October 23, 2004

MIXING

Apparently there's some talk about whether to permanently assign support units including women to combat units. I am not a big fan of this idea. It has nothing to do with an aversion to women in combat; since I don't think that a woman's life is any more valuable than a man's life, I have no problem with women dying in war. However, I do have a nagging feeling about the effect that women have had on the military.

After reading The Kinder, Gentler Military: How Political Correctness Affects Our Ability to Win Wars, I gave up any notion that I should be a 19K. (I still would like to, but I don't think I should be allowed to.) I still argue with myself about what I think the role of women in our military should be, and my mind isn't completely made up. But there's a big problem coming out of OIF that doesn't have a solution: lust.

I almost typed love, but that's probably not right. I think what happens downrange is closer to what happens on The Real World or The Bachelor, where two people who are put in close quarters and extraordinary situations become convinced that they're in love. And when men and women are serving together, away from their families, for over a year, they bond in ways that alarm those of us back on the homefront. I have a few friends who work in our legal center, and they deal on a daily basis with divorces that stem from deployment. Sometimes the soldiers meet someone new downrange -- sometimes even getting her pregnant -- and they come back and kick their wives out. Sometimes soldiers get caught having sex when they're supposed to be on guard duty, which is dangerous to everyone they're supposed to be guarding.

There are only two or three females on my husband's entire camp in Iraq, and I prefer it that way. I don't think my husband would be interested in straying -- heck, I had to drag his disgusted-with-girls butt into the relationship in the first place -- but there are many men who might be tempted. And believe me, I'm not blind to the fact that it's a two-way street: the wives who are left behind are surrounded by temptation every day, and many of them ain't that virtuous.

The mixing of the sexes is hard for today's military, especially for hooah males in a PC culture. But sending men and women downrange together for a year has consequences, especially when soldiers only call their families once a month. I personally don't think we need more fuel on that fire.

Posted by: Sarah at 07:05 AM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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1 As far as I understand,the Israelies train,or used to train,women in their military but don't post them to positions where they would be in combat.I may be mistaken but the reasons weren't for that people might get up to what Nature equipped them to do ,but for reasons more to do with the fear of women getting hurt and killed in combat.........A problem(just ONE of many) with our Canadian military was the politically correct decision to recruit only to certain profiles. This means,so many percentages of people of colour(p.c. term,not mine) women,Aboriginals,but I'm not sure about gays.Nothing bad about trying to recruit people of different backrounds and sexes,but these were percentages that had to be met.No ifs or buts,these percentages had to be met. They weren't and now the Forces are behind the eight-ball with recruits. Besides the fact that a lot of younger people would rather not join the Forces and this is one of the several reasons that we don't even have our manpower up to the level they are funded for.

Posted by: big al at October 24, 2004 12:45 AM (rOeYn)

2 I believe women should train for combat. What if all the men in battle need us, or they're getting their collective asses kicked, god forbid. I don't want to be weeping and wailing at the mess tent, I want to be getting ready to go into battle. In WWI the Russians had an all female battalion. They brought their small children with them. I think this is the best way to work it - minus the children, of course! Train females as their own battalion that could replace one of the male ones. I do not think combat battalions should be integrated. First, you have the sex issue, which leads to the love issue, which leads to the men putting themselves at GREATER risk to protect the women among them. As I've often said, men are a different species. And the ones we're fighting are a particularly nasty, unpleasant strain. I think women would have less trouble killing them than men, due to the way they would treat us and our sisters and daughters if they won. Remember the Amazons! One more problem with women in combat. Our bodies, unfortunately degrade under field conditions while men grow stronger. We would have to have an unbreakable supply chain as well as showers to keep from developing infections, etc. In that way, biology is against us.

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 24, 2004 04:54 AM (Rm+i2)

3 I am in complete agreement with you. Someone once told me that in a "life and death struggle" the urge to procreate becomes even stronger. If you think your existence might come to an end soon, the desire to leave an offspring behind to carry on the bloodline becomes overwhelming. At first, I didn't think much of it other than it excuses lust. But I'm convinced that it is true which means the final answer is that there is a lot of lust going on downrange. I have seen marriages fall apart; relationships back home fail while new relationships here form. Like you, I don't think they have anything binding them other than "the moment" and the vast majority of the time these relationships fail when everyone gets back home. In my case, I'm too old for this crap and (as my wife reminds me often) can't afford a girlfriend with all my hobbies. :-)

Posted by: R1 at October 24, 2004 06:24 AM (PXESm)

4 Oda Mae, you need to brush up on your WW2 history before launching into discussions of women in the military. Soviets (not Russians, by the way, in case if you didn't know - there is a difference) had an integrated army where women served in combat with men. Women received the highest military honors too. There were sniper women, there were female machine gunners, etc, etc. Oh, and women were widely represented in the insurgency. Oh, there was no "showers" or anything like that. And that didn't stop women from being able to fight.

Posted by: Sen at October 24, 2004 11:26 PM (7SZHE)

5 Our bodies, unfortunately degrade under field conditions while men grow stronger. We would have to have an unbreakable supply chain as well as showers to keep from developing infections, etc. In that way, biology is against us. And they say guys are the sexist pigs. On a serious note, Sarah, I'm interested in your take on the missing explosives from Al Qaqaa. I find it difficult to see how such a widely-known site was unguarded, and how Jerry Bremer kept the knowledge that the weapons were missing from the administration - apparently, it is unclear whether the president was informed. I bring this up because this explosive is likely the source of the IEDs in Iraq, and if so then this screw-up is a direct cause of the casualties we are taking.

