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Women in Combat: Justin, “I’m okay with it.”

Special Contribution By: Justin Kruger

President Obama formally advocated the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell–subsequently, the issue of women in combat has come back to the forefront of political and social debate.

Elaine Donnelly, the president of Center for Military Readiness, opposes the idea of women in combat because she argues that women:

on average [woman] do not have the physical capability to lift a fully loaded male soldier who has been wounded under fire, in order to save his life.

Others are opposed because they worry that men would be affected more deeply by seeing a dead or wounded female colleague and also over concerns of the potential for sexual abuse by the enemy should they be captured. [Would battlefield female nurses be less likely to be captured?]

Either way, in modern war, where there are not always clear front lines, women serve in many capacities and are always in danger.  The issue in Don’t ask, Don’t tell and with women in combat seems to be whether or not the military formally acknowledges something that already exists.

Women fight and die already so it seems strange that there is anything to debate.  We can send them out on missions where they might be fired upon, but we’re debating whether or not they should be allowed in combat?  I don’t even  need to see any bar graphs or papers on this…


73 Responses

  1. This question is asked just about every week, try using a search via the Advanced Search for the site up top on the page. As for combat, here is the answer:

    In the end, women do not belong in ground combat, they are more of a liability than an asset, this is always ignored when it is discussed in the Media, in Congress or on here. Below is some good info for you that I have cut and pasted from my previous answers on the same topic.

    From the report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces dated November 15, 1992, it states in part:

    The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength.

    An Army study done in 1988 found that women are more than twice as likely to suffer leg injuries and nearly five times as likely to suffer fractures as men.

    Further, the Commission heard an abundance of expert testimony including:
    – women’s aerobic capacity is significantly lower, meaning they cannot carry as much as far as fast as men, and they are more susceptible to fatigue.
    – in terms of physical capability, the upper five percent of women are at the level of the male median. The average 20-to-30 year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man.

    After a study was conducted at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, one expert testified that:
    – using the standard Army Physical Fitness Test, the upper quintile (top 20%) of women at West point achieved scores on the test equivalent to the bottom quintile (bottom 20%) of men.
    – only 21 women out of the initial 623 (3.4%) achieved a score equal to the male mean score of 260.
    – on the push-up test, only 7% of women can meet a score of 60, while 78% of men exceed it.
    – adopting a male standard of fitness at West Point would mean 70% of the women he studied would be separated as failures at the end of their junior year, only 3% would be eligible for the Recondo badge, and not one would receive the Army Physical Fitness badge.

    Also, recent studies indicate women are more at risk to getting PTSD, as documented from Iraq and Afghanistan, women who were never in direct combat but whose camps were shelled were more likely to develop PTSD than there male counter-parts. You can also look up the US Navy SPARTAN study, women were asked to complete a lot of the Damage Control Tasks that are mandatory on a ship. They performed in a rather terrible manner at the start. The women were then put on a 6 month weight training program and asked to do the test again. A lot of the test are obsolete since the P-250 pump is no longer in use but the one that will never go out is the two man litter carry up and down the ladder on a ship. None of the women passed getting the wounded man up the ladder and <2% passed going down ( a lot easier I might add). What did the Navy do in regard to this result? They changed the standard to a four man litter carry. Ever been on a ship? Good luck with 4 people fitting on that ladder! lol!
    Don't ignore the truth because it does not fit your premise, I have no doubt that women can be just as brave as a man but it does me no good when she cannot get me back to my helo, hummer or foxhole because she is to weak. It does me no good when she cannot hump the same weight I can for as long as I can because she is physically unable to do so. It does me no good when she is injured more easily than a man, etc..etc…DO NOT LOOK AT THIS AS A RIGHT, LOOK AT THIS AS A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE, do you really want the weakest person doing that job? Do not fall for the myth that if we have the same standards for all that it will be ok then, the standards will be dropped so low that someone in a wheel chair could pass them due to politics, look at the SPARTAN Study! lol! They would rather risk peoples lives than hold a standard and stick there necks out and risk there careers! (They being the Officer Corps). If you are honest in your assessment, you would say that while women may be ok to be pilots, they have no place in areas of ground combat and/or even on ships in many instances due to physical differences, a different hard wiring (being more and more proven every year) and common sense. Women and Men are not tools to interchange and war is not meant for a social science lab.

    If they allow them to go into SOF Selection of any kind the training will be so watered down it will be a joke and then, like the regular Army, Navy and Air Force, the training will become a joke.

    • So should the US government remove female fire fighters from duty?

    • First of all, no one is advocating that we should just let the army be full of women who cannot physically hack it and this certainly isn’t some PC libfest. As a side note, I hope we don’t allow men in the army who can’t either because they, you know, have dicks. Just because on average men are stronger and can carry more and because they have greater lung capacity does not mean some women can’t get the job done. I’m sure they can.

      Most importantly, while I have never been in a combat, I am absolutely positive there is more to being good soldier than one’s ability to drag a wounded soldier to safety. shooting ability, leadership, mental toughness, composure and general intelligence are much, much more important. Why do those skills mean nothing? The army is already full of 18-23 year old boys who with the IQ of 9th graders who blow themselves up because they are just flat out stupid. we don’t need to exclude intelligent women who can get the job done for their benefit.

      Give me a woman who is smart who can carry out an order and who I can rely on over a meathead who can carry 3 bodies any day of the week.

