View Full Version : Why Women Cannot be a Part

01-28-04, 08:05 AM
The Warrior Cult - Why Women Cannot be a Part

Captain John F. Luddy, USMCR

I was once asked by a friend to recommend his son for the U.S. Naval Academy. I asked in response, "Does your son want to be a professional killer?" "Well no, of course not. He wants to be a peacemaker." I replied, "Well, then tell him to enter a seminary."
John Silber, Straight Shooting, 1989
In 1983, when I was just beginning to fancy myself a man and was looking for a place to prove it, some well-known slogans offered and answer: "The Marines are looking for a few good men;" and "Maybe you can be one of us . . the few, the proud, the Marines." Another was even more direct: "We never promised you a rose garden." The message was clear: To join America's warrior elite would mean some harsh treatment much physical and perhaps emotional discomfort, and perhaps emotional discomfort, and no sympathy. I did not expect to be appreciated for my "diversity" I might bring to the Corps or to get much "sensitivity" in return. Like tens of thousands before me and thousands since, I was not to be disappointed. And, although it may seem hard for many of today's critics of the military, I didn't want it to be otherwise.

Much has changed in the past decade. When I was an officer candidate, the worst a drill instructor could say to you was: "Candidate, do you want to be an individual?" But in judging the quality of the force today, individual opportunities are becoming more important than the effectiveness of the group, and gender and racial representation are becoming more important than performance. Indeed, such exalted ideas as "diversity" and "sensitivity" are now among the Pentagon's foremost concerns. While the utility of these notions is questionable, even the most tranquil civilian environment, they are entirely incompatible with the military's main purpose: to transform a group of individuals into an efficient unit for the purpose o inflicting extreme and deliberate violence - in the words of one Army major, "to kill people and break things." Not long ago the Marines stopped calling for "a few good men," not because they, or for that matter the other Services, no longer need them, but because it is no longer politically correct to define the military service in masculine terms.

Accompanied by mandatory "sensitivity training" and considerable praise from some military leaders, notions that strike at the very core of military life have been advanced without some very basic questions being asked. How can the military accommodate women in an activity as thoroughly masculine as combat? How can it encourage diversity when, in achieving victory, individuals generally mean nothing but units almost always mean everything? And how can it foster sensitivity to care in an organization whose principal purpose requires developing the insensitivity to kill? As the military is feminized, diversified, and sensitized, these questions need answers. For if this misguided preoccupation with the individual continues, history will record the next decade as a time when the armed forces of history's greatest military power mastered all external threats, only to be vanquished by foes right here in America.

America's False Sense of Security
Insulated by wide oceans on two flanks and benign neighbors on the other two, most American's view their nation's defense through lenses of ignorance and apathy; this is largely a good thing, certainly far better than the familiarity with war of a Bosnian, Afghani, or even many western Europeans. Many Americans are slightly uncomfortable with the Armed Forces and fail to understand the fundamental differences between military life and their own. This creates fertile round for well-meaning, malicious, or simply foolish agendas.

Each period of relative peace - after both World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, and now the Cold War - has brought to the military both rapid dismantling and questionable experimentation. Today America - including the military, which generally knows better - must function without any clear external threat to focus its mind. Her global interests and the threats to them have not gone the way of the Cold War, but we Americans seem to have a hard time learning this lesson in any but the hardest way possible, as when Saddam Hussein teaches us. Until it does - and it always does eventually - the public is inclined to ignore the military and lose sight of the importance of the warrior's essential characteristics.

If the United States were the Netherlands, none of this would matter so much. But we're not. No other nation has the worldwide commitments we have. When a crisis erupts anywhere in the world, no one calls the Dutch to solve it. Other nations cannot afford to be so foolish. Israel, for instance, is surrounded by enemies and must place the combat effectiveness of its forces above all other considerations. Addressing the question of whether to place women in combat units, Israeli historian Dr. Martin van Crevald recently noted that, contrary to popular belief, the Israelis do nothing of the sort. He went on to observe:

We would not survive probably for five minutes if it weren't for our superb, well-trained, well-prepared combat-ready forces. Everything in the Israeli armed forces is geared towards that . . . To me, the very fact that this issue is being discussed and this meeting is being held simply shows that you really don't take the military very seriously.

