Jan

28

2013

Joe Carter|2:45 AM CT

The FAQs: Women in Combat

Note: The FAQs is a TGC series in which we answer your questions about the latest news and current events.

What is the new change concerning women in combat?

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta lifted the military's official ban on women in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to females in the military. Under the new policy, women may soon be able to volunteer—or be assigned—to infantry, artillery, and other front line combat units.

Each branch of the military will have to come up with an implementation plan in the next several months. If a branch of the military decides that a specific job should not be opened to a woman, representatives of that branch will have to ask the defense secretary for an exception.

Haven't women already been serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Technically, no. While women are allowed to serve in air and sea combat operations and are allowed to serve in certain units that expose them to danger and harm (800 women have been wounded in the two wars and more than 130 have died), they are not allowed to serve in the artillery, armor, infantry, and other such combat roles. During President Bill Clinton's first term, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum on the "Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule." The memo defined "direct ground combat" as:

. . . engaging the enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force's personnel. [It] takes place well forward on the battlefield while locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire, maneuver, or shock effect.

Despite this rule, in February 2012 the Defense Department opened up 14,500 positions to women that had previously been limited to men and lifted a rule that prohibited women from living with combat units.

If women can meet the same physical requirements, shouldn't they be allowed to serve in combat jobs?

The DOD has lifted the requirement without any evidence that females in the military can meet the same physical requirements as their male counterparts. The military has only recently begun to perform evaluations to make the determination of whether women could qualify for combat jobs.

For instance, last year the Marine Corps admitted two women to take part in the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course, a course in which about 25 percent of men don't make the cut or voluntarily drop out. One of the woman volunteers washed out on the first day because she was unable to complete the program's introductory combat endurance test. The other woman was dropped from training a few days later due to unspecified medical reasons. The Marine Corps wants to test at least 90 more women in the course before making any decision about women serving in infantry roles, but so far those two women are the only one's to volunteer for the training.

The military is unlikely to find a sufficient number of qualified women because of the physiological differences between men and women. Comprehensive tests in 1987 and 1990 at Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island found that 45 percent of female Marines could not throw a live grenade safely beyond the 15 meter bursting radius. And as Mackubin Thomas Owens notes:

The average female soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine is about five inches shorter than her male counterpart and has half the upper body strength, lower aerobic capacity (at her physical peak between the ages of 20 and 30, the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male), and 37 percent less muscle mass. She has a lighter skeleton, which means that the physical strain on her body from carrying the heavy loads that are the lot of the infantryman may cause permanent damage.

In the Marine Corps Gazette, the professional journal of the Marine Corp, Captain Katie Petronio wrote an article titled, "Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal":

I understand that there are female servicemembers who have proven themselves to be physically, mentally, and morally capable of leading and executing combat-type operations; as a result, some of these Marines may feel qualified for the chance of taking on the role of [Infantry Officer]. 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?

As a young lieutenant, I fit the mold of a female who would have had a shot at completing [Infantry Officer Course], and I am sure there was a time in my life where I would have volunteered to be an infantryman. I was a star ice hockey player at Bowdoin College, a small elite college in Maine, with a major in government and law. At 5 feet 3 inches I was squatting 200 pounds and benching 145 pounds when I graduated in 2007. I completed Officer Candidates School (OCS) ranked 4 of 52 candidates, graduated 48 of 261 from [The Basic School], and finished second at [Military Occupational Speciality] school. I also repeatedly scored far above average in all female-based physical fitness tests (for example, earning a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test). Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry. 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.

Won't women be excluded if they can't meet the physical requirements for combat jobs?

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged on Thursday that commanders must justify why any woman might be excluded and, if women can't meet any unit's standard, the Pentagon will ask: "Does it really have to be that high?"

Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn't make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high? With the direct combat exclusion provision in place, we never had to have that conversation.

The decision to open combat jobs was not made because anyone in the military believed it was necessary to enhance military readiness. Rather, the rule change was a politically motivated decision to advance the abstract notion of "equality." Because of this most critics of the change fully expect the military will be forced to do what the U.S. military has always done to expand opportunities for women to serve: resort to gender-norming.

Gender norming is the practice of judging female military applicants, recruits, and servicemembers by less stringent standards than their male counterparts. This has been the standard procedure for most physical requirement in the military for the past several decades.

For example, men in the Marine Corps are required to do pull-ups for the semi-annual fitness test while women perform a flexed-arm hang, in which they hold themselves above a chin-up bar for 60 seconds. In 2014 a new change will require women to also do pull-ups, but gives them a higher score for the same pull-ups as their male counterparts.

To get a perfect score on the fitness test a young male Marine would need to perform 20 pull-ups, 100 abdominal crunches in 2-minutes, and run 3 miles in 18 minutes or less. For a young female to get a perfect score she only needs to perform 8 pull-ups, 100 abdominal crunches in 2-minutes, and run 3 miles in 21 minutes. A Marine who was only able to complete 3 pull-ups, 75 crunches, and 3 miles in 30 minutes would fail—if he were a male. The same score would be a passing score for a female Marine.

Other physical requirements are also less stringent. In recruit training, male Marines must complete a fifteen-mile march carrying a forty-pound pack and weapons in five hours, while women must march ten miles with twenty-five pounds and no weapons in three and a half hours. (Infantry officers carry an average of about 70 pounds of gear on their body in combat and can march for miles. That weight can nearly double when Marines are carrying crew-served weapons, such as mortars and heavy machine guns.)

"Two decades ago, the U.S. Military Academy identified 120 physical differences between men and women," says Owens, "not to mention psychological ones, that resulted in a less rigorous overall program of physical training at West Point in order to accommodate female cadets."

Don't women serve in combat already in other countries?

Women are allowed to serve in front-line combat positions in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, North Korea, Poland, Romania, and Sweden. However in most of these countries women make up a tiny percentage of actual combat forces. For example, while the French infantry is theoretically open to women, in practice they make up only 1.7 percent of combat troops. And in Israel, it is reported that the Israeli Defense Force often doesn't accept women for units for which they are eligible and evacuates women during combat situations.

None of these countries can be adequately compared to the United States or used as a model for gender integration. Despite having standing armies, most of those countries rely on the U.S. for their national security. Their military readiness is questionable and it is unlikely they could defend against a foreign threat without the aid of American forces.

