The following was written by TTAG reader Josh Grabow:

Yesterday’s TTAG question of the day was “Why Shouldn’t Women Be on the Front Lines?” This is a poor question because short answer is, they already are. The question that should actually be asked is “Why shouldn’t women be allowed into Combat Arms MOS (Military Occupational Specialty)?” See, the “front lines” are everywhere, and there are plenty of women serving in dangerous areas and forward FOBs (Forward Operating Bases). But that’s not the same thing as being a grunt. . .

Before I go on, this is a subject that deserves an establishment of bona fides and a good, thorough disclaimer. My rank was Sergeant (E-5). I served in the US Infantry, 11-B MOS.  I received a medical discharge (honorable) in ’06 after sustaining injuries in an IED blast. I’ve got my EIB, CIB, Purple Heart, Manchu buckles, school badges – all that good shit. When it comes to the infantry, I have been there and done that. No more and no less than thousands of my brothers. Nothing I say should be taken as an indictment of women in general nor a slander against the thousands of women who serve honorably in our military.

That said: here’s why women should not – under any circumstances – be allowed into most combat MOS, especially the Infantry:

1) I often hear the “civil rights” argument, which is good for a chuckle. If you are out there laboring under the hilarious delusion that not letting women be grunts violates their constitutional rights, let me enlighten you. No one in the military has any rights. Legally speaking, you do not have freedom of speech, freedom from random search and seizure, or even from summary execution in the military.

It may be ironic, but you abandon those rights when you swear to uphold them. No one in the military has a right to anything except to be used as the military sees fit in the defense of our country. The military is not a social experiment. It is an organization formed to break things and kill people. Anything that does not help us do that better is useless.

2) The women in combat “experiment” has already been done. Several societies over the years have tried it and it’s been reversed every time. Most notably, the Soviet Union in WWII and Israel in 1948 were driven, through sheer desperation, to use women broadly in direct combat. In both cases they reversed policy soon afterward because it was a military disaster.

Canada ran a pilot program to get women into direct combat a couple years back and scrapped it, because not one female passed their requirements. There are plenty of studies done on this. Feel free to read them, but it basically boils down to this: including women in combat is hard on the women, and harder on the men whose discipline erodes when women are injured or killed. Israel still uses women in some combat roles (pilots, for instance), and they’ve found that women make the best instructors, but they have eliminated them from direct ground combat. So please, don’t act as if this whole thing hasn’t been tried and proven a failure before.

3) Physical capabilities – I don’t want to overstate the case here, but it should be self-evident. A far smaller percentage of women are physically capable of standing the rigors of direct ground combat than men. Please note the Army APFT standards for women and men, and how the maximum score for a woman is roughly equivalent to the minimum score for a man across most age ranges. On a PT test, that’s one thing. On a road march, there is no “needs improvement”, there is only go and no go.

4) Mental – and here is were I can really get into trouble. I’m not saying women are mentally unfit, but if crime statistics show us anything, it’s that women are far less aggressive than men. That much is simple, provable. This isn’t to say women are incapable of killing, they clearly are. It’s just one more way in which the statistics clearly don’t run in their favor.

5) Morale – mixed-sex units have lower levels of it. This is due to a whole host of issues, not all of which can be attributed to the females. But it doesn’t change the fact that having young men and women work together produces very reliable results, And not always the ones you want in a combat unit.

6) Fraternization – it’s a problem. It becomes a bigger problem when the people involved are in each others chain of command. You can’t expect 19-year-old men and women not to…how shall I put this delicately? Fuck like Viagra-intoxicated bunnies at every opportunity. This leads to all sorts of problems such as real and opportunistic charges of sexual harassment, constant reassignments to try to keep the web of sexual connections from impacting command decisions. Basically, it’s a clusterfuck. I was always glad my units weren’t as jacked up as the support bats.

7) Readiness. Anyone who has been in a unit that’s been ordered to deploy is aware of the rush to get out of it just prior to the unit leaving. For men, they have to convince a psychiatrist that they’re insane. For women, all they have to do is get pregnant. This doesn’t happen all the time, but two of the support battalions I deployed with lost over half their female soldiers to pregnancy before they left. That leaves everyone short-handed and severely impacts unit readiness. Those units had to get backfilled from the National Guard. This isn’t insurmountable, but it’s a serious problem.

