Sacrificing Military Women on the Altar of ‘Diversity’

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


womenvets3On June 5, 2013, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved legislation to address sexual harassment in the military. Yet what HASC failed to address is the far more important and potentially devastating issue of the Obama administration’s determination to put women in direct ground combat. When the Center for Military Readiness (CMR) asked senior Republican staffers why the organization’s analysis, “Sound Policy for Women in Military,” was ignored, the center was told leaders feared being labeled “anti-woman.” In short, little political will exists to oppose Obama’s new policies, which will endanger women and military integrity — all for the sake of “diversity.”

Last January, outgoing Secretary of State Leon Panetta lifted the 1994 Combat Exclusion Rule that had prohibited women from serving in frontline combat units. This paved the way for women to join elite units such as the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. It also does not merely lift restrictions on women’s integration in direct ground combat, but allows women to be assigned — or forced — into such situations. A compliance deadline was set for June 2016.

The need for increasing “inclusiveness” is belied by the reality that 88 percent of Navy jobs are open for women, as are 99 percent of jobs in the Air Force. And even though the goal is to open every job up to women, no matter how risky, the services were given the option of requesting an exception necessitating approval by the Secretary of Defense.

In the course of developing a timeline for total integration, the real and potentially devastating agenda behind this push was revealed. The services are developing new job-specific standards for combat units.

Those standards will be “gender neutral.”

Robert Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and West Point graduate, cut through the political facade erected by those two words in his book, “Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat.” In an interview with Time, Maginnis insisted that “Pentagon brass are kowtowing to their political masters and radical feminists to remove exemptions for women in ground combat in defiance of overwhelming scientific evidence and combat experience.” He completely dismissed the Obama administration’s contention that they won’t lower standards to accommodate women in combat roles. As evidence, he cites the “diversity metrics” outlined in the 2011 Report of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission.

Maginnis is spot on. The report is a paean to diversity, asserting that “respect for diversity should be made an explicit core value of DoD [Department of Defenses] and the Services.” Diversity necessitates “a fundamental shift in institutional.” Toward that end, “diversity leadership must be assessed throughout careers and made, in both DoD and the Senate, a criterion for nomination and confirmation to the 3- and 4-star ranks.” Furthermore, implementation requires “a deliberate strategy that ties the new diversity vision to desired outcomes via policies and metrics.”

According to Maginnis, those desired outcomes must lead to a lowering of standards, due to the reality that there has to be a minimum number of women in combat units in order for the policy to be deemed a success. He notes this can only be accomplished by “gender norming,” a euphemism for judging women by less demanding standards than their male counterparts.

The necessity for imposing diversity metrics/gender norming was revealed at a September 2011 briefing before the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Armed Services. A Marine colonel revealed the sobering statistics the diversity mavens are determined to ignore, noting that “on average, women have 47% lower lifting strength, 40% lower muscle strength, 20% lower aerobic capacity (important for endurance), and 26% slower road march speed.” He further noted that “both female attrition/injury rates during entry level training and discharge (break) rates were twice those of men, and non-deployability rates were three times higher.”

The CMR further reveals that 30 years of studies conducted by Great Britain and America, “have repeatedly confirmed physiological differences that would put women at a severe disadvantage in the combat arms,” and that there is no study they can find indicating training can overcome such differences. Thus, the study concludes that attempting to train women like men will either lead to a lowering of standards, or high attrition rate among female trainees.

Yet the most ominous part of the study noted that if women do make it into combat units, “it can be expected that commanders will shift tasks from women to men to avoid attrition from non-battle injury. It is a matter of speculation whether such task shifting is tolerable in actual combat. Given the non-battle injury rate of Army women in Operation Iraqi Freedom, increasing the presence of women below the brigade level may result in even greater losses.”

Such data, along with potential losses, are apparently irrelevant to those seeking to appease the radical left’s political agenda. What’s worse, reports indicate that Pentagon officials are well aware of the lowering of standards that will take place. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said to reporters last January: “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, ‘Why is it that high?’ ‘Does it really have to be that high?’ With the direct combat exclusion provision in place, we never had to have that conversation.”

