Women in Combat?

The smoke and mirrors magic show continues in Washington, DC, this time with the brilliant diversion of getting everyone all up in arms over lifting the ban of women in combat specialties.  Not that there is anything else which should command our attention like a Kerry nomination, international terrorism, the planned gun grab, sales of fighter planes to Egypt, or the economy, stupid.

It makes me ill.  I am sick of hearing about it.  I am sick of watching the destruction of this country bit by bit.  And I am certainly sick of seeing the policy makers dilute the power and might of our military in ways that would be incomprehensible to the “greatest generation.”

So why should any of us care that some ivory tower fools who have never had to defend themselves from anything more dangerous than a paper cut opine about the merits of making military service “fair?”  Simply because it seems that those idiots are making policy which impacts every American in one way or another.

Someone needs to explain to academia that the only purpose of the military is to defend this country from our enemies and those of our allies.  No amount of our wishing it so will ever establish a forever more kind of permanent peace.  Just as groups of people have done since the cavemen, we still today need some in society who can and will defend us from those who threaten us.  Whenever and wherever that defense is needed, on time and effectively.

So who exactly is foisting this continuing nonsense upon us that everyone and anyone can and should be on the front lines of our defense?  I really do not know who they are other than generally “the left,” but I can tell you that it is not women who are now serving, at least not in statistically significant numbers.  I would guess that just about the same number of women who have already served honorably would agree.

Count me among those women who really didn’t want to fight from the front.  Yes, I wanted to learn how to arm and use every available weapons system that I might remotely find within my reach should the occasion arise that it was needed, but no, I did not want to carry any of those weapons systems anywhere much less all day.  In spite of that, I count myself in the warrior class not so much because of what I did but because of what I was prepared to do even if it meant carrying whatever needed to be carried to wherever it needed to be taken.  That included completing a whole bunch of training, and some of it in fields which had not yet been changed to have gender specific standards.  We either passed or failed on our ability to complete the training to do the job.  Then we were on probation until we proved that we could move from theoretical to actual performance.  Not because we were male or female but because everyone had to prove their ability to remain in the job.

Not many of us could meet the standards back in the day.  There were a couple times when I thought I would not make it simply because I was rather short, but strong and able to muscle through.  (We won’t share the story at this time about my being ordered from a confidence course once because I found an easier way to cross one of the obstacles which was more of a gymnastics move than the instructors apparently wanted to see.)

Do women in the military need to be proficient with firearms?  Generally, yes, with the required exceptions.  No one knows when the finance office or the clinic might need to be defended.  Probably neither ever will, but since defense is the mission of the military, every member of the military needs to be able to defend the facilities from which that mission originates.  It really is just that simple.

But, there is a huge difference between defending one’s established position and conducting an offensive patrol miles from home base.  People who do not understand that difference simply should not be involved with making policy which directly affects the survivability of those who are involved in combat.  Opine about it?  OK – there remains that freedom of speech thing.  But to establish policies which endanger the lives of our warriors?  No, their feelings have no place in the details of how best to accomplish the mission and which personnel should be used in what jobs.

Simply put, my office and sleeping tents during Desert Storm were fairly well equipped and did not require my carrying much besides myself between the two (maybe 30 pounds worth of gas mask, helmet, canteen and such, sometimes?).  For those deployed in front line combat units, everything they might need for the duration is carried – weapons, ammo, water, food, and perhaps a change of socks – everything to accomplish the mission and sustain the troopers for days, perhaps weeks, is on their backs and in their pockets or hands.  Endurance and strength are required, not optional, if they are to survive.

This, to my mind, and the minds of anyone who has any familiarity with survivability and sustainability, is obvious.  So why are we still talking about forcing individuals who cannot possibly sustain themselves and are very likely to cause mission failure because of their physical limitations into combat units?

Historically, talking about placing women in combat has always resulted in heated discussion all over the country.  This time seems to be fitting the pattern.  People have fixated on this issue.

Now the caution –  this is a red herring.  Americans are no more willing today than they were 40 years ago to put their daughters, grandmothers (yes, there are grandmothers deployed currently), and sisters directly on the front lines.

Watch the curtain on the left.  There is stuff going on there while we are focused on the back of the room.  Did you know that the Senate, for instance, has placed 144 bills up for consideration in the past three days?  Some of them are pretty scary  – everything from cyber security to gun control and much more.

We have been warned.

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