Tag Archives: military

Sorry Miss USA But Direct Combat is Not a Beauty Pageant Stage

As published at The Stream, June 7, 2016.

Miss-USA-D.C.-900We can all be proud and happy that a member of our military became Miss USA 2016. But that doesn’t mean we have to agree with her.  Deshauna Barber is a first lieutenant in the Army Reserves and is getting a flurry of attention for her comment during the Miss USA pageant about women in combat roles. Her statements demonstrated little forethought on the issue, but, hey, why let the reality of direct ground combat against the likes of ISIS ruin a good “I am woman, hear me roar” moment? And hey, getting on the women-in-combat feminist bandwagon may have clinched her the Miss USA crown.

When asked about her thoughts on women in combat roles, the IT analyst from North Washington D.C. said, “As a commander of my unit, I am powerful. I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.” And “I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military … We are just as tough as men.”

I confess that I don’t know what being an IT analyst in the weekend-warrior Army Reserves is like. I do know about IT in the Marines, and both being a Marine and supporting communications for deployed Marines is much harder, but it still ain’t direct ground combat. I’ve no doubt that Lt. Barber is powerful and dedicated, and a valuable — not to mention beautiful — addition to our Armed Forces. But she hasn’t trained and competed with male infantry. Her job in the Army reserves does not include orders to serve with men in the combat arms, and she knows nothing about it.

We have ample empirical data on the question of women in combat roles from recent testing, not to mention hundreds of years of experience learning what helps and what hinders victory in battle.

Barber will never bear the consequences of what she so mindlessly advocates. She’d be the one they shoot first as an easy target. And so beautiful, in her bikini and dangly earrings, or her be-makeuped soft-focus selfie in uniform. Not distracting at all. ISIS is not just laughing at us. They’re licking their chops at our self-imposed weakness. But we have our Charlie’s Angel delivering the Obama party line. She’s won the beauty pageant; just wait ‘til she starts her acting career.

Firebrand Gunnery Sergeant (Ret) Jessie Jane Duff, who served two decades in the Marines and advocates strongly that we should not diminish our combat readiness, had some choice tweets for the young LT:


In a recent interview Duff added this:

This was an ideal opportunity for her to stand up and stand for the enlisted women who will die in mass quantity in combat … She’s missing the entire data … Yes, we’re as mentally tough as men, but all data demonstrates that the women are performing at the bottom 25th percentile with men in infantry units. We’re setting them up for failure. Her speech, what she said was perfect if she had just closed with, “We should not lift a blanket policy without evaluating this closer because this isn’t about equality … this is about combat readiness and the mission is first.” That would have gotten just as much applause and people would have celebrated her for defending the women that have to go out there and perform with these men … Hand to hand combat? There is no equality in it. The men will decimate women in hand-to-hand combat.

This week we commemorate the 72nd anniversary of D-Day. Our reflections on young men storming the beaches of Normandy should remind us of the importance of defining precisely what is involved in “direct ground combat.” It’s great that Barber feels powerful, but the truth is that physically she’s a twig, and ISIS, or Iran or North Korea would make mince-meat out of her in five seconds.

She may be as tough as other keyboard commando Army Reservists, but she has no credibility on killing our enemies at point-blank range. She is no authority in comparison to three years and over 50 documents’ worth of scientific testing data submitted by the Marine Corps to the Pentagon, which showed that integrated units underperform on 69% of tasks and women get injured more than twice as much as men. Dedication has little relevance against these realities, which would severely degrade the lethality and survivability of our most elite fighting units.

In our upside-down “now,” where the Left is trying to hammer at us that one’s biological sex is meaningless, Nature simply will not comply, especially in the most violent activity known to mankind. As we’re fighting the most barbaric enemy we’ve ever faced, we need the manliest, most powerful, aggressive, testosterone-laden American alpha males that our taxpayer dollars can buy in order to destroy our enemies and come home quickly and in one piece. Miss USA is a beautiful stick who’d have no chance killing ISIS fighters in hand-to-hand combat.