The Demise of the American Warrior
Although diversity and sensitivity are indispensable ideals in a pluralistic society, the military must play by a very different set of rules because it has very different expectations of its members. American society tolerates a level of independent behavior that would cripple any military force. While the American military strives to reflect society's composition and values wherever possible, soldiers inevitably surrender many freedoms that civilians take for granted because, unlike civilians, they regularly face death just because they're told to. The military is not "just another part of society."

America depends on the Armed Forces to serve as a defensive line behind which a society based on individual freedom and opportunity, diversity, and sensitivity can flourish. To man this line, we must transform young civilians into warriors. Diversity? In order to form effective units that can win wars as quickly and painlessly as possible, the civilian recruit's individual identity must be subjugated to the needs of the unit and the realities of the battlefield. Sensitivity? Because a warrior's principal purpose is killing people, mush of his sensitivity must be stripped away. Cohesion, unity, and single-minded commitment to the overriding course of combat effectiveness are the essential ingredients.

The call for sensitivity first came after Vietnam, when it was thought that the end of the draft made it necessary to enlist large numbers of women to meet manpower requirements. Practical factors, such as differences in physical strength and the restrictions on cohabitation as well as strong cultural resistance to deliberately requiring young women to kill and be killed, kept women in such support roles as clerks, logisticians, communicators, and nurses. The so-called combat arms, such as infantry, artillery, and tank units, whose sole purpose was to hunt down and kill the enemy, remained a male preserve. Thus a fundamental tension was created between what were effectively two different aspects of military life.

The fact that both aspects were equally important, and that the killers could not function without those in support positions, kept everyone fairly content as long as military service was viewed as a team effort. Trouble was, the same recruiting pressures that required the Services to seek women in the first place also forced them to change their sales pitch. Military service was no longer an act of selfless patriotism, typified by that famous "I Want You" poster of World War II. It became instead a means of personal growth and wider career opportunity, as in "Be All That You Can Be."

The difference between these two messages is vast. Once opportunity became the objective, "equal opportunity" could not be far behind. Soon the military was caught between the rock of selling itself to meet manpower levels and the hard place of telling women the being "all they could be" only went so far. Among a relative handful of career women officers and against the shrill cries of feminists on the outside, the wise and necessary distinction between combat and non combat roles was lost.

The warrior's existence is always harsh and often brutal and demands a willingness to share great suffering. To some this sound barbaric, especially after the Gulf War's pristine images of precision weapons controlled by computers usually at great distances from the enemy. But the inner spirit, which for centuries bound men together in the face of death and destruction, remains vitally necessary. At this most basic level, the profession of arms is inherently and undeniably masculine. And, since combat requires men on occasion to be downright beastly, warriors must possess an aspect of masculinity that women will and should find distasteful.


01-28-04, 08:06 AM
As Michael Levin writes in Feminism and Freedom, "Because the maintenance of order requires physical strength and aggressiveness, it has been a male task in every society that has ever existed." Combat veterans regularly attest to the primal masculine power necessary to overcome fear and win in battle: from Gettysburg to Omaha Beach, this spirit has often been the only means of overcoming the stark terror men have felt when facing almost certain death. If the brevity of the last war made us forget this, the brutality of a future one may make us remember.

The argument for opening combat assignments to women, now a major feminist objective, goes something like this: The military ought to set job standards and let the best person have the job. If battles were fought and won by individuals, this approach might work. But in spite of individual acts of heroism and leadership, combat is a team endeavor, where success depends entirely on the team's level of cohesion - the "male bonding" that some women like to belittle. The awful truth is that male bonding works, which explains why military leaders preparing for combat spend most of their time trying to develop it. Male bonding is what takes the hill. And male bonding just doesn't happen with women around.

The cohesion required throughout the military, and especially in combat, cannot develop in an environment of sexual tension. Along with disrupting the way men relate to each other, it is an inescapable fact that men and women have been programmed for millennia to view each other in ways that sometimes get in the way of good judgment and hat distract from a sense of shared purpose. Similarly, if we accept their persistent claim to be just lie everyone else, we must assume that young homosexual men will be as distracted in a barracks full of men as their heterosexual peers would be in a women's locker room. Neither 30 years of sexual revolution nor all the "sensitivity training" in the world will change this human reality. And what makes it so serious a problem in a combat unit is that the price of bad judgment is so much higher than in the civilian world - not embarrassment or a lawsuit or getting fired or losing a promotion but getting mutilated or killed. Sexuality distracts, distractions hamper good judgment, impaired judgment in combat gets people killed.