Posted by: Coriolanus at October 25, 2004 12:52 PM (5d0TU)

6 Coriolanus, I think Sarah has already answered your question: Clinton took them and gave them to Kerry and his friends. Bush is trying to save her husbands ass from these evildoers. Dead soldiers are the result of people hating freedom. Dead babys are just future terrorists, so they need to die sooner or later anyway. And just because Bush doesn't know something doesn't make him bad. He doesn't know a lot of things and people are still dying. So what's your point?

Posted by: dc at October 25, 2004 03:41 PM (fLlQ8)

7 dc, you were asked once to leave my website. Please don't return.

Posted by: Sarah at October 25, 2004 04:13 PM (2KPfM)

8 Sarah?

Posted by: Coriolanus at October 25, 2004 07:03 PM (5d0TU)

9 The stuff from Al Qaqa isn't likey being used for IEDs. It's possible but not in great numbers. I think the stuff from Al Qaqa was RMX or HMX-I can't remember which but it's highly explosive real hight tech stuff. Most IEDs are old 155mm artillery rounds or mortar rounds wired up with make shift detonators. I've heard of that real high tech stuff like that being used in Baghdad but in most of Iraq IEDs are a poor man's weapon.

Posted by: Blue 6 at October 26, 2004 01:23 AM (TPtS1)

10 Sen, please note the following: Russia - During World War I, some Russian women took part in combat even during the Czarist period. These women, motivated by a combination of patriotism and a desire to escape a drab existence, mostly joined up dressed as men. A few, however, served openly as women. “The [Czarist] government had no consistent policy on female combatants.” http://www.warandgender.com/wgwomwwi.htm RUSSIAN, not Soviet. WWI, not WWII. I am a WWI buff and pretty up on the history from that era. At the time of the "Battalion of Death" as the females were called, they were RUSSIANS. Perhaps I should have put "the Great War" for people with lower reading levels. Corialanus - First of all, I would be a sexist sow. If I were sexist, that is. Secondly, as a female serving in the Army between 1992 and 1998, I was often in the field with other soldiers. The females had to be sent in every three days for a shower. This was by regulation. The reason they were sent in every three days was to avoid yeast infections, UTIs and other ob/gyn infections. Just because it's sexist, doesn't mean it isn't true! This might have changed since 1998, but I don't think so. Does this mean women can't serve in the trenches? No, of course not. But you will have to send a lot of soldiers to the rear for medical treatment at some point if there are not showers, tampons, etc., for hygiene needs. Baby Wipes only go so far!! Could we still do it? Yes. Would women cause more of a drain on manpower and medical needs in that situation than the men? Yes. As stated, I think women would be fine mentally in combat. But the surrounding issues need to be dealt with first. For instance, should female combat soldiers volunteer for long term birth control in case they're taken prisoner by opposing forces, or just to make sure they can remain pregnancy-free throughout the deployment?

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 26, 2004 08:59 AM (FmIVz)

11 http://www.hood-meddac.army.mil/default.asp?page=chn_fsrg1&vi=n&mnu=0 This is the latest on "Field Considerations for Female Soldiers." As you can see, the female of the species needs to pack a bit more than the male soldier!

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 26, 2004 09:07 AM (FmIVz)

12 Oda Mae, my bad, it _was_ ww1 in your post which I read as ww2. My original point still stands - women served widely in combat in all positions without showers, tampons, etc.

Posted by: Sen at October 27, 2004 10:27 PM (UGEqL)

13 I'm usually in agreement with you, but this entry is not one of those times. So, because *some* men (and women) can't keep their pants on, no women should serve on the front lines lol? You have to be kidding me. There are good arguments out there that do support keeping women off the front lines, but this is by far the bottom of the barrel here. First off, marriages must have trust and respect. War zone or back home, the man or woman who does not put their all into their marriage will stray eventually if he or she chooses to do so. That's an individual's problem, not a military or integration problem. Secondly, in today's wars, there are no clear "in the rear with the gear" areas as there were in my father's time in Vietnam - and even then at times that line was blurred. Today, women ARE on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan regardless of whether or not America (or insecure Army wives) are ready for it. Every person who enters the Army learns to be a soldier first (you know, fire their weapon, toss a grenade) and do their MOS second. My husband was a 1SG in Iraq and led both male and female soldiers. Women in his company were on the front lines out in Ramadi - even when they were on their FOB. Their FOB was mortared daily and at least one occasion, killed several people and injured close to twenty. Women also went out on missions right along the sides of their male Marine and Army counterparts. I'd suggest doing a search for 1st Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team's Team Lioness to learn more about the exceptional job these women performed. A job that saved countless lives (possibly my husband's included) by keeping tensions from rising by having female soldiers handle Iraqi women and children instead of male soldiers. These women did jobs many men wouldn't want to do and did so with dignity, integrity and gallantry. To discredit their service by implying they shouldn't be there because of "lust" - lust of someone else, not even their own, is appalling in the age in which we live. There are heroes among us and many are women. The insecurities of Army wives who may "worry" if their husbands have to serve with women aside - women are there, they are already on the front lines and they are making America proud.

Posted by: Army wife at October 30, 2004 04:43 PM (/1PdN)

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