Women in Combat: The Question of Standards

As published in Military Review, the Professional Journal of the U.S. Army, March-April 2015 edition.

Are women in the military discouraged from training to meet the men’s standards? Is this why all women have washed out of the Marine Corps’ Officer Infantry Course? That is one of the charges female Marine 1st Lt. Sage Santangello makes in a March 2014 article for The Washington Post. One of the 29 women, as of this writing, who have failed the course, she says,

I believe that I could pass, and that other women could pass, if the standards for men and women were equal from the beginning of their time with the Marines, if endurance and strength training started earlier than the current practice for people interested in going into the infantry, and if women were allowed a second try, as men are. …

Women aren’t encouraged to establish the same mental toughness as men—rather, they’re told that they can’t compete. Men, meanwhile, are encouraged to perceive women as weak.1

This always seems to happen. As traditionally male military occupational specialties (MOSs) are opened to women, the standards are questioned and maligned as unfairly discriminatory as women’s inability to achieve them is exposed.

Development of Double Standards

Double standards were developed because every time women are tested they prove that they cannot consistently achieve men’s standards, and that they suffer many more injuries than men in the attempt. Proponents pushing more military opportunities for women have never insisted women achieve the men’s standards because their lack of qualification would mean fewer women in the ranks. They could not achieve the standards when the military academies first were integrated. In his 1998 book Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster, Army veteran Brian Mitchell cites results for physical testing at West Point and Annapolis:

When 61 percent [of female West Point plebes] failed a complete physical test, compared to 4.8 percent of male plebes, separate standards where devised for the women. Similar adjustments were made to other standards. At Annapolis, a two-foot stepping stool was added to an indoor obstacle course to enable women to surmount an eight-foot wall.2

Mitchell also reports that when women were integrated into the Air Force’s Cadet Wing,

the [Air Force] academy’s physical fitness test included push-ups, pull-ups, a standing broad jump, and six hundred-yard run, but since very few of the women could perform one pull-up or complete any of the other events, different standards were devised for them. They were allowed more time for the run, less distance on the jump, and fewer pushups. Instead of pull-ups, female cadets were given points for the length of time they could hang on the bar … . They fell out of group runs, lagged behind on road marches, failed to negotiate obstacles on the assault courses (later modified to make them easier), could not climb a rope … . The women averaged eight visits to the medical clinic; the men averaged only 2.5 visits … . On the average, women suffered nine times as many shin splints as men, five times as many stress fractures, and more than five times as many cases of tendinitis.3

By this time the Army was further along with integrating women but was faced with a problem. There were no standards based on MOS requirements so recruits were assigned to jobs based only on passing the physical fitness test in basic training. The Army had the right number of females allotted to newly opened heavy-lifting jobs. However, the women could not do the heavy lifting, they suffered higher rates of injury, and their numbers attrited at higher rates. Therefore, the Army developed an objective standard to test recruits and “match the physical capacity of its soldiers with Military Occupational Specialty requirements.”4 Introduced in 1981, the Military Entrance Physical Strength Capacity Test (MEPSCAT) tested lifting capabilities based on MOS demands as light, medium, moderately heavy, heavy (over 50lbs) and very heavy (100lbs). “In the heavy lifting category, 82 percent of men and 8 percent of women qualified.”5

This is catastrophic in terms of mission readiness. According to a 1985 Army report entitled Evaluation of the Military Entrance Physical Strength Capacity Test, “if MEPSCAT had been a mandatory selection requirement during 1984, the Army would have created a substantial shortfall in the moderately heavy category (required lift is 80 pounds) by rejecting 32 percent of the female accessions.”6

In her 2000 book The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars? Stephanie Gutmann reports that a member of the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in The Services responded to this data by casting the familiar pall of unfair discrimination and sexism: “The Army is a male-oriented institution and officials are resistant to changes that will allow women to be fully utilized. … Those [strength] standards reeked of that resistance.”7 The MEPSCAT testing standard was never adopted because it exposed women’s lack of qualification for the jobs newly opened to them and to which they were already being assigned. Using that standard would have resulted in significantly less female representation in newly opened MOSs, so MEPSCAT was derided and summarily dispatched.

Those pushing women into combat today are no more able than their predecessors to show that women can meet the men’s standards, let alone the men’s combat standards. The Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization, published a report in October 2014 analyzing data collected by the U.S. Marine Corps Training and Education Command (TECOM).8 The command tested 409 male and 379 female Marine volunteers in several combat-related tasks in 2013.9 Examples of the test data highlighted in the Center’s report include the clean-and-press, the 155 mm artillery lift-and-carry, and the obstacle course wall-with-assist-box.10

According to the center, “the clean-and-press event involves single lifts of progressively heavier weights from the ground to above the head (70, 80, 95, [and] 115 lb.), plus 6 rep[etition]s with a 65 lb. weight. In this event, the center reports that 80% of the men passed the 115 lb. test, but only 8.7 percent of the women passed.”11

The Center reports that

in the 155 mm artillery lift-and-carry, a test simulating ordnance stowing, volunteers had to pick up a 95 lb. artillery round and carry it 50 meters in under 2 minutes. Noted the [Marine Corps] report, ‘Less than 1 percent of men, compared to 28.2 percent of women, could not complete the 155 mm artillery round lift-and-carry in the allotted time.’ If trainees had to ‘shoulder the round and/or carry multiple rounds, the 28.2 percent failure rate would increase.’12

