Opinion

Why women shouldn’t be allowed to serve in combat

Paul Hair Contributor

The government is considering allowing women to serve in combat. That would be a huge mistake.

I’ll admit that it’s fun to read about and gaze upon attractive women who serve in the armed forces. Take a look at “This beauty queen wears Army boots,” “Army reservist undergoes glamorous transformation, wins ‘Swan’ reality show,” “G.I. Jill,” and the stories about Combat Barbie to see what I mean. But at the same time, these stories and photographs drive home a reality that everyone (except those entrenched in denial) can recognize without the assistance of a study: there are differences between men and women. One of those differences is that men are suited for combat; women are not.

That sound you hear is the sound of people weeping and gnashing their teeth in reaction to what I just said. “It’s not fair! He didn’t link to stories showing women in their military roles! He’s making a dishonest case about women in the armed forces!” But my citations weren’t meant to show that women can or cannot serve in the armed forces; they were meant to highlight the differences between men and women — including military women. Women are women and they will always be so — even if they wear a uniform.

I am also not making the case that no woman could serve in a combat position. It is no secret that some women have performed well in warfare. Molly Pitcher (allegedly) fighting in the Revolutionary War and Combat Barbie preventing a terrorist from escaping are just two examples. Nevertheless, women remain different from men and their physicality is not designed for fighting. Only in the rarest of cases do women fight at the same level as men. Fully integrating women into combat roles, and other politically correct moves, are bad ideas.

The Department of Defense (DOD) knows that women aren’t suited for combat — even if it won’t outright admit it. The easiest way to demonstrate this is by considering the differences in Army standards for physical fitness for men and women . . . and how the Army skews those differences to the advantage of women.

For instance, if a 33-year-old male were to do 43 push-ups, 55 sit-ups, and run two miles in 15:18 for his Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), he would earn a score of 224 points (out of a total of 300). This would be considered average at best. Yet if a 33-year-old female did the exact same, she would score a 272 and be considered in vastly better shape than the male.

We can further contrast this discrepancy of standards by comparing how a 21-year-old male and a 21-year-old female would score using the same outcome (43 push-ups, 55 sit-ups, and a 15:18 2-mile run). The 21-year-old male would receive a score of 192 (and would just barely pass his APFT) while the 21-year-old female would receive a score of 263 and might be highly commended.

This demonstrates that the Army (and by association, the DOD) realizes that men and women are different — and that it expects men to possess superior physical abilities.

Yet does this really matter in the grand scheme of things? Does it really matter to anyone in power at the DOD? The answer is no.

Differences don’t matter to the DOD because its primary focus is “diversity”; the fact that men and women are different is a non-factor. (This is why even now the DOD skirts the ban on women in combat.)

The preeminence of diversity is evident from the fact that a “Military Leadership Diversity Commission” exists, and that it (unsurprisingly) recommends that women be placed into combat positions.

The preeminence of diversity is also evident in the way that the government repealed the military ban on homosexuality. Commenter “catmman” (on December 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm) notes in response to the Hot Air column, “Joint Chiefs chair to troops: If you don’t want to serve with gays, quit”:

It was and is apparently unsatisfactory to tell gays that if they wish to live the lifestyle they chose, then they shouldn’t join the military.

Now it is satisfactory to tell straight troops that if they don’t wish to serve with gay troops, then they need to get the hell out. . . .

The preeminence of diversity is evident in the way that Army Chief of Staff General George Casey — the top soldier in the Army — responded to Major Nidal Hasan (a Muslim) massacring soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood:

. . . Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

The preeminence of diversity is evident in the way that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff boasts about diversity being a priority (HT: Blackfive) and it is evident in the way that the Navy wants more “minority” SEALs (HT: Blackfive).

The preeminence of diversity is evident in the way that the DOD made an example out of a male Navy captain, guilty of making “anti-gay slurs,” in order to send a message to the rest of the armed forces that failure to embrace diversity will be punished.

The preeminence of diversity is evident in the way that the DOD reluctantly relieved from duty a female Navy captain. The female Navy captain had a long history of abuse that was so bad that those who knew her expressed dismay that the Navy had assigned her to her rank and position much less allowed her to remain in it for so long.

And so diversity is preeminent. I respectfully disagree with this fealty to diversity but I am not outraged by it because the DOD is subordinate to the president, and the president answers to the American people, and the American people elected the president to office. Hence, the DOD is doing what the American people want. And I respect that. I respect the American people and the leaders they appoint, and I gladly follow the orders and policies they set. However, I still politely oppose diversity and thus I oppose placing women into combat roles.

Opponents of allowing women to serve in combat very well may lose the argument. And if that happens, then it follows that other changes should occur as well. I suggest demanding these logical changes.

First, the nation should reinstate the draft. If diversity is preeminent, then there is no better way to fulfill diversity requirements than by letting the government hand-pick anyone it wants. (Bonus: This can be a “bipartisan” effort since the left wanted a draft a few years ago in the name of “social justice.”)

Second, require women to register for the Selective Service — the draft. Opening combat roles to women means that there no longer is a reason that women shouldn’t be required to register for the Selective Service. We cannot have “equality” on one hand and not on the other.

Third, discriminatory restrictions on old people and the handicapped need to be repealed. Let suitability for service be decided on a case-by-case basis (as proponents for women in combat roles argue). After all, we already have senior citizens and physically disabled people serving in the military, so there’s no reason not to lift the statutory age and physical disability bans entirely.

Finally, we must change the American people’s expectations for our armed forces. We must do this because although the American armed forces currently are the best in the world, if we want them to follow the lead of (by inference) inferior armed forces through politically correct maneuverings, we must be prepared for our armed forces to become like those inferior ones. In other words, if we choose to strive after that which is inferior, we must accept inferiority. People may question who will fill the void once the American armed forces are no longer dominant, but that’s not for me — or anyone else in the military — to determine. After all, the armed forces are subordinate to and should follow the will of the American people.

The bottom line is that we cannot have it both ways. Either we keep combat positions as male only, remove diversity as our preeminent goal, and reverse the other politically correct machinations, or we completely submit to progressiveness and embrace inferior armed forces. The choice, in the long run, is up to the American people.

Paul Hair serves in the U.S. Army Reserves as a non-commissioned officer; he is veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has worked as a civilian in both the government and private sectors. His views are his own and he in no way represents the Army Reserves or any other part of the U.S. government.