Senate Women in Combat: Discussion Take Two

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

  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Criticism of the military has been pretty severe over the past five years for its inability to handle its harassment/sexual assault problems adequately. It makes sense that sexual harassment and sexual assault would be a much different problem for the military than for a traditional workplace. People work much more closely together for extended periods of time, with a lot more blurring between personal time and work time. If the military has a hard time solving that problem in places far away from combat zones, it seems possible they'll be even less able to solve it in places like Afghanistan or on ships patrolling the Persian Gulf, etc.

    Not that I believe women shouldn't be allowed to take part in combat because of that: "You can't be a soldier because we can't get our act together to protect you from your fellow soldiers. Sorry."
  2. Piltdown Force Ghost

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    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    I think American men should not be allowed to be in the military because they might rape the women. Not only servicewomen, but the women in the countries they are trying to liberate.

    Problem solved.
  3. Sith93Apprentice Jedi Padawan

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    Sep 7, 2012
    star 1
    I was just watching that on the local news earlier. as a male, I see absolutely no reason why a woman can't function in combat effectively. The truth is that she has been probably for centuries and we like to cover that up

    In the Revolutionary War, we had women serving n combat on the front lines. In the Civil war again, we had the same. In WWII we had a entire fighter squadron of women who served in combat in the Pacific known as the WAF. AFter the war they were disbanded and went unrecognized.

    One of the most successful pirates in History was a Chinese woman a captain who took command of her fleet. In Germanic society women warriors were frequent and they called them the Valkery, the handmaidens of Odin or choosers of the slain.

    In Japan, Women often became Samurai and fought with naginata to defend Castles. Women Ninja agents were known as Kunoichi and often went in disguise conducting espionage missions.
    right now in the Israeli Army women serve and so in a combat role. Women already serve in mechanized units, intelligence roles, command and control roles, training roles, as MP's, body guards, Nurses and police. Probably several others I don't even know about.

    My first opponent in the martial arts was a girl, who was older than me and bigger, who kicked my rear and threw me to the ground with a staff. I later made the mistake of holding back on a Egyptian girl when I was a teenager during a sparring match. She proceeded to beat the tar out of me. I learned my lesson.

    I know girls who can shoot, do heavy lifting, fight hand to hand and keep cool under pressure. In a fantasy battle enactment club I was, 1/3 of all the fighters on the field were young women in their late teens and early 20's. If you hesitated they would beat you into the ground like a tent stake. They often carried shields and wore armor.

    Now, are men and women the same? No, absolutely not. I think men are biologically wired to be hunters and protectors and so on and I think they have advantages suited to combat that women don't have, generally speaking. However this should always be judged on a case by case basis. I have known some large women in my time-big boned tall women. I have also seen a little tiny Japanese girl do Judo and throw larger men around like a rag doll.

    Are men and women the same? No? Are they equal? I'm sorry, no. Does this mean one is superior while the other is inferior? Uhm,...NO. The notion that women can't serve in combat even in something like infantry is a complete myth. It's a socially reinforced myth. Ever seen a nurse move patients around? The notion that a woman can't carry a body is a myth also.

    What about sex? It happens. Put a woman in a squad of guys in the field for awhile and she's going to be having sex with someone. I don't hink the guys will mind. If they're having sex and gettacked, or ordered to go support another group , they're going to be pretty screwed. Pardon the pun. Why don't they ever talk about that in the news interviews. If a woman is having sex with someone else in her unit, even if she's not supposed to, the other guys are often going to get upset and jealous. That's a problem. If everyone can handle it like adults, fine, but those 2 had better get used to quickies.

    I think the way operations are handled today makes some of those problems less likely.
  4. Sith93Apprentice Jedi Padawan

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    Sep 7, 2012
    star 1
    As a addendum: My sister-in-law was in the Air Force and got discharged after accusing a fellow cadet of rape. No one handled it or investigated the matter. They just discharged her to stifle her. On the other hand she never liked taking orders anyway, so I'm sure there's more to the story. For the record, she's big boned and got the larger genes in the family. she earned the name big foot. She had to repeat Basic twice because she couldn't get her eight under the regulation limit. She's not fat-big boned and muscle mass- it was her body mass index. She's now a nurse and has put her time in moving bodies. Hey, friends help ya move, but GOOD friends help ya move bodies.

