Saturday, January 26, 2013

G.I. Jane?

I suspect that this post is going to get me into trouble, but it can't be helped.  Sometimes, there's no way to avoid upsetting someone when their most cherished ideals and beliefs are challenged.  This is such a time.

It has been a desire of Progressives for decades to eliminate all distinctions between the genders.  Going back to the very first rumblings of the feminist movement in the late 50's and early 60's, "intellectuals" have been hard at work attempting to deny that men and women are inherently, physically, mentally & emotionally different. 

They claimed that traditional "gender roles" were discriminatory and degrading to women and that "any woman can do anything any man can do", often ignoring contrary evidence plain for all to see;  the facts that men, in general, are bigger & stronger was determined by these intellectuals to be irrelevant to the discussion.  The more militant feminists even went so far as to declare:  "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle!".  They decried the opinion that each sex had strengths and weaknesses independent of the other as chauvinistic.  The very idea that men were superior, physically or mentally, at anything was declared sexist and discriminatory, while at the same time dismissing the fact that women are superior, physically, mentally & emotionally, to men in other ways as unimportant.

It was against this backdrop that the initial push for "equality" in the military, had its origin.  Women began to demand changes in the way the armed forces recruited and promoted soldiers and officers because of a perceived "discrimination" that resulted in too few women achieving high ranks as compared to men.  They thought that their honored service throughout the previous wars as auxiliaries, WACs, in support services and units outside the front lines and in the USO was somehow regarded as less important than that of "real" soldiers.

Several "gender equality in the armed services" studies were conducted during the 70's & 80's.  It wasn't until the 90's, however, that activists found their strongest ally in Pres. Bill Clinton.

Mr. Clinton, being both an astute politician and a progressive, saw the military as an ideal laboratory for social experimentation.  He had a population subject to total control and which could not leave before the experiment was over.  Under his watch, the military was transformed from a true fighting force into a more egalitarian mission.  The focus was less on defeating an opposing military and more on "winning the hearts and minds" of our foes.  He promoted the forced integration of the sexes in the military, including expanded roles of females in active combat zones, and commissioned further studies on gender roles within the military.

This political tampering with the military began to dilute the effectiveness of our fighting forces, leading some to comment that the military was becoming little more than "meals on wheels with MREs and M-16s".  Hardly engendering fear and respect in our adversaries around the world.

Before I go any further I want to make clear a couple of things:  1) While compassion is nice, and necessary to the civilian population, it has no place in a war zone.  The primary purpose of any military force is, in the immortal words of Rush Limbaugh, to" kill people and break things".  That should be the only focus of a military at war.  If you want to set up a separate "compassion corps" to work alongside the military, fine.  Just don't mix the two.  The competing goals will interfere with either being efficiently accomplished.  2) Nothing in this post is to be construed as claiming that women are unfit to fight.  Nonsense.  Anyone who has seen a mama bear or a human mother whose children are threatened knows there is no fiercer foe.  The purpose of this post is to reflect my opinion that the forced integration of military combat units is unwise and counter-productive to it's stated goal of making the military more efficient and effective.  3) I am not some "women should be barefoot and pregnant" throwback.  I AM, however, a traditionalist and believe that in the misguided drive to a false "equality" our society has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price.

That said, consider some of the findings of the government's studies of the matter:

The results [of the study] indicate that, in general, women who join the Navy qualify at lower rates than men for nontraditional [ie., combat] ratings. Further, no improvements have apparently occurred since 1981 in the qualification rates of women for technical, sea-going ratings. To improve the qualification rate of women for nontraditional occupations in the near term, Minimum requirements would need to be modified or alternative standards developed.--Dwayne F. Baxter, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA  September 1993  [Link:]

It was found that integration of the military quickly resulted in disciplinary problems and a perception, often accurate, that standards weren't being applied uniformly, resulting in less unit cohesion and operational effectiveness.  DIs were reluctant to get in the face of female recruits and discipline them as toughly as the males out of a fear of being brought up on charges of sexual harassment.  This in turn resulted in resentment by many of the male recruits of their female counterparts.

RICHARD BERNSTEIN, quoting from THE KINDER, GENTLER MILITARY: Can America's Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars? by Stephanie Gutmann reported:  She says the country's leaders, submitting to political pressure, have allowed military preparedness to be gravely compromised for the sake of an unworkable sex-neutral principle. She describes Camp Jackson as a kind of Girl Scouts for grown-ups, a place where self-esteem therapy prevails over hard, physical tasks.

