Senate Women in Combat: Discussion Take Two

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Juliet316, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    After talking with @Lowbacca_1977, I'm in agreement that this topic does sort of need a fresh start, so here it goes.

    In light of Leon Panetta in his last act as US Defense Sect. lifting the rule on US women being banned from combat roles, how does everybody feel about this, both the lifting of the ban and women in combat in general? Good idea? Bad idea? How should the US begin integrating women into it's combat brigades? All at once or gradually and carefully as John McCain was seen on camera advising yesterday? Does you think there shold be exceptions to women being in combat?

    Also, I'd be interested in the view points of those from countries where women already serve in combat roles. Where the men 'distracted' as some in the US are claiming our troops will be, or did everthing just continue to function smoothly?

    @GrandAdmiralJello, if you want to bring up the issues of rape in the military, I don't have a problem with that, as I suspect that may go hand in hand with some of the issues in how to facilitate these new policy changes within the military.

    For what it's worth, I think it was past time. Women have more or less been fighting in defacto combat for over a decade now with the suppot convoys.units that they are apart of being ambushed (as well as being combat pilots and, within the last year, beginning to serve on submarines), so we may as well make women in combat offcial.

    Let the games discussion begin.
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  2. harpua Chosen One

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    Great... can somebody retag the other one as a jcc thread, please?
  3. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    I think it would be instructive to get perspectives of people like DarthBoba or Mr44 on the matter.

    Realistically we can all state, and I share this view, that there should be no basis for segregation on gender anywhere. But, there's nothing like Boba's Army fresh insight.
  4. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    I think there's no way that Panetta would have lifted the ban on women in combat if military leaders really thought it was a bad idea.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Officers worried about the effect on the espirit-de-corps of allowing gays in the military. Typically, the "brass" are more conservative than the rank and file, so yeah... not necessarily.
  6. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    That's not really been my experience.
  7. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jello, is your experience that the officers are not as conservative as people treat them as being? Or that the rank and file is more conservative than people think?
  8. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    Yeah, reportedly the Joint Chiefs decided to unanimously recommend to Panetta that the ban be scrapped. But, there'll likely be some high ranking military leaders, even if they're not a part of the joint chiefs who'll be against this.

    One thing I forgot to bring up, that I'm wondering about now, is what'll happen to the lawsuits that were filed last year in order to get the ban lifted? Will those go away or will they still move forward?
  9. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Wait, so they just moved forward on it? Without a massive survey that "only" had a 60-something percent return rate?

    ...

    I... don't know if I should be happy and assume they're making progress on the "Shut up and integrate" front or if I should be literally boiling with rage at some of the implications. Leaning towards the latter.

    Don't get me wrong, I think women absolutely should see combat if they join the military. But... I... just... feel like I'm going to burst a blood vessel over here.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jan 24, 2013
  10. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    I'd leave this to the more legally minded people to confirm, but I was under the impression that lawsuits like this aren't for money, they're to force a policy change. So I'd suspect they'd go away since the settlement would just be "lift the ban", at which point, the hearing would be redundant. It's not as though anyone is going to be getting a payout from a suit like that. Or at least, I don't think there's ever a payout that occurs on this sort of thing.
  11. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    @Ramza I think given that women in Iraq and Afghanistan have been fighting/getting seriously injured/dying in situations that could be construded combat situations, despite the fact that they were not technically in combat roles, I think (hope) gave them all they 'study' they needed to say "they're more or less in combat anyway in these places, let's go ahead and make it official"

    And I think, also Panetta wanted to do it while he still had to chance and not leave open the possiblity of Hagel continuing the ban during his service as Defense Sect.

    Yeah, I'm not terribly in the way of being a legal expert myself, but the reason I brought the lawsuits up is because I remember the DADT lawsuits, and at least one or two of those continued at least as far as the appeals courts after DADT was repealed (if I recall the appeals judge just went "yep, gotta let LGBT people in")
    Last edited by Juliet316, Jan 24, 2013
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    I don't refer to officers in general, but to my knowledge I don't think the top brass had as much of an issue with it as perhaps the combatant commanders may have had.
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  13. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

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    I'm rather indifferent on this. On one hand, I think it's great that the ban has been lifted, on the other, now I can't nudge you Americans for gender standards (Canada has one of the most gender integrated armed forces in the world).

    So, good on you. I need something else to make fun of now.
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    What's the metric for "most gender integrated"? Is that a simple ratio question, or is there a more complex measurement?
  15. LtNOWIS Jedi Master

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    May 19, 2005
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    The discussion is really a misnomer, because it refers to a wide variety of different policies across the services. For the army, the old, pre-Iraq rules stated that females could not be in combat, or in units that were going to see combat, regardless of their professions. So even though women had been medics, pilots, drivers, and Military Police for decades, they weren't supposed to perform those jobs on the front line, only in rear areas. This was obviously untenable in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was widely circumvented and then eventually eliminated.

    The other ban was on women being in the "combat arms" branches of the Army, which were Infantry, Armor, and Field Artillery. Those policies are largely still in place, but with two caveats. Firstly, women can be in some FA positions now. Secondly, the Army doesn't have technically have "combat arms" branches anymore, with the branches looking something like this. So there's no problem whatsoever with females conducting, say, a dismounted patrol in a war zone as military police, and that's been the case for years now.

