After a large debate over whether or not conscripts would be a viable option in the United States, it has become apparent that while many members on here would be in favor of mandatory civic service, no one wants anyone in the military who doesn't want to be.

The next topic in this area I want to cover is people who want to be in combat and aren't allowed - specifically - women. Being manly men, we are taught to protect our women. It is there for relevant that we consider to what extent we will go to protect them. Does this include disallowing them to do things they want to, because it is not safe. I want to propose that we change Department of Defense (military) policy that prohibits women from having combat roles. Right now a woman in the US Military is able to have a non-combat job and end up in combat, but she is not allowed to join the infantry or other combat-only roles.

My last post gave the wrong impression of my opinion - this is merely a stance I am taking to induce debate, my personal opinion is not a factor in the following proposal:

Where as, all woman in the military are deemed equals to their male counter-parts,

Where as, they incur equal-but-different Physical standards,

Where as, other countries currently allow women to fight in combat with minimal problems,

I propose that we allow women in the United States Military, of any branch, to serve along side men in combat roles such as infantry, artillery, and armor (tanks).

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Comment by Paul Bennett on February 1, 2010 at 6:16pm
As a former Infantry Marine, my personal experience has been that it's not that women are in any way incapable. Rather that the men simply behave differently when they are around, to the detriment of unit cohesion. (Again, in my personal experience.)

"Unit Cohesion" is one of those terms that seems to be often misconstrued and always undervalued by those whom it does not directly affect.

Infantry units are not a place to run a social experiment.
Comment by David Molyneux on February 1, 2010 at 11:37am
Please note that I did not say that women were incapable of engaging in combat; of course they are, even children serve as soldiers in many parts of the world. That doesn't mean they should engage in combat. You mentioned that you served in Vietnam at 135 lbs, carrying 60 lbs, and that soldiers today don't need all that they carry. In response, I would say that the needs of soldiers have changed since then, and even if it may not be necessary, that doesn't change the fact. As for the female Vietcong, they were operating as a guerilla force, navigating tunnels and jungles they knew like the back of their hands, carrying maybe one firearm and very little gear. They were not troops deployed on foreign soil with full combat gear. Physical requirements are there for a very good reason. If you cannot measure up, then you are the weak link in the chain. It's not just about pushups and situps. If you are forced to march for miles through the desert, rescue an injured squad mate, pursue enemy combatants, fight hand to hand with a guerilla, etc, physical prowess becomes very important. This isn't just about woman/man. This applies to men that cannot measure up as well. If a guy were to try to join the military but could not meet the standards laid out for him, they would not simply say "okay, well here's a different standard for you to reach and we'll make sure you get to fight anyway." That would be foolish. And since the average (or even above average) woman cannot do so, I cannot see the common sense in assigning them combat roles alongside men who have reached a higher standard than she has. If she's a one in a thousand physical specimen, like Juliet Draper (link:, then sure, let her do whatever she's capable of.
Comment by Gerald Wayne Hassler on February 1, 2010 at 5:30am
Women are capable of engaging in combat and that is that. It doesn't matter who is the most physical or has the most upper body strength or who can drag a wounded comrade to aid. We're having difficulty wrapping our minds around something we've avoided for cultural reasons whereas other nations have had women in their military for some time. If a woman can only do 25 situps compared to a man doing 50 situps - so what? Combat is mostly emotional response, not physical response. In Nam, I weighed 135 lbs., carried around 60 lbs., and would not have been able to carry a 60mm mortar base plate but still performed combat operations. So too did women Viet Cong. They performed right alongside the men. Larger is always better at some things including being a bigger target. It isn't so much reducing standards but recognizing being in good physical shape is where we want to be other than who can do the most pushups. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan don't need to be wearing long sleeves and carrying those weighted backpacks while engaged in operations. Look at all the PTSD claims coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Does this mean all men can't handle the emotional stresses of war? As with anything, some can and some can't. Women have the right to engage in any combat their training and experience qualifies them for. Difficult to absorb for many of us but things change.
Comment by David Molyneux on January 31, 2010 at 9:58pm
@ Francis: Some resources are untapped for a very good reason. How would you suggest that we train them like the "women of combat"? I'm not being sarcastic, I would honestly like to know what you mean by that. And in response to your proposal I would ask you this question: Is it not the duty of any nation to provide its' people with the best protection and defense available? Shouldn't the concern of the military be putting the best and most capable soldiers possible in the field? And no matter how you look at it, the average man makes a better soldier than the average woman. If there were a shortage of capable men it would be one thing, but as one of the most populous nations in the world, I cannot see that ever being the case. You don't start shooting arrows until you run out of bullets.
Comment by Francis Carbajal on January 31, 2010 at 9:48pm
I can understand that women for the most part cannot compare to the average man in terms of physical prowess, yet this does not deter my stance that women should be given combat roles. We as men of this modern era have agreed to treat women as our equals in all aspects of life (setting aside our physical differences). If our word is true then women too shall stand in arms, regardless of their faults, and know the struggle and honor of the armed forces. A man joins the army to serve and protect his country even at the risk of torture and death, to deny a woman of the same freedom simply shames the word of men and tarnishes our credibility.

