Thursday, February 4, 2016

Women in Combat Units

Branka - Aleksander Sochaczewski (Source)
According to the news, all combat specialties will now be opened to women. Who made that call? I'll tell you who, the Secretary of Defense, Carter Ash.

What? You didn't vote for him? Of course not, no one voted for him, he's an appointed official. Appointed officials do a lot of things in our name.

Next question: who appointed him? Why the President of the United States did and we get to vote for that office. Right? Well, sort of. Actually the Electoral College votes on who gets to be President. We don't do that directly. But hey, those guys obey our will, our vote. Right? Not necessarily.

All that aside, a couple of generals visited Congress the other day (one Army, one Marine) and indicated that women should have to register for the draft, just like men. (Or that they "support" the idea of having women register for the draft, I've seen it worded both ways.)

The Sarge's take on all this? Well, I figure it this way. There has been a lot of noise lately about opening up various jobs in the military to women because well, DISCRIMINATION! SEXISM! No doubt RACISM! as well.

There are all sorts of "isms" involved. Politicians and their fellow travelers (bureaucrats) listen to the loudest voices. In their little tiny heads the loudest and most vocal people express the will and desires of the many. Right?

Okay, no, I don't buy that either. But the media likes the loud mouths and the screamers because it makes for "good ratings." It's all about bread and circuses, right? That's the way it seems sometimes, at least to me.

Anyhoo... The politicos want to "look good" to those making the most noise, so the media will start asking them questions they either can't or don't want to answer.

First step - "study" the issue.

Politician: "Marine Corps! Can women serve just as capably as men in all the various skill sets within the Corps?"

Marine Corps: "No Sir! Men and women are different. Men tend to be stronger than women and able to lift heavy objects and run faster and farther!"

Politician: "I don't believe you. Try again!"

Marine Corps: "Yes Sir!"

Politician: "Well, what did you find out?"

Marine Corps: "Sir! Some women can do the job just as well as men. Not many and I'm talking about shooting stuff, running farther and faster and carrying heavy loads. Of course, some men are not very good at that stuff either."

Politician: "So?"

Marine Corps: "So we don't let them be Marines. I guess as long as we don't lower the standards, we can live with women lugging rifles in the Corps."

Politician: "I see."

Now we've all been assured that standards won't be lowered, little Jane will have to pass the same tests as little Johnnie and all will be well. Maybe.


My personal take on the two generals indicating that women should be required to register for the draft is this -
Okay, you are forcing us to open all jobs to women. Fine, as long as you don't lower the standards. Now we're calling your bluff. If all jobs are open, women should be held to the same standards as men in ALL things. Ladies, get thee to the Post Office and register with the Selective Service when you turn 18.
Of course, the Department of Defense cannot make the ladies do that, only Congress can make that call (by changing the law). SecDef can make all the noise he wants, only Congress can make the ladies register. The generals are telling SecDef (and this infernal Congress) to either sh!t or get off the pot. Can't have it both ways. If you want one, thou must needs be have both.

All jobs open. All equally liable for the draft.

I've expressed my feelings about conscription in these spaces before and was going to do so again when it struck me, I don't think that way any more! What happened? Well, first you must understand that I used to feel that the draft (read conscription) is the same as involuntary servitude, which is unconstitutional. I've had lawyers wave their hands in the air and say "no, no it isn't, English common law, blah, blah, blah" and others say "well Congress is empowered to raise... blah, blah, blah" and I still think that conscription should NOT be allowed in this country as a matter of morality and legality. The Constitution is either written in plain freaking English or it's not. Common Law be damned. If it ain't written down, it ain't law.

But as a matter of practicality I've come to the conclusion that conscription is a necessary evil, in some cases. I still don't like it and I still think that your average politician would rather send someone else's son (or daughter) off to fight in some foreign war than go himself (or herself) or send their own sons and daughters.

Conscription is a necessary evil when far too many men and women are either too lazy or too stupid to defend themselves. Or defend others, I recognize shades of gray here. Not many but they are there.

But ask yourself, why do we need the Selective Service? Why should anyone have to register for the draft? I have my thoughts, I'd like to know yours. Are these generals calling the politicians bluff? I'd like to think so, I really would. What say you?



Perhaps tomorrow I'll climb down off my high horse, maybe it's a soap box. I dunno, all this seriousness is giving me a headache...



30 comments:

  1. Sir, what are your qualifications to comment on this issue? Other than serving many years in the Air Force (achieving a high rank), three children who have served or are serving, and two of those being daughters (one in a war plane), what makes you think you know more than the illustrious Carter Ash? Tsk, tsk. Spoiling the Narrative, aren't you.