Deshauna Barber makes a great poster, and now we all know what she looks like underneath her uniform. It’s Combat Barbie Miss USA. But direct ground combat is not a beauty pageant stage. Barber is the media’s latest darling for being a satisfactorily diverse and pretty package delivering the government-approved party line. Meanwhile technology has not alleviated the need for brute strength and speed that women simply don’t provide, and they bring with them serious additional risks that men simply don’t.

Meanwhile, too, the Senate is voting on whether to subject America’s young daughters to mandatory registration for the draft as combat replacements. The girl next door will not have stunt doubles to fill in for the bloody parts, and for her it won’t be about “a few women who want to.”

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.

Fast-Forwarding Military Decline

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speaks to Marines regarding women in combat during a speech at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speaks to Marines regarding women in combat during a speech at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

As published at Stream.org April 20, 2016.

As a Marine veteran and close follower of the developments on women’s integration into the combat arms, I’ve noticed that women saying they want to join the infantry do so for all sorts of reasons: to make history, break barriers, challenge themselves, prove something, carry on family tradition. With the women’s combat exemption now repealed, the media fawns on the first females going for combat roles as history-makers, even before they’ve finished — or even started — boot camp or officer candidate school. Notably missing from the young women’s motivations is anything about killing the enemy, the raison d’être of the combat arms.

Meanwhile, as the military is gearing up to spend millions of precious defense dollars on additional recruiters to enlist females, more sexual assault response staff, sensitivity trainers to indoctrinate on “unconscious bias” and incalculable amounts of money, time and energy to integrate the combat units with the two females who “want” to join and can make it past initial training, the Marines are having to cannibalize museum pieces to keep their aircrafts running. Fox News reports that only 30% of the Marine Corps’ aircraft are mission ready and that young maintenance techs are leaving the service for better paying private sector jobs, with the ones who are left working 21-hour days to get aircraft repaired and running for deployment operations. Military pay has been cut every year for several years, and personnel numbers are being slashed by tens of thousands. Our planes are ancient and our Navy is smaller than it’s been since the First World War.

Simultaneously our top military leaders are telling Congress we’re not ready for the next war. Defense Newsreported in March that:

Top Army and Marine Corps generals warned lawmakers their combat readiness is ebbing and expressed concern they would be unable to fight and win another war in the midst of budget cuts, two wars and heightened global threats.

These same generals have cited budget cuts as having a deadly domino effect: reducing training has led to an increase in aviation fatalities such as the helicopter crashes in January that killed 12 Marines.

During this time of military breakdown, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ biggest concern is touring Marine Corps bases to reinforce party line on women’s integration into the infantry. AP reports:

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had a simple message for 1,500 Marines and sailors: The decision to let women compete for all military combat positions is as irreversible as earlier edicts to integrate blacks and allow gays and lesbians to openly serve.

Of course, this is incorrect. The repeal of women’s combat exemption is a policy and as such can be reversed just as it was implemented: administratively. Alternately, Congress could actually do its job in creating military policy and reverse the “decision” that was not Ashton Carter’s to make in the first place.

But more importantly, integrating women into combat roles is nothing like racial integration or the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A black or gay man is still a man with testosterone coursing through his body. The abundance of this hormone is what makes his bones stronger and more dense, and makes his aerobic capacity, speed, muscle mass and capacity to gain muscle mass greater than a woman’s. The combat arms require an abundance of these. He also can’t get pregnant and doesn’t require additional accommodations to maintain hygiene.

Truman struck a blow against an irrational prejudice based on skin color by racially integrating the military, and he did so based on military need with no changes to standards as there are with women’s integration.  African-Americans had also served in direct ground combat in all our nation’s wars. Proponents of women in combat would like us to believe the same is true for women, but they are equating deployment to the combat zone in general with engaging in direct ground combat missions in particular — two wildly different things.