In Weak Link: The Feminization of the American Military, Brian Mitchell describes the effect that women had on the Service academies when they were integrated in the 1970's. It foretells what women would bring to the necessarily intimate confines of a combat unit:

A new factor had entered the equation. A force more powerful than the call of duty, the pride of honor, or the bonds of comradeship so completely reversed the polarity of social relationships . . . that even when men contained themselves they could not rest indifferent to its presence . . . The men were charmed. They could never see the women as just cadets, and they could never treat the women as they treated other men . . . [The academies] were no longer the strange and cold conclaves of unsentimental militarism, where young men first learned the pain of separation, where love was delivered in sealed envelopes at distant intervals . . . where cadets could be prepared for lives of sacrificial hardship and deprivation, where they could learn leadership and gain confidence without the fearful disruption of suddenly running into someone with whom they were falling in or out of love.
Ultimately, the women-in-combat argument fails apart because of a profound paradox. The presence of women in their midst requires men training for war to be sensitive, even as women are expected to join them in becoming insensitive enough to bayonet people. Secretary of the Army Togo West recently declared that prohibitions against women in combat prevented them "from reaching their full potential." Surely no one who has ever seen combat could think this way. Given war's necessary brutality among women, the attempt to adapt women to the business of war is and ultimately futile endeavor, and assigning them to units that might reasonably become engaged in combat and training them for such emergency engagements are misuse of an important resource. Indeed, it is folly.

(Captain Luddy is a defense policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. This article first appeared in the Marine Corps Gazette, December, 1994. It was reprinted with permission in hearth, Spring, 1995.)



02-16-04, 10:55 AM
Timeless analysis.
I'm not a WM, but I wouldn't like to see rows of bodybags holding sister Marines coming home from a far country. It is bad enough when the bags contain my brothers.

02-16-04, 11:14 AM
Give the girls the weapons and let me stay back and support them? Meant to be funny. LOL So Ladies Marines don't get upset.

02-16-04, 11:47 AM
I see no reason why women shouldn't be able to serve in combat units. As long as an individual is able to meet the standards they should be allowed to serve. However, they should expect no special treatment or special conditions. As a force in readiness the Corps should not lower its standards and expectations for anyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, etc.

02-16-04, 12:26 PM

"I'm not a WM, but I wouldn't like to see rows of bodybags holding sister Marines coming home from a far country. It is bad enough when the bags contain my brothers."

Damn namgrunt you don't really mean that do you? Rows of bodybags of any Marine I don't like to see, Brothers or sisters. let give our sisters Marine credit for enlisting in the Corps. I don't believe that they should have to be on the front lines either; that was pushed by the Women Rights movement and approved by Congress, remember we put the people who are in the Congress, right?


04-16-04, 04:51 AM
i dont see the problem with sending women into combat my fiance is in the marine corps and i dont see a problem with that as long as they arent a grunt simply because i dont think many women would be able to function well in an enviroment like that. then again i know alot of guysthat couldnt do it either.

04-16-04, 05:25 AM
Great article, and in my opinion right on target. There is a place for women in our services and it has always been appreciated BUT it is not and never should be in front line combat arms positions. I am sick and tired of sensitivity and self indulgent notions of gender equality when the sole function of a combat orginization is to kill. I am thankful I never had to deal with those forces when I was active in the early to mid sixties. Frankly today it annoys the hell out of me when I see and hear such drival. Guess I am just an old trogledyte.....thankfully!

04-16-04, 06:17 AM
If women wan to serve in combat fine, do what they did with African Americans during the Civil War and turn them into their own battalion and have them prove themselves, as a unit. Buit I'm telling you right now it won't work. Honestly, think about it, deep down, women are just not bred for combat, plain and simple. If you are offended by what I've said here, then grow up.

04-16-04, 07:48 AM
I really have to disagree. I think woman could do well in a combat unit as long as the men keep their hands to themselves...LMAO

Hey, ask my first ex, I am sure I would be great! As many times as he was sent to the ER for being a dumbazz!