Will women now be forced to sign up for the Selective Service and be eligible for military conscription (i.e., "the draft")?

Most likely. At a Pentagon press conference on Thursday Secretary Panetta admitted that females may soon be included in the Selective Service and qualify for a potential draft should one be ordered by the president. Panetta said he didn't know who ran the Selective Service, but whoever does will "have to exercise some judgment based on what we just did."

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said the new rule will affect "unsuspecting civilian women, who will face equal obligations to register for Selective Service when a future federal court rules in favor of litigation brought by the [American Civil Liberties Union] on behalf of men."

At least one Congressional representative, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), has proposed reinstating the draft for both men and women.

Why is this issue a concern for Christians?

Not all Christians will agree, of course, but complementarians and other gender-traditionalists will have serious reservations about the wisdom of allowing women in combat. Even some of those who hold an egalitarian view of ecclesiological issues may not think it is prudent for our sisters and daughters to join our sons and brothers on the front lines of the battlefield.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood issued a resolution in 1997 that outlines some of the concerns:

The moral justification for military combat service is the duty to protect vital national interests, of which the most vital and most essential is the welfare, security and good order of families; and so moral justification for combat service is derived from, and is thus essentially linked to, the divinely assigned role and responsibilities of self-sacrificial male headship of the family (Eph. 5:23-24); and

WHEREAS, Intentional rejection of the connection between male headship in the family and the male protective role that defines and justifies service as a soldier in military combat necessarily strikes at the complementary nature of male and female relationships established in the order of creation, and unavoidably undermines the order, structure, strength and stability of families within any society that determines to ignore, deny or erase this gender-based distinction; and

WHEREAS, The pattern established by God throughout the Bible is that men, not women, bear responsibility to serve in combat if war is necessary (Gen. 14:14; Num. 31:3,21,49; Deut. 20:5-9,13-14; Josh. 1:14-18; 6:3,7,9; 8:3; 10:7; 1 Sam. 16:18; 18:5; 2 Sam. 11:1; 17:8; 23:8-39; Ps. 45:3-5; Song of Sol. 3:7-8; Isa. 42:13)

Additionally, there are potential religious liberty and family concerns that Christians should be aware of and prepare to address. For instance, young mothers and women who are not pacifists but who object to serving in combat may not be able to receive exemptions from future military conscription. As Lydia McGrew explains:

We should understand this: It is not possible to make a claim to be exempted from registering for the draft on conscientious grounds. The law is quite clear that those (currently only men) who would apply for CO status should they be called up must nonetheless register. The issue of whether their request for exemption would be granted is thus deferred indefinitely, and they would simply have to be ready to mobilize their arguments for a conscientious exemption within a matter of ten days (!) if a draft should be called and their name should be chosen.

To bring this home a bit, consider the fact that in the current all-volunteer force women have been sent away from their small children. In some cases women have their young children with them overseas in government-run daycare. In Brian Mitchell's invaluable book he even describes one pilot who did her pilot runs in between breast-feeding an infant. So you, if you are the relevant age, or your daughters, or your wife, could be given the choice of taking a baby to a foreign country to be mostly cared for by the government or of leaving the baby behind without its mother. If the father were also unlucky enough to be called up, the children could be left in effect orphaned. My recollection is that we have had cases like this, with both parents sent abroad leaving the children behind, in the all-volunteer force.

Women who object to serving in the military for gender-traditionalist reasons would also therefore have to make it clear that they object to "alternative service" that, if they had children, would require them to leave their children. This, too, arises from the unique nature of the objection--an objection not to war but to feminism.

Other Posts in this Series:

The Fiscal Cliff

The Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare

Southern Baptists, Calvinism, and God's Plan of Salvation

Are Mormons Christian?

The Contraceptive-Abortifacient Mandate

Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator. You can follow him on Twitter.

  • akash

    the fact that females have lower requirements shows that all these egalitarian/equality focused people are actually more bent on reducing the number of men who can pass and increasing the number of women

    Men and women should have the same standards otherwise it is unfair on male soldiers-and this will lead to bad moral and also weaken the military

  • akash

    why should women get a higher score?? - so much for equality-using their arguments it can be justified to pay men more than women-in the name of equality!!!

  • akash
    • Joe Carter

      Thanks, akash. I updated the article to include that link and the quote by Gen. Dempsey.

      • akash

        it is sad

        and when they lower the standards the military will become much much weaker-how is this good for the country??

  • Nick F.

    Is there any chance we'll ever see any alternative positions on this issue from TGC? To me, citing that "300 men went into battle" from the OT is hardly a strong biblical prohibition of women in combat. Maybe you don't even have to come out in favor of it, but if TGC and the CBMW are going to go to the mattresses over this issue, surely there's better scriptural analysis than what we're getting?

    • akash

      regardless of your opinion of what the bible says-why should women have lower standards??\it is unfair on men-that is also one of the big questions

    • Joe Carter

      ***Is there any chance we'll ever see any alternative positions on this issue from TGC?***

      What's the alternative position? That some people believe faux gender equality should trump military readiness? I honestly haven't seen a argument for women in combat that wasn't based on the idea that "equality" (which isn't at all equal) is more important than ensuring our military is prepared for combat.

      ***To me, citing that "300 men went into battle" from the OT is hardly a strong biblical prohibition of women in combat. ***

      I agree it isn't a strong argument. But part of the problem with trying to apply scriptural arguments to 21st century concerns is that we often come up with issues that are so absurd the authors of the Bible could have never conceived of them. This issue is a prime example. The idea that a country of able-bodied men would allow large numbers of women to go and fight on their behalf would have been so ridiculous to the the Hebrews that it would not be worth mentioning. Even their pagan neighbors were not as debased and cowardly as that.

      So it is admittedly difficult to point to a biblical prohibition of an action that they would not believe anyone would ever do.

      • Nick F.

        And yet, there you have Deborah, kicking butt right smack dab in the middle of Judges. It certainly seems like some kind of intelligent discussion is warranted. I for one get a little nervous when I start making rules that can't be supported from scripture, and that's really all I'm asking for here.

