The Instigator
TheRussian
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
YYW
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Women in combat

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
YYW
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,925 times Debate No: 60459
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

TheRussian

Con

I will be arguing that women should NOT be in combat, while my opponent will argue that they should. Please begin your argument.
YYW

Pro

Many thanks to CON for initiating this debate, and to all judges who will read it. Before I begin, some preliminary matters must be addressed. The reason these must be addressed now is because CON and I did not work out the details of this debate beforehand. Nevertheless, I look forward to an interesting and thought provoking discussion. This debate is about whether women should be allowed to serve in combat roles, not whether all women should be compelled to serve in combat capacity. The latter is an absurd interpretation of the resolution, and would be an absurd topic to debate. As such, it is the former that merits our attention. As PRO, it is my responsibility to argue that women should be allowed to serve in combat roles. CON must argue that women should not be allowed to serve in combat roles. I'm going to talk about some background information, and then begin my case -as stipulated by CON in his first posting in this debate.

Background:

Throughout the history of war, only men have conventionally served in a combat capacity. It goes without saying that many people are uncomfortable with the idea of women serving in combat roles, perhaps in large part due to the social stigmas associated both with the idea of women serving as infantry soldiers and women being killed on the battlefield. In today's debate, I posit that neither are sufficient reasons to justify women's exclusion from combat roles. Even though the Department of Defense in the United States removed its historical prohibition which precluded women's serving in combat roles last April, some military jobs are still only open to men such as Special Operations Forces, Ranger School, and the Marine Infantry. (1)

My Case:

(1) Women are physically able to serve in combat positions.

Many of the historical objections to women serving in infantry/combat roles stem from the misguided belief that women are somehow physically unable to meet the physical demands of warfare. Freshman Cadet Madaline Kenyon completed the course in 2R01;minutes 26 seconds, which set a new record for women and amounts to an A+ rating on the men's scale. If passing West Point's obstacle course in record time is any indication of physical ability, then women are just as able as men are to respond to the physical demands of combat. (2) Additionally, four female marines enrolled in the Marine Corps" enlisted infantry training course "passed what is considered the most strenuous aspect of the Marines" infantry training: a 12-mile march carrying 80 pounds of gear." (2) Women who are just as able as men to serve in combat roles, then, ought to be able to serve. This in no way implies that the standard for combat readiness will or should be lowered in any way. It only means that all those who are able to meet it, as Cadet Kenyon was, will not be be subject to institutional discrimination on the basis of their gender.

(2) "Women in combat roles would strengthen the military." -William Denn, April 3 2014. Washington Post.

William Denn, whose credentials are listed in the footnote below, argues that because group intelligence rises when women are present in organizations, women's presence in combat units presents a unique strategic advantage to today's military. Citing evidence from the Harvard Business School and MIT research, Denn contends:

"Women bring a unique level of "social sensitivity," the ability to read the emotions of other people. On today"s complex battlefields, social sensitivity is a crucial skill for military professionals. During my patrols in Iraq from 2007 to 2009, I came to appreciate how much women could have contributed to my mission. Most Iraqi men were reticent to speak with us for fear of retribution from al-Qaeda. Iraqi women, often fed up with the violence in their neighborhoods, could be persuaded to provide information, but first we had to bridge the gender gap, build rapport and earn their trust, all of which took valuable time. Having women in our platoon would have dramatically increased our ability to elicit critical intelligence. This could mean the difference between a mission"s success or failure, with lives in the balance."

Indeed, Denn concludes that the military's including women in combat roles would not only serve to advance gender equality by removing institutionally discriminatory practices, but doing so would also be "a valuable enhancement of military effectiveness and national security."

I will await my opponent's case and rebuttal in the following round.

Sources:

1. http://www.truth-out.org...
2. "William Denn, an Army captain and intelligence officer, led soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate student in public policy at Harvard"s Kennedy School of Government. The views presented here are his own." http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 1
TheRussian

Con

Thank you for accepting the challenge.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not sexist and in no way would like to offend women.

First, my opponent addresses physical readiness and argues that women physically capable of serving in combat positions. To support, this he brings up examples of 5 women who were able to achieve great physical feats. I find this almost silly. You cannot base an entire gender off of 5 women who are exceptions. That's like saying that since there are women who do heavy lifting and can lift more weight than most men, then women are stronger than men. In fact, physical standards have been lowered in order to help women get into the Marines because over half of them failed the original test.
http://www.thedailybeast.com...