8 ) Promotion. This is the argument I always see trotted out, and it’s bogus. “Women officers don’t get promoted as fast because they don’t have experience commanding combat troops.” That may be true, but it’s not because we don’t let women into the infantry. Officers don’t have an MOS. They can command anything. Letting women into the infantry will not produce one single female infantry commander.

The only thing required to fix this “problem” (and I have no sympathy with whining officers of either sex) is to change the officer protocols to allow females to command combat arms units. There. Simple. You can have your promotions, I don’t care, but don’t lower the quality of our combat troops to facilitate it.

9) Finally, I feel the need to ask this of anyone who wants women in direct ground combat: why? How does this benefit the Army? What capability does this bring us that we do not already have? If the only benefit you can think of is that some non-military feminists will feel better and some officers will get promoted faster, you need to rethink your position, because you do not have the best interests of soldiers in mind.

I support the inclusion of women in every single MOS in which they are an asset to the military. This does not include the Infantry, Cav, Arty and Specops MOS. I don’t see a lot of women clamoring to be enlisted Infantry anyway. If the officers want to bitch, let them command at the company+ level.

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60 Responses to QOTD Response: Women Shouldn’t be Grunts

  1. Well, gosh, your post isn’t politically correct (insert teeth sucking noise)!

    It’s spot on, though, and it’s good to see a heavy dose of reality in a world that seems to want to live in a fantasy.

    Oprah, may not agree, but I can live with that.

  2. Can the church get an Amen?

    This problems this post outlines do not remain exclusive to the Army.My Air Force ex girlfriend point blank asked for my ‘help’ to avoid a deployment when her AEF window came around.At my loud and specific objection she said it was common practice among the women in my ex girlfriends unit;her ‘bff’ in the same squadron was boning her fiancee daily to get preggers before her own AEF deployment window.If facebook is to be believed the strategy worked like a charm.As for myself,I refused to be used and shortly after that conversation performed a DTB via text message 800 miles away on my own leave.

    • Congrats. You just saved yourself from paying child support payments for a long time and possibly a host of other problems. One of my guy friend’s buds called his now ex-gf from out of state on his cell phone (with a witness observing) to break up with her. The dude was concerned she might haul off and punch him if he told her in person.

  3. Yeah, this is unacceptable.

    1) So what? A civilian should still have the right to go sign up whenever they want. What happens in the military should be based on what the individual is most capable of and where they fit in the best. If that’s a combat role, great. But should you really say they can’t fulfill that role just because they’re women?

    2) I ask you to look up the numerous successful cases where women have served, and fought, in the military. Ever heard of Queen Boadicea? How about Joan of Arc? Did you know the movie “Mulan” was based off the story of Hua Mulan, who fought for twelve years before retiring to her hometown?

    3) Is just plain bull. I am well aware that women, on average, tend to have less muscle mass than men and are approximately 5-10% smaller. That said, are the physical requirements like this because that’s what women are physically limited by, or is it because of societal expectations that women are just physically less capable than men? I have a cousin who was in the ROTC going through a program specifically designed to integrate women into combat units, and she was doing fantastically well.

    4) Mmm, yes, great. Using crime statistics to show how women shouldn’t be in combat roles. I think I’ll avoid the obvious correlation you’re implying there, because women can be very aggressive. Insanely so.

    5) I want to see your sources on that.

    6) Right, I think I remember pretty much that exact same argument being made for why gays shouldn’t serve in the military.

    7) This one is trickier, but the obvious question to ask is if you should really punish all women for the actions of some of them? I know that will be brushed aside by the immediate need for readiness, and I would actually agree to a certain extent. That said, there are ways to work around this.

    8) Huh. Your argument here actually seems to be in favor of the point you’re arguing against.

    9) Because there are women who would be much better suited for these roles than many of the men currently serving in them. And yes, before you ask, they exist.

    The basic problem with your argument is that you forget that women have fought in battle for thousands of years, and done very well.

