Tag Archives: John McCain

Advocates for Women in Combat Value Diversity over Victory

As published at Crisis Magazine, June 7, 2016.

Female SoldiersThe prospect of drafting women is exposing some of the second-order consequences of fully integrating the combat arms. Constitutionally speaking, women’s combat exemption was the primary circumstance standing between America’s young women and registration for Selective Service. Now that women’s exemption has been repealed and the House and Senate are weighing amendments that include forcing women to register as part of the FY17 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), the nation-wide debate is revealing a lot of confusion on the draft and its purpose. Some have used the opportunity to call for an end to the draft altogether, others say women are not full and equal citizens unless they, too, have to register to fight the nation’s wars. The large majority of Americans have no connection to the military and had no skin in the game when considering full integration of U.S. combat units. They vaguely supported the idea because they support women generally and think it’s what women want. The idea of their daughters actually being drafted for combat against the likes of ISIS, Syria, Iran or North Korea is the catalyst for more realistic consideration on what’s at stake. Although women can be assigned to combat units, there are a myriad of excellent reasons that they should still be excluded from the draft.

Selective Service registration exists in order to induct “combat replacements” in a large-scale national emergency. It is not to fill desk jobs and support roles, it is to replace infantrymen who are dying by the thousands at the sharp end of our military spear. Technology has not lessened the face-to-face bludgeoning that our infantrymen are doing when the gun jams or ammo runs out as they’re fighting house to house and cave to cave on foot. While both women in combat and now drafting women have been framed as issues of equality, the priority when making military policy is the needs of our combat readiness and effectiveness, not equal opportunity or equal rights. That which diminishes readiness and effectiveness has no business being considered let alone implemented. Adding women to the draft is militarily unnecessary, would impose a bureaucratic nightmare in a crisis with little to no return on investment, and would imperil our ability to achieve victory with the fewest casualties. It is problematic for the same reasons as integrating our elite combat units, the infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Forces.

We know this because scientific testing has shown it for decades. The Marine Corps’ 9-month integration study was only the latest in such testing. Top-performing female Marines ranging in ranks from PFC to Sergeant who achieved men’s minimum physical fitness standards or better and also completed the enlisted infantry training were paired with average male Marines of the same ranks. The hypothesis to prove was that coed teams would perform the same or better than all-male teams, but the results were the opposite, the hypothesis disproved. Out of 134 tasks, all-male units outperformed coed units 69 percent of the time. It’s not that women couldn’t do some of the tasks at all, but where they could, they couldn’t perform as fast, struggled with heavy-lifting tasks like casualty evacuation, fatigued faster and suffered greater rates of injury. All of their weaknesses were amplified when they were fatigued like after a long march under load (typically around 80lbs), and the heavier the weapon, the less accurate the shooting. If the margin was even 5 or 10 percent, that would be abundant validation against integrating the units in which speed is a weapon and any weakness means sacrificing victory and personnel. But 69 percent disparity is a catastrophic blow to survivability and lethality in direct ground combat. The Obama administration ignored these facts. Supporters of women in combat have no interest in victory or troop welfare. What matters to them is forcing the socio-political agenda of diversity metrics on an entity that has no choice but to follow orders.

Unchanging physical differences between the sexes will always render women at a stark disadvantage in offensive kill missions. In the Marines’ testing, women suffered 2-6 times the injuries of their male counterparts. Active-duty women average 2-10 times the injuries compared to men before even attempting to achieve men’s standards or the combat arms’ much more grueling demands. It should go without saying that higher rates of injury are a liability to units that have to endure and withstand the toughest physical demands as they hunt and kill our enemies. Drafting women for this will result in much higher turnover, weakened combat effectiveness and fewer of both men and women coming home alive and victorious against our enemies.