Guys, I am joking about this, well some of it anyway.

04-16-04, 09:38 AM
I don't know why so many are so fired up about Women fighting in combat, I am all for it, only make sure that they are trained by the Marine Corps. I can see it now, a compamy of WM's charging the enamy, when the enamy see them comming they turn tail and run, thanking that it's their old ladies charging them, what I for got to say these women are all dress like the Iraqis women. Semper Fi Girls.

04-19-04, 05:31 PM
Combat vs Combat Arms MOS

I believe that it is pointless to argue about women in combat, they are already there. There is no clearly defined 'front line' anymore. Every Marine is a rifleman, not just male Marines. Women should not be included in combat arms MOSs, I agree, but we all can be called upon to pick up the rifle and kill the enemy, regardless of what MOS is written in your SRB. I'm sure my sisters in Iraq can attest to that.

04-19-04, 06:04 PM
I haven't seen any mention about how women in combat would affect the good order and discipline of a unit. Mother nature acts in a way that males and females respond to each other, therefore, there are inherent problems with mixing men and women in combat units. The distraction would result in a much less effective unit.

Furthermore, while there may be a few women out there who can hump a combat load and bear up to the physical stress of an Infantryman, I believe this is the exception rather than the rule. It is obvious already when you look at the differing standards for the PFT.

No offense to any WM's, they are also Marines but it is foolish to think that women are capable of shouldering the kind of physical load that Infantry Marines must carry in combat

04-19-04, 06:04 PM
Me am Neanderthal!

All kidding aside, like Gardner95 says:

Women should not be included in combat arms MOSs, I agree, but we all can be called upon to pick up the rifle and kill the enemy, regardless of what MOS is written in your SRB.

That goes for any WM, or WAC, or WAVE, or whomever. If the fight comes to you, defend yourself to the best of your ability. I don't believe going to the fight is the same thing. If you stand at a corner waiting for a light, and a car jumps the curb, you dodge out of harm's way. If you go stand in the traffic lanes, you are looking for that car. That is the difference.

04-19-04, 07:25 PM
I remember that I posted a thread when I first joined Leatherneck.com asking should women be put into combat? It was deleted, the reason was that this had been discussed before and they didn't want to get people, the Women Marines unset over it. Now how did this get cleared to be discussed? Just a thought.

A woman has to do what a woman has to do if in combat. Most are in support unit, even then they are in harms way. If push come to shove take them out of danger, not that they couldn't cut it, no reason for them to have to fight. Trying not to get anyone upset.

04-19-04, 07:38 PM
Men are Naturally stronger than females, and what Arnoldy G said mother nature plays a role too, and it is proven scientifically that females are more likely to fall under stress easier than their maile counterparts. What i'm tryin to say is that in times of war u put a female with grunts, who by the way sometimes go for weeks without seein a female. Yea. Can they even carry 100 plus pounds of gear humping for 20 miles i haven't heard one yet. Don't get me wrong their's some that are tuff but their's always an exception.

04-19-04, 07:41 PM
Yes it has been discussed before....What I can see....

This post was made on Jan. 28, 2004....and You joined Jan. 30, 2004.....

04-19-04, 08:17 PM


04-19-04, 10:13 PM
they should be allowed to get their quota as well.

Heck ever see a women with PMS?
Men, you got to get out of her way....


04-19-04, 10:46 PM
Captain Barbara A. Wilson, USAF (Ret) makes a good argument in her documentation of woman that have already been in conbat. The Captain outline the histories on her web page (http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/).

04-20-04, 12:10 AM
Interesting website, yellowwing. <br />
I'll have to look deeper into the Captain's logic. <br />
<br />
One irrefutable fact is that all a female has to do to get out of her current billet, and removed from any...

04-20-04, 03:28 AM
In her Myths and Fallacies section, to me she is stating that women are already in combat. The Powers That Be resolutely deny it, but women are out in the field doing their jobs, sometimes under fire. But the Brass are denying that its combat.

Some of her figures do seem suspect. "only 15 percent of Infantryman in World War Two ever fired their weapons in combat and fewer than 15 percent of the hundreds of thousand of military personnel who served in Vietnam are estimated to have been in a firefight."

04-20-04, 08:09 AM
I believe her suspect figures might be based upon such works as the book "On Killing", by LtC. Dave Grossman, who taught psychology at West Point, and is a Professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University.