    My previous girlfriend's sister was discharged fromthe Navy also for sex but she couldn't keep her hands off of people. She got discharged for repeated violations of the code of conduct. She was a little ity-bity girl too.

    2 completely different cases, both related to sex and both of them women. I think the real objections have more to do with sex and gender and mating privilages, social competition, etc but have very little to do with a woman's actual combat potential. I think the popular arguments are more cover up than actuality.
  5. beezel26 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 7
    Sorry but I am a wimp. If you ladies want to pick up a rifle and blow the enemy away so be it. I am fine with that. Now with women in combat we won't need a draft. Thanks ladies.
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    My son and wife recently voted in the losing referendum to end Austria's draft and reform their military. Austria spends less than 1% of its GDP on defense. All men have to do either military service (less than a year) or get an exemption and do some kind of community service. This is problematic since my son has dual citizenship.

    Women do not participate in the draft at all there, but I'm thinking the average woman on the street there is more combat-ready than their military.

    Which Countries Allow Women in Combat Roles?
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 25, 2013
  7. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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  8. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    Apr 27, 2005
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    That's interesting, because when I was looking up the Selective Service Act, it was pretty much stated that it needed to be amended for by Congress before women had to register.
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Oof. Thanks Ender. :p

    FWIW, the notion that women are seeing lots and lots of combat in convoy operations would have been true about 9 years ago, when the Iraq war started. Major convoys are chiefly local nationals guarded by private military contractors; actual military convoys are typically short-range affairs that get the bejesus guarded out of them; attacking them is suicidal and moronic.

    Personally, I don't really care if we do get integrated; we had a teacup-sized female interrogator embedded in my infantry platoon on my third deployment. She kept up fine with us, and watching her uh, dominate Arab males who grew up in the most misogynistic society on Earth was truly hilarious.

    The biggest thing that will need to change, IMO, is the Army PT test. Right now a woman has to score about half of what a man does to be considered in excellent shape, which is ridiculous when you consider that most males these days are not hulking behemoths; that applies to the Army as well. The standard will need to be raised for women, IMO, as the standard applied to women does not equip them for success on the battlefield.
  10. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    I'm reminded of the two women who sued in the 90s to get into the Citadel. Both of them won, the first woman cadet lasted about five days. Apparently she couldn't take the initiation that the Citadel gives its "knobs". My impression, as someone who believes that all colleges, military or no, should be co-ed (yes, including traditional "all girls' schools")? She was a whiny little ***** and not up to snuff for a military academy at all, and likely would not have been if she were a man. The second one had been through ROTC in high school, was in better shape (the first cadet was overweight, not sure how she passed any sort of fitness test), and did well other than stress fractures in her legs during the initial training.

    There was some talk at that time about not making the new female cadets shave their heads completely, just making them get a bob haircut, and there was a lot of talk about separate showers.

    I don't know what the reasoning is behind the shaved heads/haircuts at all so I won't comment on that, but I would say the showers depend on whether men and women have to shower in the same place while on the field. If so, let 'em go ahead and start.

    I agree about the Army PT test. Physical strength is physical strength, and while women may biologically not be as large as men on average, that has very little to do with physical strength. Small people are equally capable of being strong, other factors being eliminated.
  11. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    In my view there should be minimum basic physical requirements which need to be considered for deployment on the battlefield. If a soldier meets those requirements then they should be deployed, regardless of gender. Last year a friend of a friend let me try on some of the body armour that our Aussie troops wear when deployed overseas. Man that stuff is heavy. Quite simply, if you are not physically up to the task of being able to do your job with all of that body armour on then you shouldn't be deployed, that goes for both males and females.

    Some jobs simply transcend political correctness. If there was ever a job where there is a focus on the "inherent requirements of the job" being a combat soldier is it.
    Valairy Scot and DarthBoba like this.
  12. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    I agree, which is why blanket rules against women serving are inherently bad. There are women perfectly capable of handling that armor, and men who are not.
  13. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 19, 2000
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    I also agree with both Hoth and DB. Gender should not be the issue; capability should.
    The Army PT test DB mentions is sexist.
    Valairy Scot likes this.
  14. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    I see two problems with making PT testing standards equal, only one of which is specific to gender:

    1. Most jobs don't require the physical standards necessary to "prepare you for the battlefield". The truth is that many of us do jobs that don't require sustained superior physical fitness. I've always been somewhat perplexed by the notion that I'm measured by the same physical fitness test as an EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) tech. I drive a submarine. S/he runs around in a desert in extreme conditions, dressed from head to toe in protective gear, disabling live ammunition. The point is that the testing standards should be consistent with the rigors we expect our service people to endure, and they cannot be, in part, because of point 2 below.

