reform4's picture

Correction..,

The headline should read. "To officially allow women I'm combat. They've already been in direct combat since 1991.

lonnie's picture

I cannot wait to vote for the

I cannot wait to vote for the first woman President. I am glad we have the most women on the Supreme Court ever. It was great to see a record 20 women elected to the U.S. Senate in November. Also a record 79 women elected to the House. I hope we have many more women elected to Congress in the future. However, women in combat is a mistake. Women fighter pilots yes, foxholes no. That idea is just plain dumb!

F-Stop's picture

You don't think women are

You don't think women are capable of holding their own in foxhole/firing line combat or do you think that it's an esprit de corps type thing?

Rachel's picture

Women fighter pilots yes,

Women fighter pilots yes, foxholes no. That idea is just plain dumb!

Why? As long as they can pass the physical requirements, what's the problem?

lonnie's picture

The physical requirements are

The physical requirements are just part of the equation. Females and males have lots of learned characteristics from growing up in our society. Those characteristics will prove detrimental in women serving with males in combat.The primary objective of war is to win. The effectiveness of our combat forces will be compromised when women serve in large numbers in combat roles. Is this fair? No. But this is one area that is very different and difficult in deciding equal treatment. Not allowing women in combat does go against the grain of equality. It is mostly a man caused problem, but it is a big problem all the same and one that would endanger the readiness of combat units.The morale will suffer and the effectiveness of our forces will decline. In a combat unit all of the men will treat the female differently. Because of their different treatment the combat units will be endangered. The different treatment will lead to bad judgements and more deaths. The different reactions to circumstances by male and female soldiers are learned and genetic and are not easily changed. I remember a story told to me by a friend of mine who was my teacher and coach and later a colleague. He was a prisoner of war in Korea. He told me of a female prisoner that was tied down and brutally raped dozens of times in front of him and several other prisoners of war. He was in a weakened condition from lack of food and water. He had gone from his normal 180 lbs to less than 100 lbs. He spoke up against the brutality and was beaten severely.Females in combat present lots of problems that cannot be changed. Some military leaders are voicing their criticisms. Others will not, mostly because of pressure. They want to keep their jobs.
We have not had a draft in the U.S. since the end of the Vietnam War in 1973. Hopefully, we will not need a draft any time soon. It is always possible that a major conflict will break out and we will need additional forces and we will reinstate the draft. Women, now being part of our combat forces, logically would have to be included. Remember Jerry Fallwell's speeches against the ERA ratification,"if the ERA passed, our women would be forced into combat." I never agreed with anything much that Fallwell ever said, but that would have been one logical outcome of the ERA.
Women and men look at many things differently. Their minds and hearts are just different. In many ways women are superior to men. Women are much more reluctant to send their sons to war. Woman show more compassion than men. Polls show women are much more in favor of national healthcare and other social programs.Women elected President Obama. I sure wish a lot of those ignorant men that voted for Romney would take notes from those women. It was the first female member of Congress Jeanette Rankin that cast the only vote on Dec. 8, 1941 against declaring war on Japan. She had also voted against going to war in 1917 when the U.S. entered WWI.
I have probably not explained my position very well. I know
not allowing women in combat is not fair and it does not have a good constitutional basis, but it is the only sensible thing to do.

Rachel's picture

Well, first of all, there are

Well, first of all, there are already a bunch of women in combat - just not in certain jobs (including the higher paying ones).

Second, listen to yourself: It is mostly a man caused problem, but it is a big problem all the same and one that would endanger the readiness of combat units.The morale will suffer and the effectiveness of our forces will decline. In a combat unit all of the men will treat the female differently. Because of their different treatment the combat units will be endangered. The different treatment will lead to bad judgements and more deaths.

Substitute "black" for "women" and "white" for "men" and it's the 1940s. Substitute "gay" for "women" and "straight" for "men" and it's the 1990s.

This argument has been made over and over again. It's proven wrong every time.

