The women in combat discussion continues

| January 24, 2013 | 127 Comments

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

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  1. NHSparky says:

    Oh goody…so now ANY woman in a combat zone thinks they’re entitled to a CIB?

  2. Beretverde says:

    Back in the day we used to ask … when the shit hits the fan (real combat-not convoy snipes)which do you want to come to your rescue:
    1. a leg infantry company
    2. a Marine infantry company
    3. an infantry company from “Division” (82nd)
    3. a company from “Battalion” (Ranger)

    Now in tomorrows “nice military” if you could pick… which would you choose?
    1. 100% male infantry company
    2. 50/50 male/female infantry company
    3. 100% female infantry company

    I’m going to watch some high school basketball (basketball=non contact)tomorrow night. I wonder how many girls will be on the boy’s team? If there are none…why is that? Sexism of course!

  3. DefendUSA says:

    Well, Jonn- Personally, I loved sexual harassment cause I gave as good as I got!! This is partially true. I never felt threatened by my male peers who liked to make silly remarks about my voluptuous ta-ta’s as long as they never touched them…

    And of course, women never strapped on their proverbial balls then,and put the offenders in their places…no. NOW,though? hooo-eee!! They are gonna roll over assholes who think it’s cool to drop the innuendo because NOW they’ll have a combat patch or something…Jesus H. That is the single most ridiculous thing I have heard besides Panetta’s retarded decision.

  4. PFDRbrendan says:

    I don’t think there is anything surprising in the big, ignorant EO experiment that they have announced. Our job as Soldiers in the Army is now obviously to pander to the minority decision to integrate Females in ground combat units. I have had a female tell me she couldn’t do what I do after doing Battle Drill 1A for only two hours. This is all ten kinds of stupid. Thanks Army.

  5. Twist says:

    @53, The female civilian that works in my office has a sign on her desk that says “sexual harassment will not be reported, but it will be graded on a scale of 1-10″.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Have there been any female Posers outed here? Maybe this will be the year, if not.

  7. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: ask, and ye shall receive.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=32709

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=32193

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=29849

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=23649

    There may be others, but these are all I could remember and find quickly.

    There was one other questionable case, but I don’t know if we ever resolved Tiffany Ginger’s actual rank in the US Army Reserve.

  8. SJ says:

    I had forgotten about her, Hondo. Thanks for the memory. But now we can expect females with Ranger Tabs, SEAL insignia, etc.

    Don’t know why “SJ” doesn’t stick and it keeps reverting me to Anonymous.

  9. Hondo says:

    SJ: if you’ve got your browser set to refuse all cookies, that setting seems to cause it. I haven’t been able to find a way around it yet other than to reenter the screen name the first time you access TAH each day.

  10. jerry920 says:

    I am going to throw this out there as part of the discussion, all though it’s fairly unlikely to happen now.

    During WWII, Infantry unit were “created” by the stroke of a pencil by simple re-designation while en-route to the combat zone. While it’s unlikely to happen now, since women can now fill any combat role it can happen.

    • Hondo says:

      jerry920: if I’m remembering correctly, pretty much effectively the same thing happened in Iraq in 2007-2008. If memory serves, a fair number of artillery units ended up doing dismounted patrolling vice fire support because their guns weren’t needed – but their bodies were.

  11. SJ says:

    Now that is a Marine!!!! (#29849)

  12. DefendUSA says:

    Twist…now that IS a classic and one I will use!! :)

  13. Hondo says:

    DefendUSA: be sure to put a large magnifying glass next to the sign. (smile)

  14. Ex-PH2 says:

    Defend, didn’t you tell them that if they liked yours so much, they can get an operation to have some of their own just like yours?

    I got hit with the ‘you’ve got really great boobs’ more than once. That was my response.

    Does register for selective service mean I’m going to get a notice from the draft board to finish my six? I could use the extra money.

  15. Oh god, I’m going to regret getting involved in this. But flat-out question;

    If the standards remain the same (and I don’t want to hear any “But they won’t”, or “It’s obvious what’s going to happen.) IF the standards remain the same, and any female wanting to join a set unit needs to meet the standards for inclusion there, and maintain said standards…

    Is there really any beef? I see a lot of “Of course women are going to want lower standards” but I don’t actually see any women ASKING for lower standards.

    That may mean there would be about five infantrywomen, and they’d all be volunteers, but eh, I don’t really see that being such a huge problem.

  16. Hondo says:

    Army Sergeant: I don’t believe anyone said that women would want lower standards above. And, frankly, that won’t be the source of any changed standards.