      Get out and see the world a bit buddy. A vagina doesn’t mean you can’t get things done. And did you really say something about men having more “common sense”? LMFAO

      • lmao, nice left screed. I am already in the world, 2x to Iraq and 2x Afgahnistan and I keep hearing about these mythical women who can do everything a guy can do in the military but still have not seen one. You can ignore the results of phsical tests all you want and you will as I am sure the poster of this blog will, it does not fit your premise so it cannot be right 😉
        As for being a good soldier, try reading the whole post, take a breath and stop acting hysterical (Yes, that was intentional) I am sure a woman can be just as brave but it does me no good…..see the post 😉

      • oh, by the way, as for getting out to see the world, my goodness justin, what exactly have you seen? You seem to think this is about a vagina vs penis thing? Do you think that men and women’s genders are social constructs? Do you think that maybe that physical conditioning still matters when you are going into a house and into close quarters combat? The IDF trains there women in combat but yet never has nor ever will use them in an assault, I wonder if they might just think that it is a women’s vagina that is the problem like you seem to imply I think. Or maybe, just maybe, there is a reason? When you learn to use critical thinking “buddy” and actually know what you are talking about feel free to reply 😉 Use your big words though, ok?

    • ok I need to ask you one more thing because i am still laughing. Serious question

      who would you rather have watching your 6 on a raid in the Iraqi desert:

      a 24 year old girl who graduated with a dual degree in engineering and history with a 3.7 GPA from the University of Virginia who got excellent marks in shooting and was regarded as a bright and capable soldier by her commanding officer in boot camp even though she could only drag a 180 pound sandbag 50 yards in 35 seconds


      a 20 year old boy who dropped out of high school in the 11th grade who is 6’2 190 pounds and as athletic as they come but can’t shoot a lick and is regarded as unreliable by his commanding officer. He can, however, drag a 180 pound sandbag 50 yards in 17 seconds.

      Honestly, which would you want with you if your life depended on it?

      • Wow, you are not in the military nor never have been I take it? The guy, this is basic muscle memory and yeah, great, she is smart but meanwhile she got injured during the hump in or could not take same weight int that I did so another man had to carry her load. Then, when we do the raid she is tossed around like a child when she makes entry and is grabbed by someone around the door. All these thing happen.
        The excellant marks in shooting are great, you do not need to be smart for that. You really do not get it do you? Use some critical thinking, how does she get there if she cannot keep up? How does she get there if she cannot carry the load needed and hence not kitted out for the op? What if I get or someone else gets shot, are we supposed to die for what you think is someone opportunity?
        The thing many like yourself do not understand is that ground combat is very physically intensive and despite what you watched on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, women do not jump up and beat guys up in the real world, just not the way it works. Ground combat is about basics and you do not address anything that is practical in a situation like that. You seem to think an education is more important than anything else and constantly seem to think that the Army is full of HS Drop outs? Umm….where do you get your info on that from exactly?
        Lastly, U of Va? At least pick a good school 😉

  2. It is great that “you” are ok with it, I am not, they will get myself and others killed. Hand to hand is even more common in these conflicts than it was in the past and no amount of PC is going to change the way men and women are built. Stop putting ideas that are based on feelings and not reality on other people, this is not a stock exchange or even a police dept., there are people’s lives.

    • Wouldn’t a rigorous set of tests and training, perhaps a camp, prior to deployment, weed out the folks who don’t cut it? You know some sort of training where they boot out those that don’t cut it…

      Merit based you know…wouldn’t you rather Serena Williams coming to dragging your ass out of trouble than say Michael Cera or McLovin’??

    • or Rock Hudson, Cheyenne Jackson or DANIEL CHOI pulling someone to safety for that matter!!

    • You might be the most insecure person i’ve ever encountered. i seriously mean that.

      Keep harping on those physical studies because apparently they are much more important than a soldier’s intelligence or mental makeup.

      If our army and the soldiers in it believe that a soldier’s most important attribute is his ability to drag dead weight then I worry about the state of leadership in our armed forces. No wonder the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were botched so terribly for years. Maybe if we had more women involved on the front lines we would have more emphasis on thinking and less on things like torturing iraqis or denying good soldiers from combat because they can’t carry a wounded soldier fast enough

      You want to talk to me about critical thinking when you claim that men have more common sense than women? honestly? what century are you in?

      you’re so hung up on the average woman versus the average man and all of these studies that prove things everyone already knows that you miss the fundamental point of the debate, something you still can’t seem to grasp.

      Are you also arguing that there isn’t a single woman in the armed forces overseas who isn’t physically stronger than just one man on the front lines? are you really?

      i’m done with you. I don’t have time to argue with myopic and uneducated people. stay safe and come back home.

