Thoughts on Women in Combat Roles
If there is one thing our country cannot stand it is the slightest hint of an opposing viewpoint; they seek to shut it down; speak out against any proposal they make and prepare to be considered a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe, etc. Let me throw those terms out there at the start, that way we can skip the pejoratives and try to have a reasonable conversation about women serving in combat roles.
Today, 24 January 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally lifted the “ban” restricting women to non-combat roles in United State military forces. For those less acquainted with the military terminology, combat arms is the name given to those branches which serve in more direct, frontline, tactical environments; they include: special forces, infantry, artillery, combat engineers, and armor.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I try to have a great respect for women, I believe they are a gift from God to man, I believe they serve a vital–absolutely vital–purpose in God’s design, purpose, and will. Women have a great role in childrearing, in encouragement, in care, love, emotion; they have a way of balancing out the strengths–and weaknesses–of men (and vice versa). We each play a special role in this life, women no less than men.
That said, I have my concerns (as I’ve always had my concerns) about women in the military; people often ask me what my take is on it, being in the military, and now I will try to give my reasons for why I oppose this action, and the action of women in the military at all:
1) It is simply not the place for women; this is my first and foremost objection to women in the military. This is not only true of combat arms, but non-combat arms as well (I’ll give some slack on nurses and the like). This society has many flaws, but one of its biggest is the weakening of men (not physically, but in the sense of them being the leaders of households, the providers and protectors of their own, and…sacrificing on the battlefield) and the feminization of our culture (it’s no surprise that women have become more independent, self-sustaining, desiring everything a man has…who can blame them? When the men won’t stand up and take charge, won’t be a committed husband or loving father, when they won’t work, when they desire pornography and fantasies more than one woman to care for and support. Culpability cannot be completely attributed to the radical feminists).
Ephesians 5:25 – Is an exhortation for husbands to love their wives to the point of giving up their lives for her (whether in a symbolic sense or a literal sense). The women are not commanded to do this, they are meant to be cared for, not the caretakers.
1 Peter 3:7 – Oh how the feminists hate this verse, and why? One answer is because they wish to deny the natural order, but more likely they just hate this way of thinking that I am presenting. To think that anyone would dare acknowledge that women–more often than not–are just undeniably smaller, “weaker,” and often more in need of protection than men; and because of this we are to show great care for them, “showing [her] honor.”
The Old Testament is replete with examples of men going to battle and women left behind. How male chauvinistic is that? To think that they would completely disregard women and limit their potential. Is that how anyone honestly reads those types of verses (i.e. Deuteronomy 20:1-7, 24:5)?
Let me summarize this point: Women are not excluded from combat because they have no bravery, no courage, no ability to protect, but because it should not be the role of women (except as perhaps a last resort, a problem the U.S. has not run into yet). The opposing side will pitch it as though anyone opposed thinks that women are somehow less than men, that they have no worth, that we believe they possess none of the characteristics listed above…but that is not the point. The point is: this country hasn’t the slightest idea what gender roles are anymore, and they don’t care. But Christians should.
2) Women are–for lack of a better term–weaker; Now then, no manner or amount of appeal to Biblical authority will sway those adamant about confusing gender roles, so it is not likely that practical arguments will do either, though I shall try (because let’s be honest if they can’t see the God-given order in Scripture, then nature–also a part of God’s order–will not fare better).
On this point, let me first say, that I have no doubt that you could probably find many women in this world who would be able to lay the smack down on some men (whether it be because they won’t hit a woman, or because that woman may be larger). At any rate, it’s beside the point; this simply reiterates the point made in the last, that women are naturally, God-ordained-to-be, the weaker vessel. That is usually the case physically and emotionally (not always, but often…most women won’t deny it).
Firstly, the military has a pandemic on its hands with PTSD (and PTSD is usually associated with those involved in combat arms), and we are looking to subject our women to that type of mental anguish (admittedly, PTSD can be a symptom of things other than combat), which I would venture to guess is much more severe in those who have a more acute sense of the emotional to begin with.
Secondly, there is a reason that the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) has different standards for women and men (see here). Why is there no outcry about the standards on the APFT being so favorable to men? Why is there no fight to have those standards changed? Could it possibly be due to the fact that these people know the truth, but like most things being advocated for today…the truth is inconvenient when pushing an agenda.
I do not say this to be mean, I do not say this to be sexist, but I will say this because it literally jeopardizes soldiers in the field. There is a reason that height/weight standards exist in the military, and it is not just so we can exclude the skinny or the obese, the short or far too tall, it is because we need to be able to carry one another off a battlefield, on a stretcher, fit in a truck, fit all the many things that we have to fit into as soldiers. Again, not to be overly inflammatory, but I would not trust many females to carry my limp body from a battlefield…and there are men much bigger than me.
3) It is absolutely detrimental to morale; I see so many military men defending the rights of women to be on the front lines with men, and I often want to ask them why they are so insistent about it? I try not to be too cynical about it, but I have been around the military (and men) long enough to see why women are preferred on deployments and among the ranks. Let me give an example (and I’m sorry it is not a very positive one, but it is the truth): if you suddenly lifted any restrictions about females being in male prisons, do you think the male prisoners would be for it, or against it? Just a thought.
I have seen ranking individuals relieved because of inappropriate relationships between them and subordinate females, I have seen people sent home from deployments because the relationship was too much of a distraction between them (and others around), I have seen countless sexual assault claims, pregnancies, drama that wouldn’t register on a high schooler’s radar (jealousies, fights, etc.), and favoritism that separates troops and creates hatred. Don’t try to tell me it would have no affect on morale. It does, plain and simple.
What do you expect, though? You have now put males and females at close proximity, not far from changing areas, not far from the same showers…and you expect nothing to ever happen?
But it’s like I said, you can throw as much reality and reason at someone as you want, use sound argument until your face is blue…some people will not have it. If it’s an agenda to push, truth is an inconvenient obstacle.
4) Please stop using the word “ban”; The rhetoric. The sophistry. The polemics. I get the technical definition of ban, I do, but it is clearly a way to incite emotion from the lefters, and others. When I use the word ban, I usually have a negative connotation in mind. If women not serving in combat roles is considered a “ban”, then I am banned from being in the special forces, banned from being an NBA player, banned from being president. It was military policy, and it made sense; not everything has to have bigotry, male-chauvenism, sexism, racism, homophobia, hate, etc. etc. shoved into it. Please stop.
Also, again, no one is questioning the courage, bravery, virtue, strength of mind, or love for their country (well some are, but I’m not). I wish I could stop seeing every politician tell me, “well they’ve already been on the front lines for so long, might as well.” How is that not as easily an argument against as it is for? I never get that type of rationale. It’s true they’ve been out there, some more than me, but does that make it right? The argument is not against their character, it is against their role; and it matters to me because I’m sick of seeing this country coddle to everything in the name of “tolerance” while rejecting the laws of nature, the bonds of society, and the Law of God. And this has potential to cost lives.
Edit: Kind of an afterthought, but I hadn’t even touched on the point of women being captured in combat and the various dilemmas and situations that come with that. I won’t elaborate, but it is worth consideration in this conversation.