Nancy Pelosi called it the “selfie of the year": the group snapshot of the first four women to make it through Marine infantry training.
"Fearless," as Pelosi describes them. "Badasses," as onlookers have labeled them. Here is an acerbic quote from an article on Gawker:
These women have now definitively proven what fatuous Congressional oldsters for so long prevented other women from demonstrating: the ability to hump 90 pounds of gear over rough terrain for days; an aptitude for killing people with grenades, radioed-in air and artillery strikes, bare hands, and the M249 Light Machine Gun, which is not all that light; and a general comfort with serving at the tip of the spear, being first-in-last-out, and all the other man-meat-inspired metaphors for combat infantry service.
Private First Class Harlee “Rambo” Bradford, who is spotted in the middle of the group photo, has been quoted as saying she likes “blowing shit up.” How admirable. Maybe she ought to buy a chemistry set or get into pyrotechnics in the private sector where no politicized statutes have to be crafted in order to accommodate gender disparities so that women can blow shit up alongside the guys.
The accomplishment of having survived marine infantry training as a female, considering the inherent biological disadvantages, is no doubt remarkable and earns these women a nod of achievement and perseverance. Perhaps even a round of well-deserved applause. Nevertheless, exploiting that triumph as proof that women can compete with men under the conditions of total war is a misstep that skips over many other hurdles that go unheeded by a general population which collectively believes that placing women in combat roles is making progress toward rectifying historical wrongs. Polls asking the question of whether or not women should be allowed to serve in combat roles have consistently ticked upward toward majority approval. Even worse, polls conducted during 2013 asking the question of whether women should be drafted are starting to show a resounding "yes" on the part of respondents who believe this represents genuine equal opportunity.
Military brass, according to media reports, insist that the standards are not being lowered to get women into combat roles, yet an article published by Business Insider notes the following:
The military services are struggling to figure out how to move women into battlefront jobs, including infantry, armor and elite commando positions. They are devising updated physical and mental standards – equal for men and women – for thousands of combat jobs and they have until Jan. 1, 2016, to open as many jobs as possible to women, and to explain why if they decide to keep some closed.
If standards don’t change, what exactly is the struggle? Only a tiny percentage of women who aspire to go into battle will ever be capable of making it through infantry training and moving on to combat duty. Those will be the extreme outliers whose size and genetics may allow them to be on par with men in the short term.
According to media reports, our so-called Rambo, Private First Class Harlee Bradford, incurred a stress fracture from her two months of infantry training. When you read about what that training entails, a smallish female body will endure far more than a stress fracture or two over time. Jessie Jane Duff, who retired from the Marine Corps, noted in her January 2013 article in Time magazine that the physical demands of infantry, even outside of wartime, cannot be met by perseverance and mental toughness alone. Women who train for combat roles have much higher rates of disability, and therefore attrition, while physically superior men also exhibit numerous physical strains from infantry training and duty.
Muscle atrophy, hip displacement, and arthritis in knees and joints are common ailments. Spinal compression occurs from long periods of heavy combat loads.
This is the hard reality of how extended field time and intense physical standards take their toll. Women’s bodies simply aren’t designed for the fatigue of field operations with heavy field gear and weapons on less muscular body frames.
In a fascinating article in the Marine Corps Gazette, Captain Katie Petronio asks all the right questions, including the following:
In the end, my main concern is not whether women are capable of conducting combat operations, as we have already proven that we can hold our own in some very difficult combat situations; instead, my main concern is a question of longevity. Can women endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations, and are we willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration?”
Captain Petronio was always a star athlete, playing ice hockey at Bowdoin while benching and squatting heavy poundage. A stud performer at OCS (Officer Candidate School), she participated in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. She describes her experiences spending excessive amounts of time with a full combat load while enduring the physical strain of combat duty and the mental stress of being responsible for so many lives in her decision-making role. During her deployment, she suffered from compressed nerves in her spine and ensuing neuropathy; debilitating muscle atrophy; and polycystic ovarian syndrome that left her infertile. She describes her conditions as crippling. She states,
I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotion, that we haven’t even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females.
Most notably, Captain Petronio notes that the call for "equal opportunity" is not coming from women in the military, but from outside groups pushing purely political agendas through the military ranks.
The various reasons why women shouldn’t exist side-by-side with men in combat have been rehashed time and time again – by sociologists, psychologists, military brass, authorities on warfare, and opinionated columnists. In spite of that, what often gets lost is the fact that beyond the physiological disparity there exists a barbaric mindset that deems women and war as being compatible in a civilized society.
Those who strive to advance equal opportunity though the military advancement of women in combat roles disregard the most heinous of all crimes – the fact that the United States government is eager to put women on the front lines in a grand experiment to confront sociological conundrums that are best served outside of the military complex. However, equal opportunity propaganda is so widespread and toxic that the masses have been deliberately conditioned into believing that congressionally sanctioned political equality can replace indisputable gender differences that are innate within human biological structures.
Military historian Martin van Crevald, in his book Men, Women & War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line? (2001), calls the influx of women in the military "one symptom of the decline of the state-owned, regular military." He notes that war is the worst of all human activities, as well as the most physically demanding, and therefore to "expose women to combat is little short of criminal."
In this profound book, van Crevald opines that modern film and video games have fashioned the image of the female hero as feminine yet muscular, with sex appeal in spades while displaying the ferocity and superpowers of comic book males "by simultaneously brandishing their weapons and showing their breasts." Indeed, the public laps up this Hollywood and video game fiction, while real war is a bloody hell with very real consequences. Mr. van Crevald sets his sights on the feminist agenda and its role in military equality by introducing the book with this powerful passage:
Mainly, however, it is because violence in general, and war in particular, are often seen as the ‘last bastion’ of male superiority over, and control of, females. Take away men’s monopoly over violence, and hopefully the rest of the ‘patriarchal’ social order will crumble like a house of cards.
The majority sanction to send women into war represent society’s vulgar promotion of equal opportunity through the exploitation of fictional female Rambos. Ostensibly, this is what society calls progress for the female gender.
Thanks to a decades-long gender war and resulting military mandates, society can mimic Hollywood hero flicks, and with the appropriate nicknames in tow. Cheer on the era where the genders are deemed equal because mothers can now be thrust into war zones to be butchered, incarcerated by undefined enemies all over the globe, and buried in stately government cemeteries while being gift-wrapped in state flags bearing dedicatory medals commending their heroic service.
When we are equal at last, life imitates a superhero story where beefy heroines brandishing big hair and Barbie boobs of the enhanced variety can beat back the bad guys, save the world, get some romance on the side, and calmly pop out a baby before the story is over. So yes ladies, we can have it all.
Karen DeCoster, CPA is an accounting/finance professional in the healthcare industry and a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker. She writes about libertarian matters, economics, financial markets, the medical establishment, the corporate state, health totalitarianism, zeitgeist, the economics of Detroit, and all other matters that are of interest to a libertarian-oriented audience. She has written for LewRockwell.com as well as an assortment of other platforms. Check out her website. Also see her blog Detroit: From Rust to Riches. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.