 Moreover,

on the obstacle course wall-with-assist-box test, a 20-inch high box (used to simulate a helping hand) essentially reduced the height of the 7 ft. foot wall to approximately 5’4.” Quoting the [Marine Corps] report, ‘Less than 1.2% of the men could not get over the obstacle course wall using an assist box, while wearing [protective equipment] … [compared to] 21.32% of women who could not get over the obstacle course wall.13

 Natural Differences

There is a reason to this rhyme and her name is Nature. She has given us decades of data for a track record. It’s not changing even though women are participating in more sports and body building than ever.  To complete the same physically demanding task, a woman expends much more effort than a man (no fair!). A man’s bones are denser, his heart is bigger making his aerobic capacity greater, and he is able to develop much more lean muscle mass. He can carry more weight and run farther and faster with it. His units of work effort are worth many of hers, and he will be able to maintain a demanding, arduous level of performance for far longer than she in both the short and long term. Double standards did not create this reality; they are response to it (and to political pressure to open more jobs to women). Kingsley Browne writes in his 2007 book Co-ed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars,

When males and females both start out in good physical condition, women gain less than men from further conditioning, so that the gap between the sexes actually increases. A study of male and female cadets at West Point, who all started out in relatively good condition, found that although women’s upper body strength was initially 66 percent of men’s, by the end of their first two years, it had dropped below 60 percent … .14

 Moreover, Browne writes,

Sex differences in physical performance are here to stay. As Constance Holden observed in Science magazine, the male advantage in athletics will endure, due to men’s ‘steady supply of a performance-enhancing drug that will never be banned: endogenous testosterone.’15

In other words, a platoon of the top female CrossFitters  is still no match for a platoon of the top male CrossFitters. It does not matter that one individual female CrossFitter may be stronger and faster than one particular male.  The idea that one woman somewhere might someday be able to make the infantry standard is totally inadequate to justify putting women in the units. Women have to be able to consistently and predictably make and maintain the men’s standards in order to demonstrate equal ability and be useful in combat.

Even on a lower general standard, women break at far higher rates than men, with longer-term injuries. More women leave the military, when or before their contracts are up. Women are regularly unavailable for duty for female issues. Chicago Tribune correspondent Kirsten Scharnberg reports in a 2005 article that women suffer post-traumatic stress disorder more acutely.16 The combat “opportunity” is sounding less and less equal all the time.

In his 2013 book Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women Into Combat, retired Army col. Robert Maginnis describes several studies showing the physical suffering of women in combat:

  1. A U.S. Navy study found the risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury associated with military training is almost ten times higher for women than for men. 2. A sex-blind study by the British military found that women were injured 7.5 times more often than men while training to the same standards. … 5. Women suffer twice as many lower-extremity injuries as men, an Army study found, and they fatigue much more quickly because of the difference in ‘size of muscle,’ which makes them more vulnerable to non-battle injury.17

Marine Cpt. Katie Petronio writes of Officer Candidate School, “of candidates who were dropped from training because they were injured or not physically qualified, females were breaking at a much higher rate than males, 14 percent versus 4 percent. The same trends were seen at TBS [the Basic School] in 2011; the attrition rate for females was 13 percent versus 5 percent for males, and 5 percent of females were found not physically qualified compared with 1 percent of males.”18

We females can train as hard as we like, and we may increase strength, stamina, and fitness. But our increased fitness still will not put us on par with that of the men who are training to their utmost, like men in combat units and the Special Forces. They are the top ten percent of the top ten percent. We also bear too many other risks to be cost effective.  No matter how widespread feminism becomes, our bones will always be lighter, more vulnerable to breaks and fractures. Our aerobic capacity will still be 20 to 40 percent less, and we will still be less able to bear heavy gear at a hard-pounding run. It is not for lack of training. Throughout 2013, the female recruits going through Marine Corps boot camp were being trained to achieve the men’s minimum pull-up standard. They were trained to pass the test, yet 55 percent of them could not make that minimum, according to an Associated Press report.19 Ninety-nine percent of male recruits can, whether or not they were particularly athletic before shipping off to boot camp.

Can women scale the eight-foot wall in full combat load without steps? No steps are provided to give women a boost in the heat of battle, as they are in coed military boot camps (and even the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School). Santangello boasts that she performed 16 pull-ups on her last physical fitness test. That is excellent, but the test is done in a t-shirt and shorts, it is a test only of general fitness, and it is far less strenuous than infantry training, let alone combat. Can women do a dozen pull-ups in full combat gear? That is just one of many requirements in the Combat Endurance Test (CET). Can women carry another man on their backs with a full 80 lb. combat load? These differences in ability are deal breakers in combat—that is why these standards are not arbitrary. The military has yet to see the so-called “push-button war” that activists cite as mitigating for women’s lesser physical strength. Our combat units have often been on foot with their heavy loads in the rough mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. The high infantry standards are designed to keep the weak out because accommodating the weak means lives lost and mission failure. The standards of the Officer Infantry Course are high because infantry officers must not only be educated, brave, and highly athletic. They also must be better at everything than the members of their units because Marine officers lead from the front. Hence their motto: Ductus Exemplo, leadership by example.

