Tag Archives: infantry

Eros and Estrogen on the Front Line

Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

This December it will be 42 years since the last male was drafted into combat, but it looks like the fun is just starting for women. Not that they will be going to the post office to register anytime soon. Instead woman already in the military — who thought they were being all they can be by typing 130 WPM or checking PowerPoint presentations for typos — will find themselves assigned to combat arms to meet a quota designed by a wide–load Member of Congress whose most strenuous activity is the Pilates class she makes once a month.

Still, they won’t be seeing the elephant overnight. Right now only a handful of the 203,000 women currently in the military can pass the physical for combat infantry or Marines. When faced with the reality that women can’t pass the test, Congress and Pentagon paper–pushers will change the test until they can pass.

(For details see the shifting metrics that define Obamacare. Currently the administration has ruled that if a patient is able to get an appointment with the foreign–born medical professional she’s stuck with in the new, severely limited health care network — and the doctor doesn’t recommend bleeding as a cure — the program is a success!)

Unfortunately, when you lower standards by definition you get substandard material. This is not to say women as a group are substandard. I’m married to one that’s outstanding, but even in her twenties she wasn’t ready for combat.

The Marine Corps, which I was counting on to maintain standards, is showing signs of going wobbly. CNS News reports the Corps has delayed a requirement that female Marines do a minimum of three pull–ups. The postponement came after 55 percent of females in boot camp couldn’t meet the standard. By comparison, only 1 percent of the males failed.

This test is important for the future of our military’s combat effectiveness because upper body strength is vital both in combat and on the front line where soldiers carry ammunition, lift the wounded, manhandle sandbags and tote weapons.

I suppose we could allow women to push a shopping cart into combat or issue ‘spinner’ luggage. But that won’t work either because after she fills the bag with shoes there won’t be any room for equipment.

The deadline for degrading the combat arm is 2016 and as the date approaches, and the lack of qualified women becomes obvious enough for even a Democrat to see, that’s when the pressure to change the test will be the most severe.

Pentagon mouthpieces may continue to reassure an anxious public that physical standards won’t be lowered to pass females into the combat arm, but recruiters also telling female recruits they can keep their doctor.

What’s really strange in all this is the left’s inability to maintain a consistent story line. On one hand every female recruit is a potential Lt. Ellen Ripley. On the other, current female troops are already engaged in hand–to–hand combat with members of the opposite sex and they’re losing. The female that’s ready to put her life on the line in defense of her country is evidently incapacitated by a pat on the behind.

The Pentagon recently released the results of a survey that showed 6 percent of the women in the military (a total of 12,000) were victims of unwanted sexual contact. This covers everything from rape to following too closely in the chow line. (Maybe the left wants women issued rifles so they can defend themselves when they’re on the receiving end of sexual friendly fire.)

But as The Washington Times Rowan Scarborough has pointed out the Pentagon’s results are wildly out of step with overall US statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey showed that in contrast to the Pentagon’s 6 percent, only “one-fourth of a percent of women ages 18 to 34 had suffered such abuse in 2010. Preliminary numbers for 2012 show a rate of just over four-tenths of a percent.”

The difference in the numbers reflects methodology. The Pentagon survey, so beloved by sexual harassment axe grinders, used email for results. The Bureau survey used 146,570 in–person interviews and follow–up telephone sessions. In–person and telephone interviews are the gold standard of survey research. By comparison if cheap email surveys were accurate, politicians would use them in their campaigns, but they don’t.

The Pentagon survey even manages to have a larger total of victims than the total of completed surveys. One item that was particularly interesting is the 14,000 men that claimed they were victims of sexual assault, which means some men were evidently telling in spite of official policy not to ask.

Of course inaccurate results are no obstacle for leftist social engineers if the numbers can be used to advance an agenda. The Obama administration likes to depict our fighting arms as havens for macho cavemen that need to be curbed. One gets the feeling they are shocked the military, of all places, attracts men with a high testosterone count.

The Soviet Red Army had political commissars assigned to every unit, maybe the Pentagon plans on assigning sexual commissars to tell soldiers how much fraternizing is allowed with your battle buddy. I’m thinking commissars will prove invaluable during those unfortunate times when females are captured by the enemy and the captors are agonizing over the knotty moral question of whether a simple rape or the more inclusive gang rape is allowed.

