Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Women In The Military, Part the Third

Weaponsman had a link to a nice little award-winning essay posted and hosted by the Marine Corps Association, wherein one Capt. Lauren Serrano, USMC, elucidated that "Women Don't Belong In The Infantry".

And of course, the comments flow back and forth, including one gem that "if women pass the same tests" blah blah blah discriminatory misogynist segregation unfair.

Problem there being, No woman has "passed all of the tests that the men do" as long as we've had them, because from the get-go, being women, they're given different (EASIER) tests! (The last time that wasn't the case was during the Civil War, when the only test was showing up for muster with a pulse.)

If we want women to be treated equally, let's start by getting rid of "female" PT standards. Under that criteria, Capt. Serrano and 99.9999% of women would be civilians, period, when they fell off the pull-up bar with less than 3. We could stop, at that point, arguing and counter-arguing about "women in the infantry", and shift to "women in the Marine Corps", or "women in the military", because the ones you'd have left in all the services would be hard-pressed to staff a 5-woman basketball team most years, as likely as not.

That we've never treated women equally, nor do they nor anyone else want us to, is proven by the gender-norming and separate standards in every service branch since forever, an item Capt. Serrano glosses over effortlessly. If we did otherwise, the essay would have been written by Miss Serrano, not Capt. Serrano.

The two women annually from the entire US population who might be able to pass even that standardized gateway test of the (male) PFT, presuming they managed to make it into the infinitesimal pool of female military recruits in the first place, would then face the exact same problems of distraction, disruption, and dissolution of resources to the core mission of the infantry (and though Capt. Serrano didn't say it - and should have, to all the combat arms, not just the infantry) while bringing nothing good and a host of the aforementioned bad to the combat mission party.

If the arguments that they almost universally can't do the job, aren't needed, aren't wanted, and will inevitably bring their unit's, and the entire Corps' performance down, rather than up, and multiply problems rather than capabilities, doesn't sway you, what you're arguing is essentially that we have to expend severely constrained time, resources, and energy so that we can break the Marine Corps, in order to fix it, because Womyn!

Well played.

When the Capt. Serranos of the Corps, whose service and dedication to the Corps I do not doubt, start agitating to drop their own lower standards, and the military-wide enforced sexism of eternally lower expectations, then we can have a serious discussion about women being or belonging anywhere in the military, let alone the infantry.

I seem to vaguely recall something in Boot Camp about "every Marine a rifleman". I could have it wrong, but my impression at the time was that they weren't referring merely to the physical ability to pull the trigger.

If they had that right, then the entire Corps is infantry when it gets down to it, and the question of whether women belong there at all is germane to the discussion.
And if we treated them with true equality, they wouldn't be there at all.

So put me in the camp of those who really want women in the military to receive “equal treatment”, rather than those who merely wish to posture and pretend that they do.

This reasoning was apparently hard to follow for at least one 0-3, so I double down:

My point is that she's presenting a rather half-stepping attack on the idea, not really all that controversial, and for some well-laid out logical points. Stated economically, if not forcefully.

But in glossing over physical/physiological constraints, she's ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room underlying the entire discussion, either from convenience, or because it hits a little too close to home - including for her.

I'm 100% for giving women absolutely equal treatment in the Marine Corps, and the entire military.
So let's start with administering them the male PFT as the new normal, on Training Day One, and every time after that. If nothing else, not publishing or promulgating gender-separate standards will save the Corps time and paper.

How any woman with a second-class PFT score who barely manages 3 pull-ups will ever get promoted, whether officer or enlisted, or even should be, is a question I leave to others.

Then we can move on to the remaining minutiae, such as about whether the 23 (or whatever miniscule number it would be) women left in the military after that first step should be allowed to serve in combat units, or not.

Random little data points like the documented observational studies that something over half of women recruits at Parris Island were incapable of throwing the impossibly heavy (I jest) 1lb M67 issue frag grenade far enough away as not to be a danger to themselves and their fellow service members will doubtless rise to significance in such a discussion. (To be fair though, blowing yourself up with your own grenades didn't seem to hinder the career of our current Secretary of State, but at least we should have the discussion of whether or not it's a problem for frontline combat units.)

I suspect the deeper question that would (or ought to) be asked would be why we needed to sign up those 23 (or whatever miniscule number it would be) women in the first place, and whether it was worth any fraction of the trouble.

Your reply indicates that you accept that there will never be equality in the military for women, because of "self-imposed PC BS".
I agree, and think that's rather the salient point.

You're a current (or former) Captain of Marines, granting (out of a sense of reality, doubtless) that "the fix is in" on the question, and has been since before the match was agreed upon. Curious strategy that.

It's like trying to judge a painting competition after agreeing to only use blind judges, and trying to pretend afterwards that the selections have any meaning or merit.

If the standards matter, enforce them fairly, and across the board.

If they don't, because Diversity, we should be actively recruiting the blind, lame, crippled, and elderly. (Deaf radio operators and blind aviators: Diversity for the win!)

But it can never be both at the same time, and it's a disservice to both logic and the Corps to pretend otherwise.

So let's don't.

The solution to demands for equality, is to give it - and in true Marine Corps fashion: both barrels, right in the face, hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle.

That will (or at least, should) end this particular discussion until such time as women play starting middle linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It's curious that the NFL gets this when there's only money at stake, but the whole concept becomes confusing when we're talking about young Marines' lives.

So, would Team Diversity like to try for best four out of seven...?

Dec. 15 UPDATE:
A little cluster bomb of reality, from a guy with a sense of humor, and a metric f*ckton of unassailable evidence backing up his point:

 Enjoy that. And if you disagree, enjoy the complimentary shit sandwich.

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