right?

“We want to make sure we get the standards right, and we don’t overengineer them either,” Dempsey said.

What? The standards are already policy, what do you have “get right” if you’re not lowering the standards, either for the entire force or just women?

Asked whether the military’s elite Seals and Green Berets might soon see female recruits, Dempsey said he had discussed that with Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno and Marine Commandant James Amos, both combat veterans themselves. “I think we all believe that there will be women who can meet those standards,” he added.

Yeah, if you bring the standards to their level. It’s not the women’s fault, it’s the fault of the social scientists and the Tammy Duckworths who are going demand to see numbers that justify their efforts, and the military being under the command of civilians who don’t understand how important training standards are to the entire force, just collapse like a Kmart lawn chair. Again, the folks who are going to make the most noise are the ones who don’t have to do the job.

And, yes, I understand that women have performed admirably in the last couple of wars when they have “found themselves” in contact with the enemy, but, you know unintentionally bumping into the enemy and engaging in a firefight, is a damn sight different from actively seeking and pursuing an enemy hoping that it will result in a firefight. You’d think that Dempsey would be able to tell the difference and explain that to his boss.

Category: Big Army, Military issues

Comments (127)

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  1. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Why is it I get the feeling that any woman who would make the cut to get into a combat unit isn’t the one I would like to see in her skivvies drawers?!? Ex-PH2, you would have been more than welcomed on Amtrac C-25!!!;)

  2. WOTN says:

    I can’t attest to the sexual habits of ferrets, but I can point out that while many humans believe canines attempt recreational sex, the humping of one by another is a demonstration of dominance (as demonstrated by the fact females do the same to males).

    Regardless of any animals that might be non-conforming to the norms of the rest of the Animal Kingdom, the point is that Humans have sex for purely recreational purposes, AS WELL AS, instinctive reproductive purposes, and that is occuring in the military despite orders by NCO’s, LT’s, General Officers, Chaplains, etc, in and out of combat zones, in porta-johns and guard towers, as well as on fan-tails, and in storerooms.

    We can say that we should be acting like adults, in the 21st Century, but the fact is that adults in the 21st Century are having sex, regardless of consequences, or orders to the contrary. And they’re doing so, under threat of death in Iran, under threat of eternal damnation, in the church, and under threat of UCMJ and court martial, in the military and in combat zones. Even the General Officers are doing it, and getting caught in the aftermath.

  3. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @102. “Why is it I get the feeling that any woman who would make the cut to get into a combat unit isn’t the one I would like to see in her skivvies.”

    Yeah, that is an issue and assumes heterosexuality just for starters. Still, I earnestly believe that, men being pigs, by and large, she would have her admirers and bedwarmer volunteers.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    @102 – Because, YatYas, you’re a normal, horny man. And thanks for the offer!!

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    AirCav, I noticed you left out the word ‘flaccid’ this time.

  6. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @107. Nice of you to notice. You could imagine what else I was thinking of including but, being neither young nor single, I thought the better of it!

  7. Hondo says:

    Leave it to the retired E8 to put things back in proper perspective. Bravo, USMCE8Ret. Well played, sir!

  8. USMCE8Ret says:

    What can I say, Hondo? I love you guys and gals.

  9. USMCE8Ret says:

    (….not in a gay or dry humping domineering way, either. Got it?)

  10. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    This was fun. Thanks. I’m not certain anything was resolved but, what the heck, the world isn’t listening to us anyway.

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    I got quite a…memorable…bit out of it.

  12. YatYas says:

    2/17 Air Cav:
    @105. Can pretty much guarantee some Jarheads would hit it regardless how fugly. Did 4 UDPs to Camp Schwab Okinawa and the old pros on BC Street and Whisper Alley always had some Jarhead customers. Semper Gumbey…any port in a storm.

  13. Nik says:


    At what age do we expect men to take responsibility for their actions where sex is concerned? You’re either a stud horse, to be controlled until needed for breeding, or you’re a man, with intelligence and thoughts and feelings, who can be counted on to make informed decisions at crucial moments. Your intelligence and your libido are NOT mutually exclusive. Or, if so, at what age does that change?