Remarkably, the push for women in combat largely ignores how the overwhelming majority of women currently in the service feel about the idea. A survey done last month by the Military Times revealed that only 13 percent of women desire a combat job, 9 percent aren’t sure, and a whopping 77 percent do not want a combat job at all. Furthermore, one of the military’s main rationales for the program, that career advancement necessitates combat experience, is untrue. As the CMR notes, “data going back decades indicates that women have been promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.” CMR further notes that any data undermining the idea that women should be given career opportunities in the infantry “is simply being withheld from public view.” Moreover, the process to implement the administration’s plans to put women into direct combat is being deliberately stretched out to give Congress the false impression that the issue is being addressed objectively — when nothing could be further from the truth.

Maginnis envisions the ultimate downside of women in combat, based on the reality that “a return to the draft is far more likely than most people realize.” This is due to the “unsustainably high costs of an all-volunteer military” in a nation weighed down by $17 trillion of debt. “Lifting all combat exclusions for women virtually guarantees that the Supreme Court will declare male-only conscription unconstitutional,” he explains, further noting that the direct consequence of such a ruling will be women “drafted and forced into ground combat roles” (italics mine).

CMR president Elaine Donnelly cut to the essence of the issue. “Are we willing to stand by silently while the Obama Administration ruins our military?” she asks. “If we do, future generations will wonder where we were when the culture of the finest military in the world was systematically burdened with social experiments that the administration plans to extend into the combat arms.”

Those social experiments may be part of a far bigger agenda than the effort to put women in combat. If there is one institution in America that has remained largely resistant to the ever-increasing imposition of a progressive agenda, it is the military. In fact, it may be the last bastion of well-organized resistance to progressive hegemony. Yet with each new “experiment,” the warrior culture that ought to dominate the nation’s military is being systematically degraded to accommodate that agenda.

With regard to women in combat, it is an agenda destined to exact a price far greater than the nearly 150 military women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan during the course of those wars. Yet for the Obama administration, higher numbers of dead and wounded women is a reasonable tradeoff. With all due respect to Gen. Dempsey, perhaps a conversation about that reality is far more important.

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  • ReyR

    When one is a soldier, one must be ready to die, regardless their sex.
    If I remember right, feminists asked for it. “A woman can do anything a man can do, only better”, right? With male-bashing the accepted standard in America now, it’s about time they proved their point in real life. With their own blood this time. Perhaps this can sober up some people. For others, it’s easier to die than to learn something new.

  • popseal

    Israel is surrounded and out numbered, therefore requiring women to carry guns and be ready to kill people is acceptable. This is not the case in America, therefore women should not be in warrior units. There are lots of jobs in the military that do not require being in harm’s way.

    • rick zee

      Israel has not put women in line combat units since 1949.
      In addition to the issues discussed in the article, they found that men would stop to rescue injured or pinned down women so selflessly that it would inhibit the combat mission.
      Women certainly could serve equally as, for example,submarine sonar technician; but what about living with scores of young men for months on end.

    • KatieNorcross

      Israeli women are trained in fire arms, and there are a few combat units. But IDF culture is NOT to put women on the front line. If captured she WILL be gang raped over and over for weeks.

      No women serve behind the lines many times, freeing up a man for combat.

  • 1proactive2

    This really confirms that our country has gone completely insane. That a female can pull her weight in a combat unit, let alone survive, is right out of a Disney cartoon. I was a grunt with the 101st Airborne Division in Nam.

    Operating and surviving in a combat environment takes endurance and strength far beyond what an average American can imagine. “Humping” eighty-plus pound rucksacks and a loaded weapon at the ready while focusing intensely on what’s around you is the norm. One does not stop for regular meals, and those are eaten cold and only when convenient. Dehydration is a constant problem.

    When one has to relieve oneself, you just take a step or two off the line of march during a brief halt, and do your business be it a squat or a stand-up leak. You never take your eyes off your surroundings when doing so. Get dysentery? Go in your drawers until the medic’s nostrums can take effect, if at all.