    • “So what? A civilian should still have the right to go sign up whenever they want.”

      There is no right to join the military.

      • Allowing that, that doesn’t detract from the point that a woman can still be better suited for a position than a man, whether it’s a combat role or not.

        • It’s the recruit’s problem. If the men’s test is to carry 50# for x distance, and the women’s test is to carry 40# for .75x distance, and the woman can pass her test, but not the male level test, what happens when the machine gun weighs 48# and has to be carried for 1.25x? That’s not the test’s fault, it’s that that woman is not capable of doing the job that is required.

          Yes, there are some women who would be more physically suitable for some jobs than some men. But they are the exception. If a bar is set for physical ability based on the work that needs to be done, and 95+% of the men can meet that bar, but only 40% of women can, is that the bar’s fault? No, and it’s not the woman’s “fault” either, it’s just a fact. The bar was set by the job that needed to be done. In my example above, the only way to make that machine gun portable for that woman is to make the machine gun lighter.

          If you make the tests the same, and let the women who pass the test move on, that’s fine. But that still only addresses one point of the 9 the author listed, so the test isn’t the only exclusionary thing going on here.

        • This is true, and it is a problem. My problem with the argument is that there are women who can pass and successfully take on combat MOS, aside from societal prejudices. To exclude them from that because they have a uterus is, frankly, silly.

        • What a wonderful argument to convince me. After having actually talked with some friends of mine and thought it over, I’d actually tend to agree with most of the points made in this post, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the overarching message.

        • Maslab, you are all over the place, I’d address your arguments, but I’m not even sure what they are. If you come up with a cogent debate point, I’ll be glad to consider and answer it.

    • Contrary to popular belief, Joan of Arc never actually fought or killed, only led and inspired. And Queen Boadicea didn’t “serve in the military” so much as “lead a psychotic, blood-soaked revenge slaughter.”

      Just saying.

      And the rest of your post stinks of bleeding heart emotion rather than specific observations of one who’s been there.

    • “A civilian should still have the right to go sign up whenever they want.”

      Not if other people die because of it. The military is not a social experiment.

      “Ever heard of Queen Boadicea? How about Joan of Arc? Did you kn…”

      Exceptions prove the rule. If women were effective as fighting troops, they would already have been integrated into the militaries of the wporld many many years ago.

      “That said, are the physical requirements like this because that’s what women are physically limited by, or is it because of societal expectations that women are just physically less capable than men?”

      My god you are naive. Women are physically less able than men across the board, this isn’t a fact that is in dispute by normal, educated and intellectually honest people.

      What a terrible, malinformed post, Maslab. Assuming you are not simply trolling for responses, you seem to have absolutely no idea of what combat entails.

    • Have you served in the Military? In a mixed gender unit? I have. While I have served with women who were top performers in their MOS/NEC, there was a helluva lot more that were not up to the task. Just like some men.

      The biggest problems are fraternization and unit readiness. The little dramas that play out among young men and women have a huge impact on unit readiness. Who is banging who as well as pregnacies will decimate a deploying unit. When new people, who were not present for pre-deployment training, are introduced to a unit the effectivness of the unit drops. The team element is not there until everyone gets used to each other and how well each performs. The drama will always be a greater issue in mixed gender units. Why add potential problems?

    • I can’t say anything much about you other than you made my brain hurt. Listen… if you think women can fight like Joan of Arc, why don’t you go buy a fucking plane ticket to Uzbekistan, catch a lift to Afghanistan and defeat the Taliban single handedly………. with a sword.. after that, come back, and tell us all how great women are in combat.

    • Maslab, I don’t think you should have used Queen Boudicca of the Iceni as an example. First, she was a Queen, not a front line fighter. Second, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, although outnumbered ten to one, defeated her utterly and slaughtered her followers.

