Saturday, January 26, 2013

National Review: Women are Too Weak for Frontline Service

As some of you have probably heard, out-going Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced that for the 1st time in American history, women serving in the military will be allow to serve on "the front-line". Big story right? Well, that seems to depend on whether you've had your head stuck firming up your a@@ for the last 10+ years..

For the most part, this decision by the Pentagon has not ruffled to many feathers in the GOP (whether it be the House or the Senate) and it seems has only drawn fire from neanderthal-ish folk. Like the editors of the National Review. In a recent piece titled Sex and Violence (I don't even know where to start with that..), they more or less make the follow set of claims:
  • This change of policy is purely political and aimed at appeasing feminists Obama supporters.
  • There is no evidence to suggest that such a move would do anything but HURT the combat effectiveness of the US military. 
  • Overall, "human nature" dictates that women have no place in real combat, demonstrated by this direct quote: 
"There are immutable differences between men and women, and they are on display every day from the classroom to the corporate office. In most environments, the accommodation of these differences is benign or even salubrious. But the theater of combat is a very different sort of environment. It is true that we have had women in dangerous front-line roles for a decade now, thanks to an act of poor judgment by the Bush administration. But door-to-door combat is a very different thing from flying a helicopter. To believe that soldiers, officers, and policymakers will react identically to female casualties — or to videos of female troops being tortured by al-Qaeda — is to deny human nature. But denying human nature is of course at the center of the feminist agenda."

First off,  I take this a bit personally. Why? I don't advertise this a lot here but I am a member of the US military. I don't like mentioning it because put simply, the fact I am a member of the US military has little bearing or relevance to my personal politics. However on this rare occasion, my career not only makes such claims irritating to not end, I suspect I know more about this subject than the editors of the National Review.

On the first claim, I honestly don't see any evidence to back up this claim and the National Review provides absolutely no evidence to back it up either. As such, I treat this claim exactly as it should be: like absolute rubbish. 

On the second claim, while evidence here in the US doesn't provide much indication such a change will not hurt the effectiveness of the American fighting force, there is plenty of evidence in other modern militaries. The best example of this is none other than the Israel Defense Forces. In Israel, women are subject to conscription just as men are (with exception to certain Jewish religious sects and Arab-Israelis) and have been allowed into front-line combat roles for years now (including the infantry) and I am willing to bet good money the fellas at the National Review would NEVER criticize the Israelis for doing such a thing. In fact the Israelis have mixed gender units that have performance impressively in recent conflicts (such as the Caracal Company). Long story short, the Israelis make no real difference when they conscript women compared to men into the IDF and don't seem very concerned about the inclusion of women into front-line combat units and considering how seriously the Israelis take their national security, that REALLY says something.

On the final claim, this is one that really that makes me thing that none of these editors have every served in the military or know anyone who has in the last 10+ years. The fact that Senator John McCain supports this move is further telling. No big shock that the National Review discounts this and says he "should know better", since McCain has never been well-liked by the conservative media. But consider this: McCain served proudly during one of America's darkest periods of military history, the Vietnam war. This war was terribly brutal on all levels in terms and if someone who served during such a war believes that American women are capable of handling front-line combat any less so than a man should be taken seriously.

Personally, I have to agree with Senator McCain on this one. The military had women effectively on the front-line for some time now since the War on Terror doesn't really have a front-line. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban don't see a servicewoman any differently than a serviceman: they want us all dead. If the enemy doesn't make any distinction between the genders in our military, why in God's name should we? If women who join the military and are deemed physically fit, pass their marksmanship tests (which are not different between men and women), then what exactly do these idiots think keeps them from taking it to the enemy just as the men do?

Ultimately, there is one huge flaw with the National Review's case. Where do you draw the line? What kind of careers in the military should women be allowed to serve in? Should we go back to the roles they served in the military back in World War II? Somehow I doubt the "good" people at the National Review are willing to set any kind of standard since it's far easier to criticize the actions of others from the comfort of an editor's office.

To be blunt, this idiotic argument is in the same category as those made against ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". These same idiots claimed that allowing gays to openly serve in the military would hurt unit cohesion, force making changes in facilities and a bunch of other moronic claims. Even after the Pentagon surveyed the US military and found they had no problem with ending Don't Ask Don't Tell, these same idiots still claimed they knew better. Long story short, the only real reason these people had to back these STUPID policy was it was against their morals.

So for those keeping score at home, the National Review has provided no evidence whatsoever that this decision had anything to do with politics and simply used the same old argument that "Obama hates America, blah blah blah" to back up this claim and their only real justification for why they oppose this move is simply this: Women are just too weak to serve on the front-line.

Tell that to the 210,000 plus women who are serving the United States Armed Forces today. Put simply the National Review's argument is beyond pathetic, it's just plain sad.


Any opinions and/or views expressed in the above piece are purely those of the author and not of any political or non-political organization. Any re-posting of this work MUST include this disclaimer.

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