    PintoNag, with all due respect, that’s not the question that should be asked.

    The question is “What are the consequences of failure, and are we willing to live with it?”

    Two consenting supply clerks engaging in sex in the back of a warehouse on Camp Pendleton pose little risk to safety and adequate defense.

    Two consenting adults banging away in a OP/LP outside the wire ups the ante.

    Men and women will have sex under stupid circumstances. Look at all the teachers getting caught banging their students. Those are women who should know better having sex with boys. You’d think after the first dozen or so got caught, and the DA used text messages and photos against them, they’d at least learn to pick boys who keep their mouths shut and not send anything incriminating.

    But no. People do stupid shit over sex all the time, and it seems to be getting worse.

  14. Nik says:


    Can pretty much guarantee some Jarheads would hit it regardless how fugly. Did 4 UDPs to Camp Schwab Okinawa and the old pros on BC Street and Whisper Alley always had some Jarhead customers. Semper Gumbey…any port in a storm.

    Yah, when I was in Phase I at MCRD San Diego, there was this WM PFC who worked the entrance to the chow hall. When I first saw her, I thought she was strictly ok.

    As I got through Phase I, then out to the field and Edson Range, then back for Phase III, she started looking better and better. Of course, she was literally the only woman I saw from the time we got out of receiving until graduation.

    It’s probably a good thing we were effectively under a code of silence, or I’d probably have fallen all over myself proposing to her.

  15. Ex-PH2 says:

    @Nik, this bit: “Look at all the teachers getting caught banging their students. Those are women who should know better having sex with boys.”

    You ought to know by now that male teachers are just as bad as women. It’s in the news on a regular basis. If you change that to “men and women who should know better than having sex with children”, I could not agree more.

  16. Nik says:

    Oh, I absolutely agree, Ex-. I’m just pointing out that both genders can let their libido replace logic. 🙂

  17. Susan says:

    Make no mistake that there are many women who would make excellent trigger pullers. The problem is that pulling the trigger isn’t the hard part of the job — it all of that God forsaken rucking, slogging, lifting and general toting. The good lord made men and women different. I personally appreciate this fact.

    I can do any job intellectually a man can do. Get me a good manual, some good beer, and enough time and I could figure out nuclear physics. As HR will tell you, not being aggressive enough has never been my problem. The truth is that even before I got old, out of shape and overweight, I could never lift and carry what the average physically fit man could ruck. It isn’t sexist, it’s physiology. Thus, the younger male cousins are in the infantry and I do logistics (care packages).

    I think what they have overlooked is what a friend of mine who graduated from the USMA, was airborne and gung-ho said when I asked her why she was getting out after her deployment in the early days of OIF. The type of men who are drawn to combat arms type jobs are protectors by their very nature. They will screw up the mission or get themselves killed to protect a woman even if she can do the job and doesn’t need help. She got out because her very presence put her men at unnecessary risk and as a good officer she could not let that happen again. Heard the same story from some former NCO contractors I met.

    Of course none of this takes into consideration what the Israelis figured out. The type of shithead who is our enemy WILL NOT surrender to a unit with women. While killing more of them is good, is it worth the extra losses on our side to be PC? I don’t think so.

  18. Miss Peggy says:

    Woke up this a.m. to my husband telling me about the “let’s lower the requirements for enlistment to accomodate women” issue. I Googled “who was the idiot who…” & found this forum. I read all 119 comments on the page before I decided to add my 2c & found most of my thoughts ‘dittoed’.

    But I have a couple of addtl. observations that I think are crucial, regardless of any disagreements they might raise from the “we’re supposed to be adults” faction.

    Physiologically speaking, I don’t care how strong a woman is, she’ll never be EQUAL to her male counterpart in a combat OR combat training situation and in combat, physical equality IS crucial!