There is no military need to put women in our most elite fighting units, and there are mountains of empirical evidence showing that such integration degrades our readiness. Even the most fit military females exhibit weaker physical performance and average two to ten times men’s injuries. That doesn’t even allow us to maintain our current state of readiness, one that is, according to our generals, already alarmingly weak.

Mabus is also repeating the promise that standards won’t be lowered, saying, “Let me repeat that: Standards will not be lowered for any group!” But it rings a bit hollow when in the next breath he said, “Standards may be changed as circumstances in the world change, but they’ll be changed for everybody.” No word on how his demand for 25% female representation can be achieved without lowering standards. It will be masked by removing tests where women don’t succeed or excel.

Calls for such changes have already been made, for example by Col Ellen Haring, one of the women who sued to open the combat units, who calls the Combat Endurance Test, part of the Marines’ Infantry Officer Course, a mere “initiation rite and not a test of occupational qualification.” Stay tuned for calls to remove typical testing maneuvers like climbing the 25’ rope in full kit. The man least qualified for the position he holds, second only perhaps to SecDef Ashton Carter, isn’t fooling anyone.

The Pentagon is fast-forwarding as much social-engineering wreckage as they can in the lame-duck months remaining in Obama’s presidency, from ROTC cadets parading in high heels to programming young warfighters in the art of double-think to ignore the reality of sex differences that are all the more evident when the uniforms are all the same. This is the last thing we should be doing when we’re fighting ISIS and face a more complicated set of foreign challenges than ever.

As George Orwell said in 1946, “We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue … the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

All GOP Presidential Candidates but Cruz Afraid to Defend Women’s Combat Exemption

 Published on February 9, 2016 at Stream.org.

Saturday’s GOP primary debate question about women and the draft highlighted the fact that most of the candidates are so terrified of the “war on women” label that they repeat the left’s position on women in combat and the draft without serious thought or consideration.

Female-soldiersThe facts are overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining women’s combat exemption, and one of those facts is that combat is not an equal opportunity for women, rendering selective service obligations totally inappropriate. None save Ted Cruz seem even aware of the case, let alone is willing to make it. He wasn’t asked the question in the debate and so released his opinion after, saying that drafting women is “nuts”:

“Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong. It is immoral and if I’m president we ain’t doing it.”

We all knew registration for selective service was the next logical step after opening the combat arms to women. As I’ve written previously, most wouldn’t open their eyes to the actual implications of this policy change until they were faced with their daughters signing up for hand-to-hand combat with the likes of ISIS. While some dismiss the likelihood of the draft, this president has done all sorts of unprecedented things. The Marine Corps is currently 8% female. Who’s to say what the President or his potentially spineless successor would do to fulfill Ray Mabus’s demand to have “diversity metrics” of 25% female representation in the military ranks?

Lawmakers and military leaders are using the draft question to do what they should have been doing since the first announcement to repeal women’s exemption back in January, 2013: demanding congressional oversight, public debate and scrutiny, and Congressional voting on the measure so that lawmakers can be held accountable by voters.


ISIS kills own to stop more desertions

People with common sense know viscerally that putting women in direct combat is wrong. Now we’re left to deal with the fallout of the Obama-imposed doublethink: celebrating sexuality of all sorts in the military while suppressing natural sexual differences. The brutal reality is that women would have to become more masculine because that’s what victory in combat with the fewest casualties requires. In order to accommodate being around more women, the men are to curb their masculinity and aggression, traits that make them good war fighters. But they’re going to have to train the way they fight. That means they will have beat up on the women especially in the infantry because, after all, that’s what it takes to prepare them against face to face bloody, violent, direct ground combat.

I know something about this kind of training. A black belt with seven years training in several forms by the time I joined the Marines, I continued in their martial arts program, which combines all of the world’s most offensive fighting styles. Throughout those years I paired up with all different guys to train. The fast wiry guy, the short stocky guy, the 6’5” beefcake, the tall gangly strong guy. So you throw the guy, and throw the guy, and throw the guy, and you get thrown, and get thrown and get thrown. You kick in the gut and you practice getting your gut kicked in.