And BTW, if it's such a problem, how do the armed forces of a host of countries manage to pull it off?

lonnie's picture

Women have not been

Women have not been "officially" assigned to combat. Because of the nature of war in Iraq and Afghanistan all soldiers there have been "in combat" even if they are not officially in combat the roadside bombs etc. have killed many. Just because women have been killed in battles does not mean that women in combat makes sense. I have read a lot on this and would hope you too will read up on some of the statistics and findings of studies of women in combat. Of course, there is a difference in say a Russian woman and an American woman...Very different society and background. Seems like you are just getting defensive ....and kinda mean spirited w/out considering any valid point I make. Almost sounds like a Republican. :)

Rachel's picture

Women have not been

Women have not been "officially" assigned to combat.

Officially doesn't matter much when you're on the battlefield. Tell it to Tammy Duckworth.

Of course, there is a difference in say a Russian woman and an American woman

Not sure what you're getting at, but here is a partial list of countries that allow women in combat - Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, and of course Israel.

You're not saying American women are that different from Canadian women, are you?

Seems like you are just getting defensive ....and kinda mean spirited w/out considering any valid point I make. Almost sounds like a Republican.

Uh, dude, your position is more in keeping with that of many Republicans.

I'm not defensive at all; just stating my opinion.

And sorry, but you haven't made a valid point. You're just throwing out a bunch of assumptions that you can't substantiate. And it's not "mean-spirited" to point out that many of your arguments are EXACTLY the same ones used about blacks and gays.

It's just telling the truth.

lonnie's picture

Women in combat and

Women in combat and integration of the services are not the same at all. It would not matter how many facts I gave you to prove my point or if you were told the combat killed or wounded numbers would increase by 1000% when women are added to combat....what you are really saying is a million could die for equality sake...women's equal access is your bottom line and top priority period regardless of all other consequences.
Given your position, you would have to be for women being registered by the the Selective Service and drafted.

Rachel's picture

Women in combat and

Women in combat and integration of the services are not the same at all.

That's what people said 15 years ago about gays in the military - NOTHING like integration.

what you are really saying is a million could die for equality sake...women's equal access is your bottom line and top priority period regardless of all other consequences.

Sigh. Somebody else putting words in my mouth. I didn't say this at all. But I see no proof that "millions will die" and neither do the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Given your position, you would have to be for women being registered by the the Selective Service and drafted.

Yup. Not that I'm for a draft, period.

bizgrrl's picture

I've always had a little

I've always had a little concern about women in combat. I was listening to NPR the other day when they were discussing this topic. They had several current and ex military women on the show. They all admitted there were different physical standards for women.

Southern Beale also brought up something on this topic.

One question: will women register for the Selective Service now? If not, why not? We should. Not saying I’d want to, but fair is fair.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Back in the day, that was a huge sticking point to garnering support for ratification of the ERA--even among women who were otherwise supportive.

lonnie's picture

Yep, I remember. I show my

Yep, I remember. I show my students a video that shows Jerry Fallwell speaking against the ERA saying "if the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified, our girls will be sent into combat".

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Just stumbled across this link and look how much litigation on this question (whether or not women should register with the Selective Service) has historically been decided on the basis of women having previously been excluded from combat.

The familiar adage, of course, is that "rights carry responsibiities," so...?

AnonymousOne's picture

I think psychologically women

I think psychologically women are more than capable of holding their own in combat.

That said, most women don't have the physical build "capable" of shouldering heavy packs, say about 60 pounds that is almost always required now for long periods of duration in ground combat operations. Nor are they really "capable" of building such strength in those areas. If they could this might make a little more sense.

But this has to be the only government policy I've heard of where they're basically saying

"People die doing this, so let's make it where MORE can die,you know, for equality's sake."

Rachel's picture

most women don't have the

most women don't have the physical build "capable" of shouldering heavy packs, say about 60 pounds that is almost always required now for long periods of duration in ground combat operations.

And that's a good argument for keeping women who can't meet the standards out of combat (as well as men who can't). It's not a good argument for keeping women who CAN meet the standards out of combat.

reform4's picture

Bingo

I knew many women at USMA that could run the male cadets into the ground physically. They had a particular nickname- "rocks" because they were built like rocks.

