Should women in the armed forces be allowed in combat?
Women should be allowed in combat. Not every woman who enters the armed forces is there to be behind the scenes. All of them went there to serve their country, and the ones who want to be in the front lines should be given what they want. They are not weaker, and should not be treated as such. If a woman goes into the armed forces, she is going with the intent to do the job she is there for. Women deserve the same right in that sense as men, and should be allowed to serve on the combat field.
Women already find themselves in combat situations and are injured just the same as men are yet there is this rule that women cannot be in combat and so when they get injured, they often do not get the awards and honors which they are entitled to and also do not get the medical attention and benefits which they deserve. There continues to be a double standard which does not benefit women. Allowing women to be in combat might resolve some of these problems.
Any woman who joins the armed forces knows what she could potentially be signing up for. If a woman is willing to be a part of any of the armed forces, and not just sit at home, it shows that she is willing to do what it takes to keep this country free and safe. Women are just as capable in combat as men.
First of all, I need to make many things clear. If you’re a civilian, you haven’t the slightest clue as to what you’re talking about when it comes to combat.
Most of the military don’t have the slightest clue about combat either. NOBODY has any clue what they are getting themselves into if they’ve never been in combat PERIOD. Anyone who claims “they know what they’re getting themselves into” is a complete and total moron. The one portion of society, and more importantly, of the military, that knows most intimately what is required to be successful in combat is the members of combat arms. We’re not talking about driving to combat. We’re not talking about manning a turret in an MRAP or 1151. We’re not talking about being an outer cordon or convoy security. We’re talking about grunts. Moving over extreme distances, with extreme weight, over extreme terrain, under extreme circumstances. We’re talking sustainability here. Staying power. Not even from combat, but simply from moving TO combat. Living in and out of combat outposts or patrol bases. Doing daily foot patrols over some of the most rugged terrain on earth, walking a dozen or dozens of miles a day, with a limited supply channel, zero hygiene ability outside of baby wipes or water bottles, carrying 90 pounds of gear for a 2 day patrol, up to or even more than 150lbs of gear for extended patrols, on an average of 4 hours of sleep a day, for weeks or months on end…
I have no doubt that given time, training, discipline, and a very good work ethic, there are women who can “qualify” for combat. And if combat operations were a week or two long and that’s it, women wanting to join combat arms would have a much more compelling argument. But combat operations go on until the mission is done. Whether it’s days, weeks, months, or even years. What happens after 4 months? What happens when the nutrition that a female is used to in the states is no longer available? What happens when the strength training and supplements that she does to build her muscle mass is no longer available? Men who “qualify” for combat, train for combat, and go to combat, sometimes don’t make it in combat. Those men are sent to the rear, they are put in a position where they can’t damage the mission. Every male combat soldier after 4 months of operations will look gaunt, will have lost a good portion of his body mass, and will not be as strong physically as they were when they entered combat initially. BUT, they will be in what I call “combat shape”. They will be able to indefinitely continue these operations because they have “trimmed” the fat as it were. Can a woman make that claim? Put her in a situation where she can’t work out, can’t consume more than 2000/2500 calories a day, on almost no sleep, carrying crushing loads on her shoulders, hips, and feet, for months…and then have the energy to do the most exhausting and challenging of all things, fire and maneuver into the fire of the enemy. Can she sustain the fight? Or will she stay in the fight for a month, then as all the assets that kept her on level with an AVERAGE man are taken away, will her lack of testosterone inhibit her ability to recover from just basic patrolling to the point where she is pulled off the line? Leaving her unit with one, five, or twenty-five less people to carry the load?
If you’re in a combat support MOS and advocating for women in combat as a woman, then you are woefully ignorant of what that entails.
Let me make myself absolutely clear about combat. It’s not equal. It’s not rational. It’s not fair. It’s not black and white. It can’t be reasoned with. It’s a bitch. The mother of all bitches. It will find ways to kill you. If you are weak for even a second it will snatch the life right out of you and your buddies. It’s about violence. It’s about destruction. It’s about unashamedly taking advantage of the weakness of your enemy. It’s about barbarism and brutality. Anyone who thinks there should be “fair” in combat is an idiot and has never REALLY been in combat. Anyone who thinks it’s nice and clean, where soldiers die quickly and then quietly go into death is dangerously naive. It’s horrible. Soldiers scream above the sound of machine gun fire. Men cry openly over the loss of their comrades. Pieces of human beings, both friend and foe, litter the battlefield. Cordite, burning flesh, and feces stings in your nostrils. It’s not pretty. It’s not glorious. It’s not anything other than a tragedy. Grunts know this. We know what the price is. To overcome these obstacles, we have to be crystal clear on our objectives, abilities, strengths, AND weaknesses. There can no illusions of grandeur. There can be no half measures. One moment of complacency, one second of weakness, one instance of failing a hit time can have severe ramifications for those involved.