I thought a lot about this in the years living on my own after college and then, with all the additional training, in Fallujah. I thought about it on convoys, on the street, at our checkpoints outside the wire as my group of females and I frisked women for explosives, or when in the confines of camp late at night. Even Rhonda Rousy at the top of her undefeated streak admitted that she would not fight a man, since a man would have a natural and unbridgeable advantage. No, this is not an equal prospect for women, and this is why the combat exemption should be reinstated.

But we’ve been sold for decades on Hollywood depictions of women besting men everywhere they go. The Obama administration and the women-in-combat hucksters are counting on you not to realize that it’s all fiction. They misrepresent the stakes and ignore the consequences. They conflate deployment in general with offensive combat missions in particular. They tell us “women have been in combat for years.”

In fact, women have been deploying to the combat zone for years, not engaging in kill missions hunting the enemy on foot, house to house and cave to cave for months in filth, on deployment after deployment. Exposure to combat is not the same as combat itself, and doing a dangerous support job in a dangerous place is not the same as qualifying for the infantry to directly destroy the enemy on the ground.

The selective service question we heard in this week’s GOP debate is inseparable from the question of integrating the combat arms. And it is the second question that needs to be debated. This has never been about a few women who want to engage in direct combat. It has always been about the right thing to do for both women and the success of the most lethal fighting force our taxpayer dollars can buy, unhindered by avoidable problems, added risk and danger.

We need the fastest and the best to defeat our enemies as quickly as possible. We’ve already lost too many good war-experienced men in purge after purge of leadership under Obama, and he continues to slash personnel by the tens of thousands. We’ve wasted millions on the research they ignored and will waste billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives in an experiment that’s guaranteed to fail because it ignores realities of human nature and war.

Can it be that only one of nine GOP candidates realizes that this isn’t about equal career opportunities?

Combat Harms Women & Combat Effectiveness

As published at Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette, December 7, 2015.

Capture3Many are not surprised that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter chose to fully repeal the women’s combat exemption, especially those who’ve been pushing for it.  But many regular Americans are surprised at what it actually means.

The mother of a new female Marine I spoke with last week was understandably upset to find out women can now be involuntarily assigned to these units, just like men.

Carter confirmed this when he said, “People are assigned to missions, tasks, and functions according to need as well as their capabilities. And women will be subject to the same standard and rules that men will.” Women may also now be subject to selective service obligations.

These may be classified as decisions in the name of “equality,” except that women don’t have an equal opportunity for survival and success in the violence of real combat at point-blank range. For many Americans, the reality is only now starting to sink in.

The tiny few who are willing and maybe able still bring much higher risk of injury, lesser performance and are higher value targets to our enemies, all of which unnecessarily adds risk and weakness for everyone involved. The Marine Corps’ recent 9-month integration study showed that all-male teams outperformed coed teams in 69 percent of combat tasks.

Women — top performers who had made men’s minimum fitness standards and passed enlisted infantry training — were slower, were less accurate shooters, struggled with tasks requiring upper body strength, and suffered more than double the injuries of men.

These factors can’t be ignored when speed is a weapon and brute strength is at a premium, but that’s exactly what Carter did in his decision.

Women are also at a significant disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat against men who want to kill them. Technology has not changed the violence of close quarters combat, as the accounts of infantry veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan amply show. They have been using their knives and bare hands face to face when required. No, this is not equal opportunity.

The secretary assured us that women will have to meet the same high standards as men, but how is that really possible when, for example, none of the 29 women who attempted the Marine’s Officer Infantry Course were able to pass? In the initial announcement of repeal, Gen. Martin Dempsey called for the standards to be “re-evaluated,” putting the onus on the combat units to prove why their standards are so high if women can’t make them, while also requiring “that there are a sufficient number of females entering the career field and already assigned to the related commands and leadership positions.”