In the Pentagon briefing to announce the repeal of the combat exclusion, Leon Panetta stated that women are “serving in a growing number of critical roles on and off the battlefield,” and that men and women are “fighting and dying together.” However, serving in critical roles and dying in the combat zone do not equate to proving equal infantry capabilities.  Noticeably omitted by advocates for women in combat is that the women who have been injured or died in Iraq and Afghanistan were not in the combat zone having passed the infantry’s standards. We honor their sacrifice, but we acknowledge that they were part of support units who went through whatever pre-deployment workups their leadership gave them (and these can vary greatly). Being in the combat zone, dangerous as it is, is still worlds away from the door-kicking offensive missions of our combat units. Yet, advocates for women in combat are willing to keep women on a lower standard as they push for re-evaluation. USA Today correspondent Jim Michaels reports, “Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women’s Law center, says the Marines should re-evaluate the standards before putting women through.”20 In a recent article, U.S. Army Reserve Col. Ellen Haring opines that the CET, which women routinely find impossible to pass, is merely an initiation rite, not comparable measurement for infantry suitability, and therefore passing it should be abandoned as a formal standard.21

Claims of Discrimination

Lt. Santangello wants us to believe that something other than women’s ability is the reason they are not making the infantry’s standards. It is not women’s fault that 92 percent of them cannot do the 115-lb clean-and-press; it is because men are victimizing brutes. If only this sexism and discrimination did not exist, women would be able to carry heavier loads for long distances over rough terrains at a fast clip without getting four times the injuries. She claims that not offering women a second try through Officer Infantry Course equals discrimination. That is not true. The only officers, male or female, who get a chance to remediate and try the course again are those slated for an infantry unit, as Marine Lt. Emma Stokein explains in a piece called “The Mission Goes First: Female Marines and the Infantry.”22 Since combat units are still closed to women, they do not get a second try because this delays their job training and pushes back Marines waiting their first turn.  She and all the other non-infantry men who are not allowed a second try are discriminated against based on their MOS, not their sex. Letting her try the course again, which then Commandant Gen. James F. Amos did after Santangello published her article, was applying a double standard. She asks that the rules and standards be ignored and that she get special treatment because she is a woman. That is quite a start for an officer claiming to want equal treatment, and wanting to lead men in combat. Does she want men to follow her example? Once she is head of a platoon, will she expect the men and women she leads to follow her example?

Another claim she makes is the Marine Corps’ deliberate discouragement of women to train hard. This one does not ring true to me because it is so antithetical to my own experience and observations as a female Marine. In my four year enlistment, 2004 to 2008, no one ever told me (or anyone around me whom I knew of) that I could not compete because I was a woman, nor anything like it. They would not have dared. They were too worried about being politically correct since an off-color joke overheard by a third party is enough for a sexual harassment claim. Maybe I just had an exceptional experience to have made it through four years from Parris Island to Iraq unscathed by all those Neanderthals. No one ever discouraged me from training enough, and they did not have to encourage me to train more. I already pushed myself the hardest, including plenty of supplementary training so that I would not be the weakest link. Proving the feminist’s lie that men and women are interchangeable takes a lot of extra work. When I was at Camp Lejeune’s gym most days a week, I never noticed any shortage of women. Women compete in sports at the highest levels, and today CrossFit, mud runs, and Iron Man (Iron Woman!) triathlons are all the rage. Was Santangello powerless in 2013 to shore up her own weaknesses if additional conditioning was all it took? Why does a strong, young college hockey player with the guts to join the Marines, the ability to become an officer, and such a strong desire to see women in combat that she would try out for the infantry then wilt at (alleged) discouragement from anyone? How was she able to get so far? Herein lies the usual riddle of feminist dogma shared by nearly all those pushing women into combat: Women are as strong as men, but women are victims of men. They are not strong enough to prevent rape stateside, but they are sure-as-hell ready to go hand-to-hand with members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

I also reject Santangello’s charge that men in the military are encouraged to perceive women as weak. If anything, they are encouraged, at peril of ending their careers, to make themselves believe that women and men are interchangeable. Those who do not sing that tune are charged with waging the “war on women.” In my experience, feminism and political correctness are so prevalent in the military that men trip over themselves trying to ensure they do not offend. Military leaders cannot afford to even think the truth: Women are not as strong and athletic as strong, athletic men. It is biology and physics. It is Nature. Most important, it is consistent and predictable. Women’s biology makes them a deficit in combat. Those who insist combat units should be opened to women can never prove it’s a real benefit because of all the persistent issues.  They can only institute a mandatory double-think.

For the sake of women’s career opportunities, the old tougher standards have already been lowered or abandoned over the decades. Gone are the long jump and the 40-yard man-carry. Training tasks are long-since team-oriented, where individual weaknesses are camouflaged by the group, so the two-person (one dare not call it “two-man”) stretcher-carry is now a four-person stretcher-carry. Between lower standards for women and political correctness that sees making war-fighting men out of boys as abuse, the results are a lower standard of performance overall. Panetta and Dempsey continued this decades-old tradition at the January 2013 Pentagon briefing to discuss ending the combat exclusion. Dempsey said “if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”23

That seems a fantastically obtuse question for a military leader to ask, especially in a time of war. Yet it makes complete sense through the lens of feminist activism because Dempsey also said the military “must make sure that there are a sufficient number of females entering the career field and already assigned to the related commands and leadership positions.”24 The decree demands that the testing and implementation are done simultaneously by January 2016. The burden should be on supporters of women in combat to prove women can make and maintain the infantry and Special Forces standards as they are, and only after that should they proceed to discuss the parameters in which women might be effectively used more in combat operations. Instead, the Department of Defense has put the onus on the units, who are also under pressure to prove they are diverse and not sexist by having the correct number of women. Next year’s budget may depend on it. And what happens in this kind of climate as military budgets are being slashed? The Army recently cut 20,000 from its ranks. Where everything is measured against Diversity and “equal career opportunity for women” over mission readiness, we can assume quotas of women will continue to be filled while more qualified men are cut.

The Need for High Standards

Of the myriad of superb reasons to maintain the combat exclusion—such as additional hygiene needs and risks, sex, rape, risk of capture, pregnancy, unit cohesion, broken homes, and abandoned children to name a few—women’s inability to make the infantry standards is simply the first and most obvious. It is the wall women-in-combat activists cannot scale without a step box, if you will.