      • Of course you are done with me, you cannot make a logical rebuttal and hence leave, like a child. Yeah, all ” of those studies” ? lmao, yeah, facts are bitch aren’t they? IT sucks when people get hung up on things like that and then use real world time to go along with it, just kills the whole idea of your premise. Fact do that. So, do you think men and women are just social constructs? As for the common sense, it is meant that it is common sense that women should not be in the combat arms but feel free to make up stuff, it is what people do when they have no argument, I am sure you do it all the time. I would also read my first post a bit more closely, I know it would take time away from your coffee at Starbucks but read it a bit more and see what I think of the women and how they could be brave and there are a small percentage who could make the cut for basic infantry but I address that too with the SPARTAN study as does the West Point Study when only 3% qual’d.
        Uneducated? Umm…could swear I have my Masters in Education but yeah, I must be uneducated if I do not share your views and argue with little things like facts, logic and not emotion. You enjoy your temper tantrum and come back on when you have a LOGICAL reply. Cheers! 🙂

      • Oh, one last thing Justin, men and women, if you read the whole first post, are also VERY differently hard wired, more and more studies prove it all the time. Women have advantages in language, Men in spatial abilities for example. We are hardwired and act diffently not out of culture or due to social constructs but because of basic biology. Now, when you are all done reading utne reader and acting smug, come on back and we will chat some more.

  3. None of the females you mentioned would be able to do it. Look at the West Point Study. As for slide in the gay policy, nothing to with the topic but since you are attempting to equte the two-DADT should be lifted and a gay guy is still a guy. I would read my first post again.

  4. Ask a male firefighter over a beer and out of sight of others if females have to meet the same qualifications, they do not, at least not in any state or county I have seen.

  5. Dear Eric,

    I think its about time that a female enter into this discussion with you. I’m quite sure that you will find me more rational than either of the boys. I have read your first post in detail as well as the ones following it., so lets bypass all of that you’re not reading what I’m saying nonsense.

    What I would like to touch upon is this:
    “Oh, one last thing Justin, men and women, if you read the whole first post, are also VERY differently hard wired, more and more studies prove it all the time. Women have advantages in language, Men in spatial abilities for example. We are hardwired and act diffently not out of culture or due to social constructs but because of basic biology.”

    Firstly, lets both acknowledge that while studies do point to differentiation in the brain processes according to gender, there is, as in everything, exceptions to those general findings. No study is perfect and what they conclude are in large part generalizations formed from interpretation of data. There are always outliers and anomalies though.

    Having acknowledged that such studies are imperfect and generalized, it therefore seems reasonable to acknowledge that in some cases women have better spacial recognition then men.

    Shall I give you an example? Put me, Justin and The Unqualified Economist on a busy tourist-filled New York street and tell us to get to a destination three blocks away. I would get there first, even though I have the shortest legs of the three. Unlike Justin and TUE, when I walk in Manhattan I don’t see people I see the space between them and thus, am able to navigate a crowd much more quickly than they are.

    Secondly in relation to your post, yes we are biologically different and that is the biggest problem with your argument. Rather than acknowledging the fact that our brains are different, you make the assumption that the army should and can only train a male individuals brain. We are different, so train us differently. Have you ever heard of the expression you don’t want to get between a mama bear and her cubs? You want to know why the She Wolf should be the most feared in a pack? Our biology makes us fearsome creatures; women with adrenaline rushes will lift cars to save someone they love, so why not use that to the army’s advantage? Lets not forget that women push a human being the size of a watermelon out of an orefice the size of a grape. We were built to tolerate long protracted bouts of pain. Our emotional capacity is our strength. Train women differently than you train men. Teach them to be the mama bear looking out for her cubs, and I guarantee any physical limitations dissipate if not disappear entirely.

    Women have proven time and again we can be cold and cruel, malicious and calculating. You need only remember high school for examples of that. We are far and away better at strategizing to bring down an enemy and at seeing enemies’ emotional and mental weaknesses. Have you not seen Mean Girls? Lets use those traits to our advantage by put ting women in positions of interrogation and reconnaissance on the front lines and in the midst of the enemy.

    It is foolish to assume that brawn is the only important characteristic of a soldier. While brawn may win a battle, it’s brain that wins a war.

    • Kate,
      You are rational in your approach but unfortunately brawn does matter on the ground, it can be paramount at times. Why, if you had said perhaps that women might be better pilots due to having on average better hand-eye co-ordination then you might have a point. Of that perhaps due to the type of people you attempt to illustrate from the movie “Mean Girls”, they might make better spooks (I actually tend to agree with this a lot). On the ground, in close combat (Infantry/SOF/etc) brawn matters still. Here, you seem to like Pop Culture Refs, so lets look at the celebrity fight between an old, fat and nasty out of shape Italian guy from NJ (Joey Butafucco) and Chyna, a very tall, very strong female. How did that turn out?
      Look, ground combat will never go out of style, it will always involve people being close up and personal. Have a large IQ is awesome but does not do me any good if that same person cannot hump 20 clicks with 90lbs and stil be able to shoot someone in the face at 3 mts. and wrestle a target to the ground, tie them up and then lead them out of an area or drag a wounded buddy out of an area.
      I think part of the problem is that many of you think that war is all push button, it is not. I am sure much of what your info you get about from the military is based on pop culture, stereotypes, movies, etc..(Pretty obvious that Justin gets it from there at least) but that is not the reality. GI Jane was a movie, not real life.

  6. Addendum: There are plenty of historical examples of women being adept at hand to hand combat. The Amazons, feared by even the bravest of the Greek Spartan warriors. Isabella of Spain who rode out in full armor during the Reconquista to expel the last Muslim king from Granada, Spain. Oh and perhaps you have heard of her: Joan of Arc, Maiden of Orleans, saviour of France. She not only led battle but she fought in arguably the most gruesome hand to hand combat in history, The Hundred Years War. She was an armor wearing, sword wielding, English killing kickass woman, beloved by her troops. Her example is perhaps the best presentation on why women should be on the front lines: we lead, we inspire, we fight.
    If you want something more recent: American Revolutionary war heroine Molly Pitcher.