"including women in combat roles would not only serve to advance gender equality by removing institutionally discriminatory practices, but doing so would also be 'a valuable enhancement of military effectiveness and national security.'"
The military is not made to help genders be equal. The military is made to effectively protect and help a nation achieve its goals. I read the article my opponent provided to support this claim and it is very vague and opinionated. It has no research or data to support the claim that women "enhance military effectiveness" and uses 5 women as examples that women can be on par with military standards. If this was thousands of women, then that would be valid data, but 5 is far too little to draw valid conclusions.

Here is a video in which a female marine describes her experiences. She says that even though she performed only a portion of what her male comrades were doing, she still faced serious physical stress. This stress caused her estrogen levels to plummet, which led to her infertility. After her deployment, not only did she stop producing estrogen, but she also lost 17 lbs and had muscle atrophy. Don't forget that this woman was amazing in training (just like the women my opponent spoke of), but her body could not handle real combat.
https://www.mca-marines.org...
http://www.patheos.com...

Here is another female ex-veteran who explains that the battlefield isn't a place for women to be.
"The best woman is still no match for the best man, and most of the men she"d be fireman-carrying off the battlefield will be at least 100 lbs heavier than her with their gear on."
Even with having to carry 100 lbs less than the men, the women still had a lot of trouble.
http://www.westernjournalism.com...

On the subject of physical strength, it is also proven that the average woman has 60% of the physical strength of the average man.
http://www.bible-researcher.com...

Even on a biological level, men are better prepared for combat. Men have thicker skin and grow muscle much faster than women. You can even take a look at nature, it's the males that always fight. Whether it's for territory, or for mates, the males are always the ones engaging in combat. (Except for rare exceptions that I may not be aware of).
http://www.menscience.com...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

There is also a problem with mixing genders. It is inevitable that having both genders in such close quarters would cause problems. The battlefield is not a place for relationships and sex, but it will happen no matter how much we try to avoid it. It is a problem that the military does not have to take upon itself if it refuses women access to the battlefield. It sounds harsh, but let's compare this to uni-sex vs. mixed schools. Uni-sex schools perform significantly higher on standard exams since they do not have the distraction from the opposite gender.
http://www.singlesexschools.org...

Think about the fact that 1 in 10 women get pregnant while in the military. That is very high and sex should be the last thing on a soldier's mind. I'm not saying its always the woman's fault, I'm just saying that mixing the sexes has an obvious negative effect.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com...

Menstruation must also be considered. This is a process that causes women to lose half of their physical strength and also results in erratic changes in mood/emotional state. This could amount to an absolute breakdown during combat which could not only contribute to the harm/death of the individual, but could also undermine fellow soldiers who were depending on the individual.
http://www.everydayhealth.com...
http://www.westernjournalism.com...

I await my opponent's response.
YYW

Pro

Once more, many thanks to all judges and others who read this debate as well as to my opponent for instigating it. I'm going to rebut my opponent's case, and then say a few words about my arguments in the earlier round as they apply to each argument that he made. But before I do that, I want to remark that while I take my opponent at his word that he does not believe himself to be a sexist, that the position he holds is unavoidably sexist because it discriminates on the basis of sex. I also want to outline the conditions for my winning this debate. If by the end of this debate you are persuaded that those women like Cadet Madeline Kenyon who can meet the existing standard for combat readiness should be allowed to serve in combat positions, then I am winning this debate. If, however, you are persuaded by my opponent that all women, without regard to their individual abilities and even if they are physically capable of meeting the physical demands of combat, should be discriminated against on the basis of their being female and excluded from combat positions, then you should vote for my opponent.

My opponent's rebuttals fail for a number of reasons; most of them due to his fundamental misunderstanding of what women in combat roles means. I am not arguing, as he claims, that all women are physically capable of serving in combat roles. That would be absurd, because obviously not all women (nor all men) are physically capable of serving in combat. What I am arguing is that those women who are capable of meeting the standard for combat readiness should be allowed to serve in combat roles. This does not mean that standards for combat readiness (like the West Point obstacle course) should be lowered to accommodate for women, but rather that only those women who can demonstrate their physical aptitude should not be rendered ineligible on the basis that they are female -which is the status quo. So, when CON argues that some women are physically incapable of meeting the demands of combat, he's stating a fact but he's not advancing his argument because that point is neither in dispute nor does it advance his argument. It should be noted that not all women are going to be able to make the cut, and that's ok. What's not ok is excluding women who meet the standard from combat roles on the basis that they are female -but that's the case that my opponent has to argue in order to win this debate.