Meanwhile, the argument to maintain the combat exclusion makes itself easily in every aspect. Including women in combat units is bad for combat, bad for women, bad for men, bad for children, bad for the country. The argument for the combat exclusion is provable all the time, every time. Political correctness has no chance against Nature. Her victories are staring us in the face at all times. The men just keep being able to lift more and to run faster, harder, longer with more weight on their backs while suffering fewer injuries. They just keep never getting pregnant. The combat units have needs that women cannot meet. Women have needs that life in a combat unit cannot accommodate without accepting significant disadvantage and much greater expense. Where 99 percent of men can do the heavy-lifting tasks typical of gunners, but 85 percent of women cannot, there is no gap women need to fill. Women are already utilized where they are needed in the combat zone, such as for intelligence gathering, or what I did, frisking women for explosives. There is nothing going on in the infantry that men cannot do and for which they need women. Panetta said women are “serving in a growing number of critical roles on and off the battlefield. The fact is that they have become an integral part of our ability to perform our mission.”25 Women have honorably served in the combat zone, but not on the infantry’s standards, on door-kicking missions. Let us be honest. Panetta’s words are spin, not exactly the stuff combat commanders’ dreams are made of when it comes to building the tip of the spear.

Military women are strong, tough, and dedicated in their own right. We do not need to be in the combat units to prove we are important or to serve honorably and well, and we do not need to be there to gain career opportunities. Women have achieved some of the highest levels of military leadership without entering combat units. The United States is at war with child-raping, honor-killing, suicide-bombing, amputation-happy savages that are beheading and raping their way across Iraq and Afghanistan, not limited by rules of engagement or Diversity metrics. The high male standards of U.S. military forces exist so that the Nation can be victorious against its enemies with the fewest casualties possible. We should see attempts to jettison high standards as detrimental to all, and we should soundly reject them.

Notes

  1. Sage Santangello, “Fourteen women have tried, and failed, the Marines’ Infantry Officer Course. Here’s why.” The Washington Post, (March 2014), http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fourteen-women-have-tried-and-failed-the-marines-infantry-officer-course-heres-why/2014/03/28/24a83ea0-b145-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html.
  2. Brian Mitchell, Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster, (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998), 58. Mitchell is referencing Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, Project Athena: Report on the Admission of Women to the U.S. Military Academy, vols. I-IV (West Point, N.Y.: U.S. Military Academy, 1 June 1979)
  3. Mitchell, 42. Mitchell also cites Lois B. DeFleur, David Gillman, and William Marshak,

“The Development of Military Professionalism Among Male and Female Air Force Academy Cadets,” 168. Upon entry, cadets were given physical aptitude tests. Males averaged eleven pull-ups. Females averaged 24.1 seconds on the “flexed arm hang.”  Mitchell also cites Lois B. DeFleur, David Gillman, and William Marshak, “Sex Integration of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Changing Roles for Women,” Armed Forces and Society, August 1978, 615.

  1. Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Women in the Army Policy Review (Washington, D.C., 12 November 1982) 9.
  2. Ibid, 2-16.
  3. Force Systems Directorate, Evaluation of the Military Entrance Physical Strength Capacity Test (Bethesda, MD, 1985) v.
  4. Stephanie Gutmann, The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars? (New York: Scribner, 2000) 254.
  5. Center for Military Readiness, “U.S. Marine Corps Research Findings: Where is the Case for Co-Ed Ground Combat?” Center for Military Readiness, Livonia, MI, (October 2014) vi, http://cmrlink.org/data/sites/85/CMRDocuments/InterimCMRSpecRpt-100314.pdf.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Kingsley Browne, Co-ed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars, (New York, New York: Penguin Group, 2007) 24. Browne cites Phillip Bishop, Kirk Cureton, and Mitchell Collins, “Sex Difference in Muscular Strength in Equally Trained Women,” Ergonomics 30, no. 4 (1987):675-687.
  12. Browne, 26. Browne cites Constance Holden, “An Everlasting Gender Gap?” Science 305, no. 5684 (July 2004): 639–640.
  13. Kirsten Scharnberg, “Stresses of Battle Hit Female GIs Hard,” Chicago Tribune, 20 March 2005,

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-03-20/news/0503200512_1_ptsd-female-veterans-female-troops. Scharnberg writes, “And studies indicate that many of these women suffer from more pronounced and debilitating forms of PTSD [post-traumatic stress] than men.”

  1. Robert L. Maginnis, Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women Into Combat, (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2013) 122.
  2. Katie Petronio, “Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal,” Marine Corps Gazette 97:3, March 2013, https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2013/03/get-over-it-we-are-not-all-created-equal.
  3. Associated Press, “Half of Female Marines Fail 3-Pullup Requirement,” 2 January 2014, available at CBSNews.com, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-female-soldiers-fail-3-pullup-requirement/ .
  4. Jim Michaels, “First Marine Ladies Head To Infantry Training in Quantico,” Business Insider.com 3 October 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com/first-marine-ladies-head-to-infantry-training-in-quantico-2012-10.
  5. Ellen Haring, “Can Women Be Infantry Marines?”, Charlie Mike blog, War on the Rocks.com, entry posted 29 May 2014 at War On the Rocks.com, http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/can-women-be-infantry-marines/#_. Haring writes, “the Combat Endurance Test serves as an initiation rite and not a test of occupational qualification. Do initiation rites have a place in our military? … Let’s call it what it is—a challenging initiation into an elite group that prides itself on being tough, resilient, and loyal to the foundational beliefs of this country.”
  6. Emma Stokien, “The Mission Goes First: Female Marines And The Infantry,” Charlie Mike blog, War on the Rocks.com, entry posted 3 June 2014, http://warontherocks.com/2014/06/the-mission-goes-first-female-marines-and-the-infantry/#_. Stokien writes, “Women still cannot be assigned as 0302 infantry officers even if they pass the course. … eventually marines not bound for the infantry must be trained for and perform the jobs they have been assigned to fulfill the needs of the Marine Corps. Attempting and reattempting IOC [Infantry Officer Course] can take the better part of a year on top of an already long training pipeline.”
  7. Former Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, quoted in Claudette Roulo, “Defense Department Expands Women’s Combat Role,” news transcript of press briefing from the Pentagon, 24 January 2013 http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=5183.
  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid.

