Our buddy, Tequila Volare, sent us this missive to clear his own head on the subject;
Putting pen to paper, okay fingers to keyboard, to express my thoughts on those arguing in defense of the recent announcement from outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta to open up combat arms to women. I am doing this more out of frustration then anything. In stating my opposition to this decision I of course have been subjected to all of the obligatory name calling from the liberals and many an indignant female. My frustration stems from the fact that I spent 22 years in the Infantry meaning I have slightly more knowledge and experience in this particular argument then my critics. One can not convey the true meaning of what it means to be a member of the Infantry in 140 characters on Twitter or in some anonymous comment on a blog which gets swallowed up in the cacophony of others voicing their opinions.
Today I have also been treated to others who have worn the uniform ranging from truck drivers to helicopter pilots who support the lifting of the ban. While I respect their service they can not equate their jobs in the military to what a grunt does day in and day out. Listening to somebody who served as a hatch gunner on a HMMV and may or may not have gotten shot at while riding around doesn’t just quite match somebody who spends days, weeks, months living out in the environment exposed to the elements with no relief in sight. The things which bind an effective Infantry unit together are all of the intangibles which aren’t taught. When you upset that delicate balance you are inviting disaster. You can not ignore the physical differences, which are obvious to anybody and while that particular aspect has been beat to death I won’t belabor that point here.
What I want to address is that unseen bond which forms in combat teams who are forced to depend on each other for their very survival. It is not enough to merely dismiss such concerns by saying service members are expected to act as professionals. They are humans too. As such they are prone to such things as emotions and normal human behavior. What follows next will inflame feminist everywhere, but when you insert a female into a cluster of testosterone laden young males they are going to act like young males in any species on this planet do. There will be fights to establish dominance. Jealousy and envy will infect the ranks. If you are more worried of getting into a firefight because your rival may use it as an excuse to get rid of his competition you have a real problem. Often times the issue of chivalry is raised. Some discount this by saying once the bullets start flying you don’t care about the sex of the person next to you. For those with chivalrous tendencies that will not be the case. Somewhere in the recesses of their mind they will be keeping an ear and eye out and therefore not concentrating on the task at hand. Lastly, in what I call the “Hey Bubba watch this” Syndrome, which can be witnessed at any coed social gathering there is always going to be the guy who does some stunt to attract attention and therefore the eye, he hopes, of the females. Doing such a stunt while on a mission can lead to disaster. You can not regulate this sort of behavior out of existence for to attempt to do so is mere folly.
One of my other favorite arguments that has been thrown at me has been that women that live in such conditions would become unappealing to their male compatriots to which I respond have you ever been in a bar at closing time? I would like to see some reporters go ask some of the wives of married service members what they think about their husband sharing a foxhole with some woman for an extended period of time. I don’t think a lot of them would be on board with that idea.
Regarding the physical difference, without getting into the weeds on that particular aspect but in keeping in the vein of this missive does anybody think there might be just a wee bit of resentment in the ranks because the female is not expected to carry the machine gun, or radio, or mortar tube? She will still be eligible for promotion provided she meets the other criteria without having fulfilled all of the duties her male counterpart would have been expected to do.
Anyway that is what I wanted to say. Go ahead, call me a chauvinistic, misogynist, pig but it doesn’t change the points I brought up for to do so would be to refute the very essence of human nature since they first appeared on the planet.
While we’re on the subject, Dejah Thoris at the Victory Girls had this discussion with her significant man, and you should read it;
I know he feels passionately about this, because he has dedicated most of his adult life to making sure that I can sleep well and live free and he feels like they are taking the last thing he had that was really “his” away. This is one of the reasons I love him so much.
ADDED: Our buddy, Kira Davis, has another view from a former Marine female pilot;
Are there a handful of women who are capable of executing ground combat jobs? Yes…in fact, my husband and I came up with a list of five women that we knew personally that had the physical aptitude and mental temperament that would fit the bill. We have 24 years of military experience between us. Should America open up 230,000 ground combat jobs when there are only a handful of applicants that are qualified?