ARE WOMEN READY FOR COMBAT? SOME STILL SAY “NOPE.”
2013 is taking great strides toward change. Boy Scouts of America will put an end to their ban against Gays; Phone Carriers don’t want you unlocking phones without their permission; and the military wants to revisit its ban on women in combat.
Although the Pentagon believes in the multifaceted butt-kicking abilities of women, Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Army Lieutenant General, Jerry Boykin believes otherwise. Here are some of the reasons he’s given on why women shouldn’t be in combat:
- Woman are too weak: “We have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan that ground combat still requires levels of sheers physical strength, speed, and endurance that are relatively rare among women,” Boykin told USA Today.
- Combat missions are too gross for women: Infantry and Special Forces units are sometimes sent on months-long missions. During operations of this kind there is typically no access to a base of operations or facilities. Consequently, living conditions can get a little nasty, to say the least. There is routinely no privacy or ability to maintain personal hygiene for extended periods. Soldiers and Marines have to relieve themselves within sight of others.
- Combat missions with women are too humiliating for men: Recently on Fox News, Chris Wallace pointed out that Colonel Martha McSally, the country’s 1st female combat pilot, defeated her male competitors in the military division of the Hawaii Ironman World Triathlon Championships. “Clearly,” says Boykin, “some women can meet the standard for combat…but some can’t. But that’s not the issue I raised initially. What I have raised is the issue of mixing the genders in those combat units where they are out on extended operations, and there’s no opportunity for people to have any privacy whatsoever.
- Women are too sexy: Boykin argued that the combat environment—now containing males and females—will place a tremendous burden on combat commanders. Not only will they have to maintain their focus on defeating the enemy in battle, they will have to do so in an environment that combines life-threatening danger with underlying sexual tensions. This is a lot to ask of the young leaders, both men and women, who will have to juggle the need to join and separate the sexes within the context of quickly developing plans of action in deadly situations.
- Integrating women will make it harder to segregate them: “This decision to integrate the genders in these units places additional and unnecessary burdens on leaders at all levels,” Boykin warned in a Family Research Council statement. “While their focus must remain on winning the battles and protecting their troops, they will now have the distraction of having to provide some separation of the genders during fast moving and deadly situations.”
- Women will require lower standards: “If current physical standards are maintained, few women will be able to meet them, and there will be demands that they be lowered,” Boykin predicted in USA Today.
- Women won’t be protected from combat: Boykin says he worries about the women who are currently in the military because the lines keeping them from infantry and Special Forces battalions will continue to become more unclear. Boykin feels that the protections against being thrown into front-line infantry units as organizational dividers will be very little. Boykin suggests the policy change may have the ironic effect of forcing women to reconsider their place in the armed services.
- Women might be drafted. “I certainly don’t want my daughters registering for the draft,” Boykin said on Fox News Sunday. “And I’d like for them to have more of a choice than a man would have in a national crisis.”
Critics feel that Boykin’s arguments are weak, overwrought, and confused because his case is collapsing and he knows it. “Women are in combat, and women need to be given opportunities to serve in other combat roles,” Boykin told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “I am no longer against that.”
Boykin believes the honorable course now, is to fall back and defend the combat ban for infantry and Special Forces, but critics say he’s wrong. What do you think?