Panetta’s Parting Punch

Ranger and Rangerette stride forward in step together, into a glorious future!

Ranger and Rangerette stride forward in step together, into a glorious future!

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta never cared much for, or respected, the troops subordinate to him, but he loved him some of the perks, like the million-dollar private-jet commute to the megamillion-dollar California plantation he somehow acquired on a “public servant’s” salary. He couldn’t resist one last gut-punch to the troops on his way out the door: ordering all MOSes in all services open to women.

After all, sexual dimorphism in Homo Sapiens isn’t “settled science,” despite it having been evident in approximately one million years of pre-, proto- and early-human studies.  Nope, it’s “culturally mediated.” Since 1970, we’ve been on a crusade to produce a New Warrior Woman that Trofim Lysenko himself would recognize.

Or, if you’re not buying what Lysenko so effectively sold to Stalin, here’s a quote from a retired Ranger and Infantry Command Sergeant Major, from this long thread at Socnet: “Congress and SECDEF can issues decrees and pass laws … but nothing they say or proclaim will cause a 110 pound female do more than sit on a 100 pound rucksack…”

Here are a few more links:

  • J.D. Johannes, a veteran who has spent a lot of time downrange as an embedded reporter, calls for higher standards. Lots of luck with that; they will be lowered as required to make happy PowerPoint slides.
  • In the Wall Street Journal, Marine combat veteran Ryan Smith makes some observations that the plump, sleek, sybaritic non-combat-veteran Panetta cannot: “Yes, a woman is as capable as a man of pulling a trigger. But the goal of our nation’s military is to fight and win wars. Before taking the drastic step of allowing women to serve in combat units, has the government considered whether introducing women into the above-described situation would have made my unit more or less combat effective?” The politically connected and ambitious Panetta performed national service during the Vietnam War as a deskbound intelligence officer, but did not go to Vietnam.
  • This one is some months old but a good resource: combat engineer officer, and combat veteran,  Katie Petronio gives her perspective on the demands of combat. It’s all worth reading, but here’s one quote: “For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force.”

Petronio is now probably terminal in her grade of major, despite her excellent record, because she  dared to point out that the emperor has no clothes.


6 thoughts on “Panetta’s Parting Punch

  1. Medic09

    Even though the IDF continues to further integrate women in combat roles (until now quite limited), NOTE the following conclusions from a thorough physiological study recently carried out:

    “The lengthy study carried out by the IDF Medical Corps in conjunction with the United States Army Medical Department, states that the physical stress demanded of women in combat roles must be limited. ” And, “Nevertheless, the physical demands on women in combat units have to be reduced by 30% compared to those of the men, especially in endurance training (which demands prolonged effort such as running). As for load carrying – women must not be made to carry more than 30% of their weight and men no more than 40%.”

    So what are these geniuses thinking? The study reported that some of the gender differences had to do with things like bone density – not a factor you can just wish away by blaming it on ‘acculturation’. The IDF concluded that even though they are going to promote further integration, each new role for women will have to be separately scrutinized and tested. In short, the roles that men already fill may not suit women after all. Never mind that many men can’t cut it in combat roles either. No combat soldier will willingly go on patrol with a team or crew member who literally can’t carry their weight.

    The Israeli move is being driven by a social policy and political battle that the Left has been pushing for the last decade. At least SOME caution is being applied. It is pretty obvious that the American move is being done with even greater risk, and less consideration given to the physiological realities, and the fact that the women in uniform aren’t exactly clamoring for this new opportunity.

    More reading here:

    1. Hognose Post author

      Israel is very strange both because of its political history (Labor vs. Reform Zionism) and its political dynamism. The election just over, it looks like an emergent new party racked up a lot of votes because they campaigned on making haredim do national service. Meanwhile, another party (Shas) which is in the right coalition stands on the policy of handouts and no service for haredim.

      The resilience problems we have seen in women, and that MAJ Petronio observed in combat, are due at least in part to male sex hormones being associated with cell and tissue repair, apparently. One supposes we could dose some of these would-be GI Janes with t-tone and one suspects that many of them might be looking for that in the first place.

      There’s a reason women cannot beat men at marathons, given similar preparation. This raises the philosophical question: do we want the absolutely best fit for combat, or do we treat it as a criterion-referenced test where anyone who can score a 70 can get in? In other words, do we want our personnel selection for combat units to resemble more closely the Olympic tryouts, or taking your driving test at the DMV? Is it going to be a tournament, or a checkbox?

      If we choose “checkbox,” then anyone who wants to eat our lunch knows what he has to do.

  2. Justin

    Will there be exceptions for the 18 series Military Occupational Specialties, or Infantry and Special Operations in general? Are you hearing anything on whether or not these branches of the military will be allowed to resist this, and preserve their tried and tested standards?

    1. Hognose Post author

      The Ryan Smith article in the WSJ indicates that infantry and SOF are excepted but nothing I could see in Panetta’s statement says that. It does say the services can keep a separation for specific MOSes or units if they can prove — probably to a panel of bull-dyke Academy grads — that it’s necessary. But it makes it very clear that the default presumption is that it is not necessary, and exceptional evidence will be needed to overcome that presumption.

      But hey, War is Over. The President said that, just like John and Yoko. So the Armed Forces are just one more jobs program, kind of like Americorps with matching clothes.

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