    Rips in clothing are common, and if your plumbing shows, you push on until a chopper has the time to bring out clean pants. You can be airing out your privates for several days before that happens. Days without food and no showering for weeks is also standard in a grunt’s life.

    When fighting, you have to go all out with a major attitude as you constantly maneuver for better positions for accurate shots. At times that takes some blazing sprinting while under fire. If a buddy goes down, you have to get him to cover as fast as possible, and at times that means dragging him with one hand while firing your weapon with the other. Medics are always targeted by the enemy so infantry grunts are responsible to each other for rescuing. You will quickly run out of medics if they had to do the dragging.

    Women in combat will most certainly be a disaster for a line unit. People will die because someone behind some desk thought females in a gunfight is a good idea. It’s unit suicide.

    • LibertarianToo

      Sorry, women have been in all these situations, just usually without training or arms.

      • Sprickoló Tömegek

        So were children.

        • 1proactive2

          Uh, sure they have. Now call your therapist and explain to him or her your meds aren’t working.

        • ziggy zoggy

          Children aren’t capable of anything 1proactive2 described.

      • 1proactive2

        Can a woman thrown a full grown man over her shoulder and run with him while under fire or to get him to a dustoff quick? I’m talking about a recognizable female as opposed to a genetic anomaly.

        When “she” has him over her shoulder, could she run with him after 3 days with no food in her gut, and no water for 24 hrs. while firing her weapon?

        Could she go hand to hand with an adrenaline filled enemy fighter, and kill him? What about 2 or 3 of them?

        When “she” witnessed a man pull out his crank to take a whiz or if he had to take a dump, would she cry sexual harassment and bring charges? If she tried she’d get her backside beaten senseless before she got the paperwork done. Treachery isn’t taken lightly in a fighting unit, and trust would dissolve. Without trust you no longer have a viable fighting unit.

        As far as “women” being in all these situations, you’re full of fecal material. Use your imagination for Hollyweird. And stay off the pipe.

        • Sealdoc

          I don’t know! Dummi Moore rescued her SEAL instructor… ;-)

          • 1proactive2

            Hence, my comment about Hollyweird.

      • ziggy zoggy

        Women have been in all these situations? Only in comic books and Hollywood.

    • MarilynA

      You didn’t mention that other problem that men don’t have. How do these women in combat handle their monthly need for Kotex and Tampax?

      • Marlin B. Newburn

        Good point, but I didn’t see any need to bring it up. Since you did, however, imagine what not being able to clean up for a few weeks after that natural monthly episode. Then there are leeches and other insects that loved damp areas of body cavities. I’d better stop there.

        For the imaginary GI Jane, calling in sick is out of the question as are complaints about menstrual pain.

        When a man had some ailment to include snakebite, leeches on the privates, jiggers under the skin (which caused a nasty reaction) we used to joke, “Suck it up, troop, war is hell”. In my rifle company, never once did any man fall out.

        Airborne.

      • Marlin B. Newburn

        I wrote a reply affirming your mention, but apparently it hasn’t passed the censor’s screening. At least not yet. Nothing therein was extreme or intentionally vulgar. What I wrote was that not being able to wash or take a break due to illness brought on by menses could be allowed nor would the female be allowed to wash when necessary. You can’t give away your position with unnecessary stops, and you must keep the unit moving at all times. Even short term stops are very dangerous since the enemy would learn your position, and take the time to gather their own units to attack.

        What I also added was that line troops (combat units) are always hit with various bugs, but you have to “soldier on” regardless of the problem. We would razz each other with the phrase, “Suck it up, troop. War his hell.”

        One last thing related to your post was that hygiene takes a hit, of course, but in third world countries, insects and parasites take refuge in crevices of humans. Gobs of leeches on the testicles was especially a problem in Nam, but so were the lice and various others. We don’t fight in clean countries. The pests, bugs, and creepy-crawlers would congregate in places in and on the body that you wouldn’t believe. Now think of a woman’s anatomy.

