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posted by martyb on Friday December 04 2015, @03:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the anything-you-can-do... dept.

Multiple sources report that on Thursday, December 3rd, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the US military will open all combat jobs to women. From The Wall Street Journal:

"This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before," Mr. Carter said.

He spelled out the implications of his decision: "They'll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They'll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men."

[...] The practical effect of the announcement is to open up the 10% of positions that still remain closed to women--nearly 220,000 jobs--in infantry, reconnaissance and special operations units.

[Much more after the break.]

ABC News brings us some words from combat veteran and US congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (link again):

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in the 2003-2011 Iraq war, welcomed the decision.

"I didn't lose my legs in a bar fight -- of course women can serve in combat," said Duckworth, whose helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. "This decision is long overdue."

The Kurdish militia is another option for women who want to fight. Fox News earlier this year wrote about one such woman, Gill Rosenberg:

A Canadian-born Israeli woman who joined a Kurdish militia to fight against the Islamic State group said that after a stint in prison, she felt compelled to do something positive with her life and battle against the "genocide" unfolding in Syria and Iraq.

Gill Rosenberg, 31, was among the first female volunteers to fight in the Syrian civil war.

Vice brings us a story about another woman determined to fight ISIS, model Hanna Bohman:

As thousands of Syrian refugees flee the country, escaping Bashar al-Assad's barrel bombs and the barbarism of ISIS, one woman from Canada has headed to the war zone for a second time.

Hanna Bohman, aka Tiger Sun, joined the women's militia army of the People's Defence Unit, known as the YPJ in the Kurdish region of Syria (Rojava) following a near-fatal motorbike accident last year.

Also see NPR's coverage: Pentagon Says Women Can Now Serve In Front-Line Ground Combat Positions.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by bradley13 on Friday December 04 2015, @05:30PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @05:30PM (#271868) Homepage Journal

    provided they can meet the physical requirements why couldn't they prove excellent soldiers

    The problem is, the US military is under tremendous pressure to get more women into positions for which they are physically unsuited. Women are allowed to put their gear on trucks during long training marches, because they cannot carry it. Women are allowed to go under or around obstacles on the fitness courses. Female medics are allowed to use four people to carry a stretcher, whereas men do it with two. The military cannot require women to meet the same objective standards as men, because there would be very nearly zero women in any physically demanding position - which includes essentially all ground combat positions. This is politically unacceptable.

    The military has always had different physical requirements for women [], because women are hugely weaker than men []. That's simple biology. The problem is: your combat gear doesn't get lighter just because you are a woman. Which means: these different physical standards are going to get people killed.

    There is another aspect that too few people are willing to discuss, and that is the sexual behavior of the species. By that, I mean the way that heterosexual men and women (and that is most of the species) are genetically programmed to behave around each other. Take a bunch of fit young guys, put a couple of fit young women in their midst, put the group under pressure, and watch the mating rituals. Men have a natural instinct to want to (a) impress and (b) protect women. Women, for their part, are programmed to encourage this behavior. Neither of these reactions belongs in a combat squad.

    Are there exceptions? Of course! If the military were truly allowed to impose neutral standards, you could identify the exceptional women capable of meeting the physical requirements of ground combat positions. The problem is: this will not be allowed to happen, because the SJWs want to see average women in the same combat positions that average men can achieve.

    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 04 2015, @05:58PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday December 04 2015, @05:58PM (#271880) Journal

    The United States could always look to other countries' militaries where women have already been put into combat roles. Israel is one, so are France and Germany. There others, but of those three perhaps Israel is the best example because they're constantly fighting with everyone.

    But then, maybe it's because the US has looked at those countries' experience that it has made this decision. Toughness is often measured in terms of physical strength, but it's a quality with deeper roots than that. I have known women in my life who are tough as nails; I even had a couple in my family--my great-grandmother outlived 5 husbands and was a chemist at a time when virtually none were. That willingness to accomplish the mission no matter what, the willingness to endure, can arguably make the difference between life and death as much as being able to bench another 100 lbs can.

    I dunno. I've never been a soldier--I have always sucked at following orders. But it seems that including women in a combat unit could be made stronger through the qualities they bring to the fight rather than made weaker.

    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Friday December 04 2015, @08:50PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @08:50PM (#271944) Journal

      The United States could always look to other countries' militaries where women have already been put into combat roles. Israel is one, so are France and Germany. There others, but of those three perhaps Israel is the best example because they're constantly fighting with everyone.

      But even with those countries, women are not given the same size combat packs to carry, or expected to slam the same size shells into the breach of howitzers.

      Those armies take a rational approach, where women are assigned to do the jobs commensurate with their size. They might drive the tank, command the tank, service the tank, fuel the tank, fire the gun, but there is usually a pretty beefy (male) gunner's mate moving the shells from the locker to the breach.

      Go to Google Images and search for images of Israeli ground troops. You won't see many women in those shots of actual combat missions, but there are a few. They seem to train separately [].

      There is almost no job in aviation that women can't handle. Yes, she flew it, and brought it home, mostly in one piece [].

      More-so shipboard in the Navy. Even on a Carrier, probably 90% of the jobs can be handled by women. Probably everything but the Red Shirt Jobs [] because bombs and missiles weighing up to 500 pounds (or more) are manually lifted to the pylons.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by termigator on Friday December 04 2015, @10:55PM

      by termigator (4271) on Friday December 04 2015, @10:55PM (#271987)

      Women already serve in combat roles today, and with modern weaponry, it does not take a lot of brute strength to be a killing machine.

      What will be interesting is if the physical requirements for elite fighting groups will be changed. Physical requirements in those cases are based on the types of missions that are performed and how to help guarantee soldiers can complete the mission and come back alive. If a woman can meet the physical requirements as the men, more power to her. But if requirements are going to be lowered just for the purposes of allowing women in, then the new requirements should apply to men also. The new requirements must also not sacrifice the ability to complete mission objectives and come back alive.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday December 05 2015, @02:16AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 05 2015, @02:16AM (#272053) Homepage Journal

      Israel has some unique experiences and views on women in the military. They don't put women in the same front line units as they put men, generally speaking. We would do well to follow their example. []

      The other examples of women in the military do not have histories of those women in intense, prolonged front line action.

      Just like men, women are going to be both assets and liabilities. Unlike men, those attributes are less understood today. Neither progressives nor traditionalists are going to understand the issues unless and until those integrated units are put to the test.

      When we see these units battle without relief for months, THEN we will be able to evaluate their performance.

      Don’t confuse the news with the truth.