We Didn’t Fight For This

Obama has created a global nightmare.  To watch the results of his reckless and asinine foreign policy is truly excruciating.  ISIS massacres its way through Iraqi cities we had secured, horrifically slaughtering Christians and Muslims who don’t comply.  Now the unspeakable burning alive of the Jordanian pilot.  Radical Islamists undermine and abuse the freedoms of non-Islamic countries in which they live in order to burn the country’s flags, impose Sharia law, and spread their venom and hate.  Five thousand American men and women didn’t give their lives, tens of thousands wounded didn’t give their wellbeing, all who have served in the war on terror didn’t work, sweat, bleed, and sacrifice just to have any gains shattered by a shameful and cowardly withdrawal that so predictably favors only the savage cavemen we’ve been fighting all these years.  All of us gave some, some gave all, but none of us fought for this.

We fought to prevent all of this.  Each of us who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, we said, “Here am I,” and we went to stand between these savages and you.  Many of us joined after the Twin Towers were attacked.  We each said to America’s vicious enemies, as did those who fought our foreign wars before: “You’ll have to come through me first.”  We wrote that blank check to America.  We put our lives on hold, put other aspirations aside, left our loved ones behind.  We brushed aside the cruel accusations from mindless anti-war activists, some once our friends, that we were doing nothing but killing innocents.  It was never for oil, it wasn’t for imperialist motives or to decide Iraq’s fate for it.  It is and always has been truly a war on terror, the very literal terror we’re seeing expand once more across Iraq now that we left without victory, that has taken hold from the Netherlands to England.  We saw how these radical Islamists treated their own people, how they treated women and children, how they treated those who don’t believe as they do.  We saw how they didn’t wear uniforms and were willing to use women, children, and their religious houses as shields behind which to wage their bloody, medieval, unjustified slaughter.  They are making their way outward with their ultimatum of convert or die just like Mohammad did hundreds of years ago.  We’re seeing them behead children.

We signed up to stand between them and you.

Because of political correctness and a lack of guts, Shock and Awe and the unheard of four-day victory in Baghdad morphed into a strange mix of appeasement and whack-a-mole exercises instead of successfully wiping out this inhumane enemy.  Look what ISIS did within days.  We could not stay indefinitely in Iraq or Afghanistan, nor should we be nation-building, but we should not have abandoned them as we did without finishing our job, with no security force and little stability.  The void we left was bound to be filled by even worse terror, and so it has been.  They will never surrender, they will never stop, they do not want peace.  They want utter subjugation and they are enabled by our very president to torture and kill unhindered and unquestioned.  The blood of all those killed by ISIS is on Obama’s hands because he did nothing to prevent it and nothing to stop it, while lying that the world is safer on his watch. We didn’t fight for this.

Now they are spreading far and wide unimpeded, brutally slaughtering any who stand in their way.  Who will stop them now?  Practically all have been cowed by insane political correctness, with any references to radical Islam and jihad forbidden.  Imagine if we had been forbidden from telling the truth that Hitler slaughtered 6 million Jews?  Our government dictates that we cannot name the enemy, and so we cannot fight to win.  Our borders are wide open for them to carry out their loudly proclaimed mission: “WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD,” as they wrote to the Foley family after beheading their son James last summer, the first of many beheadings of Westerners to come.

The world is burning and our defenders are being destroyed from the inside out.  Our warriors are bound and gagged by Rules of Engagement that put them in unnecessary danger, stifle their ability to fight, and favor the enemy.  The burden of proof is long since on the American soldier to prove that the terrorist shooting at him didn’t put down his weapon after shooting, as if that would somehow suddenly render the insurgent a non-combatant.  Our fighters at the tip of the spear now have to let themselves be shot at twice in order to engage the enemy, and the high ranks in our military dutifully enforce these senseless rules with little objection lest they jeopardize their rank and pensions.  The misogynists we’ve been fighting like to stone, rape, mutilate and murder women with impunity, they torture and hang gays.    Our military performance standards have been lowered and lowered and lowered again, because being tough on recruits is considered abuse in our absurd, politically correct bubble.  We’re not allowed to forge our volunteers into really tough fighters anymore, we’re not allowed to really prepare them for the unrestrained enemy they will face on the battlefield.  Meanwhile the enemy himself bears no such ludicrous hindrances.  They will do whatever it takes to destroy us, and this administration is doing everything it can to prevent us from defending ourselves, to say nothing of taking the offensive.

