Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

24 January 2013

Women In Combat: 80% Does NOT Equal 100%.

M2RB:  Goo Goo Dolls

I'm not the one who broke you
I'm not the one you should fear
We got to move you, darlin

Demi Moore in GI Jane

If women want to serve in combat roles on the front lines, then they should have to meet the same physical strength requirements that men must...and I say this as a woman.  I don't believe that men are superior to women, but I do think that, in most cases, men are stronger than women.  Why should this matter, you ask?  Well, if you were in a  the proverbial foxhole or injured in a burning building in the midst of a firefight, who would you rather be there if you needed to be carried away from the danger zone?

This IS not a sexist position.   It is no different than, say, which doctor would you rather perform your heart or brain surgery - the one in perfect health or the doctor with an advanced case of Parkinson's Disease.  Remember, one shaky slip and you could be DEAD.

Many feminists believe that men and women are equal and the same.  I, too, am a feminist, but I don't believe that statement can be made on a generalised, blanket level.  Obviously, men cannot have babies (unless they have had a sex change and retained their female reproductive organs).  Most women do not possess the physical strength of most men.  It is farcical, fantastical and delusional to believe otherwise.  Without a doubt, Demi Moore, either in GI Jane or today in a bikini could probably beat Pee-Wee Herman to a bloody pulp...provided, she isn't on whatever drugs she's been taking for the past few years (tragedy).  

Can a woman kill a man without any weapon at all?  Yeppers, and I covered a case of such the other day when a woman suffocated her boyfriend with here super-duper-duperest breasties, but there is a reason that women's preferred method of killing has been poison through out history.  In modern history, women do use weapons like guns, but they rarely if ever use their hands, other body parts, or implements that require physical strength.  On the other hand, men very often strangle use ligatures, break necks, or beat others to a bloody, pulpy death "with their bare hands."  Those are just the facts of life.  Ted Bundy killed dozens of women with a smile and his strength.  Sometimes, he used a tyre iron, but he never (to my knowledge of reported causes of death for Bundy cases), never used a gun.  He didn't have to and, if you study most serial killer cases, they didn't either.
The claim of the women's rights movement was that women were equal to men.  They are....under the law.  This is true of all persons - except for people like those named David Gregory and not former Army Specialist Adam Meckler - regardless of gender, religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.   Is there anyone who actually believes that Thomas Jefferson truly meant that all men and women are equal when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."?  No, and neither did the other signatories...and it has nothing to do with women's equality, slavery or any other social condition. 

Jefferson - and the signatories - meant that "the Creator" created all men equally, as human beings.  They meant that "the Creator" did not create classes or castes of humans.  In other words, King George III was no better than the lowliest of blacksmiths in a rural part of the Colonies.  Verily, none of them expressed any belief that I would be the equal to Tiger Woods on the golf course, RGIII on the turf, Cristiano Ronaldo on the field, or Sachin Tendulkar on the pitch.  Yet, in the United States, all of us - even foreign nationals on American soil - are equal under the law.

If women want to serve in actual combat roles, then they should have to go through the exact same physical rigours and training.  Currently, this is NOT the case. 

In order to enlist into the military, future service members must pass the Physical Fitness Test (PFT).  Let's look at some of the requirements and how they differ for men and women, in some cases.

The Army PFT requires recruits to complete a 15:12 2-mile run or better.  The Rangers prefers a 2 miler in under 13 minutes.  For women in the Marine Corps, the PFT spots them 3:22 minutes off the top for the 17-26 age group, 2:30 minutes in the 27-31 group, 2:36 in the 32-36 group, etc., for the 3-mile run.   The Navy requires a time under 12:51 for males under age 30 and under 15:26 for women under 30.  (I've included all the PRT requirements for men and women below for purposes of comparison and education.)

Next, we can compare the unequal requirements for men and women with regard to push-ups and sit-ups.  While at least 80 are preferred, Army Rangers, who are only men at present, must perform a minimum of 49 push-ups and 59 sit-ups in two minutes.   In the Navy, however,  men under 30 must perform at least 29 push-ups and 38 sit-ups in under 2 minutes, while women the same age must complete 23 push-ups and 32 sit-ups.   Another few examples of the differences in the Navy PFT are that men under 30 must swim 500 yards in less than 12 minutes, while women, under 30, must swim 400 yards in the same time.  Women only have to perform at 80% of the level required of men.  Sorry, my girlfriends, performing at 80% does not represent "equality."