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  2. A couple thoughts. First: goose and gander. Open all jobs; register for draft. Second: there are benefits to a nation from the draft beyond just manpower (personpower?). There is an increase in maturity for a large cohort of immature kids. There is an increase in understanding military life among citizens. There is the sense that more people have skin in the game and may (MAY) be more careful in voting. Not to mention a sense that we are all in this together, this "being citizens" thing. The civil rights gains in the 60s had its foundations in the draft of the 50s when large numbers of men of both races and all sections of the country were forced to live and interact together for a common purpose.

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    1. Not sure I would agree that Civil Rights gains, if truly there were any, can be attributed to the draft, or anything else in the 50's.

      I do believe that we should have a National Service requirement of at least two years, though not necessarily in the Military. One of the benefits not mentioned in your post (agree that you noted many others) would an objective and material improvement in our National Quality of Life (Wilderness, Parks, Infrastructure, Service to Seniors, etc.). We still enjoy the benefits of work done in the 30's WPA on a daily basis.

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    2. Some of those civil rights gains may have been due to Harry Truman's desegregation of the military. Not sure on that. My personal opinion is that our black citizens got fed up with being treated like second-class citizens.

      Mandatory service of a non-military nature smacks of involuntary servitude to me. Though I understand the benefits I also don't like being told what to do by the government. In defense of the nation, I can stomach it. The other alternative, no, I couldn't support that. But you raise a good point on that issue Ron. One which I need to think about more. It probably could be a benefit to society, might even teach the kids a thing or two.

      Like I said, I need to think on that. You might even see a future post on that.

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    3. Truman's action was certainly a catalyst for many changes. When the topic of black gains over the past 60 years or so, I often think of Moynihan's report on the status of black families -and their status has not changed for the better since his report. Kind of like a Pyrrhic Victory, not sure how many more "gains" of this nature that the blacks can have and remain viable social entity.

      It is involuntary servitude, no doubt. IMO a citizen owes more to his country than just working, paying taxes and adhering to most of the existing laws and mores. The dynamics of a country with a population of 300+ million is different that a country with a population of 2.5 million. Is it too much to ask of a person to provide his country with two years of service? I do not think so.

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    4. What has happened to the black family is beyond a crime. I lay that squarely on LBJ's "Great Society." That travesty was right up there with Mao's "Great Leap Forward."

      Your last point is very interesting, what does a citizen owe to his country? You and I see that one way, others perhaps differently. That last bit, "is it too much to ask..." is a good point. I can see making that "voluntary," as in "you don't have to, however, if you don't..."

      Maybe that's what Heinlein had in mind.

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  3. I'd say US has grown too accustomed to wars of choice and picking on 3rd world militaries. Sooner or later it will have to confront a true peer competitor in global warfare. Conscription is kinda "nuclear option" in the manpower system. Do we use nukes? hell no. do we need them? Hell yes!

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    1. I tend to agree with you here Paweł. If we need the numbers, we'll need conscription.

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  4. Every one should have skin in the game. The only deferment is enrollment in a service academy or under contract in ROTC. Bill & Melinda Gates kid? If their number is pulled it's ARRRRMEEE Training Sir!
    The SecState wants to depose Khadaffi? Hmmm, that could be MY kid at Benghazi, not so fast!

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    1. That's one of the reasons I've changed my stance on conscription. I think of it as a necessary evil, I also think the law needs to be stated in such a way as to address that pesky 13th Amendment and to make it like you say, the only deferment is that the kid is in training to become an officer (service academy and ROTC).

      If everyone is impacted, maybe more people will pay attention. Maybe...

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    2. The genesis of the college agitation in the 60's and 70's would not have existed had there not been a draft. It is a damned shame that as a species we cannot seem to learn from our mistakes.

      Your "maybe" is a valid qualifier. It is a certainty that if people are not affected that they will not care.

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    3. Good point on the college agitation Ron. Another "thing I think" is that without a draft there might not have been a Vietnam. Another sore topic with me. Our troops gave their all and no one back home really gave a sh!t. What changed in SE Asia that wouldn't have changed without our having lost so many lives? Give the politicians a big army and they will find a use for it. LBJ has much to answer for. In my book, so does Nixon. For other reasons.

      Wow. Something else to think about.

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    4. All of us that wore a uniform during the VN War have that experience as a sore point. We were treated like criminals, 2nd class citizens by many civilians. It was only my respect/fear of the UCMJ that kept me from doing stupid things on occasion.

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  5. Conscription = Attrition Warfare.

    Which is not good, but that's the way it is. War is insanity, and there's no use looking hard for reason in that mess. As the ol' WWII "buy bonds" slogan went, "It takes millions to win a war. To lose one, it takes everything you've got."

    I was appointed (by the gubner, no less) selective service committee member for my county a few years back. When I dove into the online training and began to see what these payroll patriot hacks in the ss had come up with I had no choice but to resign.

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    1. Indeed, conscription fills the need for cannon fodder.