    • Oye, the Amazons were part of Greek Mythology and that mythos got passed on to the Romans and others. Anthropologists think they may be based on an actual group but are still searching for them, until then, they are bedtime stories. As for women leaders, totally different thing, history is full of women who inspire other, Beudaica in Roman times inspired the Celts, Margret Thatcher still inspires me to this day! 🙂 Not the same as asking me to go into a room with someone or out in the field with someone and fight next to them. I am starting to think a lot of you are just undergrads with a lot of real world learning to do, not being insulting, just observing things from the way most of you frame your arguments. If you want to inspire, run for President and inspire, a women next to me in the field will not inspire me, it will only make me question things and her abilities. The Reality on the ground and out in the field are VERY different from the college campus and theory.
      Oh, Misskris, that study on emoticons is totally false, I mean, that is just science that they never get old! 😉 If you are going to be snarky at least be good, sheesh.

  7. another study: emoticons become less effective as a sarcasm tool after the 3rd time you use them.

  8. Funny also when addressing my my historical examples you don’t respond to how they were actually fighting, just inspiring. They fought. Hand to hand. There is historical evidence proving it, aside from the Amazons. You want to say Joan of Arc didn’t fight in hand to hand combat? Do you also deny the Holocaust?

    You seem to have not acknowledged any of the points on physical studies being generalizations or my point of training a woman differenty than a man.

    Lastly, at no point did I say physical strength was unnecessary on the ground. I know war is not led from a room pushing buttons. Its messy, its hard and its brutal. That being said, you refuse to acknowledge that it is anything more than brawn on the ground.

    • Oye, Wow, Did you really just do attempt to pull out that Holocaust Card on this? lol All I can say is Wow!! Ok, so, you have Joan of Arc and you attempted to bring up myths to back up your point and I should take you seriously? So, Joan fought, great, that proves that woman should be in ground combat? As for generalizations? Umm….they tested women wanting to go to West Point and you think those don’t matter? Then you want women to be trained specificaly so that “they” can learn from the way “their” brains respond and yet somehow think that is going to change the actual physical dynamics of how they are and perform on the ground? You seem to want to have women get special training to make up for their lack of physical brawn yet do not explain how this will change any of those dynamics. Along with your Amazons, did you ask for three wishes too? Because that is the only way that would happen. You went from rational thought to emotion in all of one post and attempted to use a few icons and myths to back up your point, that does not wash. Ask yourself this, do you think genders are social constructs? If the answer is yes, then debate is pointless, would not do a bit of good. If the answer is no, think about the vast differences that men and women have and understand that ground combat is not a place to test out social theory, these are people’s lives we are talking about, mine included.

      MissKris, why are we not friends? I do not think I could handle that. 😉 Oh, the emoticons were used to express sarcasm on the last post too, but don’t let that worry your pretty little head, that is tough to figure out for some people, I put the emoticons on so I can make people see that I am kidding or being sarcastic, etc..but some people you just can’t reach 😉 Oh, on the spelling, I am sure I will have many more typos, not ashamed to say I make mistakes, helps me learn when I can admit to them, ya know what I mean? 😉

  9. Aw I touched a button huh? It’s okay, I always have spelling on my side. Or maybe it’s just my gender’s predisposition for better hand-eye coordination that allows me to type what I want correctly. 🙂

    • Did I use enough emoticons for you to understand?

      • Good sarcasm should mean you don’t need emoticons, but don’t you worry your thick little skull about it. There’s plenty of other literary devices out there for you to try your hand at. I’ve heard fighting on blogs is good for practicing that sort of thing.

  10. Aw honey I speak sarcasm fluently, that just wasn’t funny. But I’m glad you think I’m pretty.

  11. I have been overseas for months, anything is pretty at this point

  12. Actually, I had to use emoticons because people take good sarcams seriously, helps it out now for the simple ones. I underestimated you, that last one was a good one lol

  13. it’s blatantly clear that you completely disrepect women, eric. which is pretty awful, considering you were birthed from one. how very evolved of you.

    by the way, did you include a couple of “lol”s in your master’s thesis? i hope so.

    • It has nothing to do with disrespect, what is clear is that you cannot argue the point and hence have to use the old “sexist” card. How original. So, if anyone thinks women should not be in combat then they must be a sexist? Great logic, have used that line of reason in papers you have written, I am sure that is working great for you.

  14. “sexist” is not a card. sexist is reality. i wasn’t referring to your argument about women in combat, i’m referring to the way you are treating kate and krissy (and now me) on this board. oh, and “I have been overseas for months, anything is pretty at this point”? disgusting, sir. kidding or not.

    women are not your little toy, nor are they children. respect them. that’s all i’m asking.

    • Oh god, lighten up “Francis”, she made some sarcastic remarks to me I made them back. Good to see you are not so thinned skin that you can’t take a joke. See MissKris, emoticons are needed at times.

  15. just telling me that i’ve played the sexist card proves to me that you don’t respect me or any woman, that’s all i’m saying. you have no clue.

    look how many people you’ve alienated just on an anonymous message board. you must have lots of friends. nice work.