      She seems a better example of why women should avoid leading in combat.
      FWIW

      JD

    • I agree that yes some women are better then men at things and can be more tough or aggressive but stats. show that men can serve these positions better im not a guy who is just out to hate on girls but in an infantry status i believe only men should do this job. Your points of ancient women fighting in battles and coming out victorious is the 100% truth. But that was thousands of years ago. please give me even two names of women who are remembered for their outstanding acts of courage and success within the past 100 years. Only one woman has won the medal of honor Dr. Mary Edwards Walker back in the civil war for her duties ATTENDING to the men who were wounded during battle. there is no women who has that high of a distinguished medal for any sort of combat situation. Also with women on the front lines the male genetic has been to save any female in danger before we save our own lives or the lives of our fellow brethren. Example of this fact is that if a woman were to take a bullet and a man saw this they would leave their post or even their entire squad to save this woman. By this ONE man leaving could potentially have the rest of the squad killed. Women also do not nearly have the muscle mass that men posses. Now im not saying that there are women a lot stronger or have more endurance then men because i know that women can easily beat some men on these attributes but overall as a whole women are less built to sustain physical and mental pain. Do i believe women should be in the military? Yes i do. in fact i would easily rise up against anyone stating that no women should be in the military. But, as far as the front lines go, i believe that women have no spot there. Not because i believe every woman in the world is not capable of doing this job but as a whole there are to many factors that play into the military and war structure that women disrupt.

  4. Josh,

    Great piece of writing. I admire how you addressed the issue from the perspective of force readiness. The truth and facts are what they are. Glad you have the ability to be objective and insightful along with the moral courage not to be intimidated by political correctness. I’m Aharon and I endorse this posting from Josh 🙂

  5. I hate to sound macho, but as a former infantryman, I do have some input on the subject.

    My basic load out weighed a LOT. An M16, 10 mags of ammo, at least three liters of water, body armor, day pack, comms gear…I seldom left the wire with less than 60 or 70 pounds of gear.

    I have met women that can keep up wearing that amount of gear, but they are an exception, not the rule.

    At 60 pounds, your average male will be carrying about 1/3 of their body weight.

    For your average female, that same 60 pounds is going to be closer to 1/2 of their body weight.

    Opperating on foot, i’ve been on patrols that have been over 8 miles. And patrols can sometimes be a slow and easy pace, but when the shit hits the fan, you’ve got a long ways to move, wearing a lot of weight, and you’ve got to move as fast as you can.

    This is challenging for your average infantryman, but for some one whos wearing half their weight in gear…

    • Let us not forget in the event someone -male or female- is wounded you have to be able to carry another troop and their gear PLUS your own out of the line of fire.That’s a challenge that would test the strongest men on the planet, much less a woman in combat.

      • When I was in the Marine Corps, I was in excellent physical shape, and it was extremely difficult to even drag, much less carry, some one who was not capable of walking. I could fireman carry a comrade, but not for every long, and not quickly.

        And if you need to get some one up and off the deck, you have to do it real quick.

  6. The Russians used women during the stage of WW2 when the whole country was on the balls of it a$$ and it was all hands on board. It was strictly a stopgap measure — and I’ll venture that Russian women of the time were ten times tougher that the average American female recruit.

    Russian women served very well as snipers, where they worked alone or with a female spotter. When the Germans caught them, the Russian women were raped and shot, unlike the male snipers who were just shot.

    The time to put women in infantry units is when most of the men are dead. That’s when we can put children and old men on the front lines, too, just like the Germans did at the end of WW2.

    • Dont forget the heritage of female fighters in guerilla warfare. Sniping and guerilla combat, how ever, are not what you get in the modern infantry.

    • There are good reasons why Russian-American women and the women in Russia today appreciate and want their men strong and manly.

    • The time to put women in infantry units is when most of the men are dead. That’s when we can put children and old men on the front lines, too, just like the Germans did at the end of WW2.

      As the casualties mount and the lines waver, the acceptance level of women, children, and old people plugging holes in the front lines increases dramatically.

    • Actually, a lot of nations were being bled white in WWII, including the USA. England was actually seeing their Army shrink as the war went on. The Rifle Companies of all nations were demanding their fodder. We need Combat Infantry!

  7. Google saved me but usually when you’re writing for philistines it is advisable to fully state the meaning of acronyms when you first use them: “military occupational specialty”.

  8. Someone buy this man a drink! Not politically correct at all, but this is a website devoted entirely to hi-cap mags and shoulder things that go up. So we have an excuse.