    2. Physical fitness is one of the ways in which we distinguish individuals for promotion. We want our senior leadership to be physical specimens that inspire others to follow. In order to ensure this doesn't turn into a beauty contest, we establish standards that we expect people to meet. If you can do 100 pushups in 2 mins, you're in a higher group than those who can only do 50. Well, women will, on average, be disadvantaged in such a scenario and could disproportionately fail to promote for that very reason. While it's true that there are a lot of women who can run and jump and do pull ups like any other man, on average, they will perform more poorly. The result is that they would be unfairly disadvantaged. We would lose out on promoting a lot of good women who are "Excellent" in physical fitness but aren't "Excellent" compared to men. And this is where making it specific to jobs might hurt, too. Because then we're comparing people for promotion in different fields. Is it fair to compare a Marine who is expected to run 5 miles in boots to be compared against a Sailor who only has to run 1.5 miles?

    It's a tough nut to crack because someone will always lose out. We have to balance the needs of the service against the needs of the individual. Every service member must have a legitimate and fair opportunity to succeed and be promoted throughout their career. The standards of performance should be consistent and well understood.

    That all being said, when it comes to direct contact operations, I think we have to ensure that we don't set our people up for failure. That means establishing standards of strength and fitness that prepare them for combat, regardless of gender. Perhaps we'll have separate PT tests--one for promotion and one for operation. The Navy Divers and the SEALS already do this so there is precedent.
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I keep hearing the showering issue come up. Is it really that big of a headache for the military to provide for separate showers?
  16. Souderwan Force Ghost

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  17. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    You know, I'd argue the opposite position: is it that big a headache for members of the opposite sex to shower next to each other? I'm assuming the military provides shower curtains and dressing areas just as my gym does.
  18. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    Could we shower together? Probably. Should we? I don't think so. We don't have a society that welcomes unisex communal showering and privacy is a big deal to most people. I know quite a few guys who go to great lengths to avoid showering with other guys. That's hard on those individuals but it's important to them and we can't just dismiss them as whiners because of it. We all have different backgrounds and in as diverse an organization as the military is, we have to do our best not to add new, unnecessary stressors--especially predictable ones--to an already highly stressful job.

    Edit: That said, local commands can, and do, come up with ways to deal with limited bathroom facilities. You can write a plan that rotates the showers between men and women. It's not an insurmountable problem or anything.
    Last edited by Souderwan, Jan 25, 2013
  19. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    The Y where I work out, has showers with a dressing area just outside the shower, all behind a curtain. That's what I had in mind--if someone could go into the shower fully clothed, undress in the dressing area adjacent to the shower, then go behind the curtain and shower, then dress him or herself in the dressing area--what's the issue exactly?

    Granted I'm not modest, but I'm just not following why the concept of showering in the same room is a problem when in reality one is fully hidden between full-dress stage and full-dress stage.
  20. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    In most cases, there is no "dressing area". In many places, the shower space is much smaller than what's at a local gym. Certainly this is true on a submarine and on every ship I've ever been on. I suspect it's also true of most FOBs. We tend not to expend a lot of energy (or money) on berthing or shower facilities. An argument can be made that perhaps we should (the Chair Force sure does!) but that money tends to come from somewhere else--parts, equipment, personnel.
  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    I can see why it's a big deal on a ship with a limited water supply, but FOBs and even Combat Outposts have segregated showers and plenty of water.
  22. Souderwan Force Ghost

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    Jun 3, 2005
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    Well there you go then. And new ships are designed with separate showers and berthing facilities.
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  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    sorry about that-got carried away.:(
    Last edited by DarthBoba, Jan 25, 2013
  24. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    If by "conservative" you mean "risk-adverse"...absolutely. And yeah, enlisted is very conservative.
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  25. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    I was about to quote the post with a "lol" at the part about "occasional mortar strikes". I wish that didn't make me laugh, but one of my buddies who went on an IA to Iraq said pretty much the exact same thing.
    DarthBoba likes this.