    • You did play the sexist card! lol How else am I to read your posts? And That proves that I do not have respect for women? Hmm….seriously, does that logic work at your school? Or is it that MissKris said something, that is ok, she is part of a oppressed class so she is allowed but any reply by a male is automatically sexist and oppressive? I have seen physics problems easier to understand than your reasoning. Fill me in, enlighten me.

  16. my school? i graduated quite a long time ago. i live and work in this thing called the real world. join us.

    i’m bored of you. it’s clear you have no idea what i’m saying, nor do you want to understand me, so i don’t know why i have wasted this much of my time. good luck on your midterms, kiddo.

  17. lol, then why do you speak like a Grad Student in Gender Studies? Enlighten me as to how I do not respect women because I made that comment in a sarcastic manner or are only women allowed to do that in your world view? I am sure you know the women that post on here and maybe that is why you are so think skinned and cannot make a rational argument?

  18. Well Eric, for someone who likes to accuse people of not making rational arguments you sure ignore your own inability to handle a rational argument, since the second someone makes one you get all defensive and need to belittle them as “undergrads”. Which by the way, none of us are.

    The ultimate fact is there is no way to assert any one person’s usefulness on the field of battle until they are out there. I know thats a hard one to wrap your head around but its the truth.

  19. Oh by the way, it is capable to speak in an erudite manner without being a graduate student. It’s called being educated.

  20. Hey lets all be friends get together and watch GI Jane, I’ll bring the popcorn.

  21. Kate, not a one of you has come up with a rational reason, all of it has been based on emotion and Mereidith and MissKris did not make a single attempt at why women should be in combat arms, all they did was make some snarky remarks (some funny) or cry about the sexist oppression going on in a blog. Kind of a joke, but I am betting Meredith takes herself a litle to seriously anway, so no worries, not much can be done there.
    Kate, when you speak out of emotion and I hear people talk about educational degrees, going on about being so educated and have it being pref over actual tasks then I have to assume you are young and in school, only a student would make such wild and naive comments. It has nothing to do with speaking in an erudite manner, it has everything to do with context and while I am sure you have a huge heart and I am betting you are the type of person who has a lot of optomism about human nature you, nor anyone on here has made a logical argument to support the inclusion of women in ground combat. Instead, you get a bit pissy when things are not going your way in the debate. Meredith pretty much just comes on and complains.
    Finally, “The ultimate fact is there is no way to assert any one person’s usefulness on the field of battle until they are out there. I know thats a hard one to wrap your head around but its the truth”, I have seen females in the military for close to 18 years and have been in combat for the last 7, your opinion is that of a someone who does not know the first thing about what she is talking about on this topic and continues to show it in her arguments. Justin was the same way, the poster of the article was the only one who asked any rational questions, the rest of the arguments, especially Justins, have been based on ignorance and pop culture coupled with hyper-sensitivity to critiques.

  22. Eric,

    I made a very rational argument about your suppositions rely in theory and on studies which are not imperfect. Thats called reason. Cause and effect.

    Lets also consider that I did not go on about degrees or being so educated. That was YOUR response to accuse me of not having finished my education as an “undergrad”. Preferring intelligence does not mean lack of action. You equate these things based on presumptions that are fundamentally incorrect. There is no evidence that smart people are incapable of action. Please tell me where is reason in that argument of yours.

    Secondly, don’t presume to know me or my “huge heart’. Frankly I am not particularly optimistic about human nature.

    I find it interesting that you reply: “I have seen females in the military for close to 18 years and have been in combat for the last 7, your opinion is that of a someone who does not know the first thing about what she is talking about on this topic and continues to show it in her arguments.”
    Funny, because I’m pretty sure you have not seen women in combat on the front lines, since other than as fighter pilots they don’t fight on the front lines. So can you explain to me how this has any bearing whatsoever on my statement which clearly references front line combat. That is what I meant by “field of battle”.

    • Kate,
      Your argument to train women in a manner that is aimed at how they learn would change the results of any physical test how exactly? That is not a rational argument or the use of reason, it is as though you are thinking that women are magically going to become physically the equal of men. Also, you and Justin, constantly attempted to use intelligence and education as something that should be factored in for women, again, great but it does me no good if she cannot perform the actions, ie; lacks the physical strength to do so. I do not need to see a woman in combat when in the rear she cannot perform buddy carries, cannot hump the weight we hump and cannot handle a man in a close combative exercise in training. That is reality, not the reality you want it to be but that is the reality. Again, please try and attempt to make the case for female based on something other than your ideas of how they can be trained via their learning styles. Feel free to give me a case history of anyone? Thr Russians tried it WWII and on the ground it failed in a horrible manner, the IDF never did it and if it was practical to do so I am pretty sure they would have done it by now. So please, enlighten me.

  23. It is quite obvious that you missed the implications of my original post. Reread that post, because I do explain how training to our strengths could overcome physical limitations. But apparently, rather than reading that, thinking it over and figuring out the conclusions you’d rather just dismiss things completely.

    I did give you a case study, Joan of Arc and dismissed that as lack of proof. An actual human woman did fight hand to hand combat and did it well. But apparently, that empirical evidence doesn’t stand up to your “studies”.

    Frankly, its quite obvious you are being contrarian and have no interest in a legitimate dialogue. That being said, I’m done wasting my time on you.

