On Women in Combat

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57684-2009-12-02-121214 www.army.mil

57684-2009-12-02-121214 http://www.army.mil (Photo credit: VA Comm)

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will formally announce today that women will be participating in combat in future U.S. military operations. There is no doubt that some women could be effective in combat. However, there are problems with a general policy allowing women in combat that supporters of the policy change ignore due to their own egalitarian ideological presuppositions.

Just because some women would be effective in combat does not imply that most would be. Nor does it imply that allowing women in combat will not harm U.S. military prowess. Women are not the same as men–anyone not blind can see that–and those differences go beyond distinctions of sexual organs and breast size. Overall, women lack the level of physical strength of men. Exceptions do not trump averages. Carrying heavy packs for many miles, heavy lifting, and other areas of hard labor will still be done mainly by men. The possibility of pregnancy remains a problem. In the U.S. Navy, pregnancy is a problem to the extent that the Navy must assume that a given number of women will be sent home from ship duty over a certain time due to pregnancy. Human nature does not become optional when men and women are in close quarters. The emotional bonds created in combat are deep–soldiers die as much for their buddies as for an abstraction such as their country. Only someone naive would believe that in the stress of combat that only Platonic bonds would be formed between male and female soldiers. Anyone who has been in love understands how such a powerful emotion can interfere with reason and good judgment. The military can write all the policies it wants, but in the end human nature will triumph–and human beings are sexual beings. Pregnancy would become a problem in combat units, perhaps even more so than in noncombat units. Women desiring to remain in combat may be encouraged to have abortions, and beyond this murder of innocent human life other women, not knowing they are pregnant, could be killed in action, taking two lives. True, Israel has women in combat, but even Israel has backed away in part due to problems with military effectiveness.

For years, feminism has been claiming that women do not play a special role in the lives of their children. However, this is not the case. Even in the days of the household economy, in which the fathers provided discipline and moral education for their children, children would more often in the presence of their mothers. Such is the nature of biology, a nature that feminists want to deny or to transcend. Placing women in combat is the end stage of a radical egalitarianism that took away a living wage from a man, forcing a woman to work outside the home, and forcing children without extended family in an area to live their early lives in day care. It is no surprise that the order on women in combat came in the administration of a radical egalitarian from a Marxist background (via Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn), President Barack Obama. Human nature will assert itself despite attempts to remold it, and the new policy will inevitably fail. If it does not, I will stand corrected–but I have a strong hunch that the ones corrected will be the radical egalitarian policymakers.

The Tea Party–Are they Finally Supporting Cutting Defense Spending?

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U.S. Defense Spending Trends from 2000-2011

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The Tea Party Movement has energized the Republican party and poured new blood into a party that had become corrupt and bloated with country club Republicans and RINOs. However, like many self-styled “conservatives,” they did not seem interested in cutting defense spending. Yet now there are Tea Party leaders who are saying that defense spending should not be off limits in attempts to bring government spending under control. This is a positive development.

The military became bloated during the 1950s as a result of the Cold War. Instead of combating Communism, which would have eventually collapsed under its own inefficiency in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, the Cold War created a vast “military-industrial complex,” to use President Eisenhower‘s words from his 1961 Farewell Address. Not only does a bloated military suck up government spending, it encourages the United States to be involved in unnecessary wars that feed the defense industries with fat profits. Vietnam, the U. S.’s involvement in Bosnia, and Iraq are good examples; some response to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was necessary, but an approach using smaller special forces units and CIA agents, which was the original CIA plan, probably would have worked better than sending over 100,000 American troops. The more the military-industrial complex is fed by war, the more money it demands, and the more money defense-related companies with government contract make.

In addition, a large standing army is a threat to freedom–deep cuts in defense spending could reduce the military’s size and limit the potential threat to both the sovereignty of the states and to individual Americans. Concentrations of power in large organizations, whether those organizations be big government or big business, is dangerous to freedom–and the combination of big defense industries, big government, and a large standing army, is particularly dangerous. More than just “cutting the fat” out of the defense budget is required to bring defense spending under control–and I wonder if any Tea Party leaders want the deep cuts necessary. Hopefully the fact that some Tea Party leaders are at least open to cutting defense spending will lead to a broader discussion of the need for deeper cuts to control the power of the military-industrial complex.

Ignoring Human Nature: The Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

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Breakdown of political party representation in...

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The United States Senate has followed the vote of the House and repealed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for homosexuals joining the military services. This policy had allowed homosexuals to serve in the military if they did not publicly state their orientation. Those who did “tell” were often expelled from the military services. Changing this policy is a bad idea. To allow homosexuals to openly state their orientation is a bad idea in a military culture.

Defenders of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” argue that it was discriminatory against homosexuals. But that assumes that homosexuality is equivalent to race or sex, something an individual cannot help and is therefore not a moral issue. This is not the case, however. There may be some role that heredity plays in a homosexual orientation, just as it plays a role in people with a stronger than normal sex drive towards those of the opposite sex. Just as the latter does not make committing adultery morally right, so the former does not make homosexual activity morally right. There is at least an element of choice involved in the decision to have sexual relations with an individual of the same sex.

Now someone might argue that even if the decision to have homosexual intercourse is a moral issue, if someone has a homosexual orientation, he or she should be allowed to openly state that orientation without penalty while joining the military. But just as homosexuality itself goes against human nature, as I have argued in an earlier blog post, so open homosexuality will meet reality face to face in the close quarters of the military. Take two soldiers in a bathroom, with one being an open homosexual. If that homosexual is obviously aroused and the other soldier sees that, he may think that the other solider is turned on by him–and there is then the risk of an argument or worse. In the close quarters of a ship or submarine, the tensions that develop between homosexual and heterosexual soldiers would almost certainly lead to arguments, fist fights, and perhaps worse. The fact that it is the more aggressive homosexuals who parade their sexuality who supported the appeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” the most bodes badly for their good relations with fellow soldiers if they join the military. The U. S. Congress, by ignoring facts of human nature and in the name of “nondiscrimination,” will decrease the effectiveness of the military.

The fact that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and some others in the General Officer Corps support the repeal means nothing. General Officers are, to a great extent, political appointees who will support the zeitgeist of the ruling party. There are exceptions, such as the Commandant of the Marine Corps, but the majority of high-ranking General Officers tend to “go with the flow.”  The real test will be how the repeal will affect the daily activities of soldiers, especially soldiers in combat. My sense is that it will harm morale and efficiency in the military, but this is an empirical claim that can theoretically be tested, although causal relationships are difficult to establish in studies involving real life. But if I am right that any action that violates human nature will fail, then this new policy will fail. We shall see.