Not everybody thinks women in the infantry is a good thing

Three Soldiers statue by Frederic Hart at the Vietnam Memorial.

Three Soldiers statue by Frederic Hart at the Vietnam Memorial.

Of course, none of them are among the payroll patriots that run things in Washington. But The Weekly Standard dug in to the story and found out where the neanderthals who resist this shiny progressive bauble of an idea hang out.

As it happens, they are, or were, in ground combat units. To be specific, in the infantry (although how you can be a tanker or artillery crew member — note our use of politically-correct, sex-neutral verbiage — without being able to toss 100-lb. shells around like footballs is beyond us, too).

One is Sergeant James Robert Webb, who served as an infantryman in Ramadi in 2006 and 2007. The 31-year-old son of former Democratic senator, secretary of the Navy, and Vietnam war hero Jim Webb took to his blog to describe how the change would harm combat effectiveness and unit cohesion. The Marine explained that a noninfantry convoy unit engaging in combat if attacked​—​returning fire and getting to safety​—​is different from the infantry fulfilling its mission to “close with and destroy hostile forces.” Furthermore, the infantry demands the utmost from Marines in terms of physical strength, endurance, attitude, and group loyalty and bonding. “More to the point, if the calculus is altered, our people, my peers, die,” wrote Webb.

rangerette-benjamin“The major concern is with women in infantry units,” Webb tells me in an email. “This is a subject which comes up every time I get together with combat veterans​—​from any branch of service. The message is an unequivocal ‘No, this should not happen.’ I have yet to receive an email, comment, text message, etc. from anyone who has served in a combat unit who supports this decision by DoD.”

The public supports the change​—​66 percent, according to a Pew poll​—​but the view from inside the infantry is very different. “The overarching opinion is one of confusion and disillusionment with the decision, not just in my age group, but among those who fought wars before us in Vietnam as well,” Webb reports. “Guys just don’t understand the rationale behind it, and moreover, there’s a general feeling that those who have been fighting our wars weren’t consulted on the decision.”

via Congress Goes AWOL | The Weekly Standard.

We’ll go with Webb. The Standard goes on to show how the military is already gaming the supposedly “gender-neutral” standards so that the term is a Newspeak style self-refutation.

Another of the former servicemen (and some women) who are fighting this is California Rep. Duncan Hunter. Hunter fears that the standards will slip to meet the political mission, and plans to offer an amendment requiring such standards as may be set to be universally applicable:

“There’s going to be extreme pressure to lower the standards to make sure there’s a quota met in these combat units,” says Hunter. “I think that’s unavoidable. I think that pressure is going to exist, and our military leaders under this administration are going to acquiesce to that pressure.”

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has already suggested standards might be lowered if women can’t meet them. “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?” Dempsey said during a January 24 press conference.

No one who’s seen Dempsey in action over the last few years is under any illusion that he has the slightest reservoir of moral courage, or the least inclination to resist any brainstorm of his political lords and masters. He used his talents at toadying to rise to the top of his profession, where he finally had some authority but couldn’t exercise it, because the character of a toady was imprinted upon him, soul deep.

7 thoughts on “Not everybody thinks women in the infantry is a good thing

  1. Aesop

    The strongest 1% of women are weaker than 84% of men.
    But don’t believe me.

    William Gregor, professor of social sciences at the Army’s Command and General Staff College, reports that in tests of aerobic capacity, the records show, only 74 of 8,385 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps women attained the perfomance level of even the lowest 16 percent of men.
    In his examination of physical fitness test results from the ROTC, dating back to 1992, and 74,000 records of male and female commissioned officers, only 2.9 percent of women were able to attain the men’s average pushup ability and time in the two-mile run. (For the math-challenged, that means 97.1% of women were below average. And common sense means half of them are horrendously below average.)

    So, just out of curiousity, what do they call the bottom 16% of performers at Ranger training, Airborne School, or SF Selection?
    And what do those places tell people who can’t complete their pushups or make their run times? I’m spitballing here, but I don’t think any of the phrases used sound anything like “Welcome to the club!”

    “USMC Women in the Service Restrictions Review” found that women, on average, have 20 percent lower aerobic power, 40 percent lower muscle strength, 47 percent less lifting strength and 26 percent slower marching speed than men.

    Quick, let’s name an MOS or five that might conceivably require aerobic power, strength, lifting, and marching.

    So when one is pinned down under fire, and waiting 26% longer for their relief to arrive on foot because they have women slowing them down, what should we call that? (Other than an unbudgeted need for buglers and pallbearers at Arlington.)

    The “fight load” — the gear an infantryman carries on patrol — is 35 percent of the average man’s body weight but 50 percent of the average Army woman’s weight. Because tragically, packs, water cans, ammo loads, pyro, demo, and MREs don’t come in junior miss sizes, even if the troops carrying those loads do.

    And something like more than 90% of the women actually tested in their military service lack the basic strength to throw the crushingly heavy 1 pound M67 frag grenade far enough away to escape self-injury from its casualty producing radius of shrapnel.