  9. Military Indoctrination. The military socialization ie propaganda of its own male troops into believing that they are the elite and what stands between their countries helpless women, children, elderly, and the weak and then the savage barbarians at the gate that want to rape and slaughter the civilians. Unit cohesiveness and team morale. When troops are in the shit of fighting the vast majority could care less about political ideology such as making some foreign country a democracy. Troops and brothers fight and die for each other. When there is turmoil and turnover in the ranks it lowers fast such as a bunch of new faces to replace all the Janes out on pregnancy. Soldier Joe will not be as effective at doing his job if his girlfriend GI Jane is known to be screwing GI Jack or GI Jody on the side. Drama is not good.

    • This is exactly how I feel. I’ve met plenty of shitbag guys in the fire dept, Sheriff’s office and at The Citadel that I would never want watching my back. I’ve also served in various capacities with women who I would never hesitate to have in burning building or in a violent situation with me. But, for the most part, the shitbag guys and women that are up to par are the exception to the rule. It really depends on the person, bottom line for me is; I don’t care what gender, race, color, orientation etc…. you are, as long as you can do your job effectively.

      The points about fraternization and unit readiness the best arguments IMO. Sexual tension and in fighting caused by members of a squad/platoon/company being attracted to and/or involved with each other could cause serious damage to combat effectiveness.

  10. The simple version of this entire story is that all soldiers in the same brigade (and all people in the same office or functional activity in business) should be absolutely forbidden to enter sexual relationships, no exceptions, all ranks. Otherwise it’s unworkable to have women even in “almost combat” roles. But notice we’re now about to put women into submarine crews. The first year may work, but I’ll be watching for the conflicts that arise in subsequent years. Once the estrogen is in the air things are going to get complicated. The problem with women captives being raped is this; that it throws the men off their game and causes judgement and resource-allocation errors. Heck, in Afghanistan the Russian men got the same treatment, tied to the back of the wagon for use of the mujahadeen. Really. Bad for Russian (Soviet) moral. Even the Swedes don’t put women in the infantry, and not as infantry commanders, either. These arguments are silly, but female ambition is no less then a mans, and they want the good jobs, hence the fighter pilots and the broader political pushes. I wouldn’t recommend the new military to my son. Let my neighbor’s daughter do the job. Since Kissinger and Haig sent me into Laos, I’ve been a bit bitter about the way politicians use the young enlisted people as ‘dixie cups.’

  11. When my son was active (Iraq) he carried the SAW for the squad. A full kit hit 90# easily. Plus his body weight. Most women cannot do the “fireman’s carry” on that much weight. One of his buddies made this point with a female member of the Army who was getting all “equal rights” on him in some class, when he had the biggest guy in the room (and no kit) lay on the floor and told her to pick him up. She couldn’t. He did, and then did squats with the guy over his shoulders.

    If women could meet the exact same physical tests as the men, that would be another story. As the guys at http://www.blackfive.net/ have said time after time, a bullet doesn’t make exceptions for your sex. When the fertilizer hits the ventilator, every member of the squad needs to be able to perform to the highest standards.

    Promotion is not the issue. The military is a meritocracy. Anyone who has the ability can promote from whatever MOS they have. But a combat outfit has to be able to deal death and destruction to the maximum extent on the enemy. There is no allowances for physical limitations in a combat unit. You can either do it, or you die. If you die or are wounded, then you’ve put your buddies in danger cause they’ve got to get your carcass out of there.

    When our accursed politician start playing their games with our military, people die. This stupidity cannot be allowed to continue.

  12. Thanks, Josh! I have to admit I started the day believing that women SHOULD have the opportunity to be Infantry Grunts if they want to. However, your excellent post has convinced me this is NOT a good idea for many valid and well argued reasons.
    Thanks to the other posts for further convincing me. A good day is when you learn something truly worth learning. This has been a good day for me.

  13. This argument is rediculeous, the reason women should not be in combat units is that their presence would reduce the combat effectivenss of the units. That should end the argument, but let’s list a few reasons they would reduce the effectiveness.

