Clash of the Titans XLV: Women In Combat

August 28, 2007, 1:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Debate, Djere, Steve  | 3 Comments

In this corner, against, is Steve!

And in this corner, for, is Djere!

Let me get the possibly offensive, yet totally true, arguments out of the way first. Women are weaker than men — significantly weaker. Till adolescence, girls can hold their own in a fight, but the same biological imperatives that turn boys into testosterone-fueled beasts of burden unfairly round women off, widening their hips and sounding the “ready for babies” alarm like a bell.

God and puberty prepare young men for battle; after all, to the species, your average dude is pretty expendable. But young women? They get the special estrogen treatment, and since that results in (for instance) a body fat percentage double the size of the closest competing gender, pretending everybody’s the same on the field of battle isn’t a harmless multicultural fantasy — it’s a dangerous, deadly mistake. Many soldiers have to carry gear heavier than the average woman.

But let’s pretend it’s somehow possible to overcome the obvious and innate advantages in speed and strength that men have over women; let’s imagine we’ve triumphed over pregnancy, menstruation, and emotion, and that our enemies will treat captive women the same as captive men. Oh glorious day!

I’d still oppose it with the same strength and fervor. For one thing, it’s not necessary. If women seem to be needed on the front lines, it’s not because there aren’t enough able-bodied young men to pick up the slack; it’s because those guys are bumming around on street corners and slouching their way through English Lit classes. A realistic look at our armed forces in the event of another (God forbid) world war doesn’t involve a battalion of Amazons — it will require a real live, straight-up draft of the men in our country, from high-achieving Harvard Business School types to no-account middle school dropouts.

China invades us any time in the next fifteen years? I’m an airman the next day, and that’s a promise. But try to sign my sister up and you might be the next casualty.

Which leads me to my next and final point. Women do not belong in combat because of what such a policy would say about our nation. Many American men are already shamefully irresponsible, neglecting their proper roles as husbands and fathers to seek their own pleasure and fulfillment. Sending women to carry out what is the ultimate male responsibility — the protection of one’s own nation and family against those who would do them harm — would lower that shame to unbelievable and sickening depths.

Combat changes people; it hardens and coarsens them, as they experience horrors the uninitiated can never understand. They are trained to kill and destroy, work no man should ever have to do — but some must. To extend that tremendous sacrifice to women would be an act of both foolishness and cowardice.

I’m not saying that we should entirely man our front lines with women. Nor am I saying that all women in the service are cut out for front line duty. All I’m saying is that there are some benefits for allowing women to serve in combat situations.

In modern combat, sure there’s still a ton of physically demanding effort: running, carrying large packs, heavy weapons, and still some hand-to-hand combat. But as time has progressed since Cain beat Abel with a club. Weapons have become lighter and more efficient.

Certainly, the strongest men will always be stronger than the strongest women. Usually average men are stronger than average women. But I’ll tell you what: I’ve seen some pretty big women in my day, and I don’t make a habit of visiting the opera. Leather jackets, tattoos and biceps the size of my head… Yet if some hulking beast of a woman rode up to a recruiting station on her Harley and wanted to enlist, Steve would smile at her and sign her up as a candy striper.

Throughout every major conflict of the 20th and 21st centuries, women have played key roles. In both WWII and Chechnya, women served as effective snipers. Though usually pressed into service when defending their homes and children, women have done more than provide aid and comfort to soldiers; they’ve served as soldiers, officers, smugglers, spies, and scouts. Women can be capable of doing the same thing a man can during wartimes, without drawing as much suspicion.

Let’s kick this thing up a notch.

The theory was first proposed by Dave Barry, but let’s revisit it. When women spend time together, their, ahem, cycles, tend to synchronize. If the US Army had platoons of just women, that means for four days out of every month, we would have the single most vicious, nasty, murderous platoon of soldiers on the face of the planet. I don’t know about Osama, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be chased through the mountains of Pakistan by PMS Platoon from Hell.

One of the arguments against putting women on the front lines is usually this: Men who see a wounded woman will be demoralized in combat. BULL! I live near an army base. I read the newspaper reports of spousal abuse. I work with army wives who were either abused themselves or have a girlfriend who was abused. So some GI Joe can see his own beaten wife, but some strange woman? I’m not buying it.

Give ’em guns and let ’em fight back.



3 Comments to “Clash of the Titans XLV: Women In Combat”

  1. Steve on August 28th, 2007 1:51 pm

    I comment only to briefly address your last point — it’s quite possible that increased spousal abuse in the military (if it exists) is a direct RESULT of the dehumanizing effects of combat. Why increase that pain?

  2. Djere on August 29th, 2007 10:58 am

    Give ’em guns and let them fight back, Steve.

  3. David on August 29th, 2007 5:54 pm

    I just read yesterday where the top crime committed among armed services personnel is sexual assault. I have to believe that is a little higher than it used to be before women were intergrated into the armed services.

Leave a comment!