    What will happen is some high-level political appointee or politically ambitious GO at HQDA will see the initial numbers, have a cow, and say, “Fix this.” That will lead to either (1) separate gender-normed standards, or (2) new unisex standards that “enough” women can pass, or (3) outright falsification and paper qualifications. I’ve personally seen each happen in the last 35 years (mostly the first, but occasionally the other two as well). And I’ll guarantee you’ve seen at least the first – if nowhere else, on the back of DA Form 705 (the APFT scorecard) in the form of the scoring tables.

    I don’t personally give a damn who the person next to me is if it’s hitting the fan, or whether they’re male or female – provided they’re competent and capable. And selected women will be able to “cut it”.

    But my fear is not enough will initially. And what I’ve seen during the past 35 years leads me to believe that I know exactly what will happen next.

  17. Winter Soldier says:

    @ 61 – it happened a lot back in 04-05 as well. Got to theatre and it was “verily, though art now doing a dismounted infantry mission. Go forth and break things.”. It was an experience, and while I spent a year doing it, doesn’t make me think I am now infantry.

  18. 68W58 says:

    What percentage of females will meet “the standards”? 10%? 1%? More? Fewer?

    If 80% of males will meet those same standards, why are we spending our declining defense dollar on a group that is going to wash out at a proportion of x:1?

    Further, since the puzzle palaces’s own studies show that females suffer a much higher rate of stress fractures when subjected to more strenuous physical exertion why should we subject them to those higher standards when they will not, as a group, prove as durable as males. Meaning that they are more likely to be physically incapacitated earlier which will cost us both in terms of training a replacement and the likelihood of paying them a higher percentage of VA disability for a longer time than a male counterpart?

    The better question is how does this change in policy enhance our combat effectiveness in any way?

  19. OWB says:

    Hondo – actually there was a stray comment in one of the other threads susggesting exactly what AS said here. I chose to overlook it until having had time to digest it. When I got back to it, it was so far back that I opted to continue ignoring it. But, will go back and find it, after nap time. (teehee)

    It did irritate me that current female members of the military are accused of pushing this. Since I have been retired for a while, I can only hope that it is not now so. Historically, it never was so.

  20. Lazarus Long says:

    Remember, General Dempsey is the one who told Congress critters he has no problem paying more for TRICARE. His statement about women in the infantry is political, nothing more.
    As my Sergeant Major from our last deployment stated elsewhere (Facetube): “Take emotions out of it, this is not a game or some type of equality experimentation. We have tried this before and it did not work, other countries have tried it and it did not work. There is not one country in the
    world that includes women in their infantry units.
    This issue has nothing to do with “can females do infantry work”, it has to do with males getting faster promotions, achieving higher ranks and greater opportunities for advancement because of front line combat duty.

    The solution is not to put soldiers in infantry units that cannot meet the rigorous physical requirements of daily combat in austere environments . Now it’s time to fix the issues I mentioned above not create more problems that
    we already have the answer for.”
    However, for those of us that remember the Army in the ’70′s, BOHICA.

  21. Hondo says:

    OWB: I must have missed that comment; if you find it and post the link, I’ll owe you one.

    There are always a few out there of both genders who want the “brass ring” but think the standards required are too high, and push to have them lowered to something more “reasonable”. The overwhelming majority don’t.

    IMO they’re typically not the ones who make the decisions or the primary ones pushing for this kind of change, either. That is almost always coming from others.

  22. OWB says:

    When you read comment #23 you will see what I meant, and why I elected to ascribe a lack of understanding what the word appease means. This decision was not to appease 14% of the force, unless the poster is suggesting that that 14% of the force (male and female) are uber-idiots. I really can;t see 14% of the force supporting this lunacy at all.

    Oh, the link! http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=33775#comments

    In my experience, both in and out of the military, whiners come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, more or less equally devided between the genders. Same with slackers, although it seems lately that most of them tend to be obese, for some reason.

  23. Hondo says:

    OWB: thanks. Owe you one.

  24. Ex-PH2 says:

    If the issue that concerns you guys most is combat-zone sex and pregnancies, then have the women get their tubes tied, and/or have the guys get vasectomies.

    Alternatively, add more women to the roster to balance things. Instead of 7 men and 1 woman, make it 4 each.

    And while I’m at it, explain to me how you stay alive under fire if the only thing you’re thinking about is sex.

  25. 68W58 says:

    Ex-PH2: you’d be surprised at what guys can do while thinking about sex.

    Answer: Everything!

  26. 68W58 says:

    I’m going to expand on my last post (which I put forward as more or less a joke) because I do believe that sexual behavior is one of the areas where there are real differences between the genders.