  14. I feel I forgot one point to make, and that is the cost-benefit analysis of training. I’ll be the first to say that there are women out there who can physically and mentally hack the Infantry job. That doesn’t eliminate the Fraternization and Readiness problems, nor invalidate my other points, but it is true. Those women exist.

    The question is, how many? And is it worth it for the military to expend a ton of money trying to recruit and train them for what they get? There are a couple militaries out there who let women into combat arms (though they usually keep a couple restrictions in place as to exact MOS).

    France opened almost all positions to females. 19% of their military is female, but only 1.7% of combat arms is female. .4% (that’s POINT four) of their marines are female. There are 9.

    Let’s be foolish here, and assume our standards are the same, the same percentage of women want into these jobs in America as in France, etc. etc. Adjust for population, and we extrapolate that in a country the size of the US, there are likely 45 women who are willing and able to discharge these duties at the most stringent level for normal troops (this STILL excludes specops).

    45.

    That’s not even a company. Hell, for some units, it’s not even a damned platoon.

    You literally couldn’t send them to Basic without integrating their units, because they wouldn’t have enough people.

    Keep this in mind when you think about this. This whole argument is about 45 theoretical women who, put together, could barely manage one augmented patrol.

  15. ” Finally, I feel the need to ask this of anyone who wants women in direct ground combat: why?”

    Why? Because why should men be ordered to die because of their gender? Why not let anyone foolish enough to choose to get shot at over a politicians personal dislike of another country (which has jack shit to do with national safety) have a few rounds put their way? Why not acknowledge that there are plenty of women who are fully capable of kicking the shit out of most men (like the women Russian snipers in WWII who racked up quite an impressive number of kills)? I’ve known plenty of people in the military and all of the men being sent to the front lines sure as hell don’t have equal strength, so why discriminate against a woman as long as she puts the effort into gaining the muscle to meet the same capabilities of the weakest men sent into those same situations?

    • Once I cut away the anti-nationalism and wierd sense of gender grievance, might I remind you that the military is VOLUNTEER. I volunteered. I’d do it again, tomorrow, if I still had all my bits and the Infantry would take me. We aren’t ordered to die, and when we’re ordered to take risks, it’s not because of our sex. You seem to be under the mistaken assumption that putting women in combat roles will somehow save male lives, which is:
      1: Wrong. Check the Israeli statistics on men acting stupid when women get injured and killed.
      and
      2: Bizarre. Is that what we’re striving for? To get one classification of American killed more than another?
      Then let me get to your cavalcade of errors. “Plenty of women who could kick the shit out of most men”. Umm, no. I don’t know your definition of “plenty”, but see my above post. We’re talking maybe dozens who can function at the same level as men, not better. And your example of “kicking the shit out of” is SNIPING? I was unaware of the unarmed-sniping phenomenon. And we should all emulate the Soviet military of WW2, they were super-effective, right? They didn’t, oh, lose more casualties than even the Germans or anything.

      You’ve known “plenty” of people in the “military”. That word again. “Plenty”. How many? And in the “military”? How many enlisted 11, 19 and 18-series MOS people do you know (1300 for the marines? I forget)? Because that’s what we’re talking about, not mechanics, cooks or flautists (yes, that’s an MOS), and not officers. And no, we’re not all identically strong, but we are all well above a standard threshold for fitness that is extremely difficult for women to reach.

      I repeat my question: Why? Because unless you can answer the problems I’ve raised above, then you are arguing for a LESS effective military, with higher casualties all around. I’m all about the mission. Show me how including women increases our combat effectiveness, demonstrate that readiness and morale are not harmed, and I’ll consider the point. Merely falling back on vitriol and the precision statistics of “plenty” of chicks you know that are like, totally so hardcore, man, isn’t helping your argument.

      • And if there was anything in your anti-female, pro-American Empire rant worth responding to, I would. However, it’s nothing but the usual “I’m so tough because I took it up the butt from a DI!” garbage that “brave” soldiers (you know, those tough guys who only go into fights when they have superior numbers and superior firepower) always spout off to prove their “superiority” to us peasants.

