Kind Of Nation Sends Women Into Combat?
by R. Cort
ridiculous spectacle of rescued POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the feisty,
ballyhooed warrior of the Army’s 507th Maintenance Company, which
was butchered early on in Iraq, occasioned the usual war whoops. Yet
no one asked a simple question: What in heaven's name was a
hundred-pound girl, barely out of pigtails and high school, doing in
a combat zone?
more cosmic abstraction of woman in combat evokes little if any
debate these days, and what little debate we hear isn't loud enough.
Other women have been killed and captured, including at least one
single mother, and it's all just part of the modern military. As one
lady columnist for the Washington Post triumphantly
pronounced, the debate over women in combat "is over."
many Americans knew that?
Whatever the answer, a few days ago in this corner of
cyberspace, this writer
suggested a fine way to stop American wars of conquest:
Conscript the sons of politicians and bureaucrats who start them.
Nearly three dozen letters came in, almost every one posing this
question with the corollary mandate: Why are you excluding the
daughters? Let Bush send his daughters to war.
a passionate and in some ways understandable reaction.
most likely, it won't be long before women, along with young men,
are required to register for the draft; the explanation for that
observation appears below. But first, an answer for those
correspondents: The debate over women in combat turns on two
questions: whether women can do it (handle the rigors of combat) and
whether they should do it (is it morally acceptable and socially
word, no. It is un-American, un-Christian, and immoral.
The Practical Question
practical matter, 99 percent of women are unsuited for combat, and
that includes flying combat aircraft and serving on combatant ships.
That women do these things doesn't mean they should; it just means
the military has been feminized and civilianized, as any military
man will admit after a few shots of Jack Daniels at the Officers'
Club, and of course, after his commanding officer leaves.
the early 1990s, I was a staff member on the Presidential Commission
on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. The evidence the
commission gathered was clear on one thing: Women don't belong in
evidence showed women lack the necessary physical prowess. The
strongest woman recruit, generally, is only as strong as the weakest
man. Given that the services try to weed out the weakest men, it's
counterproductive to recruit even the strongest women. And our
volunteer military, remember, doesn't get the strongest women; it
gets average women.
well, women suffer higher rates of bone fractures, and other factors
such as menstruation, pregnancy and aging militate against
recruiting women as combat soldiers. The 20-something woman, for
instance, has about the same lungpower as the 50-something man.
Well, that might be true for ground combat, the feminists
insist, but surely they can fly jets and bombers. It's all just a
Nintendo game up there. Again, untrue. Flying high-performance jets
requires incredible conditioning and strength, particularly in the
neck. Top Gun fighter pilots told the commission (and news reports
later confirmed) that unqualified lady pilots routinely passed Naval
flight training. At that time at least, officers were rated on the
number of women they promoted. The result in one case? Kara
Hultgreen, the first woman to "qualify" flying an F-14, was killed
when her jet crashed because she couldn't land it on the carrier
let's suppose women fly jets as well as men. What happens when one
is shot down? The safety of the high-tech cockpit is gone, and she
is alone on the ground, trying to survive. She is another Jessica
for the ships, consider the obvious: You don't send a few nubile
sailorettes aboard Navy ships with 1,500 horny sailors, no matter
what the Navy says about its "leadership" correcting carnal
temptations. As well, the strength deficit surfaces again in many
shipboard tasks too numerous to mention here.
Military training is another area where the women fall flat;
they cannot survive the same basic training as men, so it is
"gender-normed." That means the services (and military academies)
have different standards for women than for men, and not just for
hair length. If women were held to the same standards as men, more
than 14 percent of our armed forces would not be women; they could
not attend the academies. Oddly enough, the feminists aver that
scrapping the double standard would be discriminatory! So much for
judging someone on her true merit.
the decade since the commission heard tons of testimony on these
points, nothing has changed unless women have evolved markedly
improved muscle and bone.
reply to these unassailable facts, some suggest some women can meet
the same standards with the proper weight training and
physical-fitness regimen. That's a stretch, but let's say a few can.
That takes us back to the weakest man vs. the strongest woman. What
standard would these few meet? The lowest among the men? Even if
they fell among men of medium strength, consider the prohibitive
cost of selecting these Amazonian anomalies from among general
population. And finding them assumes they want to be found.
friend of mine, a former Green Beret, suggests an experiment: Let's
train two squads, one all women, the other all men, to peak physical
and combat-ready condition. Then drop them in the woods for a war
game and see who wins.
Point is, women get by in the military only because of men.
As one Internet wag observed, the equipment one man carries into
combat is nearly as heavy, perhaps heavier, than Jessica Lynch.
Lynch and women her size do not have the strength to carry a fallen
200-pound comrade out of harm's way. Forgetting about combat, some
women aircraft mechanics need men to lift their toolboxes. Without
men, the armed forces would collapse, and the more women the
military enlists, the weaker it becomes.
one commissioner remarked in exasperation: "Women are not little
men, and men are not big women."
The Moral Question
leaves the moral and social questions, which commission member and
Vietnam War hero Ron Ray addressed with this remark: "The question
isn't whether women can do, it's whether they should do it."