    I’m not particularly interested in discussing this WRT the topic at hand where I think other issues are more important, but there are studies that show that men have a much higher desire for sex than females.

    Not long ago I read the research of a psychologist at Florida State who was interested in this issue. He tried to develop some metrics to measure whether or not there were differences between men and women and he found that men masturbate much more often than women, report that they think about sex more than women and were much more receptive to offers of sex from complete strangers (i.e. were more likely to engage in risky behavior to get sex).

    I think it’s not too controversial to say that women use sex as a means to control men, as Dr. Frasier Crane once said “how can we use sex to get what we want? Sex is what we want!”

  27. Ex-PH2 says:

    68W58, I’ll accept your responses — all of them, since I watched “Harry’s Heroes”, where CAPT Wales hiked for 2/3 of a trek to the North Pole with a bunch of wounded Brit vets, and one of the guys said “I think about sex a lot” in the most matter-of-fact way.

    BUT — and this is my point — while men may think about sex a lot more than women do, and while women can and do go for long periods without it, frequently by choice, thinking about it under fire and doing it under fire are two entirely different things. (I’m serious about this. I’m just trying to understand this.)
    So my question is, if someone is shooting at you and you’re in a mixed company of male/female infantry, what is more important? Staying alive, or getting laid? (Not meant in a crude manner.)

  28. Ex-PH2 says:

    And you’re quite right: sexual behavior in women is a lot different from sexual behavior in men. It isn’t that we don’t do the same things. It’s more that we choose when, where and with whom.

  29. Smaj says:

    Dempsey’s asinine sexual assault statement is yet further proof that this idiot does not have the judgement required for his current billet. He is just another in a long line of 4-star politically correct ass kissers. Good men and women are going to die and the unit cohesion of God knows how many teams, squads, platoons and companies will be destroyed if women are assigned to combat arms & SOF positions.

  30. PintoNag says:

    Reinforcing sexual stereotypes isn’t going to help matters. As one writer on another blog put it: ‘Men have frontal lobes; They are capable of controling their impulses.’ And if a woman uses sex to “control men,” she’s a cold-blooded sociopath, just like a man that uses anything, physical or mental, to “control” a woman.

    Men and women are physically and psychologically attracted to each other. We’re also thinking creatures, that should and do think ahead and plan ahead for situations where sexual behavior is not safe or warranted.

  31. 68W58 says:

    Ex-PH2: There is an interesting thread over at the libertarian blog “hit and run” http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/24/two-cheers-for-lifting-the-ban-on-women#comments where one of the posters told the story of being downrange for Desert Storm and the scouts catching a male and female Marine going at it while they were supposed to be guarding the perimeter against the Iraqis. Take that for what it’s worth, but I think it speaks to what we are talking about.

    I wish I could explain this better for you, but I don’t think I understand it myself, I just know that it is so.

  32. 68W58 says:

    PintoNag-would you have preferred if I would have said “influenced” or “manipulated”. Women have certainly gotten me to do things I otherwise would not have with the promise of sex, I don’t think this is an unusual circumstance for a guy.

  33. Ex-PH2 says:

    68W58 — Fair enough. Thank you.

  34. PintoNag says:

    @83 I have no doubt you are correct. I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here. So I’ll ask one more question: 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?

  35. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @81. PN:

    Two single people, one a man and the other a woman. They both get close, no one else is around and the hormones begin to buzz. One says, “No. Stop. We can’t do this here or now.” My question is, which one said that, the man or the woman.

  36. 68W58 says:

    PintoNag-that’s a fair question. I’ll say honestly that I’m not as susceptible to those sorts of influences as I once was (I’m 46). That’s partially because I don’t produce as much testosterone as I once did, which is also part of my diminished physical capacity in comparison to my younger self.

    Oh, and I’m not saying that people are incapable of controlling themselves, but it is a lot more complicated than it seems to me than it is currently being argued.

  37. Ex-PH2 says:

    Now my question was directly related to being in a firefight under live fire and what was more important.

    Boinking each other while you’re on guard duty is dereliction of duty, plain and simple.

    AirCav, she says, “If you really love me, you will.”

    PN, that question is directly related to mine: what is more important: hormones or bullets?

  38. PintoNag says:

    @86 It’s a valid point, and the answer would probably be the woman. My gripe is that I don’t accept excuses for men for casual sex, anymore than I accept excuses for an unplanned pregnancy. We’re (supposed to be) adults, it’s the 21st century, and we really need to start acting like it. We are, each of us, responsible for our behavior.

