Women In Combat

25 Jan

So, we’re going to have women in combat. This is probably not a great idea, but it isn’t the end of the world either.

There are two major lines of thought on this, both of them somewhat detached from reality. Ardent Feminists have been pushing for this for decades, being committed to the theory that there are no general differences between men and women. This is obviously so much eyewash, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the differences that do exist should or do matter. Military traditionalists, social conservatives, and reactionaries have been loudly saying that women have no place in combat for centuries, if not forever. Since a modern, athletic, western woman is likely to be a good deal larger and more muscular than, say, the malnourished male peasants that made up the majority of medieval armies, this would also seem to be hogwash. In point of fact the attitude of the Feminists is probably at least in part caused by the Army claiming the necessity of unrealistically high physical requirements,  while at the same time planning a great deal of military equipment to be compatible with much smaller, weaker third world soldiers or in general knowing that such standards did not apply to real combat. Case in point; the Army used to trot out the assertion that women couldn’t throw a fragmentation grenade beyond its own kill radius, but a veteran friend of mine told me years ago that the military has a word for people who throw grenades and don’t immediately seek hard cover; “casualties”.
There have been high profile cases of women who were the first in various military jobs screwing up by the numbers. What isn’t clear is how exceptional this might be. Military jobs like fighter-pilot are seldom as simple as they are made to look in the movies, and when something goes wrong it tends to cascade. Have some incidents occurred where deficiencies were covered up be people determined to not be the person saying that The First Woman (fill in the blank) couldn’t cut it? Probably. Do a certain number of male screw-ups also get special treatment for reasons of internal and external politics? Absolutely. Did the same thing happen in the Roman Legions? Probably.
Can women really do The Job? We’ll see. And, frankly, BOTH sides of the argument have done so much plain and fancy lying that waiting and seeing is the only way we have to tell.
In the meanwhile, we can sit back and watch the furor as one of more groups of young men sue because they are required to register for the draft, and their sisters aren’t.
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