    Now this comes from a woman who is convinced that anything a man could do, so could I, & proved it time after time as a girl, young woman & even now, as an old fossil. I was the most tomboyish female I ever met & to this day, at age 59, I’m still the one who helps the boys move that washer, dryer & fridge during a household move in our family…not my husband. But my physical strength works HERE, in the everyday world, & doesn’t require any hard core decisions.

    We must always remember that, generally speaking, men are logical (no snickering remarks please!) whereas women are emotional, even in this day and age. Now I know that women are capable of SELF-sacrifice equally with men, but there is one point in particular, that I haven’t read in the comments. I’ll address a different point first, though.

    Women have another issue that leaves them lacking more than the testosterone needed for agression, already mentioned: a monthly one. I would not be surprised, if this “more women in combat” actually happens, to see womens’ monthlies being medically controlled…it’s been known to happen with some female Olympians. What both sexes, especially females though, must realize is that the consequences for that course of action is far reaching, whether with reproductive abilities or general health, including cancers of the reproductive organs. All I’m saying is that to truly accomodate the desire for more females in combat, MORE CONTROL WILL HAVE TO BE TAKEN OVER WOMEN! Tied tubes for males or females may stop “unplanned” pregnancies, but it won’t stop the “down time”…or the scent that can give away a company’s position (men in some countries still retain that sense of female’s scent) that can get them killed.

    But for my initial point, I have had grandfather, father, uncles & cousins, 2 husbands and one son…all with years of combat under their belts. All of them have been put in the situation of making an horrific decision: the sweet, angelic faced toddler – giggling and running toward them with arms outstretched to receive the chocolate bar he’s used to getting from the American soldiers…strapped with explosives that will be detonated as soon as he or she is close enough to kill as many soldiers as possible.

    “The sacrifice of the one for the safety of the many”. My grandfather was young, my dad 19, my 1st husband only 17, my son 19 & married with an infant himself…that’s how old they each were when faced with that choice.

    My 1st husband, a jarhead, did what he had to do to protect 23 men. The stress of that memory gave him a fateful heart attack at 49. My son did what he had to do to protect his 15 or so brothers-at-arms; 8 yrs later his nightmares still awaken him. I defy any woman to be able to push aside her emotional nature & make that horrible choice…and follow through.

    Men are protectors by historic and genetic nature. Women are brutal, perhaps, when they are put in that position…but are, by historic and genetic nature, nurturers…otherwise men would be the childbearing homekeepers & women would have penises.

    Just sayin’

  19. Miss Peggy says:

    I know,obviously, there are exceptions to “historic/genetic norms” (including my eldest daughter who served for 6 years & did see a bit of combat just before she got out); I was speaking in general.

  20. OWB says:

    Miss Peggy: Your addition to the conversation is appreciated. However, I take issue with your assertion that women are more emotional than men. Some of each gender are much more emotional than I care to deal with on a good day much less in combat. It really isn’t gender specific. In reality, if you consider thinking with the little brain instead of the big brain to be anything other than intellectual, a case could be made that men (assuming a significant number are so driven) who react with what they want instead of what is needed in the moment are more emotional than women who are not so driven.

    Personally, I think that there are entirely too many “adults” in this country who are driven by emotion rather than intellect – many of these are men and many of them are women. My opinion is that both genders are well represented, with not enough differance in percentages to matter.

  21. Miss Peggy says:

    OWB, perhaps I should have been more specific! In no way did I mean that the depth of emotions are any less in men than women. To the contrary, most men that I know are every bit as likely to become visibly emotional as women about love, family, friendship, patriotism or even a smell, sound or situation that brings back strong memories.

    I was referring more to the way the brain works under certain circumstances, as the subject is the differences in how one might acquit him/herself in combat situations.

    There was a fairly recent study between men and women, showing measurable chemical differences in the subjects, including (dopamine??) levels in the brain during intensely stressfull situations which demanded snap decisions. The study explained in detail which chemicals showed more prevelance in emotional decision making as opposed to those more prevelant in logical decision making. In this study the chemicals involved in emotional decision making showed an increase more in women than in the men who were subject to the same situation. Altenatively, those chemicals more commonly present during logical decisions showed more of an increase in men than women.