    • Kate, Joan of Arc is not a case study, nor is there a way to overcome the physical realities, I dismissed that idea you have as a silliness because that is what it is, it is not realistic. That is not a legitimate argument and it is quite obvious you are not able to make one. Empirical Evidence is not one woman and let us be quite frank, she is pretty built up, we do not have totally accurate accounts of her actions on, but lets say they are right and she did do it. You think one person is an Empirical Study? Umm…did I miss how those studies are done again? How can I even take you seriously when you post something like that? One Woman you name from our written history is Empirical Proof?
      Look, I do not know how old you are, your education level or really all that much about you. I do know that you are making a terrible argument for women in combat and to base it on Joan of Arc is weak at best, heck, you even tried using a myth like the Amazon Warriors as proof they could do it. Like the rest, when you cannot make a rational, real argument you bail, not shocking and typical. Between the Holocaust, Sexist and other cards I have seen thrown out I have to argue against empirical studies of one person that is more cast in mythology than fact.
      Women do not belong in ground combat, they will be a liability in the long run and just because you wish it was not the case does not make it the case.
      Here, if you are so confident of your ability at combat as a woman, go pick a fight with a man. Or heck, go pick a 190lb man (dead weight) off the ground and put him on your back and carry him for 100mts. Then get back to me, that will me more Empirical than the proof you have given me so far. 😉

  24. I would like to know what Sir Stratton III has to say about this part of the post:

    “Others are opposed because they worry that men would be affected more deeply by seeing a dead or wounded female colleague and also over concerns of the potential for sexual abuse by the enemy should they be captured. [Would battlefield female nurses be less likely to be captured?]”

    Also, I would like to add to this conversation with a personal opinion: I would not want to go into battle because I would be afraid that my own fellow American male soliders would sexually abuse me – forget the enemy!

    There is too much black and white in these conversations. Truth is some male soliders will treat a woman like an equal and some won’t. I don’t want to worry about whether I’m the lucky one who is spared on anything related to combat. Further, I understand that when it comes down to it, having a male comrade may just be more comforting for some soliders due to the physical facts that Eric is so adept at rattling off due to his unique experience in this topic (respect, Eric – and thanks for all you do. I still think women have a place in the military, if not the front lines).

    I happen to be a certified FEMALE firefighter in the State of New York and while many of my classmates and fellow firefighters have encouraged me and told me that they’d rather have me go into a burning building with them than the other teenage undersexed clowns that are stronger than me, I recognize that I might be better in the ops side of it in the background directing the scene instead of dragging Fatty McFattus American man who lit his house on fire by dropping his cigarette in bed out a third story window. During all of our training I consisently excelled at activities that required logic and balance – like climbing quickly up the ladders, etc – but couldn’t force open a heavy, nailed door. That sucked. However, in my rescue class I was the only one out of four groups who found the baby in the smoke house – the rest could only find the full grown dummies. Biological clock a’ tickin’ perhaps? Or perhaps, as Kate suggests, a tendency to problem-solve and empathize with others, whether for good or for merciless killing of my enemies.

    While I appreciate the logos being imparted into this argument by all sides, women and Eric considered, I think that what is missing from the majority of these postings (which Kate so kindly added) is the emotional side. Self-admittedly, I’m not as strong as Eric is, and I’d rather stay at home and have his babies than hump packs of food in the dust for days on end. I don’t think it’s sexist that I feel that. Also, I think the fact that he has been able to recognize that remaining sexually abstient lowers his standards to women is just a fact of nature, and not intended to be offensive. I feel the same way about men sometimes.

    I have been following the Times’ coverage on this subject called “Women in Arms,” which objectively attempts to breach the subject of women in combat by giving women their own voice and platform to report what it’s like to fill different positions in battle right now. I would love to hear from a female solider who has seen live combat, because honestly, I can’t empathize with that side of it. But I try. Also, Hurt Locker was a great movie! Go female directors!

  25. Hate to break it to you, but one women in history is called a case study. You know, where you look at one specific case.

    Thank you CC for imput!

    • You said it was an EMPIRICAL Study, I must have missed that class where ONE is like that. Are you really going to hang you hat on that?

      • Sorry, my mistake, that was my view, that it was not an empirical study 🙂

        • Hello Eric,

          I guess I was hoping you might fill me in on a few things I have questions about, given your first hand knowledge. I confess most of mine comes from watching a fat Vincent D’nofrio get yelled at by the guy who’s latest gigs were Saving Silverman and most recently hosting some show on the History Channel.

          When a man goes through boot camp, he has to meet a certain criteria, right? Is there a higher requirement he must meet to go into hand to hand combat? Should there be? I’m just picturing my (male) 5’4″, 125 pound optometrist having a rough go of this, no?

          Also, in rereading Justin’s original post–and maybe he’s intensified his position since then–it just seemed that he was more pointing out that women already are in combat. As in a women may not be kicking in doors on the ground etc but even a supply clerk, as I believe Jessica Lynch was, can end up in harms way, and Justin seemed to be pointing to the fact that this isn’t already acknowledged is a bit silly.

          • See, there is a difference between a woman who happens to be in a camp that gets shelled or a car that gets an IED than there is with someone who hump 20 klicks with full kit on (50-80lbs) and then engages in close combat with someone. Totally different. IF that is the standard you are using, women getting shot or shelled at, then that has been going on since forever. There were Nurses in the PI swept up in the Death March, Medical and Support personnel killed in Korea and Vietnam, WWI and WWII but it is not the same as engaging in close combat and that is what we are really talking about here.