Leftist social engineers never account for reality in their planning. The enemies we are most likely to face don’t have women in combat slots and they aren’t making the barracks safe for lavender. The fact that no successful military in history has put women in combat has escaped Pentagon HR planners completely. Brunhilde, and Ripley for that matter, were only a myth.

When conflict occurs armies aren’t matched according to brackets or seeds. If that were the case we could volunteer to fight the Isle of Lesbos and leave it at that. The obvious solution for sexual assault in the military is fewer females in close proximity to males or at least a more accurate survey, but with this administration neither is likely to happen.

The Few, The Proud, The Unisex

Crisp Pullman Porters CapWhen Ronald Reagan was president he described members of the U.S. Marine Corps in a memorable phrase that is featured on the Marines’ Heritage Museum website: “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

The generation of paper–pushers and PR–minded behind–kissers that inhabit the Pentagon and the Obama administration do not reflect that view of the Corps. In fact the levelers in the White House view the Marines’ independence and combative nature as a problem. All that aggression and testosterone looks out of place in the elite circles where citizens of the world reside.

Modern military management (they don’t deserve the term ‘leaders’) has been taken over by the “everybody gets a trophy” crowd. That’s why in the Army all soldiers now wear a beret, instead of just Rangers and Special Forces. Chelsea Manning’s feelings were hurt when he couldn’t wear a fashionable French–style chapeau. No need to recognize the additional motivation of troops that go the extra mile if it discriminates against those who don’t or can’t. Now it’s Bless Them All the “big and the fat and the small.”

But while other branches of the armed forces are marching in lockstep to the administration’s tune of women on the front lines, the Marines are fighting a rear guard action. The Corps has been reluctant to lower physical standards for combat soldiers (in bureaucrat–speak this degradation of standards is called “gender norming,” too bad wars are not also “gender normed”).

In fact, every woman that has ever been allowed to attend the Marine’s infantry school has washed out. In the long run, unless there is an outbreak of sanity, this means Marine commanders will have to justify why their standards are keeping women out of the front lines. The fact women have no business there is irrelevant to Pentagon sociologists who have never had a bullet whizz past their ear. It’s inevitable that eventually women will fill combat slots in the Marines.

That’s a long–term project though. In the short term the empire strikes back where it’s been successful before. As the New York Post puts it, “Obama wants Marines to wear ‘girly’ hats.”

According to the Post, the Obama administration wants to “create a ‘unisex’ look for the Corps.” The plan is for the Corps to discontinue the current caps — known as “covers” and in use since 1922 — and go to a new cap that bears a remarkable resemblance to a Pullman Porter’s cap.

This is not to disparage Pullman Porters. They set a standard for service and dedication, but they didn’t do it under fire.

This similarity between hats could be an unexpected advantage for the taxpayer. Since changing to the new headgear will cost $8 million, its possible some of the expense could be covered by civilians who mistakenly tip Marines after asking for help with their luggage.

As poster Carol Robinson on the Post site commented, “Now the Marines look like WACS [WWII Women’s Army Corps]. This is stupid and a waste of money.”

This imperial hat edict is actually the second time the Marines have been asked to alter their appearance so they would appear less warlike to outsiders.

Marine Corps lore has it that during the early weeks of the Korean War, Communist troops received the following command: “Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.”

Immediately Marines were ordered to no longer wear their khaki leggings, which was the cause of the “yellowlegs” description, so the Army would not have to bear the brunt of the fighting alone. The Korean War proceeded with the Marines getting their fair share of attacks.

It must be comforting for America’s enemies to know how worried the Obama Administration is about the difference in appearance between male and female Marines. I fear Obama may also start agitating for the Marines to remove the ‘blood stripe’ from their uniform pants, since it may have unfortunate associations for him due to his own “red line” problem.

But who knows, maybe it’s time for the tradition–bound Corps to embrace change and become a softer, gentler Marine Corps.

In a spirit of cooperation (or fighting withdrawal, if you will) the Corps could even alter the lyrics of the Marine Hymn to something like:

From the halls of Montezuma,

To Barack’s haberdashery.

We will fight our country’s battles,

In this cute accessory.

First to fight for right and freedom,

We will keep this cover clean.

Even though it’s true Obama,

Could have never made Marine.