The greatest war correspondent of our day — and one that rivals the greatest our country has ever produced — Michael Yon has published this fantastic piece by G.S. Newbold, Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret.) on the Seven Myths of Women in Combat.
Obama has a clear hatred of the US Military: both the men and women who serve as well as their mission. And destroying it in anyway he can is one of his primary goals while in office. From the large and obvious (defunding the hell out if), to the actions that destroy moral and hurt recruiting/retention efforts (eliminating tuition assistance for active duty Soldiers), to the more subtle: allowing women the choice of serving in the infantry.
Gen. Newbold spells out in very clear language while this experiment in social engineering (and make no doubts about it — that is precisely what this is) is a bad idea by demolishing some popular myths about “women in combat.”
The first of which is “It’s about women in combat.”
No, it’s not. Women are already in combat, and are serving well and professionally. The issue should be more clearly entitled, “Women in the infantry.” And this is a decidedly different proposition.
The next 6 points made by the General — who served 32 years as a Marine infantryman, commanding units from platoon to the 1st Marine Division. His final assignment before retiring in 2002 was as director of operations for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff — address why women in the Infantry is just a bad idea.
Having served as a Combat Medic in a Support Battalion that had a large number of female Soldiers — having trained side-by-side with female soldiers in our Combat Medic AIT (women who were not held to the same physical standards as their male counterparts), I can assure you that having most of these women serve as the sole combat medic in a platoon (often the case) would get people killed. To include the female medic.
The new rules for allowing women in the infantry includes the caveat that they meet the “minimum” physical qualifications of male infantry members. Gen. Newbold slaps this one down as a setback for truly talented and capable female Soldiers in their quest for promotion and leadership roles:
Myth #3 – “If they pass the physical standards, why not?”
Physical standards are important, but not nearly all of the story. Napoleon – “The moral (spirit) is to the physical as three is to one.”
Unit cohesion is the essence of combat power, and while it may be convenient to dismiss human nature for political expediency, the facts are that sexual dynamics will exist and can affect morale. That may be manageable in other environments, but not in close combat.
Any study of sexual harassment statistics in this age cohort – in the military, academia, or the civilian workplace — are evidence enough that despite best efforts to by sincere leaders to control the issue, human instincts remain strong. Perceptions of favoritism or harassment will be corrosive, and cohesion will be the victim.
And Myth #5 – “Opening the infantry will provide a better pathway to senior rank for the talented women.”
Not so. What will happen is that we will take very talented females with unlimited potential and change their peer norm when we inject them into the infantry.
Those who might meet the infantry physical standard will find that their peers are expected, as leaders, to far exceed it (and most of their subordinates will, as well).
So instead of advancing to a level appropriate to their potential, they may well be left out.
Exactly. During direct ground combat, I don’t want the solider with whom I’m sharing a position to have barely met the “minimum” standard of physical capability. And if you’re scoring a 180 on your PT test, you’re not going to be a platoon or squad leader on your own merit.
And this final point is truly the meat of why women should not be permitted to serve in Infantry units:
Direct ground combat, such as experienced in the frozen tundra of Korea, the rubble of Stalingrad, or the endless 30-day jungle patrols against a grim foe in Viet Nam, is the harshest meritocracy — with the greatest consequences — there is.
And psychology in warfare is germane – the force that is respected (and, yes, feared) has a distinct advantage.
Will women in our infantry enhance a psychological advantage, or hinder it?
The simple and honest answer is “hinder it.”