There is no dispute that the differences in the requirements for female soldiers and male soldiers cause a gap. However, we should not judge them on this alone. Let us not continue this discussion around the basis of why they are not like men, or in better terms why "the square peg doesn't fit in the triangular slot". Instead let us focus on maximizing the potential of an untapped resource. If we cannot train them to fight like men of combat so be it, let us train them to fight like women of combat.
Comment by David Molyneux on January 31, 2010 at 3:32pm
With all respect, I believe that women have no place of the battlefield. I'm not saying that a woman cannot be just as tough as a man; certainly, the rigors of childbirth are a testament to that fact. I realize that a woman can be just as good with a gun or a knife. She may be a brilliant tactician even. But combat readiness comes down to more than these thing; it requires physical tools that the vast majority of women, even athletic women, do not possess. For instance, infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan are currently carrying between 80 and 120 lbs of gear. The average woman in America today is 5 feet 4 inches tall and (if she's fit) weighs around 120 lbs herself. How can you expect the average female soldier to shoudler such a burden (up to 100 percent of her own bodyweight) and keep up with the men? Also, if a fellow soldier should be injured, how is she going to drag him to safety? Even if she can, it won't be as quickly. Should she find herself engaged in hand to hand combat, odds are that she will be outmatched in strength and size as well. As far as driving combat vehicles is concerned, anyone who has had military experience will tell you that maintenance in the field is a constant effort, and one which also requires a good deal of strength; replacing tank parts is a far cry from changing the oil in your Honda. And of course there is the concern that has been mentioned several times, that of the treatment she would recieve if captured. Women are certain to more poorly treated (if history has taught us anything), and their ability to recover emotionally and physically from such treatment is often less than that of a larger, more robust man.
Comment by Theodore Kruczek on January 30, 2010 at 11:17pm
@George - Equal but different standards, by this I mean that the military has said they are equal but different standards. I am not saying I agree with them being different in the first place (I don't).

While I do think your point about boosting numbers is not politically correct, I am appreciative that you said it anyway. You should never ever have to apologize for being rude when your being honest about your views.

As for other countries, this almost always is smaller countries that need numbers. I will use Israel as my easiest example.
Comment by George Green on January 30, 2010 at 8:58pm
While there are some exceptions to their physical readiness, the majority are nowhere near as strong or fast as the men. I think a lot of that does have to do with their physical standards, which are pathetic. And I would looooooooove to know what you mean by equal but different physical standards. If by equal but different you mean they get 2 more minutes on the same run, have to do half to a third the amount of sit ups and pushups, then you'd be right. As ignorant as this is going to sound, especially for my first post, but sadly enough, it's probably just to boost numbers.

With that said, I know a female staff sergeant that could kick my ass inside out. And as for other countries allowing their women to fight in combat...which one(s)?
Comment by Cristopher Thomas on January 30, 2010 at 2:20pm
Can't help but disagree on this one. Men throughout history have gone off to war to protect their homes and loved ones. That means the women.

Additionally, as a member of the armed forces, I feel that it's bad enough that we have different standards for men and women as it pertains to physical fitness. This becomes a serious problem when in a combat situation. Soldiers have to be able to trust that those around you are able to watch your back. I need to KNOW that my comrade can keep up with me.
Comment by Gerald Wayne Hassler on January 26, 2010 at 7:36pm
Women serve as police and in many instances they will do well in combat situations. If captured, they will most likely be raped. This is a choice theirs to make. Some combat roles requiring more physical strength would be denied them, but they can fly a plane, drive an armored vehicle and fire an M-4 as well as anyone. Too often, we obtain our views of their emotions perhaps disabling them in combat from movies where they most often are portrayed as helpless in the face of danger. We all, when faced with someone shooting at us, may not respond the way we think. I've seen heroes when being fired at and the same practically cowards with incoming mortar raining down on them. Each and every time under fire is different and women can face it the same way we all do.

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