Where will these women come from? We couldn’t even get a solid 30 to try for OIC. Most who did dropped due to injury, and none were able to show they could match the men’s physical ability.

The only way to achieve “sufficient numbers” and make up for both higher injuries and weaker performance is to lower the standards. Not formally, of course, but the standards have been lowered every time more military jobs have been opened to women.

This policy decision also won’t really help women’s military careers, the entire foundation of the argument for putting women in combat. The real effect will more likely be to handicap them. Take a woman at the top of her field in a noncombat military occupational specialty and drop her in a combat unit with the highest performing males and you’ve just killed her career prospects. No matter the standards, men especially at this level will always outperform women, permanently relegating them at best to the bottom half of their units.

Carter’s decision will also likely result in less female representation in the ranks over time, presumably the opposite of what advocates for repeal want. Since the colossal majority of active-duty women say they don’t want to be assigned to these units — 92.5 percent of enlisted Army women according to a 2014 Army survey, with similar results in other branches surveyed — the female talent we’re told is so critical is likely to walk out the door. Young women considering joining, already five times harder and more expensive to recruit, are likely to be more deterred by the possibility of involuntary assignment.

There are star performers who can and have been used effectively and recognized for their achievements without integrating all-male units thus far. But you don’t make a policy with such broad negative consequences based on the performance of an unusual few who, no matter the standards, are at far higher risk.

The averages matter, and military women tending not to be able to perform at infantry standards and to be injured at more than twice the rate of men means that women in combat units are likely to have to be replaced at far higher rates. They will not be competitive with their male peers, and will leave the military sooner and with more life-long disabilities. Not to mention, we have to break hundreds of women just to get to one who can make the men’s minimums.

The story isn’t over. This was never Carter’s decision. It was and is the American people’s. Congress has it in its power to defund this effort through the next defense authorization bill, and the next president can reinstate exemption just as it was repealed, administratively. But not before much disruption is inflicted on our men and women in uniform who are now preparing to face ISIS in Syria.

A Tale of Two Combat Integration Tests: Army v. Marines

As published at The Stream November 8, 2015.

Integrated_Task_Force_infantry_Marines_conduct_squad_attacks_in_Final_Field_Exercise_at_Camp_Lejeune-cropped-compressedWith the January deadline approaching for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s decision on opening all combat units to women, the contrast between the Marines integration testing and the Army’s Ranger training is telling.

The Marines set out to answer a question: Can women perform at the same level as men in the infantry? While adversaries of the women’s combat exemption have been hard at work trying to discredit the testing and the results, the Marines’ gender integration study was executed according to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) required methodology. It had buy-in and observation from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the University of Pittsburgh, Michigan State University and Rand Corp. Contrary to the claim that the Marines were biased against the females, participants and overseers say the opposite was true.

The Marines’ Ground Combat Element-Integrated Task Force (GCEITF) was directed “to test the hypothesis that an integrated ground combat arms unit under gender neutral standards will perform just as well as a similar all male unit.” The results disproved the hypothesis. All-male units outperformed coed units in 69 percent of the 134 combat tasks. Women were slower, were less accurate shooters, struggled with tasks requiring upper body strength such as climbing over walls and lifting a 200-pound dummy off the field, and retained more than double the injuries of men, among other things:

“The assessment across all occupational specialties revealed that gender integrated teams, squads or crews demonstrated, with very few exceptions, degraded performance in the time to complete tasks, move under load and achieve timely effects on target as compared to all-male teams, squads or crews.”

The results even showed where standards should be raised for infantry men. This is vital information for a branch whose sole purpose is killing the enemy. We can be proud of the service the participants did by hashing out the details of what direct ground combat really requires and what the limits are for women’s contributions.