          • Also, to answer you question on hand to hand combat, let me give you an olympic level answer. A woman who could not place in her high school state championships in wrestling or even qualify for states (NJ) won olympic hardware. Another current wrestler at the world level, placed just recently in world even (Deanna Dix) placed in the Maine State Championships (only 20+ teams per A, B, C Class) but did not win or even qualify for New Englands at the High School Level. The point is that many World Class Females in a Combative Sport cannot beat men at the High School Level even though compatively they are at a higher skill set, ie; World Class vs High School Varsity.

            • Sigh, Alpha, Alpha, Alpha, convoluted? Deanna was a three time girls National Champ in HS and placed Fouth in the World and 6th in the Nation at the Open Level her Senior Year (open means no age limit and is used to qualify for the Olympics) she is now a favored person to place in the Olympics for women and could not even win the Maine States (Only 22 teams in Class A), Maine is not PA , VA or IA for wrestling as far as quality goes. The point is that as world class Olympic Athlelte in a combative sport she did not do well against boys, never mind men who were at a vastly lower level of skill than she was. Think about how high a level she is at and she still could not do it.

  26. CC, I totally agree that woman have a place in the Military, especially in the fields of medicine, intel (spooks and analysts alike), pilots and other support areas as well. What I do not see is in the element of ground combat, they will be a liability and unfortunately, due to our PC nature in this country even if they did come up with the same standards they would not be enforced, look at the SPARTAN study in the first posting I made about the litter carry. I get very passionate on this topic because it is my life and the lives of my buddies who will be on the line, none of that seems to matter to those who think it is more about opportunity and rights than anything else. Fantastical dreams of catering training to how a woman learns and operates do not cut it nor would they change the massive differences in phsyical strength and endurance that still matter very much in Infantry type combat.
    I also like that you have a sense of humor about some of the things, it is refreshing 🙂

  27. Sorry, my mistake 🙂

  28. Touche’, Eric. I do not want my female comrades in harm’s way either. I’d rather they were pushing jog strollers with the freedom and time to talk about high-brow issues like this one than harming their bodies for years to come. I’d rather have shin splints from working out at the gym than shrapnel in my leg.

    But I do want any girl that actually dreams of going into terrorist territory to have the ability to do so. I don’t want any safety standards in training or otherwise to be lowered to accomodate them, but if some Olympian-strength woman can lift as much as you can, then she should be able to stand alongside you as well. I have to argue that you might agree the same thing. Saying that no girl can do it and so girls shouldn’t be allowed to is NOT the same thing as allowing that if a girl could, then she should. Otherwise, you just may be sexist.

    • That is the thing, some girls might and if they held the standard I would not complain but they won’t, I have watched the standard slip lower and lower for men and women so I do not have any confidence.

      • Following this logic, shouldn’t your crusade be for a higher physical standard in general?

    • One more thing on that, it should never be about opportunity, it should always be about necessity when talking about military endeavours, it really is not like the civilian side and you cannot look at it like that. I understand someone wanting to be something (have met many a woman who wants to be a Navy SEAL) but that “want” should not come at the expense of combat readiness or someones life.

  29. this is just silly. there are nations that let women in combat and everything is OK. i feel like this, as well as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, just comes down to “manly” men feeling insecure. MAN UP and let her/him help you kick some ass!

    • Kate, no they don’t. Even the Israelis don’t (IDF in previous posts). They train them for it but they have never been in combat nor will the use them in assaults. That is a common myth. As for the DADT, it should be lifted, a gay man is still a man and no physical difference between him or another hetro man.

  30. To the Unqual’d Econ,
    One, while a higher physical standard would be ideal, when the academies first opened up to woman, they looked at that and once they found out that hardly any women would get in they dropped them. They also did the same thing for Damage Control in the Navy, even gave them 6 months of Weight Lifting training. Still, the women could not pass, so what did they do? The dropped the standards. It will not happen that way, it is just not the way the system works, I wish, really wish that we were a true meritocracy and to some extent, in many ways we are but when it comes to politics we do what the President tells us. Now, the academies and Navy Damage Control are just a couple of examples, as is the Presidents Comms, History, etc..what is also not known is that during Clintons years he mandated what is called the 12-12-5 program, it mandated that 12% of all Officer Promotions had to be hispanic, 12% african-american and 5% Asian-pacific islander. The current CNO is mandating that 20% of all recruits be women and the same for new officers. In the end, politics are what they will go by not standards. There was no need for it and all it did was undermine the system but he pushed it anyway and nothing you can do about it unless it is Congressional Law.

  31. These seem like pretty convoluted examples. i’m sure there are tons of male world class athletes that didn’t even make their high school teams and excel later.

    I wish there was a woman here who would step up and challenge you to a pull up contest…and then maybe a posting to a blog contest. You would kill in that, soldier.

  32. a) I love my name being dropped so many more times. And here I thought I was done.

    b) I didn’t provide any arguments for you Eric because I don’t speak Neanderthal.

    I’d rather stick to my snarky comments than argue with someone who is obviously so unyielding to any rational argument from an opposing view.

    • MissKris, AlphaDave (really? lol) , Kate, etc..

