Posted January 30th, 2013 @ 9:00am
It’s not culture, it’s testosterone.
The issue with women in the infantry is not an oppressive, discriminatory, paternalistic, misogynist society, it’s testes.
If you have them, you have more testosterone.
If you have more testosterone, you are stronger.
And more savage.
And in some jobs, it’s good to be strong.
And that is nowhere more true than in the infantry and in the Special Forces. At the end of it all, somebody’s got to fight the last 100 yards, to close with and kill the enemy, sometimes hand to hand, in a contest of sheer brute force.
This isn’t about glass ceilings, it’s about which one of you can pummel the other into unconsciousness, which one of you can overpower the other and inflict a mortal wound.
A soldier or Marine in the infantry has to be able to pick up his wounded 200-pound buddy and carry him, and his equipment, and run across a battlefield, while continuing to fire at the enemy.
If you can’t hump your 80-pound ruck 15 miles through the woods, you don’t get the patch.
And women can’t do that.
In fact, most men can’t do that.
And that’s not discrimination, that’s fact.
Last week there was much hyperventilating hoopla on the evening news as the idiots reading the TelePrompTers gushed about equality in the military. At last, women would be allowed in combat.
Then any number of dopes talked about how women already were in combat. Each one repeated the assertion that there are no front lines anymore, and that every soldier was potentially, at any moment, in combat.
Those things are true, but they are not new – it’s been that way since Vietnam – and they are not really relevant to what really happened.
The Great Obama was not putting women “in combat,” he was putting them in “combat arms.” Unfortunately, it seemed not a single reporter, anchor, government official or supposed expert knew what that meant.
It’s not a status, or a physical location relative to battle or danger, it’s a job classification.
It meant that, with the scribble of a pen, women are to be allowed in tank, infantry and artillery units. The Army Rangers, the Navy SEALS, the Air Force rescue jumpers, all of them, must now prepare a plan to admit women. The basic structure of the war-fighting Army and Marine Corps was changed.
Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.
And the Diane Sawyers of the world just about exploded with I-am-woman-hear-me-roar glee. Not since Obama promised free birth control have women been so empowered.
The problem is, in this entire “news” event, there was a bunch of bull crap and not very much reality.
So here’s the reality.
Women have served in America’s military efforts since the Revolution. As wars came and society changed, the role of women became greater and they became more involved in direct fighting. All through that history, these women have served with honor, courage and distinction. There is no gender difference when it comes to patriotism, bravery, integrity or sacrifice.
And all soldiers are soldiers first. Your military job might be in finance or nursing, supply or intelligence, but your fundamental identity is as a soldier – a gun-shooting, war-fighting soldier – or sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman. When the crap hits the fan, everybody picks up a gun and fights.
Women and men alike.
And when the toll of heroes is taken, when flag-draped caskets come home, the names of men and women alike are found.
The service is equal, the sacrifice is equal, the debt we owe is equal.
A woman in the military is not a second-class GI, she is a bona fide American hero – by virtue of the uniform she has earned the right to wear.
Yes, women fight, and they fight well.
But while we’re dealing with reality, let’s remind ourselves of the reality that certain intense, elite military jobs have extraordinarily high physical standards. Standards which disqualify most of the highly prepared men who try to qualify. Standards which, if we’re honest, are not realistically within the reach of any but the most robust and unusual women.
There is a television show currently popular among those fond of the military. It is called “Surviving the Cut,” and it shows what it’s like to go through various military schools, like Army Ranger School, Marine Corps Recon School and Air Force Pararescue School.
To get into these schools, students – all men – have to be among the most elite, fit, intelligent and physically powerful members of their service. Before you walk through the front door, you’ve already demonstrated that you are a 1-in-100 soldier. The weak and average have long since been rejected.
And from classes composed of male GIs that qualified – that physically strong – large majorities are disqualified because they can’t keep up physically. Their bodies don’t have the ability.
Very few men can meet the physical standards necessary to pass these schools and join these units.
And almost no women could.
That reality has to be acknowledged.
And a pledge must be made not to lower standards, and thereby limit combat effectiveness, in order to get women through the schools and into the units.
That isn’t discrimination, that’s common sense. And going against it will cost American lives.
You can put an unqualified soldier in a position, but you’ve got to understand that in doing so you endanger her and the soldiers with whom she serves.
In the Army physical fitness standards, a 21-year-old male has to do 71 push-ups to get 100 points in that portion of his fitness test. A 21-year-old female only has to do 42 push-ups. He does 71 and she does 42 and they both get 100, but he’s still a hell of a lot stronger than she is.
And most of the time that doesn’t matter.
In an infantry unit, however, when you’re lugging ammunition and guns and rucksacks and radios and your wounded buddy, it matters.
On the running portion of the Army fitness test, that same 21-year-old male must run two miles in 13 minutes to get 100 points. The same-age female can run it more than two and a half minutes slower – 15:36 – and she still gets 100 points.
When you’ve got to run through a hostile area under enemy fire, the fact one of you is slower is a big deal.
These different standards aren’t meant to discriminate against men, or to artificially inflate women’s physical fitness scores, they are meant to reflect the reality that men are men and women are women, and our differences are deeper than how we urinate.
They are meant to reflect the fact that testosterone counts.
Not on most things, but on some important things.
Namely, physical strength.
No one questions the bravery of the American fighting woman. Or her patriotism, intelligence or honor. Our freedom was bought with the blood of our sisters just as assuredly as it was bought with the blood of our brothers.
And no one should hold back the ambition and legitimate achievement of female GIs. They are stunningly professional and completely competent.
But there are a few military jobs, a few war-fighting tasks, that nature may not have endowed many women – or most men – with the capability to perform.
That’s just a fact.
And it should not be ignored in order to satisfy the fantasies of politicians and reporters who don’t really know what they’re talking about.