        Women can’t endure even the rigors of a combat mission, let alone actual fighting. They are physically incapable, and close-in gunfights will test even the toughest troop at times. It’s indescribably savage and brutal. Truly, I can’t describe it. Words escape.

      • 1proactive2

        I have written two responses to your question, but thus far, they both haven’t passed the censor’s review. Can’t figure out why since they weren’t gross or insulting in any way.

  • joesph

    in the jungle we can smell you very well….

    • 1proactive2

      That comment is very accurate. Smelling the enemy is very real, and the NVA gave off a particular odor. Maybe it was their diet, but get downwind and you can pick up the scent. A problem was that in a jungle, there is little “wind” due to heavy foliage. Still, they stunk.

      Shaving while in the field was rare, and if done out of a stream due to bug infestation, it was only with water – no soap, and definitely with no shaving cream. The shaving cream took up space in a rucksack, it left foam to drift downstream for possible detection by the enemy, and it gave you a distinct smell that could be detected for over a hundred meters.

      Suffice to say, we stunk, real bad, just like the jungle, and after several weeks in the bush, we were eventually flown to a rear area for rest and resupply. When we got off the choppers we stripped down right away, and threw our ripped-up, filthy, worn-out fatigues into a pile where they were set alight. Rear echelon guys laughed while telling us how ripe we smelled. They smelled like perfume to us.

      A folding table was set up next to a stream, and piled upon it were bars of Dial soap. Each guy grabbed a bar and jumped in the stream. The bath, with leeches galore attaching to us, was absolutely great. The feeling of clean was amazing.

      A pile of clean fatigues was nearby on a tarp, and you just went through it to find your size. No new fatigues were ever given since they smelled strongly of whatever chemicals the factory used to make them.

      We then went to a mess tent to gorge on hot food, all we could possibly stuff down. Hamburgers tasted like Porterhouse steaks, and scalloped potatoes were 5 star heavenly. Hot coffee, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, and mayo gave some great taste to the wonderful edibles. These were absolute luxuries.

      If the ladies can tolerate even this, it would be a miracle.

  • joesph

    and the only women left in America will be the hollywood idiots and the fat black broads who can’t walk five feet…..

    • jackcb

      And don’t forget Obama’s two daughters!!!

      • Jameseo

        They would fall into the previously mentioned category “fat black broads”.

      • Sealdoc

        I hear that the Iranians have plans for them.

  • ADM64

    The problem with this article – and the other reason (beyond fear of being labelled sexist) that opposing these policies is hard – is that “wolf” has been cried before when combat jobs in the air force and navy were opened to women (along with many close combat support jobs in the army and marines) and adovcates for broader roles for military women claimed no disaster resulted. Standards were lowered in all of those areas too (women can’t carry a wounded male sailor up a ship’s ladder, a standard damage control task).Even organizations like CMR state that women are doing okay in these roles (although “okay” is usually somewhat qualified) and implicitly accept the “no disaster resulted” narrative. Of course, no disaster has resulted because the force hasn’t been stressed in ways that would test it. That, though, is somewhat irrelevant and so it is hard to say that the policy has failed and therefore should not be continued, especially when the military swears on a stack of Bibles that only “qualified” women are admitted to these roles. Indeed, that is their trump card: we will only take the qualified ones. Of course, that isn’t remotely true. Until or unless one emphasizes that the coed military is a flawed institution that has already compromised its standards, and lies about it, in other words until one is willing to note that the women are not equal to the men and not held to the same standards even in their current roles, it is impossible to argue effectively against expanding these policies. If this means bashing military women – something CMR will not do – then so be it. The feminists have no scruples about lying when it comes to the performance of women; we should have none about telling the truth, and should not fear being called sexist. Indeed, if “sexism” means recognizing actual differences, then there are a lof of people (men and women) who would qualify.

    Morale, cohesion, trust and physical performance may be particularly important in the ground forces, but ultimately they matter in all the other ones. Classes of warriors is a very bad idea.