  39. 68W58 says:

    Let me clarify that last comment a little-it seems to me that the turmoil over whether or not to obey one’s “libido” or “intelligence” or the extent to which the one variable can confuse the other is at least a dangerous distraction.

  40. OWB says:

    The direction these posts are going makes me ponder the strangest circumstances under which everyone might have engaged their urges, but since this is neither the place nor the time for it, I will refrain from asking the question.

    No, if I were to either ask the question or answer it, the space shuttle would not have been involved.

  41. 68W58 says:

    “…the space shuttle would not have been involved.”

    Hey, it’s not too late-it’s on display somewhere in California now.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I read a person responding to fellow commenter’s question on another site. I think the exchange speaks to the level of disconnect between the military and the civilians on anything military related. Said commenter responded to the question “do pregnant females get disqualified from deployments?” Apparently unshakably convinced that they are knowledgeable in any and all things, the commenter responds “no, to do so would be a discriminatory and against the law”. We are dealing with people who have no inclination what it means to be an infantry soldier. In their mind a pregnant team leader in an infantry company would be able deploy to the Hindu Kush at 12,000 feet, and perform the job with no diminished ability as if it were a desk job at a telemarketing firm. While they I can sorta forgive these civilian types for their ignorance, I cannot forgive the Dempsey’s or the Odienero’s (sp?) who nod and smile when these horrendously bad ideas are dropped off by the PC fairy only to salute and move out smartly. Everyone both male and female who are rah rah-ing this are the same people who will never lace up boots and have to live (and die) with the consequences of a decision like this. Nor do they know anyone who does.

  43. WOTN says:

    If humans had evolved beyond their basic animal instincts (including the desire for sex, ie. reproduction), then 10% of military females would not have had an “unplanned” pregnancy last year.

    The difference between humans and most other animals is that humans have sex for recreation, while other animals have sex solely for reproductive purposes.

    And every Soldier that has served in “co-ed” units, knows stories of Troops being derelict of their duties, in order to have sex. Would that occur while under fire? Probably not very often. Would it occur while they were supposed to be in a guard post, protecting the unit from attack? Quite often. Would a Soldier be more protective of a lover or desired lover than others in a unit? Yes, that has happened.

    While it is more often stated that it’s the males that can’t keep it in their pants, there’s many examples in current co-ed units of “deployment princesses” that are taking full advantage of the variety of men they can get in a “target rich environment.”

    That’s not sexism. That’s reality. And it hasn’t been prevented by lawful orders, or General Order #1. It hasn’t been prevented by wedding rings, or lack thereof. It hasn’t been prevented by the threat of eternal damnation by Churches, or by threat of death by States (such as stonings by the Taliban & Iran) The human ANIMAL will find a way to have sex, particularly those in their sexual prime: 18-21 year olds, which are often Privates and College students.

  44. Ex-PH2 says:

    @90 68W58 – Here’s what I think you’re saying: in the unfortunate event that you’re under heavy fire and feeling the “urge” rather a lot, you (a man) would feel compelled to do — well, something — to relieve that ‘urge’, whereas the person next to you (a woman) would be more interested in staying alive and may possibly consider you to be a looney-tune.

    The three strongest instincts in any member of the animal kingdom (including humans) are thirst, hunger and reproduction. If the first two are satisfied, the last one takes precedence, regardless of the circumstances.

  45. Ex-PH2 says:

    WOTN, ferrets have recreational sex. So do horses, especially geldings, and I had a neutered adult male cat who was always after my spayed queen cats.

  46. 68W58 says:

    Ex-PH2: I don’t know that “compelled” is the word that I would use. I think it is fair to say that the emotions that I would feel for a female counterpart would be different from those I would feel for a male because of sex and that that would probably influence my behavior towards her.

    I think what you say about natural instincts is true enough.

  47. USMCE8Ret says:

    What’d I miss? Folks talking about rubbing one off in a foxhole or something? (I haven’t read any comments since about #35…)

  48. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    In asking the question I did in cmt 86, I had hoped to inject a little humor into this sometimes flaccid discussion by asking what amounts to a rhetorical question. Of course it was the woman who said no! Despite what young, single men are capable of doing (e.g., declining the advances of an alluring and desirable female), they have a supernatural kill switch that prevents them from turning that “No” into something audible. Exceptions exist but, as the saying goes, “Most men are pigs.” My personal fav is, “He’d do the crack of dawn.” None of this is to say it’s anything other than what it is.

  49. Ex-PH2 says:

    @98 – USMCE8 Ret, you owe me a keyboard!

  50. USMCE8Ret says:

    (@100 – Sorry.)

    ;)

    I’m all caught up now. Thanks for waiting for me.

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