Obama has welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House, he has sided with Hamas against Israel, he has supported Iran’s nuclear proliferation, he has done practically nothing but impotent “pinprick” strikes, and he has not only refused to protect our borders, he has opened them to whomever wants to cross and with whatever motives they may hold.  The man – I use the term very loosely – has little to say on all these matters, and the hollow words he does issue are vague empty platitudes when what is called for is swift and decisive action.  He barely interrupted a golf game to breathe a measly few shallow words on the beheading of James Foley.  No harsh words about burning the pilot alive. We could easily wipe ISIS off the map, and we should.  They, like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, are the ones hiding behind women and children.  We could secure our border, and we should.  We have the means, we just need the will, the guts.  It is easily articulated, it’s not rocket science.  Dead civilians are on their hands, not ours.  They are the ones who hide behind them and target civilians, and they win because we are silent.  The American people should be reminded of this again and again and again.  But we’re too afraid of being considered mean.  This is a fight against true evil; we need to be mean and unapologetic.  They must be made afraid, very very afraid.  Nothing else will work, nothing else has worked.  ISIS has declared war against us.  They will not stop until they terrorize the world and leave nothing but ash.  But with a president who supports and arms terrorist states, who ignores and impugns our allies, who refuses his duty to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic, the future looks grim.  And he was elected twice by the apathetic American majority.  Scary.

We didn’t fight and sacrifice for thirteen years just so this president could pamper and embolden our enemies and open the gates wide for terror on our shores.  We fought, we sacrificed life, limb and well-being to curb and stop the spread of this terror, so that it would not again reach our shores, so that freedom would have a chance where there was none and to protect our loved ones and way of life.  We fought to protect even those who were against us for serving.  We fought so that exactly what is happening now wouldn’t happen.

This president doesn’t give a wit about America, freedom, responsibility – name anything good and decent.  He has been completely unwilling to do anything to protect America or her interests, her people.  He seems happy to let it all burn as long as he gets his multi-million-dollar vacations and his posh soirees with Hollywood celebrities.  He sure as hell doesn’t care about our military or the costs we have paid.  He announces everything we’re going to do militarily so that our enemies have ample time to prepare and execute maximum damage to our forces.  Our president doesn’t care.  He is either a fool or a sympathizer to think these monsters can be “contained.”  We’ve already had another attack on our soil, the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing, and Obama and his administration have done nothing to protect us against our enemies.

Gut-check time is long since here.  We need to be willing to break things and kill our enemies, or they will break and kill us.  It’s that simple.  The tit-for-tat reactionary method hasn’t worked.  It will never work.  They need to be terrified of acting against us.  They need to be afraid there will be a thousand hells to pay for attacking us and then hiding behind women and children.  They have no moral high ground.  Is America awake yet to the threat we have been facing all these years?  We who have served have our eyes wide open.  We would be happy to terminate this vicious foe, but it’s not just up to us.  It is up to Americas leaders to turn this tide and face down these brutes.  Will they?  No.  So we will be left to fend for ourselves.


Who Will Stand?

Who will stand for me
In the lawless land
When appeasement leads to slaughter?
To the whim of the brutal?
As Hitler rose
as it is with tyrants
appeasers and the
silent
nonviolent
majority
enabled holocaust

But this is not an abstract question
Long gone the luxury of ignorance
Of wondering how atrocity got so far back then
Would you have spoken up?
Stopped Nazism before it spread?
Would you have stood for me then?
Stopped them from taking me
To the trains?

Today you apologize for terror
We can’t name them
We can’t blame them
We can’t stop them
So broad minded and tolerant
“The enemy is us” while
they sing songs of
of bathing their hands
In the blood of the Jews
That’s me they mean
Not some someone far away
Your friend
the red-headed minstrel
the one you imagined with
played and walked and talked with
The one who left to fight
Because Never again
They said
But you’re next,
You long lost scalliwags
Floating in everything’s relative
You’re a nonbeliever too
Serving me up first
Just means
You’re a later course
In the meal

150107132332-paris-shootings-cell-footage-story-top

Photo: edition.cnn.com

 


Happy Birthday Marines

Patrick Nichols_by Jude Eden 05


Aftermath

CentralPark_midSeptember2011

Central Park, the week after, September 2011 by Jude Eden

Central Park, September 2001.
Knowing the Towers attack meant war, questioning why it must…
Knowing there is always evil in the world, questioning why there must be.
Broken hearts, shattered lives, collective ‘ individual consciousness changed forever.
The weeks after, NYC was bonded, united, united in grief an tragedy. By two weeks after the divisions reared their heads once more.
Will there ever be peace? Not as long as we continue to appease, protect and justify radical jihadists, the only group making war in every country across the globe, trashing human rights wherever they settle. Some chose to protest. I chose to fight, and I always will. For the sake of peace and the preservation of freedom.

Never forget.


Happy Independence Day from Political Animal

God bless America, the Founders who created the freest, most prosperous nation of all time on earth, and all those who have fought and served to defend her! 

bigstock-Statue-of-Liberty-New-York-la-29835170


Combat: Testosterone Required (More Than Ever)

Are double standards and endemic discouragement of women to train hard to blame for the fact that women continue to wash out of the Marine Corps’ Officer Infantry Course? That is the charge of female Marine Lt. Sage Santangello in an article for the Washington Times. She says:

“I believe that I could pass, and that other women could pass, if the standards for men and women were equal from the beginning of their time with the Marines, if endurance and strength training started earlier than the current practice for people interested in going into the infantry, and if women were allowed a second try, as men are.”