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  6. I rather tend to agree with Robert Heinlein (A Navy vet!) in this area. He laid out his philosophy in "Starship Troopers" ( A Great read--and reread BTW). Basically it was that all service was voluntary, if you volunteered a way would be found for you to serve , and that only those who had served could vote.Loys to like there.

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    1. I used to agree fully with that philosophy. As I get older...

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    2. Fingers are like puppies, sometimes hard to control.

      (Been there, done that...)

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  7. Crivens! You had me going this morning. Draft girls indeed.
    You know what happens when you draft people? They get enslaved by the system and ordered to do what the State wants. Let me see now, the last time a State drafted women for service to the State was, I think, Japan. Of course they were drafting Chinese, Malaysian, Philippine and Korean girls. I'm gonna stick with the moral position and say that the draft is an irredeemable evil with zero benefits to society. A country that cannot find enough men to fight for it has no future anyway.

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    1. You state my basic belief very well. Your last sentence gives me pause, it all depends on what is meant by "to fight for it." If you mean defend her on the beaches against a foreign invasion, then I would drive the lazy bastards to their posts and shoot anyone who withdraws. (Deep down inside I truly believe that enough real Americans would step up in that case.) If you mean go overseas to do a job that those foreign boys don't want to do, then no, never again. I will fight for my country, her traditions, her freedoms. Fight because some politician says so? No, never again.

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  8. I think if we have to force people to fight, it is probably a bad fight. Viet Nam was the stupidest war we ever fought. If not for the draft we would not have had enough men enlisting to fight that war...that would have been a good thing. The idea of my sons being ordered to fight a war i didn't believe in would sicken me, the idea of my daughter being ordered to also go into battle is inconceivable to me. To anyone that thinks that thought is politically incorrect please just keep that opinion to yourself, you will not change my opinion and you don't want to hear my response.

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    1. See my response to HMS Defiant above. I think we are very close on this subject Joe. I had Vietnam in mind when I wrote that last bit.

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  9. A can of worms . . . I, too, have read (and re-read) Heinlein's "Starship Troopers." Have always agreed with the philosophy put forward in that book that one wasn't a "citizen," with the right to a vote, unless one had served in the military. I agreed with him, at 14, when I first read the novel . . . and kept the same opinion all my adult life. (Not willing to serve? Not deserving of participating in government.)
    As to conscription . . . was once subject to the laws of conscription. In fact, the draft was the one compelling reason I enlisted in the Army Security Agency. I was twenty-one, not in college, employed with my grandfather's company in a menial job . . . I was prime fodder for the Selective Service. (In fact, I received my draft notice while at the 8th RRFS, in Vietnam, about 4 months into my tour there.) I've always thought that two years of military service was good for the individual (albeit involuntarily), thus good for the nation by creation of a semi-trained inactive reserve force. Though my feelings on the subject were probably driven by the existence of the Soviet Union and the implied threat they posed. Conscription seems to work well enough for Israel . . . but being surrounded by a people who wish to eradicate you may have something to do with that success. As for women in Combat Arms . . . women are already serving in jobs where they are at extreme risk . . . pilots, crew members on war ships, supply and support for maneuver units, etc. Personally, I do not feel that putting women into a branch of service where brute strength matters so very much is a good idea. Read "The Killing Birds," by Richard Bennett. He was an 11Bravo (Grunt) in Afghanistan. He suffered a sprained ankle on a patrol. Was placed on light duty and assigned to the TOC as a "gofor." Resented this, and lied about how his ankle was healing. Rejoined his squad before the ankle was ready and re-sprained it crossing a gully under fire, placing the rest of his squad in peril as they rescued him. There's a reason for physical fitness tests. While I was in the Field Artillery I learned just how much grunt-work was performed by the cannon-cockers . . . lots and lots of shoveling and hauling. The M-114 weighed in at over 12000 pounds and had to be wrestled into position. The projectiles were 98 pounds each . . . and had to be man-handled. Made for one very long day, at times. So . . . I guess that I'm against the idea of women in combat arms. Every place else . . . okay.

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    1. Oh . . . and I do have a dog in this fight. I have two granddaughters who may be choosing to join the military, either before college or while in college, via ROTC.

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    2. Good data points Snuffy. Expecting just anybody to serve in a combat arms role is disingenuous. There are women who can meet the physical standards for some jobs just as there are men who cannot. Compelling them to do so is criminal, that's why standards must be maintained and not lowered for some social engineering experiment.

      Personally, if the ladies want the job and can do the job, let 'em have at it. The problem, which we must acknowledge, is that the politicians and the social justice crowd will screw it up. Guaranteed.

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    3. I know you have a dog in this fight. As do I, though both daughters are currently on active duty, and my son did his time, I have a grandson and three granddaughters. I do not want the government deciding their fates. Just a personal note.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)