        • what is wrong with you? this guy had some of the best points ever, and name one thing that was anti-female? There was nothing wrong with what he said and you know that he is right! HOW…HOW can you not agree? You couldn’t even come back with a normal reponse.What is with u women just using emotions and not logic with this topic.

  16. I served as an officer (active duty) in the Army. I served in all male units and in co-ed units. I commanded an Explosive Ordnance Disposal company. Units without women have better morale (primarily because of the absence of male-female fraternization) and fewer readiness problems. I cannot number the times I’ve seen a female soldier have to go get a male soldier to do some duty required task for her because of her lack of body strength. There is tremendous resentment among soldiers over the gender-different standards in physical fitness testing. If women are allowed into combat occupational specialities, then the Army will be less effective at its core task, and that means there will be unnecessary casualties.

  17. So, are any of these reasonable arguments against running women-only combat units, with the same PT requirements as male units?

    No extra fraternization worries, no reduced combat ability, and the only people whose lives they’re risking are their own. Sounds fair enough to me. We won’t be able to field as many infantry units this way as we can of men, but if they’re ready and able to fight, they should be allowed to.

    • The Readiness problem still looms large. In your hypothetical, the whole unit is susceptible to a wave of pregnancy, even moreso than an integrated unit.

      And I hear a lot of bullshit about “equal standards”. There are none. We scrapped any notion of an equal standard for men and women years ago, and the same people screeching for women in combat now would screech that they were being unfairly targeted by the push-up requirement, if that were what was keeping women out of those jobs. Look at firefighters, police, every other physically demanding job that has been targeted for integration at all costs. Every single one has a different standard for women, or lowered their overall standards to female norms. If women really want to be considered for the Infantry, the first thing they have to do is lobby the brass successfully to rewrite all military standards to affect men and women equally. Because until a man and a woman are both required to run the same speed, carry the same weight, shoot the same score and do the same number of pushups, this “equal standards” canard is the vilest of dishonest bullshit.

  18. All wonderful arguments, none that have any particular flaw.

    Save the fact that if you face no possibility of risk – if there isn’t a chance, however slim – that you’d be out on a battlefield dying to support the abstract concepts your country is based on – you have little right to citizenship.

    There are far more ways to support your country than to take the risk of dying for it, but until the benefit of that final sacrifice is extended to all – there isn’t much worth.

    What would you call a protected class of people that enjoys all of the benefits of citizenship with none of the risk? I know, I know, politicians. But seriously, it’s women.

    I’m not saying cut standards to the point where unit effectiveness is a joke – just give them the chance to die for their country like every other red-blooded male out there.

    With equality comes responsibility. There is no equality without responsibility. And dying in defense of your ideals is the ultimate end of responsibility.

    • The problem with what you are saying is that allowing them to serve in these roles will weaken the chain. Sure, they can go die out there with us, but if their presence on the battlefield weakens the overall force it will only serve to cause more unneccessary casualties. I would not be willing to up the chance of losing one of my Soldiers just to appease some feminist somewhere. Now, I do agree that women can serve, and I have known many that were outstanding Soldiers, but the role of the Warfighter is drastically different than that of the Support Soldier.

      • How much weakness is tolerable? It’s hardly as if every soldier out there is a grizzled veteran with combat mission after combat mission under their belt.

        We have groups dedicated to ‘warfighters’ that don’t tolerate weakness – SEALs, Special Forces, SOG, etc.

        If every mission hinged on the sheer physical ability of the soldier, we’d be up **** creek.

        There’s room for front-line positions that don’t require the abilities of the average SF-types.

