The View From 1776
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Women In Wartime Combat?
Jeff Lukens gives his assessment.
Women Have No Business in Combat
By Jeff Lukens
The Obama Administration is forcing the military to assign female soldiers into combat infantry roles. In a future engagement, the result is certain to be additional lost lives and possibly failure on the battlefield.
The average man taking the Army Physical Fitness Test does better than 95 percent of the women. Today’s Space-Age military may seem to need only push-button level strength requirements. However, modern combat has not yet become a giant video game. Differences in body strength are not a male conspiracy to deny women their role in the military. It is not prejudice—120‑pounders just do not do well in physical confrontations with 200‑pounders.
All-male units experience bonding that enhances unit cohesion and effectiveness. When women are introduced, men stop relating to each other and begin relating to the women. It is simple human nature.
In World War II, Soviet and German armies desperate for frontline troops placed women into combat, but then later barred them. Knowing what the enemy would do to female prisoners of war, they found that male troops put aside their tactical objectives in order to protect women from harm or capture. This made combat units less effective and exposed the men to even greater risks.
In war, soldiers have to believe their fellow soldiers are going to cover them or die trying. Maybe some female soldiers can do that, but most male soldiers just do not believe it. Some may say this mind-set is bigoted and wrong, but for the soldiers on the front line it is very personal. Their lives are at stake. No lecture on decency and civil liberties will change their survival instinct. In war, soldiers have to believe they are invincible. When they start thinking they may not survive, the whole aura of invincibility quickly disappears. People start getting killed; and the engagement is lost.
Women who meet the highest of standards deserve to compete equally with men for the appropriate jobs. When this new policy is in place, regardless of what the politicos in Washington say, women will be placed in roles that they cannot perform as well as men. Readiness will be compromised and American lives will be lost, both male and female, when the shooting starts.
Gender politics has not allowed the question of whether equal opportunity is worth additional casualties and preparedness for war. Those who truly know this subject are forced into silence. Career military officers would destroy their careers if the spoke objectively about it. Unfortunately, reversing policy is unlikely until some conflicts are lost, or won at unacceptably high costs, and too many of our troops begin coming home in caskets.
We will owe our soldiers their best chance at coming back alive. An honest discussion on the role of women in the military is the first step.