Women in Combat

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10 Greatest Female Warriors Of All Time

Women In Combat
Women and War: A myth in the making
Women In Combat: Leon Panetta Removes Military Ban, Opening Front-Line Positions
Panetta Lifts Ban on Women in Combat
3 women pass Marines' endurance test

Women and War: A myth in the making

A new tale is being spun in the the never-ending saga of female victimology. This new chapter of feminist "herstory" advances the thesis that women are the primary victims of war.

The myth started back in 1998, when Hillary Clinton said this humdinger at the First Ladies' Conference on Domestic Violence clinton3.nara.gov/WH/EOP/First_Lady/html/generalspeeches/1998/19981117.html

"Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today's warfare, victims."

Two years later, this viewpoint reached the highest levels, when the UN Security Council passed Resolution Number 1325 . This Resolution expressed the "concern that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict" www.un.org/events/res_1325e.pdf

And the United Nations Development Program now makes this claim about the situation in Iraq www.iq.undp.org/gender.htm 

"However, as is often the case in times of crisis, women are bearing the brunt of years of war and sanctions in Iraq."

These statements reek of terminal silliness.

First, almost all combatants in war are male. Therefore, military men (and sometimes boys) bear the direct health consequences of war -- death, dismemberment, and lingering psychological disability. 

Second, innocent civilian men are often targeted by opposing forces for elimination, in order to prevent these men from later taking up arms to defend their womenfolk and children. Dr. Adam Jones has documented this recurring tragedy in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Rwanda www.gendercide.org/gendercide_and_genocide.html More recently, a Men's Health America report documented the selective brutalization of innocent civilian men in Afghanistan groups.yahoo.com/group/menshealth/message/425

And third, men are the primary victims during reconstruction efforts before unexploded ordnance can be cleared out. For example, one Red Cross report documented that 93% of landmine victims in Afghanistan were male www.un.org/Depts/dpko/mine/country/afghanis.htm

It's often true that among war refugees, women outnumber men. But amidst the haunting pictures of female misery and despair, persons often forget the reason for this gender imbalance is that so many civilian men already have been killed off. These men have lost what former UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson once called "the most precious of rights" -- the right to life. 

According to the recent WHO World Report on Violence and Health , 233,000 males died of war-related injuries in 2000, compared to 77,000 females www.who.int/whr/2001/main/en/annex/index.htm . That's a 3:1 ratio that disadvantages males. This disparity is even more pronounced in the 30-44 year age group, the age when fathers are busy providing for and raising their families. (Comparing all nations.)

If civilian females really were the primary victims of war, then surely women would be taking to the streets, waving their placards and chanting their slogans, demanding that they be sent off to war. And Martha Burk would be protesting the Pentagon's misogynistic policy of excluding women from front-line combat roles. 

The evolving myth that women are the primary victims of war illustrates how radical feminists work to construct a separate reality. They can't afford to let logic and common sense stand in the way of a rich opportunity to once again, depict women as unwitting victims of patriarchal oppression.
Source: Carey Roberts, www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0429roberts.html (a Healthy life expectancy estimates published here are not directly comparable to those published in the World Health Report 2000, due to improvements in survey methodology and the use of new epidemiological data for some diseases. See Statistical Annex notes (pp.130-135). The figures reported in this Table along with the data collection and estimation methods have been largely developed WHO and do not reflect official statistics of Member States. Further development in collaboration with Member States is underway for imporved data collection and estimation methods.

b Figures not yet endorsed by Member States as official statistics.

Women In Combat

Facts From A Closet

Occasionally I have written that placing women in physically demanding jobs in the military, as for example combat, is stupid and unworkable. Predictably I've gotten responses asserting that I hate women, abuse children, cannibalize orphans, and can't get a date. A few, with truculence sometimes amplified by misspelling, have demanded supporting data.

OK. The following are from documents I found in a closet, left over from my days as a syndicated military columnist ("Soldiering," Universal Press Syndicate). Note the dates: All of this has been known for a long time.

From the report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (report date November 15, 1992, published in book form by Brassey's in 1993): "The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength… An Army study of 124 men and 186 women done in 1988 found that women are more than twice as likely to suffer leg injuries and nearly five times as likely to suffer [stress] fractures as men."

Further: "The Commission heard an abundance of expert testimony about the physical differences between men and women that can be summarized as follows:

"Women's aerobic capacity is significantly lower, meaning they cannot carry as much as far as fast as men, and they are more susceptible to fatigue.

"In terms of physical capability, the upper five percent of women are at the level of the male median. The average 20-to-30 year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man."

From the same report: "Lt Col. William Gregor, United States Army, testified before the Commission regarding a survey he conducted at an Army ROTC Advanced Summer Camp on 623 women and 3540 men. …Evidence Gregor presented to the Commission includes:

"(a) Using the standard Army Physical Fitness Test, he found that the upper quintile of women at West point achieved scores on the test equivalent to the bottom quintile of men.

"(c) Only 21 women out of the initial 623 (3.4%) achieved a score equal to the male mean score of 260.

"(d) On the push-up test, only seven percent of women can meet a score of 60, while 78 percent of men exceed it.

"(e) Adopting a male standard of fitness at West Point would mean 70 percent of the women he studied would be separated as failures at the end of their junior year, only three percent would be eligible for the Recondo badge, and not one would receive the Army Physical Fitness badge…."