  19. All debate about the ability and fitness or the “right” is well and good but I think most of these arguments are missing the entire point. Where are these fictitious women who really want to serve in a frontline dedicated combat unit? Show them to me. Show me the SPC’s and PFC’s who are female and who want to go out and spend the majority of thier day for months or more at a time taking and recieving fire. Now show me the male 18-21 year old combat arms soldier who wants the same thing. These people don’t exist, not in these frontline units anyway. I could see a case being made that some soldiers – or “war-fighters” if you’re a DoD moto-speak slave – actually want to fight and or enjoy combat for whatever reasons (I’m not even going to invite a debate as to these reasons) if we were discussing some of the most highly trained warriors in history like those that fall under JSOC, or the 1st Recon Marines, or perhaps the Army Rangers. But the units that these feminists are trying to force women into are not filled with these people, because no sane person actually wants to take and recieve fire in combat period.
    If you meet someone, male or female, who purports otherwise they are certainly one of the following;

    1. Terminally stupid.
    2. Clinically insane.
    3. A member of one of those high-speed units I mentioned earlier (JSOC etc.) or trying to join one of those units in which case they get a pass… unless they fail in which case they revert back to option 1 or 2 as appropriate.

    Bottom line? If you’re not a soldier, or veteran then STFU about women in combat, you do not and should not have any say in this matter. If you are a soldier and/or veteran and happen to be a female or male who wants to serve/wants women to be allowed to serve in combat units STFU because god forbid you get your wish, being mortared on the FOB and being in a combat unit are completely different things and when you realize that you – more than likely – fall into one of those two groups I talked about earlier it will be too late and should you happen to survive your subsequent attempts to get out of combat will set back “women’s rights” by decades (see I’m a feminist ladies, you’re welcome.)

  20. I know I’m late to the party but I wanted to add another perspective out there that wasn’t mentioned. I know this is about the US forces, but as a Canadian officer I have seen some things that were not mentioned.

    First off, we have female soldiers serving in combat positions, and there are some difficulties, but they also bring tools to the table we wouldn’t otherwise have. They can talk to females in Afghanistan who wouldn’t otherwise talk to us males, they are a calming force on the stupidness my men do daily, and I have yet to see any lack of cohesion from the platoon.

    What we do differently (from what I can see at least) is that in order to go overseas you need to qualify and compete for positions. So while the basic fitness test is different for men and women, everyone going over must meet the Battle Fitness Test (BFT). The BFT is a 13 k (roughly 8miles) ruck march in 2 hrs with all your equipment, a trench dig in 4 minutes and a 100m fireman carry (soon to be a drag since fireman carries are stupid). This is also the regular fitness test for all army units (tri service so same basic test for airforce army and navy). Also, you need to excel on your work up training, usually a platoon will start with 60 candidates and be reduced to 45ish for overseas taskings. So if the female performs in the top 75% of the platoon for the 6 months (12 for reservists) of workup, then she gets to go over like everyone else. So the females we send over are able to physically do the jobs we ask of them. Annecdote: I went through the service academy, and there were 4-5 girls in my year who scared the shit out of me, one was given an award from her peers for military excellence, and she never slept around, so that wasn’t it. So of our 250 person class, with about 50 women, I’d say about 20 could reach “excellance” on the male fitness standard. The rest wouldn’t come close, and the gap was larger.

    On that workup training, we also see how the platoon as a whole will work out, if anyone, male or female is affecting the cohesion, they are gone, just that simple. We don’t send over tons of guys, but we are determined that those we do send over should be able to fight above their weight. In all though, I’ve led 3 platoon totalling 5 women. I sent one home because she just wasn’t ready as an individual, not because of her vagina. The other 4, no issues and had good tours.

    We also allow NO fraternization, at all, ever. You have sex with someone in the basic unit (platoon/flight/department), and congrats, you both just changed units. You may marry and date within your regiment for example, but you must declare it, and may never again be in one another’s chain of command so if a position opens and that other person would fall under you, too bad. So it rarely happens. Also, you both can’t deploy to the same geographic location at the same time.

    All in all, I think that for Canadians, women in combat roles works, as long as we all understand that bullets don’t slow down because of your uterus, if you can do the job, you’re in. Men still grumble that the entrance fitness test is different for males and females, but if you want to do your job the test is “performance based” instead so that evens the playing field. And lets be serious, the basic fitness tests to get into the military, for almost all militaries are a joke anyways. Just because you pass those doesn’t mean you can do *&^% all when it comes to your job.

    Allowing woman into combat units does give us an advantage in many ways, and allows us to boost our numbers, however small of a boost we get. So like I said before, there are some challenges but our system does a decent job of smoothing it out in the long run.

    -CC

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