The military is tough on anyone but it’s much tougher on women because we don’t have testosterone coursing through our bodies. We have to exert far more effort into the same training to meet the arduous physical demands. That makes us all the more impressive for serving in the first place, but it doesn’t make us interchangeable with infantrymen or render all risks equal in the most violent activity known to man. Just the opposite. There are few to no women who can not only achieve combat unit standards but maintain them over time. We break hundreds to find two who can make it past day one in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course (IOC) or through Army Ranger’s School. You can bet your life that women have to be a damn sight better than men’s minimums to survive, let alone succeed, in the direct ground combat they’ll be drafted to engage in. Of the thirty female Marine officers that were deemed eligible to try IOC, none were able to pass or even able to make it past the first two weeks. The females who graduated Ranger School were given additional training and recycled at least twice through each phase where men are only allowed two recycles—at most—over the whole program. The third graduate got three recycles in at least one phase of Ranger School. Their graduation was planned in advance and the Army shredded their records less than a month after. Those records are usually kept for one to two years at the least, but the Army saw fit to destroy them for these individuals. Their graduation was presented as proof that women are just as capable as men of succeeding at combat. The reality was quite different, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

It would be an administrative nightmare to sift through thousands and thousands of female registrants to test and find the one or two who can do the typical combat tasks required of the infantry. Regardless of standards, women face additional and higher risks than men which also make ground combat and drafting thereto a very unequal prospect. We face the most savage, barbaric enemy imaginable. They are raping their way across the Middle East and now Europe, using their creativity to devise new forms of torture and murder. Women are higher-value targets to be raped and tortured, used for psychological warfare against their units and as propaganda to devastate the country. For these reasons Congress would be amply justified in deciding that the little to no return on investment and the much greater risk and damage would not be worth the added administrative burden, and great expense in time, effort, personnel and defense dollars.

Where adding women palpably degrades combat effectiveness and adds significantly more risk and liability, there is no decent reason to draft women. The draft, like integrating combat units, is about the needs of the military, not equal career opportunity. We always need men to fight, we don’t need women to. Women now being able to join combat units when they volunteer for military service does not render all other considerations moot. As Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readinesspoints out, “The Rostker decision did not consider other rationales for continuing women’s exemption from direct ground combat and Selective Service. A case could be made for limiting Selective Service to men, if Congress supported that policy with facts that already exist.”

The “Draft Our Daughters” amendment was struck from the House language of the FY17 NDAA in May, but behind closed doors Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who also chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee added the language on the Senate side. It will be voted on later this week.

Just as there should be open deliberation on combat unit integration, there should be a full and open debate on Selective Service and whether or not women should be included. These responsibilities rest with congress because they are accountable to us, not unelected appointees like Ashton Carter and Ray Mabus pushing Obama’s agenda through regardless of consequence. We are cannibalizing museum pieces to fix our aircraft, suffering many more training accidents due to budget cuts, the military is being bombarded with politically correct garbage, and our generals are telling Congress our military is not prepared to fight the next war, especially on multiple fronts. The last thing we need to do is add more bureaucracy to our beleaguered force.


Drafting Women Into Combat Doesn’t Enhance Equality. It Courts Disaster.

As published at Stream.org May 21, 2016.

Startled-taken-aback-Women-900This week the House Rules Committee neutralized the “Draft Our Daughters” amendment put forward by Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and passed by both Republicans and Democrats in last month’s markup of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The language requiring women to register for Selective Service (SS) was removed and new language added calling for examination of both Selective Service and the impact of forcing women to sign up. On the Senate side, the measure forcing women to register was slipped in last week by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. For the sake of America’s young women and for the sake of our military, this misguided push to add women to the draft must be stopped.

Understand, the purpose of the draft should it be reinstated is to induct combat replacements during a large-scale national emergency. It is not to collect warm bodies to work desk jobs to “free a man to fight,” or for support units. It is to replace the men who are dying by the thousands at the very front of the fight. Like the issue of integrating women into our combat units, this is about the needs of the military during wartime, not equal rights between the sexes.

Physical disparities will always render women at a stark disadvantage in offensive kill missions. As it is, active-duty women average 2-10 times the injuries compared to our brothers in arms. This is before we’re talking about women attempting to achieve men’s standards or the much more grueling demands of the infantry. Not equal, and maybe it doesn’t seem fair, but it’s reality and it has a bearing on sound military policy. It might be one thing if all physical capability, injury and risk were the same between the sexes, but they aren’t. Much higher rates of injury are a liability to the units that have to be the strongest, fastest and most ferocious. Drafting women for this would mean much higher turnover, diminished combat effectiveness and fewer of both men and women coming home alive and victorious against our enemies.

Photo c/o Stripes.com

Photo c/o Stripes.com

There are very few women who want to join the military and little to none who can not only achieve combat unit standards but maintain them over time. We have to break hundreds to find two who can make it past day one in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course or through Army Ranger School, and you can bet your life that women have to be a far sight better than men’s minimums to survive, let alone succeed, in direct ground combat.