The book is a study on killing in the military. According to the author, only one in five American fighting men, in a combat situation, will actually fire at the enemy with intent to kill or maim. The other four men will shoot in the general direction, but will subconciously, intentionally miss, because of deep personal beliefs, religious or otherwise, and/or family upbringing.

This was the case in WWII, and caused a shift in training afterward, to bring as many men as possible up to a killing pitch, regardless of their original inclinations. His figures are not 15%, but 20%. Nonetheless, this might be one of the works Capt. Wilson uses as reference. I don't know without seeing her bibliography lists.

The second 15% figure she uses might be correct. Consider that it takes four people in the support and logistics (quartermaster) section to keep one man in the field, on patrol or whatever. That means 80% of the troops in Vietnam were REMFs. That doesn't mean they didn't get mortared, or shelled with artillery and rockets. Note Capt. Wilson's narrow qualifier, "Firefight". That cuts down participation even amongst the grunt troops. If only 20% of people in the combat zone are grunts, and 25% of that number don't get shot at, then you achieve your 15% figure, which Capt. Wilson used.

Granted, I'm only postulating, but her numbers may be more accurate than we want to admit.

04-20-04, 08:21 AM
One question/comment on the 15% figure - how to we determine which 15% are involved in a firefight? Don't 100% need to be prepared to be in a firefight? If so, then while comforting to know that you have a good chance of not being in a firefight if in combat, then doesn't her argument lose some weight?

04-20-04, 08:41 AM
I just emailed the good Captain about her quotations, and will post her reply.

04-20-04, 09:10 AM
It cannot bedetermined beforehand who will be in a firefight, which is why we train everyone for that event. In Vietnam we usually went looking for trouble, but sometimes it came knocking at our door, so to speak. We had water purification men and other MOS Marines in our grunt ranks after the peak of fighting following Tet.

Consider the 26th Marines, ringed in at Khe Sahn. While all the Marines were under fire from artillery and rockets, some of them were never called upon to shoot at the enemy because the NVA were out of rifle range. Unless the Marines encountered sappers at night on perimeter, or were bushwhacked outside the wire, they would have maintained fire discipline. Their main concern was live through the constant shelling. They were not in firefights, but instead underwent bombardment.

If the opportunity had presented itself, I have no doubt all Marines would have been involved in the firefight. If one in five men isn't required to fire, then you achieve your percentage figure. According to that book, our training since WWII has achieved an rise in "intent to kill" of almost 80%. The goal is 100%, but it hasn't been reached yet.

I have to read more on the Captain's website to see how she folds women's participation in combat into these numbers. I've only just scratched the surface of her opinion.

04-20-04, 10:21 AM
Am I allowed to get into this discussion gentlemen? I use the term gentlemen loosely.LOL :banana:
Can anyone tell me what percentage of the Marines are 03's? I always thought that they were the ones who did all of the fighting, that is, do all of the "bang bang", the rest just there to support them, to hear them speak they are the real Marines. I know that we have a few 03's out there who can answer this for me. Am I being sarcastic? Maybe a little, then that's my makeup, like to get everyone all riled up.

namgrunt, I like your replies, you seem to check things out before you open your mouth or should I say type what's you want to say.

yellowwing, I will also check out Captain Barbara A. Wilson, USAF Ret Web page, thanks for posting it.

Sparrowhawk, good short come back,
Heck ever see a women with PMS? Men, you got to get out of her way.... You ever seen a male Marine with Bull Head Cl*p, I wouldn't t want to get in his way either.:banana:

Men are Naturally stronger than females, and what Arnoldy G said mother nature plays a role tooI have seen some real tough broads in my life, then we are talking about Military ladies not broads aren't we?

One question/comment on the 15% figure - how to we determine which 15% are involved in a firefight? Don't 100% need to be prepared to be in a firefight? If so, then while comforting to know that you have a good chance of not being in a firefight if in combat, then doesn't her argument lose some weight? Get behind the wheel of your car and drive our Freeways, what is the chance that you will get into an accident, 15%? I'm asking you I don't know.

Just wanted to get my 2 cents in sorry that I put in a nickel. isn't this a fun post, we do worry about our Marines sisters don't we?