Now, if a woman is going into support services, intelligence, etc, then I don't really have a problem with her only performing at 80% because physical strength - as opposed to overall physical health - is not make or break for her or the lives of her fellow soldiers.   I have NO doubt whatsoever that Lynndie England could have beaten the shit out of Bradley Manning...any day, anywhere, and anyhow.  In contrast, if men and women are equal and both are going to be in combat, then there should be no differences in performance requirements.

I remember seeing a television ad back in the 1990s (I looked for it online, but couldn't find it) that featured a young boy jumping hurdles on a track.   I don't recall the music, specifically, but it was in the same vein as the theme song from "Chariots of Fire."  As the music majestically played,  the boy sailed over the hurdles, gaining confidence, smiling more broadly with each "victory" over a hurdle.  Then, all of a sudden, the loud, screeching of tyres punctured the sublime dream of a child conquering challenging obstacles.  The camera point of view changes from that of a proud parent/teacher/politician cheering in the stands to that of a surprised, shocked, frightened and unprepared child.  Why?

Because these hurdles...


aren't real life...


The combat zone is no place for Affirmative Action.  The enemy is not "child-sized" and neither is the 150-pound gear pack.

Just as lowering testing scores in schools and eligibility requirements for university and graduate schools harm students, who find that they cannot compete in the academic environment and are unprepared for “real life,” making 80% for women the equivalent of 100% for men in the military relative to physical requirements endangers both women and their male colleagues in the combat zone.   The field of combat, especially, is no place for affirmative action.
Finally, no self-respecting feminist or male supporter of women should EVER demand that standards for men be lowered to the 80%-that-counts-as-100%-for-women physical strength requirements.

“Weakening-down” the military in order to accommodate ANYONE should be an anathema to EVERYONE.  

There is no “right” to serve in the military.  The military can legally discriminate and even curb basic civil liberties such as free speech.  Men, who haven’t met military requirements, have been barred from the armed services for centuries.  Ever heard of 4-F?  How about "4-C" - the distinction given to Japanese-Americans during the first years of World War II?  "4-C" meant "enemy of the state" and remember that Medal of Honour winners like the late Senator Daniel Inouye, George Sakato, and Rodney Yano were declared 4-C and prohibited from service until 1943.  Discriminatory?  Absolutely, but President Roosevelt and the military had every legal right to discriminate, as repugnant as it was, because law controlling the armed forces is not the same as that pertaining to civilians.

To become a “Top Gun” jet pilot, for example, one must be a college graduate, meet the physical, psychological and intellectual requirements for admission to officer training school, pass a Federal background check, score a certain percentage on an aptitude test, master subjects such as meteorology, aeronautic theory, principles of flight, etc., become expert in flying - both in simulators on the ground and in planes in the air - pass a rigorous physical exam, succeed at flight assignments, rank at a certain level of proficiency, and “deal coolly with the stress of in-flight emergencies and the added stress of flying under combat conditions,” etc.

The Navy and Air Force can ban a blind African-American lesbian from becoming an Air Force pilot.  Is this discriminatory?  Of course not since sight is fundamentally necessary to function at the level required of a “Top Gun” pilot, including 20/20 vision.  An Army interpreter/translator must be able to translate between English and a foreign language.  Is it discriminatory of the Army to bar an Hispanic transvestite, who can only speak English, from being an interpreter/translator until the applicant can speak another language?  Of course not since being bilingual, at least, is a self-evident part of the job description. If a man or woman cannot meet certain qualifications, it is not discrimination to prohibit him or her from serving in a particular role.  So, then, why shouldn’t all of those that serve in the field of combat meet basic requirements and why should those qualifications be anything less than optimal? 

A woman must possess the strength required of a man in combat because the enemy is, generally, as strong as the man.   We’ve come a long way, baby.  That’s true.  Whether we are strong enough to physically fight in combat should be determined by the same standards used to certify men.  If we demand less or special treatment, then we not only have a long way still to go, we should stop it with the taunt that “We can do anything a man can do!”