Can she do a dozen pull-ups in all this gear? Photo c/o misguidedchildren.com

Can she do a dozen pull-ups in all this gear? Photo c/o misguidedchildren.com

I absolutely agree that the military should have one standard from the beginning, and it should be the men’s higher standards.  The tiers could remain – higher standards for combat military occupational specialties (MOSs) and support units, appropriately lower for the rest – but within each, women making the higher men’s standard.  It would be optimal for military efficiency and readiness (not to mention the most effective use of our tax dollars), but most women wouldn’t make it into the military in the first place. And although their caliber would be higher for having to pass and maintain higher standards, the ones who did make it would suffer far higher rates of injury (currently 4-10 times those of men, even on lowered standards) and attrition than we already do. We’d see women promoting more slowly, having shorter and fewer military careers, and the percentage serving would drop from 20% to 5% or less. The quality of women serving would be higher, the quantity would be lower, but the military would be stronger and more battle-ready.

While that would be the best thing for a country at war as we are with child-raping, honor-killing, suicide-bombing, amputation-happy savages, the problem is that feminists won’t tolerate it. Mainly through the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), quotas for women have been imposed on the military for sixty years. And every time jobs have been opened to them, the standards have been lowered to accommodate their lesser physical capabilities and to reduce their high rates of injury. (Say, if those military men are such thugs, such brutes, such women-hating monsters, how come they’ve accommodated women this way since 1948? Weird.) So the 2-person (one daren’t call it 2-man) stretcher-carry is now a 4-person stretcher-carry, women don’t have to do the pull-ups men do, throw a grenade as far, run as fast, scale the wall without steps, and on and on. Between lower standards for women and political correctness that sees making men out of boys as abuse, the standards are de facto lower for all.

Breaking ground. Fallujah, Iraq 2005. © Jude Eden

Breaking ground. Fallujah, Iraq 2005.   © Jude Eden

Any testing to evaluate women’s strength, how they respond to types of physical training, or qualifying tests to determine job suitability have been defunded, abandoned, or, when the results show that women don’t qualify for the heavy-lifting jobs that feminists want them to occupy, discredited. One example is the Military Enlistment Physical Strength Capacity Test (MEPSCAT). It was initially developed to address a problem brought to light by the military itself: Although they were filling their quotas, 85% of women filling the slots couldn’t do what the jobs required. As Stephanie Gutmann writes in The Kinder, Gentler Military, research scientists

“…categorized all Army jobs as light, heavy, or very heavy, and then devised standard physical requirements – expressed as low, medium, high – with which to separate applicants for a particular MOS. They then conducted preliminary tests to see if soldiers in the field, already out there in assigned jobs, were matched with an appropriate MOS. ‘The results,’ as the Army Times put it, ‘did not bode well for women.’ While most men exceeded the high and medium standards for aerobic capacity,’ the paper reported, ‘no woman met the high standard and very few the medium. In other words, by the proposed test’s standards, all of the men were qualified for their jobs in heavy-lifting specialties but fewer than 15 percent of the women.’”[1]

Military readiness? Hardly. The reaction from a member of DACOWITS? “The Army is a male-oriented institution and officials are resistant to changes that will allow women to be fully utilized.” Testing showed the obvious, women couldn’t do the heavy lifting in jobs where they were placed via quotas, so the data had to be buried. The MEPSCAT was never implemented as a way to match recruits to appropriate jobs, even though that makes all the sense in the world to anyone but feminists and their lackeys at the Pentagon.

Lt. Santangello has a similarly feminist angle on why she was powerless to supplement her own training to prepare for the OIC: “Women aren’t encouraged to establish the same mental toughness as men — rather, they’re told that they can’t compete. Men, meanwhile, are encouraged to perceive women as weak.” It’s the male-dominated culture, stupid.

Why does a strong young college hockey player with the guts to join the Marines and the ability to become an officer suddenly wilt at negativity from anyone? Is that the attitude that got her through Officer Candidate’s School? Why would such a tough cookie listen to anyone who told her she couldn’t compete? Why wouldn’t she use it, as so many athletes do, to fuel her ambition to prove them wrong? Herein lies the usual riddle of feminist dogma: Women are as strong as men, but women are victims of men. It’s garbage. Advocates for women in combat are desperate to explain away the natural ability differences between the sexes.

I only served a four-year term in the Marines, but in that time (2004-2008) no one ever told me I couldn’t compete because I was a woman. Nor are men encouraged to perceive women as weak. If anything, their encouraged, at peril of losing their careers, to make themselves believe the lie that women are their physical equals. Today, we all are. Point out the obvious and you’re charged with waging the “war on women.” In my experience, feminism is so prevalent in the military that men trip over themselves trying to ensure they don’t offend. They can’t afford to even think the truth. Women are not as strong and athletic as strong, athletic men. That is why women, even very athletic women, are failing OIC. That is why women aren’t competing with men in professional football, wrestling, or mixed martial arts. It doesn’t mean women are inferior human souls, nor does it mean there is no place for women in the military. It means it makes total logical sense for many MOSs, especially the combat units, to remain closed to women.

Hey Girl, forget your pack?  Photo c/o Marine Corps Times

Hey Girl, forget your pack? Photo c/o Marine Corps Times

Equal training standards would indeed put women in better stead. It’s hard to take pride in the hollow affirmations that we’re doing everything that men are when we know we’re held to a lower standard. It would be better for us as women serving, better for the men with whom we serve, and above all better for a winning military. However, women’s failure to make these kinds of standards is not just for a lack of training. For example, the women going through Marine Corps boot camp throughout 2013 were being trained to achieve the men’s minimum of three pull-ups. They were trained to pass the test, yet 55% of them couldn’t make that minimum. 99% of male recruits can, whether or not they were particularly athletic before shipping off.