It would be a logistical and bureaucratic nightmare to sift through thousands and thousands of female registrants to test and find the one or two who can do the standard twelve-mile fast hike with an 80lb pack, to name a tiny fraction of what’s typically required of men in the combat arms. We are also confronting the most savage and barbaric enemy we’ve ever faced, to whom women are higher-value targets to be raped and tortured, used for psychological warfare against their units and as propaganda to devastate the country. On these grounds Congress is justified in deciding that the little to no return on investment and the much higher risk and damage would not be worth the added administrative burden, and great expense in time, effort, personnel and defense dollars.

What about equality? Women already enjoy equal rights under the law. Wage-gap claims continue to be debunked when hours worked, degree of danger and individual choice are taken into account. Women enjoy majorities on college campuses across the country and can do whatever they want. Even so, the needs of the military have nothing to do with women’s rights, and a large-scale war mobilization is no different. Some insist equal citizenship and responsibility means women sign up, too, but that falsely assumes equal physical ability. By this logic, only those who are able to fight get rights under the law. Where adding women demonstrably degrades combat effectiveness and adds significantly more risk and liability, there is no decent reason to draft women.

The feminist claims that American women are second-class citizens if they’re not allowed into combat or the draft ring hollow when these same feminists are so markedly silent on women suffering genuine subjugation in Islamic countries and communities. If we lose against this enemy, American women won’t have any rights at all.

The Israel Example: It’s Not What You’ve Been Told

Photo by Nicky Kelvin/Flash90.

Photo by Nicky Kelvin/Flash90.

Conscription in Israel is often raised to justify America following suit, but the comparison doesn’t bare up under scrutiny. The Israeli Defense Force doesn’t deploy abroad, it exists to defend itself from the enemies surrounding it. They abandoned having women fight in frontline combat after it proved catastrophic during their 1948 war.

Less than two thousand Israeli women serve in the coed “combat” units, and those are light battalions, the Caracal and the Lions of Jordan, which serve as border patrols with countries with whom Israel has peace accords. They are not engaged in offensive kill missions to seek out, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and close combat. Israel even reversed integration of their armor divisions because, in the words words of an IDF general who’d previously spearheaded integration but changed his mind after seeing the results over ten years, women’s injuries were “dozens of percentage points higher” than those suffered by men.

Israeli women also serve two years compared to three for men and get exemption for marriage, pregnancy and religious orthodoxy. We deploy mothers and even single mothers to the combat zone. With this precedent, shall we draft them too or would exemption be sexist?

If we were surrounded by enemies and needed all hands on deck, there is no doubt American women would rally by every means necessary to defend the country, as indeed we always have. Adopting Israel’s example would mean limiting where women are utilized to the areas where they can be effective and successful without adding unnecessary risk.

Misleading on Military Policy

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

In justifying his maneuver, McCain told The Hill, “I support the recommendation of the Army chief of staff and the commandant of the Marine Corps that women should register for Selective Service. … It is the logical conclusion of the decision to open combat positions to women.” Hunter said something similar when he told the House Armed Services Committee, “If you vote yes on this amendment you’re voting with General Dunford and General Milley.” It needs to be noted that Gen. Dunford never said this. Marine Gen. Robert Neller and Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley did, but these were their personal opinions, not a reflection of military policy.

It’s true that, constitutionally speaking, women’s combat exemption is what stood between women and the draft because, as the Supreme Court decided in Rostker v. Goldberg in 1981, since women weren’t “similarly situated” in combat units, their exemption from the draft did not violate the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause. But women now being able to join combat units when they volunteer for military service does not render all other considerations moot. As Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness points out, “The Rostker decision did not consider other rationales for continuing women’s exemption from direct ground combat and Selective Service. A case could be made for limiting Selective Service to men, if Congress supported that policy with facts that already exist.”

The decision to repeal women’s combat exemption was made administratively and without the required congressional review and oversight. Had it been done properly, the draft question would have been openly debated, not assumed after the fact. Congress makes policy for the military and hasn’t even considered the expert research or debated the consequences of combat integration, let alone approved it.