    Fraternization, pregnancy, sexual misconduct (consensual), and sexual assault are major problems in the military. We have all the disciplinary problems of an all-male force, with all sorts of new ones due to the presence of women (and gays). Women suffer injuries at higher rates even in so-called support jobs than do men (as the article acknowledges), again having an effect on readiness and increasing personnel costs. Readiness is also affected by pregnancy to a significant but under-acknowledged degree. Morale has suffered from double-standards, speech codes, PC-dictated diversity and sensitivity training, and physical fitness is less than it once was due to lower standards. Ultimately, it is hard to say that effectiveness has not been compromised, or that we are as effective as we would be with an all-male force. These points should be emphasized.

    We also need to remember that the armed forces are in their entirety supposed to be combat organizations. Combat support is simply a functional designation; the troops should be capable of replacing nominally combat troops in the case of loss, attack on rear areas and the like. Otherwise, there is no depth and no ability to absorb casualties. In all our wars in the past, support troops were regularly brought into the line as necessary.
    Finally, we need to emphasize that we have fought wars against totally non-competitive, non-peer enemies, and we have still managed to mostly lose them. One reason, I would suggest, is that we have developed – in the military as much as in the civilian world – wholly false view of what war is. That’s why we think we can put women into it. Until that changes, all the of the weakening of the military wrought by a coed force will only be one other factor in our continued inability to win wars.

    • 1proactive2

      Your comment: “One reason, I would suggest, is that we have developed – in the military as much as in the civilian world – wholly false view of what war is.”

      Now that was staggeringly accurate.

    • MarilynA

      My grandson just finished a stint in Afghanistan under a female Captain. He said she was so dumb that even the lowliest grunts made fun of her behind her back. A typical training session consisted of her passing out copies of an article and then standing up in front of them and reading said article. And look at what that female general let happen at Abu Grab. From what I have heard, affirmative auctioning female incompetents into leadership positions will get a lot of our GI killed.

      • KatieNorcross

        In the old days an officer like that would have been found after a patrol with a shot in the head or back. Never by friendly fire, but by the enemy. Or so they said.

  • CowboyUp

    If the objective is to reduce the effectiveness of the military, and drive up casualties to help them undermine a war effort, everything the dp does to the military makes sense. They were actually dismayed by how low our casualties were in the Gulf War and Afghanistan, and were lamenting how our technology made waging war too easy and painless for us. They’re out to ‘fix’ that.
    The leaders of the democrat party have expressed their “loathing” of the US military in the past, as well as the kind of people who serve in it. So do their supporters. It’s obvious their opinion hasn’t changed.

    • Softly Bob

      Of course Obama’s regime wants to undermine the U.S.military. It’s obvious.

      Bring in women and homosexuals to weaken it, and bring in stupid rules (like court-marshaling troops for desecrating copies of the Qu’ran) in order to reduce morale. Other legislation, such as taking money from war veterans, or cutting the defense budget makes the military an undesirable and exceptionally dangerous career.

      Obama despises the U.S. military and he will do everything he can to turn it into a laughing stock.

      I expect the future U.S. Army to consist of troops of lesbians and drag queens armed with feather dusters (to cut ammunition costs). They will all have vegan food rations, be paid minimum wage and be expected to swear allegiance to the Rainbow flag. They will be made to face the Taliban by throwing buckets of pink confetti at them so as not to cause unnecessary injury to the enemy!

  • John Cornelson

    Dempsey appears to be Obama’s toadie, blindly agreeing to anything the master strategist envisions, regardless of the impact on the services whom he should be defending or the Constitution he supposedly swore to uphold and defend. It would be refreshing to find an officer over the grade of Lieutenant Colonel who had enough backbone to say ” hell no, this is bad for the service and bad for the country and I won’t do it”. But I guess falling on your sword over principles has gone out of favor.

