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February 8, 2013

The Inconvenient Truth About Women and Combat (Part 1)

The new debate about women in combat positions is an argument that few seem to be able to think clearly about.  This post will contain some harsh language.  Consider it a part of the selection process  if you are a woman.  If you can’t handle it then you might want to look at another career field because we say a lot worse about each other.

Whenever this topic comes up I hear the same statement from what seems like the vast majority of Americans.  It goes something like this, “Hold them to the same standard and if they can hack it then let them do the job.”  Intellectually I can look at this subject from an abstract standpoint and agree.  Why not let job positions be delegated to soldiers based on their ability to meet the qualifications rather than their gender?  This is probably the correct way to think about this subject, have one high standard which all must meet.


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About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • gaijinass

    sIt's  simply incorrect to claim that the female reproductive system and female biology does not complicate the insertion/deployment calculation.  Medical facts are just that, facts and the female body does not react to intense physical/emotional stress the same way males do.  I saw it in the military and I have seen it many, many times in professional female combat athletes I have trained.  Finally, ask yourself this: if we are all equal then why are sports events segregated? Why have all my female fighters gone and fought other women?  Why do we have segregated wrestling?  Segregated marathon?  ANSWER: Not to keep the women down, but to give them a chance to  compete for number one against their peers, not MEN.  Why? Because in the games the men would win over and over, 99.9 percent of the time.  We are discussing elite athletics here, not some crossfit class on Wednesday evening, keep this in mind.  Now, consider that we are talking about war fighting on an elite level, all the chips are in, all the time.  It is incredibly disingenuous to claim that pysiological differences would not play a detrimental role.

  • MKKSullivan

    I just now saw this article...... Spec Ops and what these guys do fascinates me. As far as I am concerned - let's do put them on a pedestal and leave it to the guys to carry out this business. While - maybe - a few good women - could do it - why complicate the issue ?  Hell, War is complicated enough. Oh, and yes - as far as the vagina goes - I have one- and it does require more maintenance. So sick and tired of all of this PC crap.

  • dmr11b

    Yes I am putting them on a pedestal <---best part of that article. You're right though, in the past few years they have let many standards slide. Seems like they're headed for downsizing and garrison army bullshit now though.

  • MGX

    I'd just like to add that I agreed with everything you stated, except for the fact that I believe that on average a vagina does need more maintenance. Particularly, I appreciated the last two points, regarding standards needing to be enforced and putting combat/spec ops up on the pedestal. Oh, and I'm a woman.

  • EmilioLizardo

    I've done martial arts and street fighting for many years and woman can't fight.  But what fundamental purpose is served by putting women in combat?  Throughout history and in every culture women are afforded non combat status, a basic instinct of species self preservation.  Being with a woman and protecting her are basic instincts of men. Another issue is that we would need to train our young men to put bayonets in the bellies of their young women.  Except that we have been training men from childhood not to hit the girls. Are women willing to shave their hair?  Deal with sex?  shower and shit with the boys?