    Despite this, the four-star invertebrates and the legislative and executive knobs they slob with such talent, finesse, and service-destructive abandon, seem hell-bent on saddling combat arms units with a failureproof quota of guaranteed slamdunk hopelessly unqualified, mostly unwilling, and all-around foolishly selected members, apparently solely on the dual theories of warfare best entitled
    “Hey, we did it before, and Vietnam didn’t turn out so bad for us” and
    “Women In Combat Arms: What could possibly go wrong?”

    A 155mm arty round weighs 95 pounds. A tank shell is 44 pounds, and a section of track for an Abrams is around 100 pounds. When Suzy Cupcake can’t lift her pack, her basic ammo component, or her wounded fellow soldier, we’ll see another warm and fuzzy legacy of Vietnam, when the group’s perception is that their group’s survival in combat hinges on getting rid of the weakest links, even at the risk of fighting short-handed, and contrary to the taboo of of murder: they’ll introduce a growing number of their weaker co-workers to the blast effect radius of the issue frag grenade, by leaving same in the soldierette sleeping areas minus the safety pins. Or just hand them the mortar base plate before each stream crossing, and let Mr. Darwin take care of the problem.

    And the invertebrate command staff will throw their hands to their foreheads and exclaim, “How can this be, for we need women in combat arms in order to win. Just like we needed them in the front line in Mogadischu, Panama, Grenada, Khe Sanh, Ia Drang, Chosin, Pusan, Bastogne, Normandy, Guadalcanal, Meuse-Argonne, San Juan Hill, Gettysburg, Yorktown, and Lexington. Where would we be if Wellingotn’s Amazon Legion had failed us at Waterloo, or if the Sisters of the Holy Tantrum hadn’t stood their ground against the Janissary hordes at the gates of Vienna?

    The difference with this far-beyond-the-pale decision, and the integration of blacks or gays into the force, is that both black servicemembers and gays have the documented fact of actually having performed their service to the exact same standards of their fellow soldiers etc. for years beforehand, an accomplishment which has been accomplished by exactly no woman ever serving, either now or in living memory, in the armed forces of this country since females last snuck into ranks during the Civil War.

    If women could hack it, I’d be the first to hand them a sword and spear, point them towards the enemy lines, and tell them just before the battle that the other side said that their cammies make them look fat.
    But since they not only can’t, but likely never will, due to simple inconquerable physical differences, be able to do the job, the kindest thing to do would be to split their rations and ammo amongst everyone else who can do it, and send the G.I. Janes to the rear, defined as anywhere between Seattle and Savannah.

    But maybe while the men are gone to war, that s.o.b. master sergeant at base ops will finally have soldiers who can clean, wax, mop, and dust a barracks well enough to get him to STFU.

      1. Aesop

        Thanks. Sincerely.
        Like I needed encouragement to jabber (or clack keys) instead of shutting up.
        http://www.raconteurreport.blogspot.com

        I’ve said essentially the same in a number of back-and-forths on blogs like American Mercenary’s and similar, on the same topic.

        I respect the current experience and opinions of AM and the like, and the fact that he’s a serving officer helping run a combat arms (infantry?) Bn at a base that I believe has a name that rhymes with Ft. Lewis.

        Whereas my service days are now (and, hopefully, continue to stay) back in the late Pliestocene, rattling Uncle Sam’s saber at the borders of countries like Nicaragua and Norkland. Having toted a number (greater than the sum of my thumbs) of those 95# artillery bullets on my decidedly average-sized shoulders simultaneously, and seeing my current red-legged brethren patrolling A-stan as howitzerless provisional rifle platoons in desert Marpat, I think I’ve got a handle on what the standards should be, and why.

        Suffice it to say, he and I disagree somewhat. I don’t think even he sees a place for women in combat arms, though we’ve traded some interesting free-range commentary. Whereas I have trouble seeing a place for them anywhere unless DoD comes to Jesus, drops the sugar-coated standards once and for all, and simply lets in anyone, anywhere who can meet the current (male) standard, no fudge factor, period.

        My opinion has multiple virtues, not least of which is that it would make a 10% strength drawdown as simple as running a service-wide PRT this week, then one remedial one in 30 days, and then cutting walking papers for the 97% who’d fail to (literally) get over the bar either time.

        Some people inside and out would get their panties in a twist over DoD having to make the various services’ Nurse Corps the equivalent of the Civil Air Patrol once again, but as a representative of that profession too, my attitude is, they’ll all get over it.

        Then I wake up, and realize instead, we’re destined to near-future Reader’s Digest stories about cute 93-pound corporals raped, maimed, and blown to hell, and worse, their shortcomings leading directly to shrieking headlines about how “Spec. Suzy cost my son’s platoon their lives!”, by which time Hopey Dopey will be pulling $100K/speech on the rubber chicken circuit, and we’ll be getting internet stories and post office handbill postings like “10 ways to spot suicide bombers at the supermarket”. And hopefully they’re still being written in English, rather than Spanish, Mandarin, or whatever. But at least Playboy’s pictorial on “Women of the 82nd Airborne” will get a lot more interesting.

    1. Hognose Post author

      For something that cannot be denied, they’re sure trying hard to deny it. But I think your point is that the Gods of the Copybook Headings will have the last laugh, and a bitter and evil laugh it will be. ‘Cause they’s how they roll.

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