The following, quoted by Brian Mitchell in his book Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster (Regnery, 1998) and widely known to students of the military, are results of a test the Navy did to see how well women could perform in damage control -- i.e., tasks necessary to save a ship that had been hit.


% Women failing
Before training /After
% Men failing
Before training /After

Stretcher carry, level


Stretcher carry/up, down ladder


Fire hose


P250 pump, carry down


P250 pump, carry up


P250, start pump


Remove SSTO pump


Torque engine bolt


Our ships can be hit. I know what supersonic stealthed cruise missiles are. So do the Iraqis.

Also from the Commission's report: "Non-deployability briefings before the Commission showed that women were three times more non-deployable than men, primarily due to pregnancy, during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. According to Navy Captain Martha Whitehead's testimony before the Commission, 'the primary reason for the women being unable to deploy was pregnancy, that representing 47 percent of the women who could not deploy.'"

My friend Catherine Aspy graduated from Harvard in 1992 and (no, I'm not on drugs) enlisted in the Army in 1995. Her account was published in Reader's Digest, February, 1999, and is online in the Digest's archives.

She told me the following about her experiences: "I was stunned. The Army was a vast day-care center, full of unmarried teen-age mothers using it as a welfare home. I took training seriously and really tried to keep up with the men. I found I couldn't. It wasn't even close. I had no idea the difference in physical ability was so huge. There were always crowds of women sitting out exercises or on crutches from training injuries.

"They [the Army] were so scared of sexual harassment that women weren't allowed to go anywhere without another woman along. They called them 'Battle Buddies.' It was crazy. I was twenty-six years old but I couldn't go to the bathroom by myself."

Women are going to take on the North Korean infantry, but need protection in the ladies' room. Military policy is endlessly fascinating.

When I was writing the military column, I looked into the experience of Canada, which tried the experiment of feminization. I got the report from Ottawa, as did the Commission. Said the Commission:

"After extensive research, Canada has found little evidence to support the integration of women into ground units. Of 103 Canadian women who volunteered to joint infantry units, only one graduated the initial training course. The Canadian experience corroborates the testimony of LTC Gregor, who said the odds of selecting a woman matching the physical size and strength of the average male are more than 130-to-1.

From Military Medicine, October 1997, which I got from the Pentagon's library:

(p. 690): "One-third of 450 female soldiers surveyed indicated that they experienced problematic urinary incontinence during exercise and field training activities. The other crucial finding of the survey was probably that 13.3% of the respondents restricted fluids significantly while participating in field exercises." Because peeing was embarrassing.

Or, (p. 661): " Kessler et al found that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the United States was twice as high among women…" Depression, says MilMed, is far commoner among women, as are training injuries. Et cetera.

The military is perfectly aware of all of this. Their own magazine has told them. They see it every day. But protecting careers, and rears, is more important than protecting the country.

Anyway, for those who wanted supporting evidence, there it is.
Source: Fred Reed, 2002, www.fredoneverything.net/MilMed.html  

Women In Combat: Leon Panetta Removes Military Ban, Opening Front-Line Positions

The Pentagon is lifting its ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after generations of limits on their service, defense officials said Wednesday.

The changes, set to be announced Thursday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will not happen overnight. The services must now develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions, a senior military official said. Some jobs may open as soon as this year, while assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer. The services will have until January 2016 to make a case to that some positions should remain closed to women.

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.

Officials briefed The Associated Press on the changes on condition of anonymity so they could speak ahead of the official announcement.

There long has been opposition to putting women in combat, based on questions of whether they have the necessary strength and stamina for certain jobs, or whether their presence might hurt unit cohesion.

But as news of Panetta's expected order got out, members of Congress, including the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced their support.

"It reflects the reality of 21st century military operations," Levin said.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who will be the top Republican on the Armed Services panel, said, however, that he does not believe this will be a broad opening of combat roles for women because there are practical barriers that have to be overcome in order to protect the safety and privacy of all members of the military.

Panetta's move comes in his final weeks as Pentagon chief and just days after President Barack Obama's inaugural speech in which he spoke passionately about equal rights for all. The new order expands the department's action of nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. Panetta's decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/women-in-combat_n_2535954.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D260883

Panetta Lifts Ban on Women in Combat

Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.

A senior military official says the services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. Some jobs may open as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALs and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer.

3 women pass Marines' endurance test

Three women are closer than ever to making history in the Marines.

For the first time, three female Marine officers passed the grueling combat endurance test, which kicks off a 13-week course for officers to lead infantry platoons. Twenty-four women have tried to take the course since it opened in 2012.

The Washington Post reports one woman passed the endurance test the first year, but dropped out of the course about a week later due to stress fractures.

The training course began in Virginia on October 2nd, 2014 and started with 93 men and seven women. Sixty-seven men passed (72%), vs 43% of the women. (Not bad consideering most women in the U.S. aren't expected to be killers for their country, and men are, from a very young age. This is unlike what is expected in Israel, and some countries like Iran. - Ed).

However, even if the women pass the course, they still won't be allowed to join the infantry. Marine officials explain the course was opened on an experimental basis, and the job itself remains closed to women.

Last year, the Secretary of Defense ordered that all services must open all combat jobs to women by January 2016, or present reason backed by research as to why this shouldn't happen.

This year, Army Ranger School was also opened to women on experimental basis.

And the Navy is reportedly working on a plan to start putting senior enlisted women on submarines.
Source: www.aol.com/article/2014/10/04/3-women-pass-marines-endurance-test/20972558/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl2%7Csec3_lnk3%26pLid%3D540431


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