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.
However, I did the job and there are some practical issues that we need to overcome. Here is one of the ugly ones: the Army just doesn’t have a lot of integrity when it comes to maintaining standards. They are often lowered for political reasons as commanders are expected to fill quotas or more understandably, units get understrength and need to be plused up on warm bodies. This is the wrong way to go about the problem because letting sub-standard personnel in causes huge problems down the line ranging from degraded operational capabilities to unit morale. Special Operations units are no exception to these internal politics I’m afraid.
But that isn’t fair to female soldiers, right? The problem isn’t women in combat but rather that the institution of the Army needs to get their house in order and stand by their own core values, namely, upholding high standards of combat readiness. I would agree with that argument as well and would be willing to work with anyone, man or woman, on this issue however I can. I feel strongly about this and have written about it previously.
The fact of the matter is, standards will be lowered, not just a little but a lot. There will be tremendous political pressure on commanders to get women in Infantry and Special Operations units, to show positive statistics about women in this new positions, and to demonstrate “success stories” about female soldiers to Congress and to the media. Standards will plummet along with combat capabilities and unit morale. Non-official quotas will be mandated.
The ‘ol Strawman argument
However, I think there are a few strawmen arguments that get made on both sides of the debate about women in combat positions. I’d like to take a moment to discard a few of them.
One of these arguments is that the vagina requires more hours of Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) than a V22-Osprey or F22 Raptor. So this argument goes that the second a female soldier leaves the wire she will instantly come down with a massive yeast infection and have to be medivacced back to the FOB for treatment when the patrol is halfway to their objective. This shit just gets silly after a while. While I’m no expert on the female reproductive systems (which baffles me) it seems that the vagina needs no more maintenance than an uncircumcised dick. Can we finally toss this antiquated argument out and move on?
Here is another straw man that I see used by both sides for different purposes. It goes like this: women are not intelligent enough to do the job and are intellectually inferior to men. This is really fucking dumb. Who thinks this kind of shit in this day and age I don’t know. Likewise, I see people who support the idea of women in combat try to conflate arguments to try to make this an issue of female intellect. It is not. It is about what the female body can realistically do when loaded down with combat equipment in war.
Another favorite… First it was the blacks, then it was the gays, now it is women. No. No, actually it isn’t. This has nothing to do with race or sexual orientation but rather the physiology of the female gender and whether or not they can meet the standards required in the Infantry and SOF. Please stop trying to mix other controversial issues in order to make your case. Lets move on.
Women should be allowed in combat! They can do the job!
Here, carry this 50 pound rucksack down this road for 12 miles.
Well, not me, but I know women who can do it!
Ever notice how women making these arguments always defer when put on the spot? It is never them who can meet the standards but rather some other idealized woman? Please stop doing this. Shit or get off the pot. I see 18 year old 90-pound girls at college who think it is a great idea to put women in the front lines. Ante up is what I say. You’ve got no idea.
Other countries have women in combat positions!
Well, not really. Everyone likes to cite Israel but their experiment with women in the Infantry is considered a failure. Furthermore, we are the US of A. We have the best military in the world. No offense to Israel or any of our other allies but we don’t need to try to replicate conscription Armies around the world.
But a lot of Infantrymen suck! Have you seen how many fat bodies there are?!?!
Yes, I’m afraid I have. However, this does nothing to bolster the argument for having women serve in the Infantry. Rather, it speaks to my above argument that standards need to be enforced, especially for the men in our Infantry units.
You are putting the Infantry and Special Operations up on the pedestal!
Yes, I am. That is where they belong. No, I could give a fuck less if you don’t like that.
Coming in part two, a big dose of motherfucking reality.