The Marines included over fifty documents and reports justifying their request to maintain all-male infantry, yet the Pentagon has withheld over half of them. They should be made public and subject to public analysis, hearings and independent expert testimony.

It lies with Congress to make policy regarding Selective Service and the draft. This is not something that should be allowed to happen behind closed doors like McCain did in slipping in the draft language on the SASC side. Just as there should be open deliberation on combat unit integration, there should be a full and open debate on Selective Service and whether or not women should be included. These responsibilities rest with Congress because its members are accountable to us, unlike the unelected Obama appointees like Ashton Carter and Ray Mabus, who push Obama’s agenda through regardless of consequence. America owes it to her daughters, and to our brothers in arms, to demand this debate and this accountability.


Conservatives: Doing the Work Establishment GOP Just Won’t Do

Defunding Obamacare, continuing resolution, government shutdown, the incompetence circus of the Obamacare launch.  The Fall rollercoaster on the Hill has been quite something to watch, and also very instructive.  We have learned just how spineless John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and the other Senate Republicans really are.  We have learned that they will studiously ignore 70% of the American people who have been communicating their opposition to Obamacare through every means at their disposal.  We have seen that they care only for their own power and money, and nothing for the constituents they represent.  We have seen just how vicious they can become when that power, the Establishment status quo, is reminded that they do not rule the citizens, the sovereign American citizen grants them representative duties.  And we take them away, too.

cruz-vs-establishment-600Establishment Republicans can’t stand what Senator Ted Cruz did when he stood on the Senate floor and vigorously articulated the problems with Obamacare because it contrasted their own greed and cowardice so obviously. From its unconstitutionality, to the unfairness of exemptions and subsidies, to its negative impact on the economy and healthcare, and everyday Americans, Cruz made the conservative argument the whole Republican party should have been making.  Imagine if the rest of his party had done the same!  Imagine if they had spent as much time and energy supporting the man doing the right thing as they did attacking, undermining, and opposing him.  Imagine too, if they had spent as much time and energy working to persuade Democrats to vote with them to defund what Max Baucus (D-MT), the author, called the law: “a train wreck.”  Making the conservative case, it would hardly matter that the media is the Left’s propaganda machine.  They wouldn’t be able to contain it.  Cruz took the conservative message to the people, and many heard him. It was powerful, and the gutless Republicans hate that.

While trashing the Tea Party (which is to say everyday conservative-leaning Americans), the GOP amoebas keep telling that same group to deliver them the majority and then they will fight to stop Obamacare.  We all know that now that it’s in, it will be all but impossible to stop it.  The near-impossible is hardly the specialty of today’s GOP.  And what will they do when the inevitable argument comes that, yes, the whole thing is a catastrophe – the solution is a one-payer system?  Will they fight to open us to a free market solution instead?  No.  They don’t want to stop Obamacare.  They want to control it.  Obamacare is a cancer that needs to be cut out before it can spread, and the House did its Constitutional duty by using the power of the purse to deny funding.  The rest just showed us their utter cowardice and indifference to the will of the people and their own oath of office.  They wrapped themselves with blame for the shutdown long before it happened in order to point the finger at the real conservatives in the party.  But the real conservatives are not to blame for the shutdown any more than they’re responsible for Obamacare itself.  They are the ones doing the right thing, and the ones doing the wrong thing despise it.

Whatever the Boehners, McConnells, McCains and Jeb Bushes are saying, you can bet doing the opposite will put the country on the right track.  Jeb says we need to step back and cool it, so what we really need to do is bring the heat vigorously and constantly.  Remember that when they are telling you to cool it, they are saying cool the fight for liberty in the face of tyranny.  Cool your jets on the fight against Obamacare, the newest form of slavery.  HELL NO WE WON’T.

If you are a conservative and you’re not being attacked by liberals and squishy Republicans, you’re doing it wrong.  Winston Churchill was called a warmonger, among many other slurs, for opposing Hitler, while Neville Chamberlain was given hero’s praise for appeasing him.  Who would you rather have been?   Who will you be today?  So keep doing the work Establishment Republicans won’t do.  Keep bringing the heat against them.  Raise your voice.  Write your ink dry.  Call and email your reps and bug the hell out of them.  They are accountable to YOU.  And support people like Senators Cruz, Lee, and Rand Paul who are actually upholding their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.  They’re leaving it all on the field to preserve liberty for all of us.  Thank them.


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