T Nation

Women In Combat

If a person can do a job, the sex of the person shouldn’t matter.

I know that many police, fire and paramedic units have “dumbed down” the requirements so that women can participate and I am intensely against that. A firefighter friend of mine gave an example: The req’s were to carry 150lbs of hose up five stories, do some obstacle course work at the top of the training tower, then carry the hose backdown. Men were given a certain time to do it in (I forget exactly what it was) and women were not only given almost double the time but had to only care about half the weight. The male FFs filed some sort of complaint about the sexist nature of this and the result was that ALL the standards were lowered for EVERYONE. How does this do anything but endanger the public? I’ve heard similar stories from cop buddies and even paramedics. This “dumbing down” sickens and angers me. A lot. However, if a woman can keep up with the given standards, her sex should not disqualify her.

Combat positions are a bit different, though. The physical rigours are but one aspect to the game. The incredible psychological factors must be considered as well. She must be fully mentally and physically prepared for whatever comes with this, including how a female is treated differently by our own troops let alone how a female POW would be treated differently than a male POW. She can’t think that all she has to do is get through the running of X miles, doing X pushups, learning to shoot X types of guns, etc. She must expect to be verbally and physically intimidated, beaten, sabotaged, harrassed in multitudinous ways, and raped repeatedly, by both friend and foe. She should expect no commraderie to develop for her as it would for men (may happen but can’t be expected). She should expect to be the first to suffer from “friendly fire”. She should expect to be left behind enemy lines. Intentionally. These are not nice and pretty things to consider but I have an odd feeling it may fairly realistic. I’ve known a fair share of military men and while none of them would openly admit to feeling this way - it is clear from their discussion and behaviour that this is how they feel.

But, once again, IF (and that’s a damn big IF) a woman can do the same job as the men, and EXCEL at it, then I can think of no reason why she should not be allowed to do the it.