    I wish I could recall the program for you (I’ll try to research it) but I don’t, only that it was either PBS Nova or one of the Discovery or NatGeo series.

    Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, as well as, for lack of a better term, “learned responses” which will negate any heretofore accepted “norm”. Determination to overcome a perceived norm will generally succeed if the desire to do so is sufficient. I was speaking of basic historic and genetic tendencies, however…exceptions aside.

    Point being, most men AND women I know would prefer a man by their side in combat (or even walking down a dangerous street at dusk in the ‘hood). Men, generally speaking, tend to engender a sense of safety more than do most women…unless, of course, it’s a child with his mother.

    Again, general representations while acknowleging exceptions and for a specific situational circumstance.

  22. OWB says:

    This subject really is much too complicated for us to come to a serious conclusion in this medium, Miss Peggy. Much depends upon the definitions used. My simplistic brain sees anything based upon “I want” as emotional while “I think” tends toward not being emotional. Even that only scratches the surface.

    In any case, I do not think that the “too emotional” argument will ever be effective to justify keeping women out of combat or anywhere else. I prefer letting anyone try anything they are first physically qualified to do, show some aptitude (that measure would vary a lot depending upon the vocation) for doing, and have whatever personality traits it takes to do the job. We hope, for instance, that medical schools accept their students from a pool of persons with high IQs and a willingness to learn a bunch about the human anatomy. If they fail at it, they should be washed out of medical school not practicing their mediocre (or worse) skills on sick people.

    All just to say that I really don’t care whether my doctor, the firefighter who responds to my house fire, or auto mechanic is a male or female as long as they can do the job physically and mentally.

    I would further caution you to take a lot of those studies with a grain of salt. (Which should in no way imply that I think them all to be invalid, but perhaps not complete.) Just because we do not now have the tools to measure it does not mean that instinct or intuition does not exist. It could be that much of what many of us call situational awareness is based on intangibles which have no apparently rational explanation. Ever do something, or not do something, because the hair on the back of your neck signalled that it was time to consider or to reconsider your decision, or to make one?

    One last thing – while we each get to choose which doctor to see based upon whatever criteria we wish to use, we seldom get to choose who serves beside us in the military. If standards remain what they have always been, the very few women who might try the infrantry and the even fewer who actually make it through training would have little trouble being accepted by her peers. If they screw around with the standards, this whole thing is just one more pc driven failure done for all the wrong reasons, to our national detriment.

  23. Ex-PH2 says:

    So, we’re done talking about sex now?

    Well, crap! That’s no fun!

  24. The proposal to include women in combat is the new hot topic. Unfortunately America has spent countless hours through TV, Ads,and movies to perpetuate the idea that women are equal to men in all aspects. Equality is a good thing for all, however the reality of this proposal is that more men will die in combat trying to protect the new “superwoman”. We are misled by pictures and articles of the few women who have achieved success in the armed forces. They deserve credit for their accomplishments, BUT that does not mean that all women are capable of reaching the same levels of success. All men cannot pass military training. Our enemies have already demonstrated that they know us quite well. They could make it a point to capture the females in order to lure the men into action. What if a male commander decides that the life of one soldier is not worth the lives of so many, and if that one soldier is a female? Listen we have built such an artificial platform for females that this would only ad to the delusion. Women have outstanding skills and abilities as do men. Neither women nor men are born as the superior gender that is pure rubbish. Individuals within those genders have made outstanding contributions to society and the world, but it is on a case by case basis not across the board. As a former combat soldier I would not want a female in my patrol as they are subject to misplaced emotions that could result in the death of many. Don’t let the accomplishments of a few women be exaggerated to engulf the many. When the first group of women arrive home without arms or legs what will society say? Despite the “macho attitude” women try to bring they, in the end, will bring more problems then solutions.

  25. Ex-PH2 says:

    Wonach suchst du, Raspberry?