''Because training regulations note that 'many new soldiers are not physically fit or capable of strenuous activity,' '' she writes, ''they no longer do a required number of push-ups to a count, the drill sergeant exercises along with them as a sort of 'role model' and they drop out when they feel like it.''.  At the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, she finds that the old obstacle course is now called the confidence course and has been moved indoors. For a while, Ms. Gutmann reports, trainees got ''blues cards'' that they could hold up to get a break in the middle of an activity, but, while those were eliminated after being ridiculed in the press, ''recruits can still avail themselves of something called a 'training timeout.' ''

''Ability groups'' have also been created to handle weaker trainees. The Army, Ms. Gutmann says, found that many women could not pass the standard grenade-throwing test of 35 meters (115 feet). So women only have to ''pick up a live grenade and essentially dump it over the wall of a deep cement enclosure, where it could burst to its little heart's content.''  Still, Ms. Gutmann is no extremist in these matters. She offers a set of policy recommendations -- one of which would be to eliminate sexual recruitment quotas -- that would keep the armed forces open to any and all who meet the necessary high standards.

These misguided attempts at enforcing equality between the sexes hasn't been limited to the military.  Police and Fire departments nationwide have been forced to lower qualification standards to accommodate women and minorities, regardless of it's effect on the readiness of the unit.  Even with this, some still don't qualify.  Predictably, they head to court, claiming "discrimination":  A 27-year-old Chicago woman is suing the city because she says she wants to be a firefighter – and she failed a physical screening test she says is discriminatory.  July, 2011

Kate O'Beirne

Men of the Hour:  Did somebody say “firemen”?
September 21, 2001
A federal judge found in 1982 that the fire department's physical test for applicants improperly discriminated against women. Judge Charles Sifton ordered the department to water down the test and reserve up to 45 positions for women. One of the delighted female plaintiffs, who had failed the challenged test, explained, "I wasn't able to carry the dummy up and down a flight of stairs in the requisite amount of time, but I did very well on the mile run." The portion of the test that required carrying victims was eliminated, in favor of testing candidates on their ability to drag a 145-pound dummy along a marked path. Speaking of dummies, Judge Sifton had ruled that upper body strength was largely "irrelevant" to firefighting.

There is ample evidence that watering down qualifications results in increased risk, not only to the otherwise unqualified personnel, but to others in the same unit who need to rely on him/her to be able to perform.

Walter Williams, a Professor at George Mason University, penned a column in May of 1995 detailing one very costly incident of just such PC effects on military readiness when qualifying recruits to duty even after they have demonstrated a distinct inability for such duty:

Costly Affirmative Action

Navy Lt. Kara Hultgreen was killed attempting to land her $38 million F-14A Tomcat fighter on the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Navy's official public report was the crash "was precipitated by a malfunction of the left engine." Questions about pilot error were greeted with charges of sexism. ABC's Peter Jennings said there had been a "vicious campaign against allowing women to serve in combat." But here's what really happened:

On approach to the USS Abraham Lincoln, Lt. Hultgreen made five major errors and ignored repeated wave-off signals by ship's landing officer. One of those errors caused the F-14A's left engine to stall, sending the plane out of control, because Lt. Hultgreen mistakenly jammed on the rudder. In the twenty years of F-14A's service, no pilot had ever stalled an engine this way. In an effort to back up their lie that the crash was due to engine failure, the Navy selected nine male pilots to "fly" through Lt. Hultgreen's pre-crash conditions in a ground simulator.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda reported "the situation was re-created in an F-14 flight simulator. Eight of nine pilots in the simulator were unable to fly the plane out of the replicated regime." What Admiral Boorda failed to say was that the male pilots had been ordered not to execute the F-14A manual's so-called Bold Face Instructions, the critical things a pilot must do to fly through an emergency similar to Lt. Hultgreen's.

Documents obtained by Elaine Donnelly, director of CMR, shows that Lt. Hultgreen not only had subpar performance on several phases of her training but had four "downs" (major errors), just one or two of which are sufficient to justify the dismissal of a trainee. The White House and Congress' political pressure to get more women in combat is the direct cause of Lt. Hultgreen's death. But the story doesn't end there. A second female F-14A pilot, identified by Elaine Donnelly only as Pilot B, has been allowed to continue training despite marginal scores and seven "downs", the last of which was not recorded so she could pass the final stages of training.