Army Ranger school seems to have been a different story. Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver were lauded as having “made history” when they graduated on August 22 this year. But shortly after, whistleblowers said that the women got extra training, special treatment, were held to lower standards and the graduation planned in advance. Worse, they’ve said success was the predetermined outcome whether women were successful or not. As People reported on September 25:

“A woman will graduate Ranger School,” a general told shocked subordinates this year while preparing for the first females to attend a “gender integrated assessment” of the grueling combat leadership course starting April 20, sources tell PEOPLE. “At least one will get through. [Emphasis mine]

That directive set the tone for what was to follow, sources say.

“It had a ripple effect” at Fort Benning, where Ranger School is based, says a source with knowledge of events at the sprawling Georgia Army post. “Even though this was supposed to be just an assessment, everyone knew. The results were planned in advance.”

Giving even more credence to the whistleblowers, one of the graduates herself acknowledged special treatment, People also reported:

“I thought we were going to be dropped after we failed Darby [part of Benning] the second time,” Griest said at a press conference before graduation. “We were offered a Day One Recycle.”
The report came just after congressman Steve Russell (R-OK), a former Army Ranger and career military man himself, asked the Army for proof of standards to include the women’s training records. After stalling for a couple of weeks, the Army informed him that the records were destroyed. The supposed living proof that women are just as combat-capable as infantry men and their records were destroyed? It stinks to high heaven.

The Army denies it, but unfortunately lying and concealing data concerning combat-related jobs to women is nothing new for the military (except the Marines). In the 1990s, eager to prove their diversity and women-friendliness post-Tailgate, the Navy and Air Force were competing to be the first to open combat aircraft jobs to women. The Navy gave the same directive to their pilot instructors that the Rangers allegedly got: A woman will pass. And so they did.

And then a female pilot, Kara Hultgreen, killed herself when she crashed her plane into the water doing a routine landing maneuver she’d failed at before. Previously touted as proof that women are just as capable combat pilots, the training records revealed that both Hultgreen and the female she went through training with were passed where men would have failed. They were put in positions for which they didn’t qualify and when it resulted in the death of the female pilot, the Navy lied about it and tried to hide the evidence. All so they could show the administration how diverse and not sexist they supposedly were.

What if Hultgreen been deployed during the Gulf war? How many lives might she have cost in combat action when the pressure was really on? We have no idea how many more women have been “passed” in this way over the years, but we’re expected to see the female Rangers’ graduation as evidence that women strengthen combat readiness.

This is what the Army has done to pass women in their Ranger program. To lie to the American people about these women’s ability to wage combat with and against men is gross deceit, a deceit then used to justify opening all combat units to women. It’s already horrible for the women involved, since it set them up for humiliation when the truth inevitably surfaced, and for future failure on the battlefield. ISIS won’t give those women a day-one recycle.

It doesn’t help active duty women to be pushed through and given something they didn’t earn. Frankly, it’s insulting to our intelligence and dignity. It will degrade American ability to fight war on the ground. It will get more men and women killed. And it will inflate costs — the human and the financial — for disabilities upon return from war.

It also diminishes the real achievements of women in both the Army and the Marines. Women that want to push their boundaries and charge hard are exactly the women we want in our military and on deployments. We’ll retain and recruit far fewer of them if the combat units are fully integrated.

While the female Marines were set up for success, the female Rangers were set up for disaster. The female Marines didn’t fail at anything. They helped determine whether women strengthen combat readiness. They helped us to identify standards that needed adjusting and the limits of top-performing female Marines. This, like the data on rates of injury and other results, is information we need.

The Rangers, in contrast, were pawns in a scheme that treats the Army as a laboratory for social engineering. Those tough, high-performing female Marines will go on to do great things and can be proud of what they’ve done. The female Rangers can’t take any pride in their tab and will never be able to assuage doubts in their abilities.

The Army’s deceit is even more reason for congressional scrutiny over the repeal of women’s combat exemption. A decision that affects all active duty women, all draft-age women, all infantrymen and our national security belongs not to one man, not to a political appointee, and not even with the military itself. The decision belongs to the American people whose sons and daughters risk their lives to protect us from our most vicious foreign enemies.


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