Women in the military is related to the issue of gays in the military. The argument for including gays and women (especially women in combat) in the military usually starts with this assumption: That gays are like straight men and women in all aspects except that they are gay, and that women are like men in all things except that they are women.
A close inspection of reality shows this to be rhetoric based on wishful thinking.
I’ll speak now of my own observations and experiences in regards to women in the military environment while I’ve served in the Army, starting with basic training.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Ft. Jackson, for my ten weeks of hell and humiliation, was that drill sergeants suddenly gained a sense of humor when interacting with female Soldiers. They spent more time with them, “mentored” them more often, encouraged them more and spoke in softer tones to them.
At first I shrugged this off and even gained a sense of hope from this: The drill sergeants were human after all. However, the interactions between many of the DSs and the females quickly deteriorated into a nearly incestuous daddy-daughter relationship.
I will be frank, and in doing so I will piss off my fair share of feminists and liberals. What’s new. I saw, and so even did the male 20 year olds without much life experience, that women get treated differently in the Army. And, the girls adored the drill sergeants. The image of power and absolute control, the unknown characteristics of each man under the hat had a remarkable effect on the girls in particular, though I must confess that even some young men seemed to fall under the sway of Stockholm Syndrome. But with the women, it was sexual. Many girls would flirt openly, even following DSs around to help them with various tasks. And the DSs usually did not stop these types of interactions.
On one occasion, my platoon sergeant in basic, whom out of all the DSs I respected most (he was extremely competent in his Soldiering skills, tough, direct and what I believe is a true leader), during one of our nightly round tables with the drill sergeant, outright told one of the girls, “You–stop flirting with my drill sergeants”. It gave me hope that someone besides me noticed.
Eventually, one drill sergeant lost rank and his hat. One morning at around 0400 hours, another drill sergeant caught him in a room with a female Soldier without a “Battle Buddy” (second Soldier), which was in violation of the rules. I believe the two formed a sexual relationship, also against the rules. Not to defend the DS, who was a prick of the highest order, but the girl–I say girl, but she was old enough to have a Bachelor’s degree–slobbered all over him for weeks. Everywhere he was–so was she, standing in a puddle of her own drool.
I shared a bay with almost 60 Soldiers, most of them younger than me. I saw the effects on morale the sexual tension and resultant DS leniency toward women had on these still developing men. They complained openly about the girls who stuck their hips out, batted their eyes, giggled–and received all the benefits we’d expect of a girl who did the same thing in a bar. Well, instead of free drinks, they got yelled at less.
It seems to me that the physical deficiencies in women when it comes to combat need little attention, but I’ll give you some anecdotes. During several of our forced marches in Basic, the females would grab on to the packs of male Soldiers, pulling themselves along and increasing the difficulty of the man’s march. The women could not pull their bodies over obstacles. On one occasion while were on Victory Tower, a team building exercise in which Solidiers have to help one another move up the levels of the wooden structure, I dropped a women who simply could not move herself. Now, I’ll admit my weaknesses–but physical strength isn’t one of them. I reached down to with one arm to help her up, as I’d done with several male Soldiers throughout the exercise. She could not move herself even a foot as I pulled her arm. Eventually, her grip failed, and when hers went, so did mine. She hit her hand on the wooden platform below before landing on a pad on the ground. I felt terrible. I’d let someone down. And I would not make excuses if I thought it were negligence on my part. The DS who would later be demoted for his interaction with the female, took the opportunity to belittle me in front of my platoon. The female cried for hours, something any man would be ashamed to do. The young men were outraged, and expressed it in our barracks. They knew what kind of Soldier I was and what kind of physical conditioning I maintained. Not once did a DS say to the girl: “You need to lose weight and get stronger.” She did need both.
An obvious argument showing that the military doesn’t really care about the real physical realities of Soldiering, it only cares that it can be as fair as any other government mchine, is the physical fitness test. An 18 year old girl must perform 18 pushups in two minutes, while an 18 year old boy must perform 42. It’s as if we think the Taliban or the weight of a rucksack works on a sliding scale.
The sexual silver cord between men and women in the Army is more evident than in any other place I have worked. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because there are fewer women and the men have to compete harder to gain their favor. Perhaps it’s what happens to the male libido and ego when he’s put in uniform and into a fraternal organization. Perhaps it’s just plain culture. But it’s a real problem and I see daily how it affects men’s ability to impose discipline in a fair way between the sexes. It seems every young NCO always hopes that by being lenient, he can get a piece–and in many cases his hopes are fulfilled.
I see female Soldiers that routinely whine to the right people to get out of duties men are forced to perform. Going to the field for instance. Women hate it. It’s too physical. They get out of it though.
When I was in the field this weekend, I kept pointing out to a sergeant who trained with me, the absurd affections displayed openly by male instructors toward females, as well as other things I saw that bothered me. On one occasion, an instructor kept cracking jokes with female students, over and over, and repeatedly he picked them out of the squads for demonstration purposes–many of which required touching the female. On another occasion, I noticed that several high ranking Soldiers and officers sat together at the back of the dining facility. Huddled around them and listening attentively–was every single female Soldier in the room. It was like Daddy was reading a bed time story.
Rarely can a female Soldier walk down a hallway without getting an oblique: How you doin’? , from a male.
From what I have seen, females compromise unit Esprit de Corps, the equal dispensation of justice and work, and their physical shortcoming compromise mission. They are not aggressive in a physical setting, and the instinct to decimate an enemy doesn’t seem to enter their minds. Not to mention that the rampant disease of infidelity stalks every battalion hallway; Which Captain is sleeping with which married Major this week?
The brotherhood that must remain strong in combat is fractured when Eros steps on scene. And it’s for that reason, if we truly believe what we say when we say that unit cohesion is the single most important factor when it comes to war fighting, that I believe the benefit of women in the military is questionable, and when it comes to combat, is downright stupid. Social engineering may well result in future losses on the battlefield, and we’ll keep denying the facts in order make ourselves look apropos. We insist the world be fair. The enemy only insists on winning.
The Army retains only 25% of its recruits after an initial contract expires. This is a travesty. One reason is that men see how women effect the Army. How it’s more like pretend time than serious business. Men are leaving, in some cases, because of this, and it’s just one example of how political correctness is killing our military. Major Hasan is another.
But of course, I’m shoveling back the tide. Women in the military aren’t going away. This is another reason I’m hesitant to let open gays in; even if it’s proven to cause severe problems, once the rule is removed, it’s gone for good. So goes the Law of Entropy.
On the last day of training last week, I strode into the latrine and sat down to enjoy the colorful graffiti on the stall walls. Someone had written in marker the following:
“Female Soldiers run NCOs”. An arrow led to someone else’s wisdom: “You should have joined the infantry.”