      I give the Presidential Comm Study, The West Point Study, The SPARTAN Study, Russia in WWII and rational reasons and comparisons combined with actual time doing the job.
      You and others give Conjecture, accusations, The Amazons (Myth), Joan of Arc and not a shred of a rational argument for it. Basically you cannot come up with a real argument so you do the name calling, hmm…why do people do that? Oh, right, because they are not equipped to make the argument.
      Good luck with that, I am sure your logic tracks and reasoning ability work great on sounding boards with each other and in the Coffee Shops but in the rest of the world they are called a weak argument. You keep going though, I am sure someday you will come up with a valid argument, until then, Cheers! 🙂

      • So you are averse to those with an academic sounding tone–i.e. gender studies 101 disparaging remark–but you demand this strict adherence to logic. Isn’t that Philosophy 101? Also, I Googled this:

        “12-12-5 program, it mandated that 12% of all Officer Promotions had to be hispanic, 12% african-american and 5% Asian-pacific islander. The current CNO is mandating that 20% of all recruits be women and the same for new officers”

        Can you cite some sources here please, provide a link?

  33. “Alpha”, it is not the academic background I am averse to, it is the predictable name calling and naive sounding tones I am averse to. If I am against women in combat I am then labled a sexist or neanderthal, heck, one person even took out the holocaust lol Sorry, I cannot take people like that very seriously. But you can keep putting words into my mouth, you still don’t have an argument for it so it does not matter. As for the links, the article was originally in the Magazine “Proceedings”, it is a Navy/USMC professional magazine but I could not get to in on the net, sorry, but do have these that outline the goals set up during the Clinton era. To be honest, they are a worthy goal, wrongly implemented, the point of putting them up was to illustrate that we (the military) do not get to do what we would like or think is more important, we are a meritocracy at times but if the President wants it and there is no US Congress passed law against it then we do it. Tests, facts, etc..do not matter. Another example of that would be how they pushed through the first group of female fighter pilots, check out Hultgren and Lohrenz on that and how they scored very low in the flight training but were pushed through anyway. It is just the reality of it, I would love to have a standard but everytime one is made so few women pass it that they eventually just end up dropping it. My earlier post kind of proved that I think but hey, I doubt they matter to you much anyway really.


    another from an old Slate Article


    As for the current CNO, go to the Navy Times and look up his goals, I would be shocked if you could not find his “20%” quote but I am not going to continue to do searches for you, sorry, and that quote was from our secure side news articles, they are consolidated and cannot transfer over but honestly, they should not be hard to find. They were just in the “Early Bird” editions over here online so I have to assume they will be online some place.

    CC and the Blogger are the only ones so far who have made logical arguments or asked real questions “Alpha” and I have been pretty even handed I think with them, the rest have really just called names, used emotion or grabbed onto stereotypes of the Military. If one of you comes back with a real agrument then happy to contiue the debate but talking to some folks is like attempting to argue with a child, they just hold their breath till they turn blue or cry a lot, nothing much in the way of debate or thought.

  34. @ all of you: WOW.

    @Eric, are you overseas now?

    • Yup, Iraq, nothing going on though obviously! lol

      • That’s good then! No news is good news, I guess.

        Do any of your peers have an opinion here?

        I am *pretty* sure Kate, MissKriss, Kate Ska, and CC don’t speak for the entirety of the female civilian population — though maybe they do, and that would be scary — I’m curious to hear what others in the service think, both male and female, young and old, on tour and back home.

  35. Doriann,
    The fault line is more along the Officer and Enlisted on this topic. You will not find many female enlisted in love with the idea of humping 80lbs of kit and shooting someone, you will find a lot of Officers though. Officers will only have to serve in the field for about 4-6 years, then they are in what is called a Tactical or Joint Operations Center (TOC/JOC). The enlisted are in it till the end until they hit about E9. The big problem is that most of the Army is not Combat Oriented, they are mostly support oreinted and the Army especially does not train all it’s people to be Riflemen first, the USMC does. So when they do polls, unless they do it amongst the Infantry and SOF folks in the Army or of any branch outside the USMC, I tend to be skeptical.

    • Just to play devil’s advocate here (because there haven’t been enough),

      “The big problem is that most of the Army is not Combat Oriented, they are mostly support oreinted and the Army especially does not train all it’s people to be Riflemen first, the USMC does. So when they do polls, unless they do it amongst the Infantry and SOF folks in the Army or of any branch outside the USMC, I tend to be skeptical.”

      Are we talking about the Army or Marine Corp here? You seem to be saying only Marines see combat (as in your original problem here), but don’t Army too? If not, then what is the problem here? Maybe I lost you here.

      Dorian (one n).

      • Yeah, you lost me there 😉 No, what I am saying refers to that the Army does, it does not prepare all it’s folks the same way that the Marines do, which in my opionion is much better. The Army gives basic soldiering skills to it’s support people and they comprise the majority of the Army. The Marines train everyone the same and everyone has to refresh on their basic Rifleman skills every year, even pilots. The point was that when they did an informal poll in the Amry, they did it Army wide not in the Infantry or SOF. All branches see combat, even the AF has PJ and CCTs in the mix, the Navy has Corpsman, SEALs, EOD, SWCC and some other support personnel, but the Marines are the only unit that is technically ALL Infantryman first. Mind you, not everyone is great about doing their requals every year 😉 but they are better than the other branches for basic skills for all.

  36. […] Top Posts of 2010 Posted on December 31, 2010 by The Unqualified Economist 1. Women in Combat: Justin, “I’m okay with it. […]

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