Originally posted 20 January:
Here's why this won't work... and I've been white-boarding this for a couple of days, now.
Women in combat?
Let's start with something a little simpler: how about requiring women to pass the PT test using the male standard?
It's bad enough that a double standard exists with women in the military at all, for any reason.
But to have a double standard for physical fitness in combat?
And then, let's extend that a little further:
The requirement for the male PT test is much higher. Many women will not be able to achieve that goal, even minimally. The least physically fit infantryman in combat is going to be much more physically capable of performing an infantry role then the vast majority of physically fit females.
Applying a same-standard PT test across the force, without giving women their built-in double-standard, will result in women being forced out of the military by the thousands.
So, in the end, what have we gained?
We get a few... a very few women, who qualify for combat arms. And we lose thousands who will never, on their best day, be able to meet the standards required for combat arms; who otherwise, under the current system, wouldn't be REQUIRED to meet a combat arm standard, as all men are, who will be forced to leave.
I'm reminded of that line from the old Star Trek from Mr. Spock:
"There is much more to the wanting then there is to the having," or words to that effect.
Women in combat would require a cross-force increase in female physical fitness standards and the elimination of the double standard we have in place right now.... roughly half the requirements of men in strength and 20% or so less in endurance (running)
As an example, here's the current standard for 17 thru 21, men and women:
These are the minimums by gender:
2 mile run:
As an aside, for the 2 mile run, the women's MAXIMUM score time of 15:36 for 100 points, is a few seconds faster than the male MINIMUM score time of 15:54.
All men, regardless of their job (MOS) must pass the same minimal PT Test. Women have been allowed to skate on this since they were allowed to join. With the inclusion of women in the combat force, that would end. They want to do the same things?
They need to pass the same tests.
So, how ironic is it that women would be excluded from being nurses, doctors, mail clerks, cooks and the like so the very few can go out and get killed as they try to hump 120 pound ruck, their weapons, 240 rounds, grenades, and all the rest for days at 11000 ft in the Hindu Kush?
And, of course, putting women in combat would mean an end to the female exclusion from the draft. Oddly, I have yet to see any effort mentioned to do away with that.
True equality has a great deal of warts on it. It has it's good side... and it's bad. And if women WANT true equality in the military, that means the whole ball of wax:
Same PT test. Same inability to get pregnant and avoid deployment. Same ability to carry heavy weight for days on end in desert temperatures or numbing cold. Same ability to deal with field hygiene. Same ability to deal with capture. None of that double standard stuff would be allowed because in combat, there is only ONE standard.
Allowing the current double standard to continue... requiring prospective Combat Arms women to pass a special PT test their support sistren don't have to pass would lead to a catastrophic 2nd class female soldier.
The physical issue should kill this deal alone, without even getting into issues of deployability, societal impacts and the previously mentioned outcomes of a capture situation (Jessica Lynch and her getting a Bronze Star for being in what amounted to a car wreck notwithstanding) as well as the hygiene related issues that will have to be addressed.
If those who want in at any level are not capable of these things, then tough. They can't do it and shouldn't be allowed to try, unless they can "un-kill" those who will die as a result of this, yet another failed social experiment while our military is at war.
Equality in combat must be earned. And I have yet to see even the down payment.