        And for the record, wouldn't lower the standards one iota. But the level of standards and whether women serve at all are two entirely separate issues, regardless of what the politicians might have you believe.

        In general, I think the biblical support for this argument is at odds with the emphasis it's receiving on the Christian blogs right now. But I am open to reading a deeper analysis than the proof texts cited by TCBW.

        • Andrew

          There is no evidence that Deborah actually fought in the battle. Going with them doesn't mean she fought. She also rebuked Barak for his unwillingness to go without her. And who did she tell him to take? Here's the passage:

          6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; 7 and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?”

          8 And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”

          9 So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command,[a] and Deborah went up with him.

          11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.

          12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.

          14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.

          As you can see, all men with Barak. Deborah takes no action, other than telling Barak to go and fight.

      • http://chrisblackstone.com Chris Blackstone

        Nick

        Note that Deborah was leading (judging) during a time where "the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord" (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+4&version=NIV). We probably shouldn't take governing and leadership lessons from a group that the Bible identified as doing evil.

        Also, Deborah "lead" only because Barak was so weak. Judges 4:8 "Barak said to her, 'If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.'"

        • Christian Lawyer

          Chris,

          The people were doing evil in the sight of God during the reign of *all* the judges, not just Deborah. See Judges 2:18-19 "18 When the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways." Over and over again, the people rejected God and God would let them suffer for awhile and then send a judge to deliver them. Under your logic, we'd have to throw the whole book out.

          In fact, the very next chapter is an ode to Deborah's leadership and a chastening of those who did not heed her commands in the name of the God. Deborah was already leading before Barak showed his weakness. She originally (4:7) had a 2-part plan where she would lure Sisera to the river and then Barak was to take Sisera there by surprise, but Barak refused to do his part. That's the whole point of the rebuke she gives to him about him not receiving the victor's glory, which instead would be given to the women. It's his refusal to follow her lead, and the refusal of others identified in Ch. 5 to help God that is the problem. Chapter 5 praises those who volunteered to help God and 5:15 says that "And the [my] princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
          As was Issachar, so was Barak..." They weren't "with" Barak. They were "with" Deborah.

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  • Henry

    Although I agree with Mr Carter about the absurdity of the question, here is a PCA report into the scriptural basis why women should not be in the militiary:

    http://baylyblog.com/blog/2013/01/president-obama-and-secretary-defense-panetta-place-women-combat

    • Nick F.

      Thanks for posting this. I'll take a look and think about it.

    • JohnM

      PCA folks aren't exactly cut-to-the-chase types, huh? When all is said, and said some more...they're agin - am I right? :)

      • akash

        not so sure!!1- have you seen how many young children these people have-soon they will become the largest denomination if they kept reproducing like that

  • EMSoliDeoGloria

    For me, the issue is the lowering of military standards to accommodate women at the expense of readiness and national defense.

    I have no problem with women serving in the military. Women are as mentally - and, can be as psychologically capable - as men.

    Very few women, however, are as physically capable. The men who serve in combat positions in our armed forces must be physically extraordinary among their peers. It is the rare woman who can match them. If she can, more power to her; let her serve. But I fear the lowering of standards to bring in less capable women (and likely less capable men as well) does not bode well for military readiness.

    • Henry

      EMSoliDeoGloria,

      An important point I think you miss is the detrimental effect it will have on the male units. From this article:

      https://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/no-better-critics_698023.html

      The few [gender] integrated units in the IDF suffered three times the casualties of the all-male units because the Israeli men, just like almost every other group of men on the planet, try to protect the women even at the expense of the mission.

      The more important point that nobody seems to mention much is that it is a great shame upon American men who are willing to send their wives and daughters and mothers to engage in man-on-man combat against villainous men on their behalf. How can anyone honestly not see the shamefulness in that? What kind of country is it that sends the fairer sex into battle to fight on behalf of the many able men who are quite capable of doing the job (and doing it better)?

      It continues the masculinisation of women and the feminisation of men that western society has been busily advancing in the last 100 years. Have you ever observed the personality of the 'army girl'? - her femininity left in tatters as she has worked hard to live down any trace of it in order to attain to the 'manliness' required of the army?

      Do we really believe God does not care at all about the renunciation of the distinctly masculine and the distinctly feminine that we are engaged in?

      That a person can believe that a woman can serve in the army and yet not be an elder in the church (!) reveals the utter shallowness of our understanding of male and female. We follow arbitrary rules which have no principles to undergird them.

  • Robert

    This isn't nearly the issue that the CBMW and other very conservative evangelical leaders have made it out to be. In fact, I would say that most of the argumentation presented above and in their arguments outside this piece are poorly reasoned and inaccurately informed. You all are on the wrong side of this.

    My position has always been if women can meet the standards and tests of service for combat they should be allowed and able to serve. Truthfully, many have been serving on the frontline (regardless of what this piece purports) for years now. The essential issue here isn't so much a change in combat role as it is a change in recognition of role. This rule change will allow more women to ascend the ranks of enlisted officers more easily. There won't likely be a massive run of new female recruits to enlist for infantry, spec ops, or other frontline positions.

    Perhaps the most dubious issue in the poorly argued positions above is the failure to recognize that combat has dramatically changed in the past thirty years. Where the US fights it is done not in deployments like Vietnam, Korea, or WW2. Instead troops go and fight guerrilla style combat operations which are entirely different than the picture being presented by these caricatures.

    I would encourage all my evangelical brothers and sisters to read up on the actuality of what is going on instead of defaulting to positions that are poorly informed.

    • Henry

      Robert,

      What biblical argument would you give to justify your position? Have you read the PCA report linked to above?

    • Joe Carter

      Robert,

      You seem to be rather ill-informed about the issue. Anyone who argues that "war is different nowadays" really needs to read up on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea that there is not "front line" is completely untrue. (I'd recommend the documentary "Restrepo" to see what the "front line" looks like in Afghanistan.)

      • Melody

        Better yet, they need to go themselves and quit arm chairing it.

