Should Women Be in Combat?
Composition I – English 1001-10
December 12, 2012
Should Women be in Combat?
According to a poll on November 9, 2012 68% of the American public thinks women should be allowed in combat roles (Should women be allowed, 2012). Women should not be in combat roles in the military because they have different mental/emotional needs, they require additional logistic support, they are not as physically capable as men, and would be a threat to unit cohesiveness. While all women will not fall into every one of these categories, it is a necessity for women to have additional logistic support, and they will more than likely be a threat to unit cohesiveness. Some women can be as capable as men, but for the most part, this is not so. All combat units need to consist of a cohesive, well-disciplined, force able to complete assigned missions with minimal support.
Regardless of what the general population thinks, women would not work effectively in a combat position. The public thinks that certain women may be as efficient as a man, when it comes to physicality and mentality. It is true that all men are not as physically or mentally fit as some men in combat roles, but that is a good reason they are not in a combat position. Many people also think that standards will not have to be lowered if women are compared to men. They think that one percent of women would be able to compete with a man. In spite of these arguments, women would not serve as effectively as men. Women’s rights are a big issue if women are held back from the same standards as men. They will fight until they are on the same level even if they do not perform as well as men. Feminists try to deny the differences between women and men and consider them as equals. Women’s rights groups are also trying to push for women to be eligible for the draft and assigning them to combat arms, even if they do not seek or want the position. Women should not serve in combat roles because they have different mental and emotional needs than men. Women are the more compassionate and nurturing sex. For example, if a woman has to shoot and kill a woman or child, she would more than likely not be able to, even if the woman and child were a threat to her life. Many women break down and are not able to function in high stress and dangerous situations. It has been noted in army basic training that women break down in tears on the rifle ranges, which is a safe controlled environment (Bork, 1996, p. 222). Imagine what would likely happen when an ideological extremist tries to kill them in a combat zone?
Women should not serve in combat roles because additional logistic needs is a must have for women in a combat unit. “In most company and platoon combat outposts showers, bathrooms, electricity, and doctors are not available. In addition to all of those items, women would require separate living quarters, showers, and bathrooms in a place where shelter and space is at a premium” (Personal Interview, 2012). At least during menstruation women need a shower but running water is not always available. Adding all of this additional support for women is simply not feasible, and it would cost the government significantly more money to accommodate them.
Another reason women should not be in a combat position is because the vast majority of women are not as physically capable as men. For instance, how is a 120 pound woman expected to carry or drag a 200 plus pound man with a full combat load weighing between 50 and 75 pounds? Robert Bork (1996) proved this point in his book Slouching Towards Gomorrah: In physical fitness tests, very few women could do even one pull-up, so the Air Force Academy gave credit for the amount of time they could hang on the bar. Female cadets averaged almost four times as many visits to the medical clinic as male cadets. At West Point, the female cadets’ injury rate in field training was fourteen times that of men, and 61 percent of women failed the complete physical test, compared to 4.8 percent of men. During Army basic training, women broke down in tears, particularly on the rifle range (p. 221). Training standards are lowered because women are measured against other women instead of being measured against men. As a result, men’s standards are dropped so women can live up to the same standards of a man “on paper”. This results in the production of a physically incapable female troop and a lesser quality male troop which ultimately drops the quality of our force as a whole.
In a combat situation women would affect the units’ cohesiveness therefore women should not be in combat roles. A combat unit of all men will work together better if women are not present. Whether men or women realize it different sexes can cause an abundance of problems as Bork (1996) writes: The presence of women among male troops weakens combat readiness. All-male units in the field experience bonding that enhances unit cohesion and effectiveness. When women are introduced, men stop relating to each other and begin trying to attract the women. Men can quickly become on less-than-friendly terms with a mini-war over a woman. Nor can morale be improved when accusations of harassment are always a threat. An accusation of sexual harassment by the woman, even if unproven, would severally damage the man’s service career, and both the man and the woman are acutely aware of the fact (p. 222). Women alone are not the problem in keeping units’ cohesiveness. When two sexes are placed together along with combat issues, more problems are likely to arise.
Women should not serve in combat roles because men and women differ in several ways. One of those ways is her mental and emotional needs. The majority of women are more sympathetic than men, which could be a hindrance in a combat zone. Women have a need to be more sanitary than men which is not possible in a combat zone. Most women cannot perform physically as well as a man. So bringing women into combat would result in lowering the standards for men. Men can form a better bond when women are not present. Bork (1996) also shows when females are in a male unit the mission does not always get completed. The Israelis, Soviets, and Germans, when in desperate need of front-line troops, placed women in combat, but later barred them. Male troops forgot their tactical objectives in order to protect the women from harm of capture, knowing what the enemy would do to the female prisoners of war. This made combat units less effective and exposed the men to even greater risks (p. 222). When the male troops forgot their tactical objectives because they tried to protect the women is just another example why women should not be allowed in a combat role.
Women should not be in combat roles but women could be utilized in different skills. Feminist thinks that this would lessen them but it would be better in all situations. Women would not be a hindrance from their different emotional/mental needs, they would not require additional logistical support, they would not have to be physically compared to men and they would not cause complications in the units’ cohesiveness if women were not in combat roles. “In direct combat, women would not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive” (Donnelly, 2012). Women have a place in the military but it is not in a combat role.
Bork, R. (1996). Slouching Towards Gomorrah. NY, NY: Regan Books. Donnelly, E. (2012). Should women be allowed in comabat? Retrieved from Scholastic: http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/upfront/debate/index.asp?article=0905 Should women be allowed. (2012, November 09). Retrieved from http://www.debate.org: ). http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-women-be-allowed-to-serve-in-equal-combat-roles-in-armed-forces Tremblay, S. (2012, October 01). (D. Tremblay, Interviewer)