US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women fighting in frontline combat, which has been in place within the Army and Marine Corps since 1994. “Not everyone is going to be able to be a combat soldier. But everyone is entitled to a chance,” Panetta said before signing a document ending the ban. The decision comes largely due to a dwindling number of military servicemen and overwhelming pressures to conform to what society deems as “fairness.” President Barrack Obama has since hailed the move to lift the ban on women on the frontlines as “historic” and “another step toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals of fairness and equality.” Women have played a vital role in protecting our nation’s freedom for many years and there are undoubtedly many female combat veterans who have more than proved themselves as battle-hardened soldiers, but what will happen when women are suddenly integrated within frontline combat units? As a military veteran and a avid people watcher, I will argue that the human element will prevail, men will be men and women will be women, all at the expense of the mission.
What is Fairness?
This notion of fairness keeps popping up again and again and it sounds great from the outside because we all do deserve a fair shake, but let’s take a deeper look. The word fairness of course means equality for all. You will have no argument against that. What I will argue against is that certain circumstances and situations call for equality based on ability alone, not by forced integration based solely on sex, race or any other qualifier.
We’ve seen this with Affirmative Action, where an under-qualified candidate will get extra points on a test for the Fire Department or Police Force and still make the cut over other candidates simply because he/she received extra points for being a minority and/or female. Forced “fairness” also rears its ugly head when an employer has positions to fill and is required by law to hire a certain number of minorities and a certain number of females regardless of how many minorities or females actually apply. In these situations, where is the fair shake for all? It’s fairness by their definition through the use of force instead of true equal opportunity based on ability and performance alone.
Women in Frontline Combat – Chivalry is not Dead
In the age-old battle of the sexes, men and women have a hard enough time working together in office environments without our natural instincts and biological makeup interfering with getting a job done. That’s not to say men and women can’t work together in a cohesive work environment, but bullets aren’t whizzing by your head while at the copy machine and you won’t accidently trigger and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) at the water cooler.
From an early age, little boys are taught never to hit a woman, always protect women, and act as a gentleman around their female counterparts. This is instilled in our society’s genetic makeup and rooted within our very core. Work environments are supposed to be this homogenized asexual meeting of the minds where men and women work together cohesively and gender roles have supposedly become a thing of the past. Look around your office at any given moment. Do males go out of their way to hold doors open and lift heavy things for female employees? Do they treat the women in the office slightly different than their male counterparts? Do they jump to the rescue whenever they see a woman in need? Of course they do. It’s ingrained into our psyche.
Now add to this scenario the horrors of combat. Multiply the stress of work by a billion and couple that with the possibility of never returning home from a hard day at the office. Do you honestly think women won’t have an effect on the men in the unit when they send a female troop into harm’s way? Do you honestly think the men of that unit won’t be apt to protect her life over that of another man? Do you honestly think men and women living together in such close quarters won’t develop “unprofessional” feelings for each other, which could jeopardize the safety of the entire unit? This undoubtedly compromises the mission as it distracts from the focus of the team as a whole. I was in the military and served in both all-male units and integrated male/female units. There was a very noticeable difference in every aspect including the level of work distractions, unequal punishments, fraternization, overall performance, and mission readiness. Human beings do this crazy thing when you put men and women together. We develop feelings. It’s weird.
Women in Frontline Combat – G.I. Jane is a Movie
While we are on the topic of “fairness,” why are there no women in the NFL? Is it not unfair to exclude females from getting tackled by 300lbs. behemoths? I’m sure an argument for that is somewhere down the line, especially after Augusta National Golf Club was forced to allow female members, but that’s another story altogether. The fact is that men are naturally stronger than women physically. Are there big brute women out there who could beat the hell out of the average Joe? Of course there are. But, put the most elite female MMA fighter against her average male counterpart in a no holds barred match and I’ll put my money on the dude 10 out of 10 times. If that were not the case, men and women wouldn’t have separate sports, women wouldn’t hit from the ladies tees, and women would have to perform at the same level on military physical fitness tests (which they do not). Add to this the hardships of war. I’m 6ft, 220lbs. My girlfriend can’t even budge me when I’m passed out drunk. Would she be able to drag me several miles to safety if I had a sucking chest wound? I’d be as good as dead and she’d be as good as single.
Women in Frontline Combat – Peek a Boo
Another scenario I’m sure our all-knowing government didn’t consider is personal hygiene and close quarters living conditions. During combat situations, soldiers are forced to live in very close quarters with each other, often taking bird baths shoulder to shoulder and using body heat to keep warm. Again, I can only speak of the training exercises I encountered while in a mixed unit with female soldiers, but not only did they have private areas for changing and personal use, but they would return to the rear to take showers in order to prevent infections and other female issues, while the men had to suck it up and drive on. You can see how this would compromise mission effectiveness and undermine morale. Will females in the frontlines have these same luxuries? How will community showers and latrines work in a co-ed combat zone? I guess none of this matters much when “fairness” is at stake.
Moral of the Story
I know I will receive a ton of backlash from this article and that’s okay. Most of the criticism will be from those who have never seen combat or served in the military and that’s okay too. It’s par for the course. I just think at some point we all have to take a step back and think logically before jumping on Obama’s Fairness Express currently departing from The Real World on a one-way trip to Fairtopia.
Here’s a video on the US military lifting the ban on women in frontline combat zones that was reported by terrorist-funded media group, Aljazeera. Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it? I wonder how our enemies will expose our newly added weaknesses.