      • Christian Lawyer

        Joe, you may want to read Tom Ricks' analysis. You may be right that that is what the military *is* doing, but, as Ricks says, "[w]hat the hell were they doing there in the first place?" He argues in his new Atlantic piece that the generals are incompetent for continuing to prosecute the war like that. "http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/18/best_defense_movie_night_restrepo_a_one_year_afghan_tour_in_90_minutes

  • http://www.larryfarlow.com Larry

    "Even some of those who hold an egalitarian view of ecclesiological issues may not think it is prudent for our sisters and daughters to join our sons and brothers on the front lines of the battlefield." - On what basis??

    • http://thegospelcoalition.org Collin Hansen

      Physical differences, perhaps?

      • http://www.larryfarlow.com Larry

        Perhaps but is it not men and women being created differently (physically and otherwise)that is the basis for different roles in the church and family? If egalitarians reject that under those circumstances, why would they embrace it in this instance? That would seem a tad hypocritical to me.

        • http://thegospelcoalition.org Collin Hansen

          Created differently? Yes. But I don't know that Scripture specifies physical differences such as stamina or strength as the reasons men lead in the church and home.

    • Joe Carter

      As Collin mentioned, I think they'd make the case based on physical differences between men and women. I'm not an egalitarian so I'm not sure how they'd argue the point, but I suspect they'd say that God could equip a women to serve in the pulpit of a church without equipping her to serve on the frontline of a battlefield.

      • http://www.larryfarlow.com Larry

        Probably so. But all the egalitarian arguments I hear, at least in part, hinge on ability - women have the same ability as men to preach, so why can't they? So, if there is a woman or women who have the same ability to fight on the front lines as men, it would be difficult for an egalitarian to justify why they shouldn't it seems to me.

        • akash

          yes

  • akash
  • Christian Lawyer

    **Haven't women already been serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan? Technically, no.**

    You're playing word games. First you use the general term "serving in combat" and then you quote the very specific definition of "direct ground combat," which is only one kind of combat, to try to prove that, "technically," women haven't really "served in combat." In fact, the Pentagon approved the Combat Action Badge some years into the Iraq War in recognition of the changing nature of combat and "to provide special recognition to Soldiers who personally engaged, or are engaged by the enemy." It's for non-infantry soldiers serving in an area where in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, but it requires that the recipient "must be personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement." But, it's *not* intended to be awarded to "all Soldiers who serve in a combat zone or imminent danger area." See p.102 of this: http://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/pdf/r600_8_22.pdf

    Wikipedia says over 100,000 such badges have been awarded. It's not just for women, but newly-elected US Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) received this badge for her service as a helicopter pilot in Iraq, where she lost 2 legs and the partial use of one arm.

    ** If women can meet the same physical requirements, shouldn't they be allowed to serve in combat jobs?**

    I don't think testing from 1987 and 1990, a generation ago, is relevant to today. With the advent of Title IX and the increasing participation of women in sports, women's physical capabilities are increasing. Yes, most women are still not as strong as men, but it doesn't mean that none are.

    **Won't women be excluded if they can't meet the physical requirements for combat jobs?**

    Yes. All that has happened is that the burden of proof has shifted from the women seeking entry into the combat units and is now on the commanders to demonstrate why it would be harmful to allow the women in. In the law, this is called a "rebuttable presumption." "Rebuttable" means that the presumption doesn't always prevail. Women will almost certainly *not* end up being eligible to be in *every* last specialty. This new policy gives each branch and command time to work out the requirements.

    It also requires commanders to justify the standards they are using. When the military was all male, the military tested what men were good at. But, there are things that women are good at, such as agility, that the tests don't seem to measure or value in the same way. Push-ups may be what men are better at, but no one does push-ups in an actual battle. There are good reasons that neither ninja warriors nor the Sherpa guides are built like linebackers.

    It may be that battle gear is designed for how a man can best carry a heavy load and just like body armor had to (finally) be redesigned to fit a woman's body so that there weren't gaps where bullets could get through, some battle gear packs may need to be redesigned. Look up the pictures of those African women who can carry *more than half their body weight* in a basket *on their heads* for miles over difficult terrain. I'm not suggesting military women do that, but ergonomics is a wonderful thing, and as more women go into combat there will be more solutions.

    This policy was approved unanimously by the Joint Chiefs, without the sort of backdoor leaks to the press in the lead-up to the announcement one sees when there is grumbling about a new policy. It is surprisingly disrespectful to assume our senior military officers, all of whom came up through promotions during the Bush Administration to have gotten to senior command now, are so unconcerned with or unqualified to judge issues of combat readiness that they will sacrifice military readiness to the PC gods. You'd have to believe that the top Pentagon brass are a bunch of radical feminists!

    • akash

      so you are justifying lower standards for women

      cause men can meet the standards women have easier than their own standards- so it is not really playing to women strengths-otherwise it would be harder for men.

      why should women have lower standards and get the same ranks/promotions as men

      • Christian Lawyer

        No, I advocate having standards that have some actual bearing on war-fighting capability, rather than having standards that reflect random things that men do well. If they measured agility, stealth, other things that are key to urban warfare, men built like linebackers might not make the grade regardless of how many push-ups and pull-ups they can do.

        • akash

          except the whole point of their training is that they do what they do.

          I am all for changing the standards-even if it means fewer push ups- but these standards should be allowed for men as well-and it will result in more men qualifying

          • Christian Lawyer

            Go back and read what Gen. Dempsey said. I think he means that the one, single standard for everyone will be changed to make sure that it actually relates to what is necessary for combat soldiers to do.

            Your comments about women getting the same promotions as men is just fantasy. So is the claim that men are being discouraged from joining the military.

            • AKash Charles

              It is not

              pls read how the military ensures it is equal-they measure it by effort thus a woman gets more points for doing less

              and a man who can do more than that women but less then what the standard for men is is kicked out-the military is thus putting weaker people in place to fit some weird equality measure and men more qualified than women are passed over-that is a fact
              and frankly if I was in a job and it was easier for a woman to get promoted( because of some vague strength that women have-which I can do as well)with a lower performance level-I can sue for discrimination!!

    • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

      "You'd have to believe that the top Pentagon brass are a bunch of radical feminists!"

      No, but we can believe they are incompetent, as does this writer: "...a private who loses his rifle is now punished more than a general who loses his part of a war. In the wars of the past decade, hundreds of Army generals were deployed to the field, and the available evidence indicates that not one was relieved by the military brass for combat ineffectiveness. This change is arguably one of the most significant developments in our recent military history."
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/11/general-failure/309148/

      They are not risking anything with these changes, and will never be relieved of their duties as a result of them. So why should they worry?