Combat is not the place to find out if one is good enough. Combat is not the place where PC social programs need to be tested. People will be killed over this. People will die trying to realize this fantasy women think they want. It’s an insult to those of us who HAVE been in combat on the front lines to simply sweep our experience under the rug. It’s not about male chauvinism. It’s not about inferiority or superiority. It’s about lives here. It’s about being able to end the wars as quickly as humanly possible so as to prevent further loss of life both on ours and their side. But it is also about when having to do the dirty work of war, doing it in the most violent, overwhelming,and advantageous way possible.
Is the juice worth the squeeze?
It it worth it for the entire combat apparatus of the US military to invest in the training, recruitment, and expenditure in lives and money to allow women to serve in combat arms? In my experience of almost 12 years of service in the US Army, it is not. I’m not even talking about the unit effectiveness factor that will be diminished from the lack of unit cohesion. I’m not talking about the eventual lowering of standards that will accompany the introduction of women into an all male dominated environment. I’m not even talking about the psychological factors that studies and experiments have shown of the exceptionally demoralizing effect a woman's death has on a man. I’m not talking about the fact that Muslim extremists will now have even less of an incentive to surrender to female combatants.
There’s a reason the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan put a much higher bounty on women soldiers then they did men. It’s not because they “hate” American women more than men. It’s because they intimately understand that we, as a society, are simply not prepared for massive loss of women life in combat. Can you imagine the media frenzy that would come from a dozen women dying in just one firefight or one IED? There would be chants of “off with his head” to anyone suspected of “allowing” this to happen. Whereas, with men, it is simply shrugged at. It’s expected. The insurgents are also familiar with the highly demoralizing effect it has on the soldiers involved. Simply put, our society values the lives of women more than it does men. One or two women in body bags is barely palpable to today's society. What would happen with a dozen or 25 or 100 at a time?
In conclusion, if you’re anyone other someone who has been there…you’re free to give your opinion. Just realize that it will not be taken seriously. It’s hard for the uninitiated to realize that applying reason and logic to this situation of combat is useless. There is no logic involved. Logic went out the window as soon as it was decided to use combat forces. Combat is illogical. If you want to win in combat, let the professionals that have led the way for millenia handle the dirty work. At the very least, ASK the grunts what THEY think. We’re the ones who are going to pay for it the most
For those who want to know, I have three combat tours to Iraq. 15 months in 2003-2004. 10 months in 2004-2005. 8 months in 2011. I’ve participated in numerous battles to include: invasion, battle for Bagdad, operation Phantom Fury,(look it up)and numerous operations in and around Ramadi, Fallujah, and Kirkuk...I’ve been wounded in combat and have twice been decorated for Valor. I’ve been a lower enlisted, NCO, and Officer in combat. ALL of this time...I’ve been a grunt.
Women should most definitely not be allowed in combat. First of all, women do not have the strength that men do. If I were to be wounded in combat I weigh roughly 250 in full gear therefore I do not believe that a female wearing the same amount of gear would be able to successfully drag me to safety without assistance. Women also have their monthly period to be worried about and how they can't sit down in a fox hole for days on end without being able to properly cleanse themselves. There is also the factor of distraction. Men and women together in the middle of the desert will have the tendency to become attracted to each other which would result in unnecessary emotion.
Just because a woman wants to serve in a direct combat role does not justify their being there. The matter of the fact is that it will destroy unit cohesion and morale. An infantry unit is a tight knit group of males that have to do everything in front of each other, EVERYTHING. Some men will not feel comfortable with women in the same unit as them.
It's also not a matter of equality, because the only equal thing that will come out of this is the number of men and women coming home in body bags, and that is unacceptable.
In the military there is a double standard in testing whether a male or female is capable of serving in the Armed Forces. For example while a male is required to a minimum of 42 push ups, females only need to do 19. I know any one is capable of pulling the trigger of a gun but when one of your comrades is wounded or your team is in need of a full-on retreat I fear that the females would not be able to keep up. Their ability to survive in combat is much lower than that of males.
Many women already find themselves in "combat." They are just not allowed in combat arms such as : There are no "front lines" When was the last time terrorists lined up in trenches and met us head on? They are already in dangerous and hazardous duties. That is the nature of the military.
The larger problem with females in Combat arms is the differing hygiene needs. A company of Infantry can go weeks or a month at a time with nothing more than a five gallon water can bath. Females cannot. I worked with females as part of my company the entire time I was in as an MP. Even during a normal field exercise the females could go no longer than 72 hours and we had to release them to go find a shower somewhere, gym.