Women in Combat Roles – My rebuttal to the rebuttals of my rebuttal. :)


*sigh* Fine Internet. You win. Since some people lack the ability to look at a simple rebuttal article for what it is and have decided that I am a “whiny brat” full of “defensive melodramatic emotional tirades” and that I “get in the way” of my own argument, and that “in all seriousness, (I) she misses the crux of the issue, making the common mistake of framing the debate from the perspective of an individual’s desires rather than combat effectiveness” I have decided to just lay my opinion out there in it’s own context (not in response to another article).  There were several other things said, but I think I made my point. I am writing this article for you men who feel so strongly and who so sorely misinterpreted what I was trying to do. Also please note the difference between an emotional rant, and passion. My writing has a voice behind it and it is mine. If you see that as emotional and discount it – you will miss out on some great stories.

***Language Alert! I am not going to hold back my sentence enhancers for this writing so if curse words offend you stop reading here.***

This is my view on women in combat roles and the arguments for and against women serving in these roles. I am also throwing in humor – so before you get butt-hurt about it make sure you understand my intent. If you have a question about my intent – ask me and I will be happy to clarify.

First and foremost – those of us who actually go to combat are not the decision makers. The people that make those decisions have either never served, or they served in a military that no longer exists. Women are in the military and as our last two wars have shown, we are in fact engaging in combat. So the problem that needs to be addressed is how do we as a military change our service to strengthen our assets and minimize disruptions and weaknesses. Instead we seem to be focused on women peeing in buckets and men being afraid to poop in front of females.

I have story after story of kick-ass women who are 100 times better Soldiers than some men, and I have 100 more about women who joined the service only to cry everyday and freak out when they break a nail. Right now, our military needs to find some balance and a way to keep it strong and effective with the inclusion of women (we aren’t going away), but they also need to get rid of the dead weight males too. I do not see the problem as gender, I see the problem as politics, out-dated views on the contributions of women, and genuine fear that mans final playground has been invaded by cooties (for the record – I do not have cooties).

Lets talk about standards: My personal opinion is that the standards should be the same for all. I also think the standards need to change for certain jobs – not to accommodate women as some would believe, but to strengthen our military across the board. If you are an Infantryman you have the absolute worst job in the military and require the lowest IQ to do it (I am not saying infantrymen are dumb, I am just stating the fact that if you have a low ASVAB score you get to go infantry, cook, or mechanic as your MOS choices) because that is what the military thinks you are capable of – then they train you and you become experts – and I for one am grateful you are there. There are many very intelligent men in the infantry and please don’t go crying about what I just said. Remember – we are talking about standards – All who ‘pass’ the ASVAB can be infantry, they can not all be in other MOS’s.

So when it comes to standards – both physical and mental: I think the standards should be based on your MOS. As a Human Resource Specialist, I do not have to hump 25 miles in full battle rattle, I do however need to know how to spell, communicate, write, prioritize, act independently of instruction, and be able to at the minimum, on deployment, carry my gear from the plane, to my tent where it will sit collecting dust for the next year. Hell, my first deployment they didn’t even give me ammunition for the weapon I had to lug around with me 24/7.  Seriously. So the ‘be ready for anything” is kind of a load of crap – at least in my personal experience.

I do agree with basic combat training for everyone and that training on those skills should be continuous for everyone regardless of MOS. I served in a unit that did not in fact have continuous training and when we deployed we had a guy almost shoot his own head off because he hadn’t had to carry a weapon at all let alone a loaded one in over ten years of military service. Another story that I love is an Airman who worked under me on my second deployment who decided it would be a good idea to rest his head on the barrel of his locked and loaded weapon while we were driving on a dirt road – see the problem there?

I do not in any way think that every job is for every person (gender neutral). I also believe there is merit in the common argument that women can be disruptive in a combat unit (depends on the woman and the men). The solution to this in my opinion is training. If we can train a man to run headlong into a foray of bullets, we can train him to let go of the chivalry and poop in front of a girl. We can also ensure that the training is equal. No lower standards for women. If you aren’t built for it, and can’t do what your peers are expected to do, then you need to find a new job (women seriously need to own this and stop bitching about being excluded if they can’t in fact do what is required of them). However, not all infantry positions require the same skills, and the right women could offer a beneficial dynamic to certain combat roles.

Another issue that was brought to my attention from one of my dissenters was this thought:

There are other matters involved and being an Infantryman I can tell you this… I wouldn’t like it if another army pitted me up against women to kill. That’s just wrong. You see it in the news in America. If a woman or child is killed it is held much higher than if a man was killed. I will never want to be known as a man who went into combat and killed women, regardless if they were “Infantrymen”.

So you don’t like it when enemy forces send women packed with bombs to our gates? Yeah. I don’t like it either and I have no problem shooting that bitch in the face (that’s the Army in me coming out – sorry for the lack of tolerance on that one). If you can’t handle shooting her – I will gladly do it for you. At least we as a nation have the balls to dress our Soldiers appropriately so we can be identified as the enemy. Oh America and our need to fight fair… So maybe we need women in our combat units to shoot those people who the men are morally opposed to to shooting. Girl fight!! Oh crap – you would lose all concentration if that were the case – as the movie Stripes so eloquently showed us when John Candy mud wrestled with the ladies; He got over the ‘hitting a girl’ thing pretty fast. So would you no doubt.