When I decided to join the Marines, I already worked out regularly. I had been jogging and hitting the gym since my teens, my sport was martial arts. To prepare for the Marines, I worked out harder and more often. No one had to tell me to, I knew my own weaknesses. If I made it to graduation, I didn’t want to let down the Marines to my left and my right. Once I hit the fleet, despite developing knee problems, I worked out more often than anyone in my platoon to maintain a first-class PFT and perform anything else that was demanded. The guys could eat fast food daily, smoke and drink, then run 6-minute miles. Meanwhile I ate clean and mixed weight training and Semper Fit classes to supplement our regular PT schedule. I envied the guys’ natural ability and found their metabolism particularly infuriating. I may have had more to overcome than some of my female peers, but my experience is not singular. To complete the same physically demanding task, a woman expends much more effort than a man. His units of work effort are worth many of hers, and he will be able to maintain a demanding, arduous level of performance for far longer than she in both the short and long term. Double standards didn’t create this reality, and women training harder won’t change it.

In his book, Coed Combat, Kinsley Brown, a law professor whose graduate work includes physical anthropology, points out that,

When males and females both start out in good physical condition, women gain less than men from further conditioning, so that the gap between the sexes actually increases. A study of male and female cadets at West Point, who all started out in relatively good condition, found that although women’s upper body strength was initially 66 percent of men’s, by the end of their first two years, it had dropped below 61 percent…Sex differences in physical performance are here to stay. As Constance Holden observed in Science magazine, the male advantage in athletics will endure, due to men’s ‘steady supply of a performance-enhancing drug that will never be banned: endogenous testosterone.’ [emphasis in the original][2]

img6503p124 Army Lieutenant Colonel William Gregor, who taught at West Point, also compared the performances of male and female cadets.

“Gregor found that the upper fifth of women achieved scores on the test equivalent to the bottom fifth of men, but even with equivalent scores, the men and the women were not physical equals: ‘The women who achieved this level of fitness are unusual. They are confident, they are talented, but they are limited in their potential relative to men. The men, in contrast, have the potential to do much better…APFT scores do not measure relative strength or performance [and are therefore] the kindest to the woman, because she works only against her own weight. If we were to add a load, the gap between males and females would widen. If we were to reinstate the 40-yard man-carry that was part of readiness 20 years ago, we would find far fewer women achieving passing scores using the male tables.’ Gregor also testified that a man is more likely to be able to meet minimum standards later in his career, whereas a woman has nowhere to go but down, and rapidly as she ages.”[3]

www.anatomy4sculptors.comFemales can train as hard as we like, and we may increase strength, stamina, and fitness. But our increased fitness still won’t put us on par with that of the men who are training to their utmost, like men in combat units. No matter how widespread feminism becomes, our bones will always be lighter than men’s, more vulnerable to breaks and fractures. Our aerobic capacity will still be 20-40% less, and we’ll still be less able to bear heavy gear at a hard-pounding run. Can we scale the eight-foot wall in full combat load? No steps are provided to give women a boost in the heat of battle like they are in coed military boot camps (and even the MC’s Officer Candidate’s School). Santangello boasts that she got 16 pull-ups on her last physical fitness test. That’s excellent, but PFT’s are done in a t-shirt and shorts. Can we do a dozen pull-ups in full combat gear? That’s just one of many requirements in the OIC combat endurance test. Can we carry another man on our back with both our full combat load and his? These differences in ability are deal-breakers in combat. The standards are not arbitrary. They’re designed to keep the weak out, because accommodating the weak means lives lost and mission failure. This is not just competitive sports, this is war. Infantry officers must not only be educated, brave, and highly athletic. They must be better at everything than all their men because Marine officers lead from the front. Hence their motto: Ductus Exemplo, leadership by example. Which of these women is better than an entire infantry platoon?

Today, advocates for women in combat, primarily civilian feminists and a handful of feminist officers, are doing everything they can to see that the standards are lowered once more to accommodate women. Hence, reservist Army Colonel Ellen Haring, one of the women suing to open combat units to women, wants the OIC’s combat endurance test thrown out (so tries to discredit it as merely an initiation rite). The females who made it through the Marine Corps’ enlisted School of Infantry were still rated on a double standard for the combat fitness test, a fact dutifully and deliberately omitted by those reporting breathlessly: “Women Pass Infantry Training!” (How will that help them when they’re actually in combat, to have passed on a lower standard?) And in the announcement of the WIC policy last year, General Dempsey said, “[I]f we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” We all know where this is going, and it will be catastrophic for all: women and men on the front lines, our ability to win wars, and the country and loved one’s we’re protecting.

Finally, Lt. Santangello’s contention that women are unfairly barred from a second chance at OIC is deliberately misleading. The only officers who get a chance to remediate and try the course again are those slated for an infantry unit, as Marine Lt. Emma Stokein explains in a recent piece, The Mission Goes First. Since combat units are still closed to women, they don’t get a second try because this delays the training for their assigned MOS and unfairly pushes behind other Marines waiting their turn. As a Marine and officer, Santangello knew this when she wrote her article, so she had no business calling it discrimination. Letting her try the course again, which the commandant of the Marine Corps did after she published, was applying a double standard. She asks that the rules and standards be ignored and that she get special treatment because she’s a woman. That’s quite a start for an officer claiming to want equal treatment, and wanting to lead men in combat. Does she want men to follow her example? Once she’s head of a platoon, will she expect her men(and women) to follow her example?

[1] Stephanie Gutman, The Kinder, Gentler Military. New York: Scribner, 2000.

[2] Kingsley Brown, Coed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight The Nation’s Wars; New York, New York: Penguin Group, 2007.

[3] Brian Mitchell, Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster; Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998.

The author before heading out on convoy to checkpoint duty, Fallujah, 2005.

The author before heading out on convoy to checkpoint duty, Fallujah, 2005.


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