On the Memorial Day holiday weekend an article appeared,
British Army to rethink ban on women in combat. This brings up a subject that is likely to emerge in the U.S. as well, especially given the present political climate. This concerns me as a citizen, a father of daughters and a combat veteran.
So what’s wrong with women in combat? A lot. And it’s much more than a question of a woman’s ability to carry a heavy load. My objections to this idea stem from the cultural changes required to accept women in a combat role.
My main objection is that men (at least in my generation) are taught to honor and protect women and children. Boys are taught not to hit girls. I think this makes good sense and is an essential element of our civilization. Sending women into combat utterly destroys this taboo.
In a war, particularly in modern insurgency situations, where much of the fighting is done within civilian occupied areas, a civilized armed force will seek to minimize casualties among women and children. But now, suppose that our armed forces and those of our enemies begin to employ women and children as combatants. Now the moral duty to protect women is shattered. After all, they’re represented by fellow soldiers and the enemy.
In our most recent wars, the U.S. military has exerted extraordinary efforts to avoid targeting women and children. This is a very inconvenient thing for soldiers to have to contend with — but it is the right thing, and they know it.
Ask any infantryman who’s fought in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan what it felt like to be approached by a possibly threatening female who might be carrying a live grenade. What would be the moral and emotional consequence of shooting that woman? The situation has occurred all too many times. It’s ugly beyond description. Bringing females into combat roles leaves only one choice, shoot and kill the woman. And what’s next. Children?
Are western countries really so feminized that they can’t find men to fight their wars? I find that hard to believe. In WW-II the U.S. had a population (1940) of 132 million and fielded an armed force of 11.9 million. With our current population of 304 Million we’re straining to field 2.7 million in active and reserve forces.
The consequences of allowing females into combat are not good.
1) Making women combatants destroys the civilized virtue requiring protection of women and children by men. This is the paramount reason to reject involving women in military combat.
2) As shown by female casualties in the current Iraq war, the death of a woman soldier all too often produces orphans, since many of these are single mothers.
3) Women are not suited by temperament or by physical characteristics for the highly aggressive, ultra-violent pursuit of victory in battle. Much of an army’s success depends upon intimidation of the enemy. A force composed of women is far less intimidating than one consisting of macho men. Intimidation of the enemy saves lives in wartime.
4) Feminization of warfare emasculates men in a culture that already discourages duty to defend country and freedom. We need women to be mothers, children to be children. Warfare takes a toll on all participants — it is not a toll that women should ever suffer. Let the men take care of the ugly duties of warfare for which they are suited by biology and civilization.