CON's second effort to maintain institutional discrimination against women is equally unsuccessful. He claims that "the military is not made to help genders be equal" but rather "is made to effectively protect and help a nation achieve its goals." I agree, but I would add that the military is also not made to institutionally discriminate against half of its population. Moreover, if our nation's military's purpose is to achieve various military goals, then two implications follow: first, military positions should be filled on the basis of merit rather than who has a penis and who has a vagina, and second, the military should do all that it can to strengthen its strategic advantage. As I argued, citing Willian Denn above, having women in combat roles would strengthen the military. CON claims that he read Denn's article, and asserts that Denn had "no research or data to support" his claim -which is just false.

Says Denn: "Recent studies from Harvard Business School and MIT show that "group intelligence" of an organization rises when women are on teams. Women bring a unique level of "social sensitivity," the ability to read the emotions of other people. On today"s complex battlefields, social sensitivity is a crucial skill for military professionals....Having women in our platoon would have dramatically increased our ability to elicit critical intelligence. This could mean the difference between a mission"s success or failure, with lives in the balance. Since 2011, U.S. Special Operations forces in Afghanistan have embedded all-female cultural support teams in their units. The program has been lauded by commanders for gaining access to the 50 percent of the Afghan population who have previously been inaccessible. Commanders are looking to deploy these teams to support operations in Africa. Army operations will probably require the same skill sets needed in Iraq and Afghanistan that women are adept at providing."

The studies Denn cites can be found here: http://hbr.org...

CON attempts and fails to gain ground for his case by claiming that I've offered an insufficient number of examples to support the notion that women should not be excluded from combat roles on the basis of their being female because five examples are not enough "to draw valid conclusions." But, my opponent either misunderstands my burden or is out of touch with this debate. It is not my burden to prove that all women should be allowed to serve in combat. It is only my responsibility to show that those women who can meet the standard for combat readiness should not be excluded on the basis of their being female. I've given examples of women who meet the standard and are just as able as men to fight on the front lines, and there is literally no reason at all why they shouldn't be allowed to serve. They made the cut, and CON has yet to offer a good reason why they shouldn't be eligible. So, this debate is not about the average man or average woman. Those statistics have no bearing on the outcome of this debate, because we're not talking about average people. We're talking about soldiers, and whether those women who are physically able to serve in combat should be excluded on the basis of their being female.

CON's argument about mixing genders is based on biased research from an organization whose purpose is to segregate school classrooms on the basis of gender. Schools are not battlefields, and school children are not soldiers. CON's argument is as tangential to this debate as it is insufficiently grounded. CON claims that because 1/10 women get pregnant while in the military, they should not be allowed to serve in combat roles. He also refers to menstruation. I would like to introduce my opponent to the concept of birth control, which prevents both of those things. (1) And even if a female soldier got pregnant while on duty, she could be removed from that capacity, then, and replaced with someone else. That's not a reason to keep women who are not pregnant out of combat. In sum, my opponent has failed to produce any reason at all why women who are physically able to serve in combat roles should be excluded on the basis of their being female. Therefore, I've won this debate.

(1) http://www.webmd.com...
Debate Round No. 2
TheRussian

Con

"all women, without regard to their individual abilities and even if they are physically capable of meeting the physical demands of combat, should be discriminated against on the basis of their being female and excluded from combat positions, then you should vote for my opponent."
This is an extremely biased statement. As mentioned in my previous argument, even the best women who were amazing in TRAINING were NOT able to handle real combat.
In fact, through all the research that I've done on this topic, not a single woman who was in the military recommended it to other women or even continued to push this distorted "equality". All of them say that the battlefield is NOT a place for women.

"This does not mean that standards for combat readiness (like the West Point obstacle course) should be lowered to accommodate for women, but rather that only those women who can demonstrate their physical aptitude should not be rendered ineligible on the basis that they are female"
The fact of the matter is, that standards ARE already lower. This means that lower quality soldiers are allowed into the military, which makes the military less effective overall.
http://www.thedailybeast.com...

"So, when CON argues that some women are physically incapable of meeting the demands of combat, he's stating a fact but he's not advancing his argument because that point is neither in dispute nor does it advance his argument."
It is in dispute since my opponent is arguing that women are physically capable. It is not "some" women, it is most women, as shown by the statistics.

