Women in combat isn’t bad only because of physical stamina and unit cohesion issues. The Three Ps (peeing, periods, and pregnancy) also militate against it.
Heather MacDonald, undoubtedly one of the most brilliant conservative writers and thinkers around, has written about the military’s decision, based upon Obama administration dictates, to water down physical standards to allow women to serve in combat units. The article is behind a pay wall at the Wall Street Journal, but you might be able to access it through Outline.*
MacDonald begins by reminding readers that the Marine Corps did a lengthy study in 2015 that eventually revealed what any sentient being already knows: women do not have the same abilities as men and, most specifically, they lack those physical abilities that serve best in combat situations:
The all-male teams greatly outperformed the integrated teams, whether on shooting, surmounting obstacles or evacuating casualties. Female Marines were injured at more than six times the rate of men during preliminary training—unsurprising, since men’s higher testosterone levels produce stronger bones and muscles. Even the fittest women (which the study participants were) must work at maximal physical capacity when carrying a 100-pound pack or repeatedly loading heavy shells into a cannon.
Leftists, of course, never allow facts to interfere with or, God forbid, override theory. That’s why Ash Carter, who was Obama’s Secretary of Defense (and who was a lifelong desk jockey who never served in the military), nevertheless went ahead and ordered that the U.S. military open combat roles to women.
Carter further mandated that the military create “gender neutral” standards for admission to combat units. The only way to do this, of course, was for the military to lower standards to ensure that some visible percentage of women could qualify for combat units.** For the Marines, that meant doing away with the requirement that combatants be able to carry their own equipment. MacDonald notes that “The weapons-company hike during the IOC is now ‘gender neutral,’ meaning that officers can hand their pack to a buddy if they get tired, rather than carrying it for the course’s full 10 miles.”
Trying to force women into combat units hasn’t just downgraded combat troops’ physical military readiness. Adding women to the mix has also interfered with discipline and morale:
A Marine commander who served in Afghanistan described to me how the arrival of an all-female team tasked with reaching out to local women affected discipline on his forward operating base. Until that point, rigorous discipline had been the norm. But when four women—three service members and a translator—arrived, the post’s atmosphere changed overnight from a “stern, businesslike place to that of an eighth-grade dance.” The officer walked into a common room one day to find the women clustered in the center. They were surrounded by eager male Marines, one of whom was doing a handstand.
Another Marine officer, who was stationed on a Navy ship after 9/11, told me that a female officer had regular trysts with an enlisted sailor in the engine room. Marine Cpl. Remedios Cruz, one of the first women to join the infantry, was discharged late last year after admitting to a sexual relationship with a male subordinate. Army Sgt. First Class Chase Usher was relieved of his leadership position for a consensual relationship with a female soldier that began almost immediately after she arrived at his newly gender-integrated unit in Fort Bragg, N.C.
After describing problems so obvious that any fifth grader could have predicted them, but that still managed to elude the best social justice warrior minds both in and out of the military, MacDonald chastises the Trump administration for not withdrawing from this misguided policy. She points out that, while Trump challenged the effort to put transgender individuals (who have a 40% suicide rate, both before and after medical intervention) into the military, he did so on the narrow ground that taxpayers shouldn’t be stuck with the cost of their sex mutilation surgeries. MacDonald argues that “those costs are minute compared with the future medical bills for women’s combat-battered bodies. And women pose a far greater challenge to combat-unit cohesion than do transgender troops, because of their numbers and the nature of sexual attraction.”
There’s more in MacDonald’s excellent article, but I have a few points of my own to make. These points refine on a post I wrote six years ago, when Leon Panetta greenlighted lifting the ban on women in combat. [Read more…]