And you never called them that to their faces, ever. :)

There are plenty of women out there that can meet the physical standards, and plenty of men who can't.

lonnie's picture

Ouch.......on second

Ouch.......on second thought......I think there are thousands of women out there that have the potential to be a female Audie Murphy.

AnonymousOne's picture

Now I'm not saying women

Now I'm not saying women can't deal with burdensome, physical challenges. Yeah, I'm thinking of the one lasting nine months. But as currently structured is it possible for enough of them to be used as men are in combat?

lonnie's picture

A large number of female

A large number of female soldiers became pregnant during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Even though the war lasted only six weeks 58 American women soldiers got pregnant. On the ship the U.S.S. Acadia alone, 36 women became pregnant during the war, leading the press to call it the "Love Boat'

reform4's picture

The Acadia aside..

.. that was an outlier point of disciplinary/leadership failure. Taken them out, that means 22 women got pregnant in six weeks.

There were roughly 45,000 women in theatre, so that's a pregnancy rate of 0.05%. It's not known from the statistic whether they were pregnant before going into theatre, and they found out they were pregnant in theatre, there being a little time delay for those familiar with the process. We also don't know how many of those pregnancies were related to sexual assaults, which was a bit of a problem there in 1991 (estimated 8% were sexually assaulted)... and still is. One woman soldier was quoted about the combat knife she carried: "The knife wasn't for the Iraqis," says one woman. "It was for the guys on my own side."

And, for the record, a woman was more likely to be killed or wounded in action in the 1991 Gulf War than impregnated (and that was the "safe and easy" Gulf war). And if they were impregnated, given over 3000+ sexual *assaults*, I'm guessing a good number of those are categorized as true rapes, so is the problem really with the WOMEN in the military????

That's like me going to the hospital after beating my kid and breaking her arm, and me trying to explain to the doctor how it's my kid's fault. I don't think so.

reform4's picture

Acadia Followup

14 of the 36 were pregnant before boarding the ship, just not yet tested:

(link...)

22 became pregnant on board, "perhaps on liberty calls in Hawaii, the Philippines and other ports the Acadia visited on her way to the gulf"

And, FWIW, it's not illegal for women in the military to get pregnant:

Quoting from regs here: "(2) Servicewomen should be advised that requests for separation due to pregnancy will not normally be approved. In those cases where extenuating circumstances exist, requests for separation should be submitted with adequate lead-time, prior to the 20th week of pregnancy, to allow appropriate separation dates to be determined ...."

[Ed: If you are single, there's a higher chance they'll let you separate if you want. However, you should be aware that "separation" might mean transfer to the IRR. If you haven't put in enough time to get benefits, you could lose them all, yet still be subject to a recall.]

If you were pregnant when you entered basic, they'll discharge you without maternity benefits.

If you stay in: After 28 weeks, they can't ship you to an overseas assignment, or send you on overseas travel.
[Ed: you are typically posted to 'light duty']

You're supposed to not be stationed on a ship after the 20th week. You can't be deployed after the 20th week of pregnancy, and are eligible for deployment again 4 months after giving birth.

You get 6 weeks of leave after giving birth. [Ed: I believe after that, if you are deployed after giving birth, you must have/find a guardian for the child. If you can't do that, I would expect you are probably pressured to accept an honorable discharge].

Much more info here: (link...)

Min's picture

How are people defining combat?

Because the argument in the thread makes it sound like "combat" only means army infantry. I would think military combat encompasses a lot of different situations. For examble, are submariners not considered to be in "combat" situations, because they're not infantry? Are fighter pilots not considered to be in "combat" situations, because they're not infantry?

The main reason I've heard for opening up combat positions to women is because the promotion track practically required combat experience. But I don't know if that's true or not, or whether that's limited only to the Army promotion track. Can anyone elaborate?

bizgrrl's picture

I understand that combat

I understand that combat experience does relate to promotion in the military. I thought women could already fly fighter jets, I could be wrong.

reform4's picture

Transport

They can fly fighters when ferrying them between bases, but not into combat sorties.

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