"but I would add that the military is also not made to institutionally discriminate against half of its population."
This is an extreme exaggeration in the sense that most women don't even want to be in the military. Of the small population of women who DO want to be in the military, LESS THAN 8% said that they wanted to be in a combat position. So in reality, the military would only be barring a very tiny minority from what they want to do.
http://dailycaller.com...

"women who meet the standard and are just as able as men to fight on the front lines, and there is literally no reason at all why they shouldn't be allowed to serve. They made the cut, and CON has yet to offer a good reason why they shouldn't be eligible."
As mentioned several times, even women who were exceptional at training could not handle combat as well as their fellow soldiers. The simple fact that estrogen levels plummet when the female body is exposed to such stress shows that women are not made for it.

"So, this debate is not about the average man or average woman. Those statistics have no bearing on the outcome of this debate, because we're not talking about average people."
Those statistics have a large bearing on this debate because it shows that the majority of women are physically incapable of serving in a combat position. Of the women that are capable to go through military training, very little want to actually go into combat. Why should the military change its ways (which are already effective) for a minuscule percentage of the population that wants to join?

"Schools are not battlefields, and school children are not soldiers. CON's argument is as tangential to this debate as it is insufficiently grounded."
School is not the military, but this study effectively shows the trend of how mixing the genders affects both, the males and females. They are distractions to each other. The military isn't all going out and fighting. Soldiers must train for long periods of time before they even step out on the battlefield, and being attracted to one of your fellow soldiers will greatly distract the individual from training. Think of the way men and women are when they are attracted to each other. They flirt, show off, and forget about the task at hand. There is NO place for this in the barracks, nor on the battlefield.

"And even if a female soldier got pregnant while on duty, she could be removed from that capacity, then, and replaced with someone else."
Let's imagine the following scenario. Men and women are both serving on a battleship. This provides close quarters and of course there are going to be cases of people having sex and getting pregnant. This ship now has to go off-course to drop off this pregnant woman to a location where she can safely have her child. This wasted time and energy that could have been effectively used to complete the battleship's mission. This kind of scenario not only jeopardizes the mission at hand, but also the health of the woman and child. The military should not have to waste its time and efforts taking care of women that got pregnant while serving. I'm not saying it's always the woman's fault, but it is still a situation that could easily be avoided.

"He also refers to menstruation. I would like to introduce my opponent to the concept of birth control, which prevents both of those things."
I read my opponent's source to support this claim and it said nothing of his claim that birth control prevents symptoms of menstruation. In fact, "birth control pills have been shown to help PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, cramps, bloating and headache in many women. However, some women experience worse symptoms or develop new emotional symptoms while taking the pill. Because many women have reported improvement in PMS symptoms while taking birth control pills, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying them to see if they work for you. If they work, you can improve your overall quality of life. Just keep in mind that they don't work for everyone."
http://www.hellolife.net...
This article says nothing about birth-control pills relieving mood-swings, depression or weakness.

It is unnatural to skip periods and may result in health problems.
http://www.owningpink.com...

"I've won this debate."
A pointless phrase. Saying it won't bring victory any closer.

I would like to note that in reality, my opponent has very few arguments. Almost none.
1) Gender equality (which is negated by the fact that standards are lowered for women)
2) The opinion of William Denn (backed up by some vague research regarding "social sensitivity" and "group intelligence" which my opponent didn't manage to explain)

Before we finish, I would like to sum up my arguments:
1) Military standards have been lowered for women, allowing for lower quality soldiers
2) Mixing the two genders will result in relationships and sex. Think about the fact that harassment of the women by the men is very likely. Also, in the case of capture, female prisoners will be treated worse by the enemy than the males (much more physical abuse and rape)
3) The cost vs. benefit will not make this process "worth it". The military would have to make adjustments to accommodate a very small, nearly negligible minority. Do not be offended by this statement, but if you do the math, you will realize that women that want to be in combat make up LESS THAN 1/1000 of a percent of the US population.
http://www.army.mil...
http://www.globalfirepower.com...
http://dailycaller.com...
4) Symptoms of menstruation may pose a serious problem on the battlefield
5) Such extreme physical stress hurts women by dropping estrogen levels and does other kinds of bodily damage
6) Even in nature, it is the males that engage in combat

This debate was not created to discriminate against anyone, but to honestly and rationally examine an issue of our age. I respect women and did not mean to offend anyone.

