Let me commence this column by making it clear that I am no misogynist. From 50 years experience in teaching at university level, I know that, on average,undergraduate women perform far better in the classroom than average undergraduate men, in part because they are more mature, in part because they work harder, and in part perhaps because they may be smarter. At the graduate level, women on average do slightly less well than men, as men mature and as some women become handicapped by child-bearing and unfair responsibility for household chores. But even there, the best women students (Larry Summers notwithstanding) perform as well as the best men. I do not write this column out of prejudice, but simply out of a desire to speak the truth, and not to succumb to the fraud of political correctness.
When it comes to direct combat on the field of battle, however, other qualities than maturity, smarts, and commitment come under consideration. Direct combat is no classroom exercise. And women, on the average, are severely handicapped by nature.
Let me shift the focus away from the exceptional example of a hard-bitten, 30-year old woman cop, low on estrogen and high on testosterone. Instead, let me focus attention on anyone’s 18-year-old estrogen-charged daughter, a much more likely candidate for direct combat in the nation’s infantry.
Now this eighteen year old female may have all the smarts, all the skills, all the patriotism, all the dedication, and more, of any 18-year-old male. But in direct ground combat – and that is where I focus attention – she has three grave physical deficiencies.
The first such deficiency manifests itself in diminished testosterone, the hormone that fuels aggression.In hand-to-hand combat,against a testosterone-driven, Muslim, woman-despising, aggressive man, ignore the estrogen-limitation at your peril. And remember that military rules are designed to to maximize efficiency in killing enemies.
Second, take note of the established fact that the average woman is blessed with only 50 per cent of the upper-body strength of the average male. Whenever the poor bloody infantry is cutting and scything its way through jungle terrain, or moving heavy equipment across mountainous terrain, or is engaged in hand-to-hand combat too close for rifles to be deployed, other than as bayonets, that 18-year-old woman will be a physical drag on efficiency. Julius Caesar, probably the most successful general of all time, would never have relied on women to supplement his famous legions.
The third deficiency is the much higher susceptibility of that 18-year old daughter to sexual abuse and rape, should she fall alive into the hands of the enemy. No more than 5 per cent of 18-year-old male foes have a taste for homosexuality. So captured men are not regularly raped by their captors. Some 95 per cent of male enemies will be trained and eager to abuse captive 18-year old women. The expectation must be that such abuse and rape will be the rule rather than the exception. And those 18-year-old women will know that this is so.
Now it is in the chivalrous culture of Western man to protect women from harm on the battlefield and from potential abuse if captured, especially by men from an inferior culture. This will not be efficient in the midst of direct combat. No doubt the military will train its male infantrymen to steel themselves, to leave their female comrades at especial risk, when it is efficient so to do, and in order to protect their hidden positions, to ignore the screams of their captured female comrades, as they are openly abused in earshot of the battlefield. But is this the kind of society that we wish to cultivate?
Political correctness- and only political correctness – can explain why Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, neither of whom has any direct combat experience, have abandoned all rationality and lifted the ban on women in direct combat.
Hat Tip: Kathleen Parker, ‘Women do not belong in combat’, The Washington Post, January 27, 2013