Our Next President Needs to Know: Drafting Women is a Bad Idea Because Women in Combat is a Bad Idea
Even if a few women pass men’s physical standards, that’s not enough for successful warfighting.
Nobody paid much attention when many conservative political leaders started making fine-sounding noises about allowing women in combat if they could meet all the standards men have to meet since women are wonderful, this is America and, hey, it will strengthen our military ever so much. If a G.I. Jane can meet all the standards of the Navy SEAL program, the thinking went, more power to her! Ditto the Green Berets, the Army Rangers, the Marines and the regular army.
But now it is becoming clear that this walk out onto the thin ice of political correctness means there is no logical reason against requiring young women to register for the draft. Even some GOP presidential candidates found themselves going there in the New Hampshire GOP presidential debate. Well, the chain of logic may hold, but a sound syllogism with a false premise is still false. And this premise is false at least twice over.
First, many are hung up on the false assumption that integrating the combat arms will be hunky dory as long as women meet men’s standards. We should probably expect GOP politicians to make this claim when forced to give an opinion, since it’s so commonly held. But, in fact, women will not have to meet the men’s standards, but rather newly “gender-normed” standards.
Gender-norming has always meant lowering the standards. This has been achieved mainly by excluding physical tests at which men excel and women don’t. When the military academies were integrated, they removed requirements such as the long jump, the 40-yard man-carry, certain running events, obstacle courses and more. Training tasks have long-since become team-oriented so that individual weaknesses are camouflaged by the group. The two-person (one dare not call it “two-man”) stretcher-carry is now a four-person stretcher-carry.
That’s one problem. There’s a second, more fundamental one. Even if some women did make men’s unaltered infantry standards, it would not be enough. All of the following would still be true:
- We have to break many women to find a tiny few who might meet the standards. Maintaining the few who meet the standards is still another question.
- Women still retain more than twice as many injuries as men
- These injuries will likely skyrocket due to much greater physical demands
- Higher injury rates mean they’ll have to be replaced more frequently
- Women are still higher-value targets for rape, torture and propaganda designed to demoralize their units and the nation
- Putting women in combat roles does nothing to alleviate the problems caused by sexual dynamics: fraternization, misconduct, favoritism, pregnancy, assault and their myriad destructive repercussions
- All of the above are unit cohesion- and morale-killers
- Women are still much more expensive to recruit, keep, accommodate and care for after service
- Women’s already high rates of non-availability, non-deployability and attrition will likely increase
Meeting men’s standards wasn’t enough for the hundred female Marine integration study volunteers who completed (previously male only) enlisted infantry training. They still could not show equal ability with men on 69% of combat tasks and experienced more than twice the injuries. This is not a matter of fitness. These women, like all military females, had to be in great physical shape in order to graduate boot camp and continue in their training afterwards.
Nor is it a matter of leadership or training. It’s a matter of innate differences in physical ability. Professional female athletes with all the advantages of the best training and nutrition experience more injuries than professional male athletes. It’s nature. You can give women all the iron and vitamin D you want but there’s no closing the gap that biology has created.
Oh, and for the record let’s dispel this preposterous myth that Islamists will be demoralized because they are afraid of being killed by women and not getting their seventy virgins. On the contrary, fighting women makes these men more, not less ferocious. As the Israelis found in 1948, the last and only time they put women in direct combat, an Arab Muslim enemy fights more viciously against women because the thought of losing to women is so abjectly humiliating.
While our administration is proudly boasting diversity and career equality, our enemies certainly don’t see women as equals but as easy prey to victimize and destroy.
Jude Eden served in the Marines and was stationed at Camp Lejeune with 8th Comm Bn. She deployed for eight months over 2005-6 to support Camp Fallujah’s communications network and was assigned entry checkpoint duty working with the Marine Infantry and frisking women for explosives on Fallujah’s outskirts.