Thank you for the good debate
YYW

Pro

I'm going to rebut some of the things CON's said, and then offer some closing remarks. It's been fun, Russian!

CON calls my rebuttal biased. Well, obviously. This is a debate, and I'm making a case. The question of the hour, however, is who the judge thinks should win. CON has lost the point on combat readiness, because I've offered sufficient evidence that some women are physically capable of serving which he cannot disprove. Even if it is the case that most women would not be able to meet the physical demands of combat, that is not a reason to exclude ALL women from combat as CON seeks. If some women are just as able as men, why should they not serve? CON's reasoning is pretty simple: women should not be in combat because women cannot handle combat -and yet he's offered no reason why women are uniquely unsuited for combat then men. I'm sure that some women probably couldn't, as I know many men can't -because combat is something that would take a huge physical and psychological toll on anyone. CON has furthermore in no way shown that women are emotionally unprepared to fight in combat than men, and his patriarchal argument about women's being predisposed to mood swings is sexist and offensive.

What CON hasn't done is offer any reason why women are uniquely unsuited for combat, and why only men are. Moreover, CON concedes that at some women (perhaps less than 8% of all women) want to serve in combat -which is especially striking given that CON would like to paternalistically prevent them from serving their country. When he brings up estrogen levels, he has no warrant for why estrogen makes women unsuited for combat. When he talks about sex, he is assuming that men are not already sexual beings. Even in the absence of women, men still do all kinds of sexual things. For example, male on male sexual assault in the military is staggering. Indeed, "more men than women were victims of sexual assault" by male assailants. (1) To his other example about women on submarines, that problem is avoided by requiring women who serve in combat positions to take birth control. Upon evaluating the preponderance of evidence, women are less of a sexual problem in the military than other men! As such, CON's argument that women should not serve because they are going to sexually distract men is moot.

In closing, I want to reiterate my two central points: women are able to serve in combat roles, and it is in the military's best interest to have them serve, as such. No one is suggesting that we lower the standard for qualification for combat roles. Rather, I am only arguing that those women who can meet the current standard should be allowed to serve. CON has no response to either of those points, just as he has no evidence that women are uniquely unable to serve in combat roles. He has also failed to in any way meaningfully counter the argument I cited from William Denn, an Army captain and intelligence officer who led soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a graduate student in public policy at Harvard"s Kennedy School of Government, that allowing women to serve in combat positions would actually strengthen the military because of the unique level of social sensitivity that women would bring to the modern battlefield. Indeed, bringing women into combat roles "could mean the difference between a mission"s success or failure, with lives in the balance." (2)

Many thanks again to all judges. Do vote PRO.

Sources:

1. http://thinkprogress.org...
2. http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Many thanks to all who voted!
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
An interesting debate. As a nice little switch, it seems Pro had the presumptive BoP, despite being the contender rather than the instigator. However, fundamentally, I think this BoP can be fulfilled just by pointing out they can do the job whatsoever--at that point, we need some kind of reason to NOT have women in combat, and Pro showed that quickly.

And this seems to be an inherent flaw in Con's argument. He needs to give grounds to base a decision about combat-readiness on gender, rather rather than physicality. Pro presented women who were physically capable--Con's burden is to give us a reason to think they shouldn't be allowed in combat *despite* that. As Pro notes, he's arguing that "those women who are capable of meeting the standard for combat readiness should be allowed to serve in combat roles".

Pro notes that Con's own argument that the military's goal is to effectively help a nation achieve its goals is undermined by excluding half the population simply for their gender.

R3 doesn't help Con much, either. As Pro notes, Con has given no real specifically gender-based reason for exclusion, particularly given the goal that Pro supports.

This was a simple debate to judge. Arguments to Pro. All other categories seemed equal enough. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Posted by Ore_Ele 2 years ago
Ore_Ele
Is this debate going to be "should be in combat" or "should be allowed in combat"? Those are two very different things.
Posted by kbub 2 years ago
kbub
That's fine. But men shouldn't be in combat either.
Posted by GodChoosesLife 2 years ago
GodChoosesLife
This should be interesting.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
This is hilarious.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
TheRussianYYWTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro proved women soldiers would bring more benefits than harms
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
TheRussianYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 2 years ago
MrJosh
TheRussianYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO successfully showed that some women are capable of serving in combat.