Women should only be used in combat, Ray argued, if national
survival demands it; i.e., when the Indians are circling the ranch
and the men are dead and wounded. Even then, using women would be a
last resort. It would not become a policy. Such an emergency isn't
likely to happen here unless Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican
Guards make a spectacular comeback and march into Jonah Goldberg's
and Sean Hannity's neighborhoods. In that case, we know all the
women will be fighting.
kidding aside, the moral and social argument is one of "rights" vs.
what is right. The feminists claim combat service is a "right."
battlefield is not a boardroom, a courtroom or an operating room,
and the contrary notion is hyperegalitarianism rooted in feminist
fantasies that women "will have made it" when they have commanded
troops in battle. Women do not have a "right" to serve. Military
service for volunteers is a privilege; for draftees, it is a duty.
No one has a "right" to serve, a civilian idea equivalent to having
the "right" to be a doctor or lawyer that has no place in the
military, whose principal purpose is to kill the enemy and destroy
his capacity to fight.
"Crimson Tide," Gene Hackman's submarine skipper explained the
point: The armed forces defend democracy, they do not practice it.
much for "rights." Now, as to whether women in combat is right:
one commission hearing, Col. John Ripley, one of the most famous
Marines who fought in Vietnam, explained combat for the largely
civilian audience. A good picture of real combat, he said, is
walking down a path to find your best friend nailed to a tree, or
his private parts in his mouth. The feminists and military women in
the audience gnashed their teeth.
again, they don't understand that until Bill Clinton's war minister
Les Aspin changed it, the law excluding women from combat was always
considered a privileged exemption, not sex discrimination. It was
the thoughtful recognition that women should be spared the carnage
and cruelty of war.
Because turning a woman into the kind of person who views
such gore without blinking an eye, or who participates in the wanton
killing war requires, is a step down to pagan barbarism and cultural
suicide. In some sense, given what we've seen in the Gulf, we've
already taken that step. But the feminists won't quit until they get
women into ground combat units. As recent events prove, no one seems
to care what all this means not only culturally but also
will require training men and women to regard the brutalization of
women, and a woman's brutalization of others, as normal and
acceptable. To train the men properly, a woman commissioner
observed, we must erase everything their mothers taught them about
chivalry; i.e., that a real man protects a woman from harm. Instead,
they must be trained to brain a woman with a pugil stick in
training. This truth raises two paradoxes.
one hand, to completely desensitize the men, such training would be
required. But the feminists don't want that because women can't meet
the same standards as men; they won't survive it. Yet how are these
women to survive combat if they cannot survive real, not
gender-normed, basic training? The men would have to protect them.
Successfully integrating women in combat means this: A soldier must
ignore the screams of a woman POW being tortured and raped.
the other hand, while the feminists never stop the finger-wagging
about "domestic abuse," they importune us to inure men to the
wartime abuse of women. Again, to some degree, we're already there.
The capture and torture of Jessica Lynch and Shoshana Johnson, the
single mother, was just another day in the war. But then again, the
society that sent these young women to war is the same one that has
steroidally-fortified men and women bashing each other senseless in
television's faux wrestling, which presents the illusion that women
really can fight against men, as well as preposterous movies about
women Navy SEALS, or women who receive the Medal of Honor while the
men cower in fear.
Lastly, assigning women to combat, or even combat support
units like the 507th, purposely subjects them to trials and
tribulations for which nature has not prepared them. Such
assignments endanger not only the women but also the men around
them, who will redirect their attention from fighting toward
protecting or helping the women. Men will do that because they are
men, because regardless of feminist propaganda, good parents teach
their sons about chivalry and honor. The Steinem brigade doesn't
like it, but it's true nonetheless. Thus, men will die
unnecessarily. That is immoral and unjust, as is ordering married
men and women to live in close quarters where they are tempted to
adultery. Some observers even question the legality of orders
sending women into combat. But that is a debate for another day.
Ray's point? Civilized Christians don't send women and
mothers to fight the wars. Chronicles editor Tom Fleming has
observed that our nation has become anti-Christian. The saga of Pfc.
Lynch and other military women proves him right.
The Final Answer
to that draft.
Don't be surprised if women are required to register. Legally
speaking, the draft exemption for women is tied to their exemption
from combat. Now women serve in aerial and naval action. And given
the proximity to combat of women in "maintenance" and other units,
it won't be long before the politicians, and bemedaled generals in
the Army and Marines, hoist the white flag and put women in ground
combat. Then, some young man will file the inevitable "equal
protection" lawsuit and the exemption will fall, its legal rationale
having been dropped.
Oddly enough, the silly clamor for women in combat assumes
most military women want combat assignments. The commission found
that they don't. Only a few aging feminists do, and of course, they
won't be subject to the combat assignments or the draft. When you
join the military, you join voluntarily, but you go where they need
you. When women get their "right" to fight, they won't have the
"right" to refuse. And why would they? After that, again, comes the
draft for women.
answer to the many folks who suggest conscripting women is this:
Real Americans don't send women to war. Neither do real men. A
genuine Christian wouldn't contemplate it. The story of Jessica
Lynch reveals an awful truth: All three are in short supply,
particularly among American political and military
R. Cort Kirkwood [send him
mail] served on the Presidential Commission on the
Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces.
Copyright © 2003 LewRockwell.com