      • Christian Lawyer

        Tom Ricks doesn't say they are all incompetent. He says the incompetent ones are those who have failed to understand and react to the way war has changed. Read the part about Gen. George Casey's efforts to make changes.

        Joe Carter claims "[a]nyone who argues that "war is different nowadays" really needs to read up on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea that there is not "front line" is completely untrue." Joe may be right that that's how the military is/was *actually* fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Tom Ricks' point is that the generals who see war like Joe does are the problem.

        Ricks argues that "[b]izarrely, the tactical excellence of enlisted soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan may have enabled and amplified the strategic incompetence of the generals in those wars, allowing long-running problems in the military’s leadership culture to reach their full expression. The Army’s combat effectiveness let its generals dither for much longer than they could have if the Army had been suffering clear tactical setbacks." So, all those enlisted women earning Combat Action Badges weren't the problem at all.

        Here's Ricks on the new policy. http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/01/25/how_the_debate_on_gays_may_have_opened_the_door_for_women_in_the_military#commentspace

    • Candice

      Christian,

      A few things:

      1) I encourage you to read what this female, combat experienced officer in the USMC has to say. She makes several great points that I haven't heard from other opponents that really cause one to re-think full integration.

      2) What military experience do you have? If you have any, then you well know that the PFT (physical fitness test) is the bare minimum testing standard. Let me explain. Just because a person can max the PFT (it includes a run, push-ups, and sit-ups) doesn't mean that person will excel at combat useful exercises. It especially doesn't mean that the person will excel at the physical demands of light infantry units whose whole purpose is to carry everything they need to do battle. That's the difference between mechanized infantry and light infantry. There are many examples of both men and women who are studs when it comes to the PFT, but can't keep pace when carrying an 80 pound ruck sack for fifteen miles. Most male only schools (like Ranger School) in the Army do a PFT the first day as a very standard way to weed out the least physically able to compete in the school followed by several other more intense events (like a ruck march) to test capability. All if this to say that there are many other factors that determine physical capabilities other than just push-ups that you say are skewed in favor of males.

      3) Women can achieve the same PFT score for less. Women ruck with less weight at a slower pace. Adjustments have been made. Also, depending on your job (infantry, signal, medical, etc) there are different physical expectations. For example, a light infantry officer with the 173rd is expected to be able to regularly max out the PFT. His credibility as a leader hinges partly on his ability to keep up with and lead a very high-speed group of soldiers. A doctor in the Army, in contrast, doesn't feel the pressure to max out the PFT as much. Why? Because his job is less dependent on his strength and speed.

      4) No, in combat you don't do push-ups. You do pull yourself up with your pack, armor and weapon over walls and ditches. You do carry wounded soldiers and their pack, armor and weapon out of harms way. Your ability to do that time and time again, and quickly, determines life or death for you and the person you are assisting. Upper body strength is critical. While push-ups in the PFT does measure a strength men will naturally be able to perform better, it's a strength that is necessary for the job.

      5) Why is it necessary to have soldiers carry so much weight for long distances when we have planes and vehicles, etc to do that and our wars are urban in nature and such loads aren't necessary?. One, the enemy isn't always accessible by aircraft or vehicle. Ask the troops who have served in the mountains of Afghanistan. Two, sometimes the troops have missions that take them away from their forward operating base where all the supplies are for several days. In those cases, they must carry everything. Three days worth of water and the ammo for one soldier alone is a lot of weight not to mention his weapon, armor, MREs, etc in his pack. Three, its naive to think that every war or conflict in which the US is engaged will be like these if the past two decades. To get rid of the ability of certai units to make long range combat maneuvers through areas only accessible by foot is naive and dangerous.

      6) So all I have said doesn't matter if the standards are maintained, right? No. The link to the article explains why not. She also explains how this is more of a political move than it is a practical move. It's true that combat leadership is more prestigious and therefore can lead to more prestigious leadership appointments. It's also true that combat is physical, and therefore physical ability and excellence plays a central part in success. Putting the best qualified people in places of leadership, especially when lives are on the line, should be more important than making sure the opportunity exists for people less qualified. And there is nothing wrong with that.

      7) Last one! I'm not judging the intentions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but Christian, come linger in the military community for a little while and you will quickly realize that many not so prominent senior leadership has sold out to the god of promotion and prestige (who is the cousin of the god of political correctness) at the expense of what's best for the soldiers they lead. It's a problem all too often seen. I don't know if these guys have been in DC too long and they've forgotten their experiences as young company grade officers, or if the people pushing for this are right in their ear, but I think it's disrespectful and tragic that these leaders pay little attention the voices of those they lead- the voices of those who will deal with the consequences of their decisions and who actually fight the fights and dig the trenches and train for war. The overwhelming majority of services members, especially those in combat arms, do NOT think the full integration of women into these roles is beneficial. Yes, some of their reasoning is pig-headed and sexists, but some of it is with noting very seriously.

      • Candice
      • Christian Lawyer

        Candice -

        Yes, I've read the Marine Gazette article. It was already linked at the beginning of this TGC post, and in every other conservative article on the subject. I respect that woman's experience, but there are other articles from other experienced female soldiers with similar backgrounds who take a different position on the new policy. There's a good one posted on Tom Ricks' blog.

        Even within an all-male combat unit, there are men with differing strengths and weaknesses, and a good leader will assign the work to take advantage of the strengths. If that means the former high school linebacker carries a little more weight and the fast little guy travels light and takes point, that's just a smart use of resources. If there's almost no place to take cover, the little guy might make the smallest target and have the best chance of offering covering fire so another soldier can make an advance. It generally works itself out among the men, so I'm not sure why you would think it wouldn't for the women, assuming they met the qualifications to gain entry to the unit in the first place.

        I used push-ups as just one example of tests that may not relate to actual battlefield requirements. As I understand what Gen. Dempsey is saying is that they are going to look at *all* of the various standards to determine whether they actually test for useful things and come up with one, single standard for both men and women. If women can't meet the standards, then fine, but there's no point in barring them from trying.

