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Welcome women to frontline combat

Staff Reporter

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01

Taylor Likens | The Houstonian

Taylor Likens | The Houstonian

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted a ban on women in combat roles, allowing military women to serve actively in frontline combat. Though one could watch interview after interview of vulture-nosed feminists praise this advancement as if it were the reinvention of the light bulb, the truly convincing evidence lies in the overwhelmingly positive responses from many of the military’s leading officers, including General James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

With the mass approval of these experienced veterans it seems foolish to disagree. However, if women are going to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with men in combat, the real fools would be those who do not want them held to the same physical standards.

In the past, the reasoning behind lowering women’s physical standards was out of necessity. As a generality, women are simply not as biologically equipped as men to handle intense physical work. Studies by The American Physiological Society place the average woman’s muscle mass at about 36 percent below the average man’s.

Now, this isn’t to say that women are necessarily inferior soldiers. Some of the most effective killers in the history of warfare have been women; cold, efficient snipers that drop more bodies than Michael J. Fox interning at a morgue.

But war has never been pleasant and it certainly hasn’t gotten any more user-friendly. The way things are, you don’t just have to trudge through miles of mud in Vietnam or sprint between foxholes in rural Germany to tire yourself out. Arguably, warfare has only become more physically demanding in recent years, with an increasing focus on urban warfare.

With urbanization on the rise, soldiers will now be seeing more and more conflict in the cities. Running up stairwells, breaking doors and climbing ledges. A soldier’s life and his ability to continue defending defend the lives of his comrades relies just as much on his physical condition as it does his ability to shoot the broad side of a camel.

However, in all branches of the military there is currently a notable gap between the physical requirements of men and of women. The U.S. Army, for example, asks less than a third of the minimum amount of pushups from women that it does of men (11 - 35) and permits them to complete their two-mile run a full three minutes slower than their male peers. Sit-ups and interpretive dance however, are measured on equal terms.

At the end of the day, the true spirit of this lifted ban seems less about allowing women to earn their place alongside their male peers and more about a blind indulgence into political correctness, a nifty badge for legislators and Facebook liberals alike to wear proudly over their hearts while they bask in the glow of their own progressiveness. Immature, yes, but why not ride the wave into something better, make use of it somehow?

No educated, intelligent person would ever say a woman should not have the same opportunities as a man. Then again, no educated, intelligent person would ever say that a woman should have the same opportunities as a man, despite her complete inability to compete with him (Note: if you read that sentence and feel an urge to declare sexism, you are not an educated, intelligent person).

But so be it. Let women serve.

However, if this is to be the future we do not need standards for women. We need standards for soldiers. By leveling men and women’s physical requirements we can ensure that there will be no dead weight on the battlefield from either sex. If this means that only one out of 10 women will ever see combat, then so be it, too. The armed forces are not about fairness, nor should they be. They are about efficiency.

If we are going to form policies based on sheer principle--not at all a bad thing in itself--then we might as well do it right.

I think I can speak for all men when I say that if we’re never going to be allowed to wear even the most tasteful of sundresses out into public, it’s the least you can do to make it up to us.

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