And one final example of the inequality inherent in the push for "gender neutral" services:

Chicago Now by  Katalin Rodriguez Ogren, April 24, 2011

Women receive the same training as men.  But like all standardized trainings seen in the police or fire department, the military also has different standards for women to meet for push ups, sit ups, and 2mile runs.  According to the Army Gender Integrated Basic Training(GIBT), "A close look at data and testimony gathered by this and other recent studies indicate that there are no significant benefits from gender integrated basic training, but many problems and complications that detract from the primary purpose of GIBT."  It goes on to quote various studies that support the position that women are not physically capable to handle an integrated or combined physical training which carries tremendous weight when evaluating whether women can be assigned combat positions:

  • Numerous American studies have confirmed that in
    general, women are shorter, weigh less and have less muscle mass and greater relative
    fat content than men. Women are at a distinct disadvantage because dynamic
    upper torso muscular strength is approximately 50-60% that of males, and
    aerobic capacity (important for endurance) is approximately 70-75% that of
  • A test of Army recruits found that women had a
    2.13 times greater risk for lower extremity injuries and a 4.71 times greater
    risk for stress fractures. Men sustained 99 days of limited duty due to injury
    while women incurred 481 days of limited duty.
  •  In the United Kingdom, major studies were
    ordered in 1998 to ascertain the feasibility of co-ed basic training. Army
    doctors found that eight times as many women as men were being discharged
    during basic training, due to injury rates that doubled following the
    introduction of identical training programs for both sexes. Differences in
    strength, bone mass, stride length and lower body bone structure caused women
    to suffer disproportionately from Achilles tendon problems, knee, back and leg
    pain, and fractures of the tibia, foot, and hip.
The "gender-free" system was ended in January 2002 because stress fractures for women rose from 4.6% to 11.1%, compared to less than 1.5% for male trainees. 


It's should be clear by now even to liberal progressives that despite all their efforts at denial, men and women are different.  That's not to say that women don't have a role in the military, clearly they do.  It's not even to say that women are incapable of operating in a combat theater, many clearly are & some are even superior shots and strategists to many of their male counterparts.  The problem comes from trying to deny nature and "make everyone equal".  It just doesn't work.  Forcing the inclusion of women in traditionally male fighting units such as combat squads, or Special Forces such as Green Berets, SEALs, Airborne, Force Recon, Rangers, etc. will only serve to reduce unit cohesion and effectiveness for no good reason. 

Men and women are different.  They think and react differently.  Men understand that when they go to war they are at risk of death or capture at the hands of the enemy.  They accept this, and understand that the mission's objective still must be foremost.  Insert a woman into the equation, and the calculations go out the window.  We all know just what the additional risks are that women will face in the event they are captured, especially in the Middle East.  They will be viciously and repeatedly gang-raped, at least.  Does anyone really believe than any man could face that with equanimity?  That they could mentally and emotionally accept the notion that "she knew the risks when she signed up, we've got a job to do"?  Men by nature are genetically built for combat and aggression, for the defense of their women and children.  No amount of PC pronouncement from intellectuals can change that basic fact.  Our fighting forces need to be able to keep discipline and focus.  The distraction of having to "look out" for a female comrade could prove fatal, both to the unit and to it's objective.

Let women serve in whatever manner they qualify, but let's not put other lives at risk in the name of political correctness and a "gender equality" that doesn't exist.



  1. Nice post. For me, the last paragraph is the real take home.

    In no case, military or otherwise, should a person’s gender be the determining factor in the availability of a job or position, unless gender is an actual pre-requisite for the position. For example, a male is obviously physiologically barred from the position of surrogate mother or wet nurse, to use two obvious examples.

    There should be objective standards for a given position and any who qualifies under them should be allowed to enter the position. These standards should also be appropriate for the position and not be allowed to morph into some sort of “Jim Crow” law whose primary purpose is to bar certain groups from the position independent of their actual qualifications.
    Additionally, there should be no sort of “affirmative action” giving preference to certain groups for a given position independent of their actual qualifications. This would include quotas and lowering the standards for favored groups or groups that are perceived to have been discriminated against in the past.

    One would hope the decision by the Defense Department would simply be a matter of removing any artificial barriers between women and combat positions, which would be absolutely correct and moral. However, given the increasing egalitarian nature of government policy in wanting to force equality of results, I fear this will not be the case and all the negatives you described in the bulk of the post will become more and more common.

    1. Well, Leon Panetta and other government officials say that there will be no lowering of standards in order to accommodate the entry of females into traditionally male combat roles. We've seen how well they've adhered to such claims in the past.

      In any event, I look for lawsuits to be filed shortly after it becomes obvious that there is no influx of women deemed "qualified" for inclusion in combat roles.