        You claim that "[t]he overwhelming majority of services members, especially those in combat arms, do NOT think the full integration of women into these roles is beneficial." How do you know this? Can you point me to a poll or some other evidence to back this up? Even if you could, the military is not a democracy and the troops didn't want blacks or gays either, but they've mostly gotten over that.

        Last, if you don't trust the judgment of the Joint Chiefs, why are you putting your life (or the life of your loved one) in their hands? They are certainly not perfect, but just because one women thinks they have sold their souls doesn't make it true. Again, read the Ricks piece at the Atlantic. He's one of the best military historian/analysts around and his conclusion is that the problem with the generals is that they are not adapting to modern warfare fast enough, not that they are overly eager to make changes.

        • Candice

          Christian,

          - I didn't say I don't trust their experience. But I certainly don't think that EVERY decision they make is in the best interest of the men and women on the ground. And I also don't believe that EVERY decision they make they do so objectively and free from political pressure.

          -You absolutely cannot equate the black and gay integration with this. Don't even make me explain why that argument is extremely weak. Seriously. I'm so sick of emotional arguments like that. Allowing gays to openly serve is still a very, very touchy subject It is overwhelming evident that you are very far removed from this situation.

          -I can reference polls which back up that claim if I wished to spend more time engaging you. Since 1) I am not interested in changing your mind and 2) I am busy preparing for a move to Fort Bragg, I will not do so. But I invite you to come spend some time with my husband and his vast array of combat experience soldier friends, men and women alike, from all aspects of the Army to include, infantry, artillery, Rangers, Special Forces, etc. who overwhelming appreciate the role of women in the service but recognize the limitations they have for certain jobs based on nothing else but physiology.

          -Haha! I read what you wrote to my husband, a captain in the Army and future company commander. And by the way, he's 5'5", 160 lbs and smaller than the majority of his peers. He is required to carry the same exact weight for the same exact distance and have the same physical capabilities as the 6'2", 200 lb guy if he wants to do and succeed in THAT particular job (infantry). This isn't a football team we're talking about, this is war. What good does it do the soldier who can't carry his/her share of water and ammunition when he gets separated from his unit and must meet at the rendezvous point three days later?

          -Regardless if women can meet the physical standard, like my article mentions, the physical toll on a female body is astoundingly different than on males.

          -When my husband went through Ranger School, he was required to shave his head for hygiene. It also provided a sense of uniformity with the other students. Should women be required to do the same? Those guys were out in the field for days without showers, changes of clothes, etc. They went out in the woods to dig a hole to poop in, and then had to get creative about toilet paper. He came home 20 pounds lighter. When units with women included do field exercises, the unit must provide them with showers, portable toilets, and toiletries. Why? Because we women have different hygiene needs then men, and it's not preferential. If a women doesn't keep herself clean, she can get some serious bacterial infections. If we lose too much weight, our menstrual cycle is adversely effected. It's silly to think that just because this war hasn't been like WWII or Vietnam, that future ones won't be.

          I've gone on too long already. I will tell you, though, that I place more value on the opinions and policy ideas (even differing ones) of the people who live and work and train in the military than I do

          • Candice

            Got cut off!... Than I do outside analysts and professors and supposed great thinkers.

        • Candice

          Oh, and this WOMAN doesn't think the Joint Chiefs "sold their souls"... I believe I clarified my stance on that above and I don't appreciate you putting words in my mouth. I have the utmost respect for our leaders, but that doesn't mean I can not criticize their decisions.

          And further, my husband didn't join the Army and deploy twice because he thinks the Army is a swell job. And those guys certainly had very little to do with his mission readiness. We can attribute his safe return home both times to the fine training provided to him by experienced NCO' s and the guidance and leadership of his company commanders and battalion commanders. He serves because he loves his country regardless of its leadership.

  • Christian Lawyer

    **Will women now be forced to sign up for the Selective Service and be eligible for military conscription (i.e., "the draft")?**

    Under current law, no. The Selective Service Act only refers to men. The new policy is voluntary for women the SS registration is to gather combat-ready troops, it would make absolutely no sense to require *all* young women to register, and to have the SS Board have to gear up its bureaucracy, just to review and weed out almost all women to get the very few who would qualify for combat duty. Congress would have a very rational reason to continue to exclude women and the Court gives great deference to Congress and the Executive on national security.

    **For instance, young mothers and women who are not pacifists but who object to serving in combat may not be able to receive exemptions from future military conscription.**

    Lydia McGrew is talking about not being able to object to "registration." You used that as support for the claim that women might not be able to receive exemption from "conscription." That's a big leap. I don't see a basis for women refusing to register, if that ever became required. And, there doesn't seem to be any rational basis to believe women objectors would have any more difficulty establishing their case than men.

    Take a deep breath. The sky is *not* falling. Even if women had to register, it would still take an new act of Congress, probably with a veto-proof majority, to reinstate actual conscription because the statute permitting conscription was repealed in 1975. The military doesn't want a new draft. Neither does Congress, the President, or the public. We've fought two wars for over a decade in two different places without one. Neither a registration requirement or actual conscription is going to sneak up on anyone anytime soon.

    Rep. Rangel and others who have called for a new draft are trying to make the point that the poor and minorities are bearing a disproportionate share of the military burden and large swaths of the country exist where folks have little personal connection to the war effort.

  • JohnM

    Really, much to do about...well, more than nothing, but maybe not all that much in the end. I say that because:

    1. This latest development represents no leap of illogic, just the current point on a road of irrationality we've beent traveling so long we've lost track of when we started. So long many of you presently objecting might not want to go back to where we started even if you knew where it was. So let's don't act so shocked.

    2. Comments in reference to what women have in fact been doing make something of a point. Not as much of a point as the commenters might think, but a point. With apology to those of you who may have been in actual combat, it's true that nothing we have been doing recently is quite a Guadalcanal or a Chosin Reservoir. Otherwise, I doubt we'd be having this conversation.

    3. Speaking of what we have been doing recently...Hardly as if the Republic is going to stand or fall on it's success or lack thereof. Might fall on the price tag, mind you, but not on any lack of military success. But what made you think it was meant to last forever anyway?

    4. As I've pointed out elsewhere, it's an all volunteer military at present. Those who don't like where we've ended up, and seem to be going, simply don't have to be part of it.

