Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coed Combat Unit Nonsense

Jonah Goldberg raises a good point about the U.S. military's new policy on allowing women in combat. Where was the national conversation on this issue? Because we didn't get one.
Instead, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the change on his way out the door. And Panetta has been lionized even though it wasn’t really his decision to make. If the president didn’t want this to happen, it wouldn’t happen. Perhaps Obama let Panetta run with the idea, just in case it turned out to be a political fiasco.
Sounds about right. But avoiding the conversation was politically brilliant. Polls show that some 66 percent of Americans support the change.

I say this is because the vast majority of Americans haven't heard the arguments against it. If they did, I believe, many of them would change their minds.

If they had held congressional or senate hearings on the matter, voices like those of Mackubin Thomas Owens and Captain Katie Petronio might affected the outcome of the debate.

Owens points out in his piece "Coed Combat Units: A bad idea on all counts" this salient fact, among many others:
The average female soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine is about five inches shorter than her male counterpart and has half the upper body strength, lower aerobic capacity (at her physical peak between the ages of 20 and 30, the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male), and 37 percent less muscle mass. She has a lighter skeleton, which means that the physical strain on her body from carrying the heavy loads that are the lot of the infantryman may cause permanent damage. 
Writing about her own experience in Afghanistan, Petronio makes clear the differences between her and male colleagues.
It was evident that stress and muscular deterioration was affecting everyone regardless of gender; however, the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines and further compounded by gender-specific medical conditions. At the end of the 7-month deployment .  .  . I had lost 17 pounds and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which personally resulted in infertility, but is not a genetic trend in my family), which was brought on by the chemical and physical changes endured during deployment. Regardless of my deteriorating physical stature, I was extremely successful during both of my combat tours, serving beside my infantry brethren and gaining the respect of every unit I supported. Regardless, I can say with 100 percent assurance that despite my accomplishments, there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement. I understand that everyone is affected differently; however, I am confident that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females.
The argument against putting women in combat roles is compelling and convincing, which is why the Obama Administration and its toadies at the top of the military chain of command declined to have the issue debated in public.

Owens concludes:
To argue against women in combat is not to deny the significant contributions women have made to the nation’s defense. For the last century, women have served honorably, competently, and bravely during this country’s wars. It is my experience that the vast majority of women in today’s armed forces are extremely professional and want nothing to do with the two extremes of feminism that Jean Bethke Elshtain described several years ago in Real Politics: At the Center of Everyday Life and that the military spends time and effort trying to appease: the “feminist victimization wing” and the “repressive androgynists.”
I doubt that there is a huge push on the part of female soldiers and Marines to join the infantry. Captain Petronio makes the same point. The impetus comes instead from professional feminists still living in the 1970s and a small number of female officers who believe that serving in the infantry will increase the likelihood that they will become generals. But the Pentagon itself points out that military women are already promoted at rates equal to or faster than men. 
So what's the real point? It certainly isn't to improve the combat readiness of our military. Its only being done to appease the feminist wing of the Democratic party and win plaudits from a media generally ignorant of and hostile to most matters military.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because women can go to combat with men doesnt mean they will pass all the school along the way! Everyone should get a fair shot, but that doesnt mean they willl be able to do it! I dont see why not letting them try and when/if they fail give them a choice of another job!

January 30, 2013 at 2:01 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the lack of a 'national conversation' on any issue over the past four years is the norm.

January 30, 2013 at 7:48 PM 

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