So here is my solution. Every job is available to every person who can qualify for it – be it physical or mental. Every unit should have a healthy combination of both. Standards should be the same across the board, but those standards need to be realistic to the jobs you are expected to perform (along with continuous basic combat training for everyone). We need to answer our military’s issues as they are right now – not from where they were fifty years ago. We need to as a country decide the best way forward, and we can’t do that by crying about the past. It’s official, combat roles have been opened to women, now we just need to learn to make that work for us and not against us and in my opinion the answer to that is training, training, training.

There are probably a million flaws in my logic here (and I am sure you will point ALL of them out to me). All I ask is that you do it without the name-calling and ‘whining’ from your end. Let’s have the conversations about it, and maybe together we can come up with some real solutions for our modern military. Once we solve the problems together and come up with some solutions- we can send them up the chain of command and hopefully continue to be one of the best fighting forces in the world.

One team, one fight!

For those who really don’t care about the military and it’s issues – I promise this is my last military related post for a while. I prefer to write about writing, and compassion, and tolerance. This however is part of my personal history and this entire blog and the concept behind it stems from being able to have conversations like this. Thanks again for reading!

6 thoughts on “Women in Combat Roles – My rebuttal to the rebuttals of my rebuttal. :)

  1. As a trained logician, I can assure that there are not a million flaws in your logic. In fact, your logic is pretty good. The challenge of acknowledging U. S. women in combat is really emotional, not logical. A woman who meets the standards should have the same rights and responsibilities as a man. This is true (at least theoretically) in every other aspect of Anerican life. The military should be no different. We have a long way to go in America, but we’re getting there. Keep fighting the good fight.

    By the way, people often remark on the remarkable strength of the Israeli army. Their military victories have been impressive. Anyone with knowledge of how the Israeli army works can do the math.

  2. Thank you for your comments Joe. FINALLY a guy who doesn’t want to call me names. 🙂 This is a complex issue with no set solutions. Like any other problem, it is going to take time, and change to make it all work effectively. The joys of being a writer is that eventually (or always) you will offend someone. Good thing I have a pretty thick skin thanks to my training with men for fifteen years.

  3. Sophist6, Well written. I agree that standards ought to be the focus in determining whether John and Jane can serve in the infantry (or any MOS). However, if you’ve served in the military long enough (and I served long enough to retire over a week ago), you know that politics eventually come into play. Few women will accept the challenge and of those that do, most will not meet the standards as they are currently set. What will the twits in Congress say….?

    Most females in the US are physically incapable of doing what infantrymen do (and riding around in an M1151 or MRAP while manning the gun isn’t infantry). As you pointed out, being a grunt require physical exertion, sometimes extreme exertion (as in walking up and down the Hindu Kush for a week carrying your 50 lbs of body armor as well as the other 75 lbs of kit) and THEN fighting the enemy. I, too, have worked with some outstanding female troopers and felt they could hang with grunts….but only for so long. But most cannot; and of those that can, most of them would likely CHOOSE not to.

    Regarding the point made by Joe H…..”A woman who meets the standards should have the same rights and responsibilities as a man”. If we are to open combat MOS’ to women in the name of “equality”, are we also going to ensure that women meet the same responsibilities as men regarding draft registration…again in the name of equality? After all, John can’t get student loans unless he signs up for the draft but Suzy can……….this is a different, though connected, topic. We’ll stick with military jobs.

    You, Joe, and I (and many others I’m certain) seem to agree that women ought to meet the same (currently established) standards as men in order to serve in combat arms MOS’. But once it becomes clear that few women are capable of meeting and maintaining that standard, there will be investigations, a few bad OERs and NCOERs, maybe career-ending, and calls for “adjusting” those awful, unfair standards to better accomodate those driven women who want a shot a long military career (according to the SWJ article authored by Traci Swanson and Sheila Medeiros, careerism is their main reason for advocating women in combat-arms MOS’, not improved combat effectiveness). I saw such behavior while cadre at a training unit, I saw accomodating behavior while assigned to a mixed-gender medical unit, I saw such accomodating behavior while to Corps and even BDE staffs, and I’m quite certain we’ll eventually see it when it comes to women serving in combat-arms jobs (and the debate is about women serving in combat-arms jobs, not women serving in combat…..they already serve in combat). We’ll see it because it is a political issue, one that politicians and advocacy groups will latch on to in order to serve their own purposes….and those purposes rarely have anything to do with protecting our country.

    Anyway, keep posting on SWJ. Lots of smart folks there.

    • Morgan, thank you for your comments and I agree. The solution really is a complete overhaul of the entire system, complete with a no ‘whining’ clause. I like the Brigade Combat Team idea, and I think if done right that should be the way units should move forward. You have one brigade of people, and different teams who perform different functions within that brigade (An infantry team, mechanized team, personnel team etc.). If the women want to be on a certain team they can, but once they show they can’t keep up on the infantry team, they can be relocated. No complaining, you tried and failed, lets move on. Obviously this will only work in Garrison until training can be completed to see who can hack it. Just like Ranger school all guys, but a (last time I looked) 70% fail rate; the ones who can’t do it, just go back to whatever they were doing before.

      It really is a complicated situation. Again though, combat roles are now open to women and we just need to find effective ways to deal with it and make it work. My guess is that you are right, most women want no part of it anyway, and now those who do try – need to understand they may not be able to do it, accept that, and find something they can be good at instead of insisting the standards be lowered to accommodate them. It’s going to be interesting to watch how this all plays out.

      • As for the SWJ, I think I’ll just keep my mouth shut for a while there. I do enjoy most of the articles (except for the one that started this whole dialogue) and for the most part it seems as though there are quite a few people there who want to have genuine conversations. I’ll lurk for a while though – I need to lick my wounds. 🙂

  4. Pingback: To Wreck a Military (a rebuttal) « tolerantpeople

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