  • seewithyourowneyes

    Meritocracy is the goose that lays the capitalist’s golden eggs. Even a deeply flawed meritocracy, like ours, easily bests the central planning model of job allocation. Those who find the free world’s success to be “an inconvenient truth” are naturally eager to dismantle our meritocracy and our objectivity along with it. After all, anyone who can be convinced that strength and speed are irrelevant in battle will be equally willing to believe that “forward” is any direction the Left tells you to go.

  • 1proactive2

    One unwritten rule of a fighting platoon is that you have to carry your food and water, and NEVER ask for someone else’s when you run out. It’s not, “if, it’s, “when”. You’ll risk your life for a buddy in combat without hesitation, but as far as your daily necessaries, that’s up to you. “Carrying your weight” is everything in a fighting unit.

  • ziggy zoggy

    They would get good men killed in a mixed se x unit. Put them in all female units and use them as shock troops (cannon fodder.) an all female unit could’ve be relied on to accomplish any other goal.

  • ziggy zoggy

    Last year the Marines opened infantry training to women for the first time. Out of the entire corps, only two women volunteered-because women don’t want to fight. Despite using standards for women that were ridiculously lower than those for the men, both women failed miserably. This year the standards were lowered even further with the same result: Only two women volunteered and both flunked out quickly and in disgrace.

    G.I. Jane was a fucking movie. Wonder Woman is a comic book.

    • hiernonymous

      Have they lowered the standards since you went through that training?

  • Miss Mouse

    We can but hope that most women will have the sense to realise what a hindrance they would be in a combat situation. This one would.

  • MarilynA

    What was wrong with the old system where women served in the WACs and Waves and men in the Army and Navy? Women served in support jobs so the men could be free to do the heavy lifting and fighting. While there may have been a purpose for the Woman’s lib movement, it has now reached the same point as Unions and the Civil rights movement. Once they realized they had the power to change things they began to push for special rights and privileges. I warned those stupid women when they started this woman’s Lib thing that it would nullify laws on the books to protect women and children and that men would use their newfound “rights” to punish them. This is just one example.

  • onecornpone

    More of our “transformation”, I suppose.
    I can’t wait to see Hillary and FLOTUS in camo…

    Theater of the absurd!?!

  • KatieNorcross

    Give the Progressives a few years and the US Military will be unable to win a war against any dictator in the world.

  • Gamal

    If women demand equality they should get it and that includes being shot in combat.

    • trapper

      “Women” aren’t demanding this–Liberals are.

    • Lorilu

      The trouble with that point of view is that women getting equality in combat will get men killed.

  • Sussex Girl

    Um, there’s a reason that male and female Olympic athletes don’t compete against each other. In the name of diversity, let’s have male and female athletes compete against each other, and what will happen? There will never be another woman on the medal platform. We gals will never outrun or outjump a man in track and field, never outlift a man in weightlifting, never outswim a man in swimming competition. OK, maybe not NEVER, but how many women will medal against male competitors? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but the only Olympic event where men and women compete on par is in the equestrian events. Well, yeah, the horse is doing most of the heavy work.

    So if male and female athletes don’t compete against each other in events where nobody is supposed to die, explain to me again why we want women in combat where soldiers ARE in life-and-death situations?

    • 1proactive2

      Now yours was a great post.

  • trapper

    Now we have to get the enemy to lower its combat capability so that it matches soon to be lower US combat standards. It is not too much to expect the Taliban to “respect diversity”, is it?

  • Athling

    As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse. — U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George Casey commenting on the Fort Hood massacre.

  • herb benty

    So if America does have to ever send out an army to meet the enemy, half of our “soldiers” will be women?! The enemy will salivate and cheer, “thanks Obama”.

  • ThomasER916

    If men and women competed against one another in the Olympics there would be no women competing in the Olympics. If you had a woman on your team and her failures cost you to lose your life would you join the team? Or would you keep quite in the name of “diversity” and “feminism”?

  • ForTheLesser

    I’m all for opening combat positions to women in the military, because their exclusion from this is the reason 18-25 year old women are exempt from registering for the Selective Service. The SC will have to review this soon and realize its unconstitutional. It’ll either require women to register as well, or do away with SS registration and give a lame excuse that we don’t need it.