    Now the possibility has been mentioned that young women might have to register with the Selective Service. That would only make sense. Which is why it might not happen I suppose. Never underestimate the progressivist capacity for hypocrisy. But I sincerely hope it does happen. One of two things might result:
    Either the country sleepily rolls with it, in which case we'd at least be cutting a somewhat fairer deal with young men, OR there would be a resulting backlash and rethinking that conservatives could only welcome. Am I engaging in wishfull thinking?

    • akash

      all of these rulings however make it unfair for young men

      no surprises though-our culture is trying to eliminate any male characteristics from men as much as possible(discouraged form army as women promoted easier and have quotas)

      I guess they will not be satisfied until all men leave

  • Ian Thompson

    I heard one current armed forces member say "I joined up knowing that I couldn't serve in a combat role, that's one of the reasons I joined" - will this change of policy mean that this person will have to serve in a combat role even though that was not pert of her terms of enrollment?

  • Paul

    If the Federal government attempts to force my wife (and potential daughters) to register for the Selective Service, Ephesians 5:25 will be actualized and I will die protecting my bride. I will not be alone.

  • http://www.dennyburk.com Denny Burk

    That quote from Leon Panetta is reprehensible. Had he never thought about the implications for the draft?

    • Christian Lawyer

      There is no draft, and the military does not want one. What's reprehensible is the Chicken Little clucking.

      • Market Garden

        There is no draft, and the military does not want one.

        Not now, at least. The question is the future, and in the inevitable power struggle that will result as the West wanes, do we want our daughters conscripted to fight more useless wars? I certainly don't.

        Once this door is open, there's no going back.

      • Melody

        Christian Lawyer

        You know that you are extremely condescending with your sky falling comments? It makes it very hard to take anything you say seriously or credibly. I would think that you post because you have something to say and not because you want to be dismissed.

        • Christian Lawyer

          Melody - Although I posted my comment before I read Tom Ricks' post, he had pretty much the same comment about Chicken Little, and yet you seem to be reading him.

          "The same arguments that were made against integration of blacks in the 1940s and of gays over the last 10 years were made against allowing women to openly serve in combat roles. But, despite those Chicken Littles and Henny Pennies, the sky didn't fall. And the failure of those dire predictions of destroyed unit cohesion to pan out undercut the argument against women in combat."
          http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/01/25/how_the_debate_on_gays_may_have_opened_the_door_for_women_in_the_military

          • AKash Charles

            yeah except gays/African Americans and women are different-you have eyes please use them!!

            also the sky fell in Israel-they tried it in actual combat and failed
            maybe America needs to learn

            btw I do not think I would be against this if women met the same qualifications as men-problem is they never do and never have and are promoted by diversity metrics (quota)

          • Melody

            I didn't read his post so it makes no difference. If I played favorites it was in reading yours and not his. I have seen you say something similar in regards to the Louie situation. As if everyone is being silly for caring about the subject.

            And someone else did it first is justification?

            • Christian Lawyer

              Melody - The "Chicken Little" reference isn't calling someone silly to care about a subject. It's a reference to being overly dramatic about perceived impending doom. "The sky is falling!" On his blog, Denny Burk referred to women in combat as "the undoing of civilization." I think that's the epitome of a "Chicken Little."

              My point about Ricks making the Chicken Little comment was not that he made it first, but that he's the military history expert, so he's in a good position to call out a pattern of nonsense when he sees it. I *do* think it's important to care/talk about women in combat and how that policy is implemented. But, much of the talkis just fear-mongering.

              On Giglio, as a lawyer, I think it's *critical* to talk about, and more importantly, to understand, religious liberty. My point was that being disinvited to pray at an inauguration doesn't have anything to do with religious liberty. If Westboro Baptist still has the right to do and say all the despicable things it does, then Christians should not worry so much about every perceived slight. We still have all our rights and, as always with matters of persuasion, it's better to exercise our rights in the public square than to weep and wail from the sidelines.

            • Melody

              I do not need the Chicken Little reference explained to me. My point stands.

  • J. Srnec

    "Despite having standing armies, most of those countries rely on the U.S. for their national security. Their military readiness is questionable and it is unlikely they could defend against a foreign threat without the aid of American forces."

    This is an unnecessary slur. Considering the wealth and population of the USA, is it any wonder its army is the one of the few on Earth capable of defending against just about any possible foreign threat? If America were the aggressor, what could Estonia possibly have done in adequate preparation? Nevertheless, America's military readiness for fighting a guerrilla war in central Asia was, unsurprisingly, low.

    • Melody

      God decides who will win a war not who has the greatest force. The 6 day war immediately comes to mind of current history. I wonder what will be the result of us putting women in a situation that men should be protecting them from. I wonder how many really care what He thinks in this area. I know our government never even considers it.

      • AKash Charles

        yeah I find it interesting that all the countries that have women in combat need America's help

        also the last 2 wars had women basically on the front lines and America has not won but rather has grown the Taliban

        anyways Melody is right-you do not have to have the greatest force to win as the Taliban proved to us.
        Also how does America know it is the greatest force??-they really do not have much insight into what other countries are doing do they-Americans lost in Vietnam too (were they not the greatest force then)

        • Melody

          @AKash

          My father went to Vietnam twice. I was raised being told that we lost that one because the politicians were too involved and so it was never the intent to win. Wasting so many young lives without thought or conscious.

          I have never questioned what I was told until you quoted me. Bizarre when we are confronted with inconsistencies within our own belief system. I'm going to have to digest that one for awhile before I'm okay.

    • Joe Carter

      The point is not to denigrate those nations, but to point out that the reason they are able to use their militaries for social experiments is because they are not solely responsible for their own defense. If they were they would likely be more conscious about implementing policies that lower readiness (or then again, they may not since the U.S. doesn't seem to be too concerned about that).

  • Melody

    It is really sad how little most men are able to apply scripture to the real life that we live in. That is the undoing of civilization. That and they don't care. My daughters and granddaughters were not created to defend some wimpy men in suits. Lot offered up his daughters to defend someone. Not himself, his daughters......

    • Christian Lawyer

      And yet God spared Lot and zapped his wife into a pillar of salt. I do not think that story means what you think it means.