    I have some concerns about this, but I'll wait and see what the services actually plan to do.
  16. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

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    Sep 16, 2005
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    The (some of the) arguments against as I understand them:
    1. Women are more likely to be raped
    2. Men will be less self-preserving in order to save the women
    3. Women will "accidentally on purpose" get pregnant to avoid being sent overseas
    4. Women are not as strong as men and thus our military will be weaker

    My responses are based on a combination of common sense/news comments/anecdotal evidence from my AF brother (pilot) and sister-in-law (nurse, who was stationed overseas away from the front lines to treat soldiers wounded in combat)

    1. Rape is bad, whether against male or female. It happens in civilian life, too.
    2. Some men, perhaps, but it seems soldiers stand up for their comrades regardless
    3. While true of SOME women it is preposterous to think the actions of some condemn others
    4. Generally true but generally nowadays physical strength is not the prime ingredient in making a soldier


    Our local news tonight had a story about a wounded female soldier who would be denied the appropriate combat medal because officially she wasn't "in combat." http://www.king5.com/video?id=188291751&sec=548902&ref=rcvidmod
  17. Souderwan Force Ghost

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    Jun 3, 2005
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    I never thought we'd would have the courage to integrate women into the submarine force and we did it without so much as a hitch over 2 yrs ago. I'm genuinely happy this is done so we can focus on more important things.

    I read through the other thread (hilarious) and I wanted to comment on two things.

    1. I find the notion that the military (as an organization) is somehow tolerant of blue on blue rape ridiculous. Of course, there are bad commands and bad actors, as with any organization, but this idea of a bunch of good old boys (old white men, I believe was Juliet's description) laughing off rape is offensively wrong. I can't speak for all the services, but I can tell you from personal experience that this is a major issue for the Navy. It was the first thing the CNO tackled when he took over the entire Navy leadership is working to combat it. Just two weeks ago I was part of a new training program specifically designed to help me work to combat this issue at my own command. Women are a vital part of our armed forces and every member of our team should feel safe around his/her teammates. For the remaining neanderthals in our midst who insist on violating their fellow Sailors/Soldiers/Marines/Airmen, the consequences are severe.

    2. With regards to whether the officers are more conservative than the enlisted ranks, I suspect that's probably true on balance. Senior leadership tends to be slow to make sudden and seemingly significant changes and they usually don't have as much faith in the junior enlisted as they should. But I've definitely seen that change over the 17 yrs I've been serving. In the last 5 yrs or so, in particular, most of the Flag officers I've seen recognize that our people are professionals and will do what they're expected to do. The bad apples who won't will be found and removed.
  18. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    While the military might be trying to take the problem more seriously now, I'd say there's certainly much more of a problem with sexual assault there as opposed to other workplaces. The statistics are just in a completely separate class. Something doesn't become so widespread unless their are systemic or cultural factors helping to sustain it. The strong emphasis you are witnessing now may well be a push back designed to root this stuff out, but I don't think it is fair to conclude it doesn't exist to begin with. By way of comparison, many universities are now very serious/strict about hazing by fraternities and sororities. However, this doesn't indicate that this isn't a problem. Rather, the aggressive policy is a correction for the fact that, for a long time, it did essentially go unaddressed.
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  19. Souderwan Force Ghost

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    Jun 3, 2005
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    I think you're arguing against something I didn't say, Jabba.

    Edit: Actually, let me follow that up. Yes, the strong emphasis we're seeing is because we recognize that we have a problem and are addressing it. We also recognize that we have been, in the past, woefully inadequate in enforcing our standards of behavior on this front. We hadn't put enough mechanisms in place to create an environment where our people felt free to report abuse. This was a systemic problem that we have and will continue to address.

    I didn't say we didn't or don't have a problem. I'm saying that it's ridiculous to say that the military tolerates or condones rape. Because it is.

    Jello. Combatant Commanders are top brass. Just saying.
    Last edited by Souderwan, Jan 24, 2013
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  20. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    I wasn't so much trying to argue. I'd hoped to provide a more precise phrasing of the problem Juliet and others were most probably trying to get at when they discussed "tolerance" of rape.
  21. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Soundwave, as much as my love of submarines (from the good Tom Clancy books) wants to prevail here, I would suggest in our experience (with ADFA) that the perception is that rape is laughed off. Numerous instances of assault or similar offences occurred at ADFA and the response did not cover the Academy in glory.

    That's not to say that rape is tolerate; but rather, the handling of it by some senior personnel was sub-poor and helped create the wrong impression.
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  22. Souderwan Force Ghost

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    Very well, Jabba. I think they're fully capable of clarifying for themselves what they meant. I was responding to what was said, not what I think they "probably" meant. Juliet's a smart woman. If she believes I misrepresented her meaning, I'm sure she'll tell me. If I did not, my commentary stands.

    @Ender_Sai: I agree that there have been many instances where rape was handled improperly by the chain of command. My only point is that we have been trying to combat that problem for some time and we aren't tolerant of it at all. I've seen first hand how one improperly handled sexual harassment allegation, for example, took down the entire senior leadership at one command (Department Head, XO, CO, Command Master Chief, and a few others).
    Last edited by Souderwan, Jan 24, 2013
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  23. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    Souderwan -- I meant to draw a distinction between organizational vs. operational
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  24. Souderwan Force Ghost

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  25. George Roper Jedi Grand Master

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    No.
    Last edited by DarthBoba, Jan 25, 2013