      • Melody

        Lot was called righteous because of his faith in God and not because he made wise choices. He made stupid worldly choices. His worldly choices had impact on his family for generations. Yes he was still saved but it was as man escaping thru flames. He did not lead his wife or daughters in faith. He lead them to look at things in a secular way. He failed them so badly that his wife looked back to a home so bad morally that God was distroying it with fire.

        There are many lessons from that story to apply to Your life.

        • Christian Lawyer

          Allowing women to voluntarily train and deploy in combat is a completely different thing than trying to force your defenseless virgin daughters out the door to be gang-raped by the assembled mob. One honors and respects women as adults with God-given talents and well-trained skills. The other is aiding and abetting a gang rape and treats women and girls as property. Other than that, though, the story of Lot and his daughters makes a fine analogy.

          I'll agree that even those with great faith in God can make stupid worldly choices but we'll just have to disagree on which people of faith are making the stupid choices in this debate.

          I follow the advice of King Lemuel's mother in Proverbs 31, which says (1) to honor women who can run a business, buy and sell property, trade in the marketplace with men, provide for her household, whose children call her "blessed," and who "girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong," and (2) to "give her the works of her hands." In other words, respect her as an adult with God-given talents. It's the Chicken Littles who treat women like children to be sheltered from the big bad world who are not honoring either God or women.

          • Akash Charles

            It would make more sense to follow the verses that call husbands to behave how Jesus does with relation to the church
            and Jesus is the defender of the church

            or how husbands should treat wives as the weaker vessel

            also the Proverbs 31 woman is doing everything tied to her home-she is not off at war and neither is she involved among the leadership like her husband his

          • Melody

            So what you are saying is that if they voluntarily go out in sacrifice then you aren't a lousy father?

            • Christian Lawyer

              Melody, your conclusions are based upon false premises. It's time to check your antiquated (and false) assumptions at the door.

            • Melody

              The proverbs 31 woman is also a rich woman with a wise husband that isn't letting his wife and daughters go out and do his work for him.
              Strong women are not afraid to stand up to men that try to tell them they are supposed to act like something that they are not. A strong woman rocks the cradle and leads her children to love God and say no to silly secular progressive thinking.

              Men that hide behind feminism really need to man up. My strength comes from God, not from trying to act like a man.

              I'm done with this debate. It has digressed far enough.

            • Akash Charles

              oh

              that is exactly what feminism is about is it not?? trying to become like men rather than focusing on God

            • Christian Lawyer

              Ah Melody, you're entitled to your own conclusions, but not to your own facts. Your name-calling, based entirely on false premises, gave me a good chuckle.

              Gotta love the fact that it's OK for you to stand up against men you disagree with, but you would deny that right to other women.

            • Akash

              no one here said women cannot stand up to men-if anything the problem in our society is that men cannot stand up to women!!

              just because Melody was able to point out the inaccuracy of your arguments in relation to the bible - you do not need to resort to making false claims!!-it is quite hilarious actually and points out why you are wrong.

            • Christian Lawyer

              Akash --

              You and Melody don't have any idea which underlying facts about *me personally* you've gotten wrong and you're both too busy playing the victim to try to understand why your incorrect assumptions cause your attempted insults to crash and burn.

              Regarding my interpretation of Proverbs 31, I'm always amused when the "literal" crowd works so hard to ignore the words that are right in front of them.

            • Akash

              Thanks!!

              also I do not ignore-you seem to especially the ones about making food for the family and clothes for her children-characteristics that women of those days used to look up to as well.

  • Pingback: SiftingPoint | Homosexual Boy Scouts and Women in Combat

  • Andrew

    Just an aside to draw some fire.
    You really need to substantiate a comment such as "Despite having standing armies, most of those countries rely on the U.S. for their national security. Their military readiness is questionable and it is unlikely they could defend against a foreign threat without the aid of American forces."
    Even more, you need to establish how this contributes to the argument about why these nations are not comparable to the US in terms of combat mobilisation of women. Surely only one test case is necessary rather than a wholesale comparison of combat readiness or national security. This generalisation adds nothing to the argument.
    What are the real experiences of nations that actually deploy women?

  • sean carlson

    I wonder if Christians aren't over-reacting. As a nation we're obsessed with egalitarianism & it will probably only continue. Most women will not meet the standard (physical or otherwise) for front-line combat. Of those who do, many will wash out once in combat. Only a few will actually be able to endure the rigors of combat. This is also true of some men, but I suspect the number of women will be higher

    • Akash

      your right about it continuing!

      but wrong about the number of women

      the military has diversity metrics(quotas) as well as lower standards if women cannot reach the mark

  • jason cunningham

    you can tell the church is in a weakened condition when this is even a topic for discussion. what kind of Christian wonders if its a good thing to send wives, mothers, and sisters, and daughters to be shot, maimed, and killed in battle? Scottish savages used to do that before they were Christianized...we've become a nation of savages. Biblical precedent; really? There is not one instance of women fighting in Scripture, every war census was to determine fighting men, nehemiah exhorted the wall builders to fight for their wives, sons, and daughters, and deut. 22:5 states that women are not to wear the ' fighting gear' (keli geber) of men; for the Lord detests anyone who does this. Not to mention the entire creation order; men were ordained to be protectors of women. Egalitarianism has crept into the church when the debate is not should they but rather 'could' they...

    • Brian

      The Church (Christ's bride) didn't die for Him, He died for her.

  • Lt Colonel Dave Wells, USAF, ret

    As Chief, base defense, Pleiku air base, Vietnam, 1969... I observed courage and bravery of women "In Combat"! Not only our Army Hospital nurses (see TV series "China Beach" as a realistic representation) ... but, also the Correspondent "Patches" and the famous comedienne Martha Raye who ordered that
    she be flown into "Hot Spots" (under fire) to entertain the troops!!! Then as a Reserve Lt Col Nurse, she
    volunteered to assist in numerous Emergency Rooms. NOTE: None of my fellow officers (including the "small" ones) were ever measured for weight/strength/endurance as their ability to "lead, follow or get the hell out of the way" was being measured daily in the space between their ears! I predict that there will be a "Womanie, Feminine Real Live Girlie" as Chairman, Joint Chiefs - someday! God Bless Her!!!