Battles are Ugly When Women Fight

The administration, concerned that not enough women serving in the military have had the opportunity to be captured and raped by the enemy, now wish to assign women to combat roles.

Good thing this happened while the looming debt crisis is about to bankrupt us, and while unconstitutional executive orders are being issued to infringe on our gun rights, and while an antisemite is being appointed to the cabinet, and while the scandal of a slain ambassador in Libya and the surrounding cover-up and scapegoating of a Coptic guy who posted a YouTube video continues to be stonewalled, and while the Catholic Church is still being required by law to violate our most deeply held beliefs and to lose our First Amendment right to practice our faith, and while the trainwreck of fiscal madness and socialized medicine continue to topple over onto us with the slowmotion grandeur of a great natural disaster, because, otherwise, we might be able to generate some coordinated opposition to this. But when the immune system of a social body is gone, every random germ floating by causes another disease and another set of symptoms flares up.

The administration has uttered the assurance that physical standards will not be dropped or downgraded as they have been in all previous cases of putting women in men’s roles in the military and fire brigades. This assurance is a ritual phrase, not believed and not meant to be believed. It is similar to when a Catholic at High Mass does not understand Latin, but mutters the proper response anyway upon cue. “Carry a Lay a-song. Christy a Lay a-song.” like that.

Naturally, I am opposed to national suicide, to preemptive disarmament, and to demeaning women, and to cowardice in men, and to eliminating the future mothers of the Republicans (because you know the Dems are not sending their daughters into harm’s way: Dems will be protesting the wars and shielding the tyrants, not fighting them). My theory is that if American women are such helpless ninnies that they cannot save enough pin money to buy their cheapass lovers condoms at the drugstore without my Archbishop having to take money out of the church poor box to foot the bill, then the girls are not man enough to storm Normandy Beach.

I have been convinced as an abstract and rational matter that imposing women in combat is counterproductive both to the unit and to the society the army defends for quite some time.

However, it became a passionate and emotional issue for me, something I felt in my roaring and volcanic heart, rather than something I merely deduced in the icy heights of my dispassionate logic, when I saw the movie STARSHIP TROOPERS by Paul Verhoeven.

For those of you not familiar with the movie, it has the same relation to the book of that same title by Robert Heinlein as the 1967 version of CASINO ROYALE has to the book of that same title by Ian Fleming: it is a satire. Unlike the spy-parody, however, this movie was neither funny nor lighthearted in its satire.

One of the satirical scenes, or at least I hope it was meant satirically, was a shower scene where the virile and stalwart young heroic soldier boys were naked and wet and crowded together with the nubile and buxom young bathing beauties, whereupon the boys …. ignored them. There was no blushing, no erections, no wolf whistles, no averting of the eyes, no friendly slaps on the perfectly rounded peach-shaped buttocks of the battle-nymphs …. nothing.

Neither shame nor lust nor admiration nor modesty.

I realized that the joke was that the army of the future expected these pale and watery-souled eunuchs to place themselves between their loved homes and war’s desolation. And, of course, as the movie went on, we saw the pale and watery-souled eunuchs shooting each other, cowering before bugs that farted missiles into orbit, stabbing each other, and wandering into blind box canyons without scouts or air support so that the comedy scenes of giant bugs ripping the heads off of comedy soldiers in comic waterfalls of blood would play out to the general laughter of the audience.

Then, as I was whooping at this zany comedy, I noticed I was the only one in the movie theater laughing.

The film maker and the audience were apparently supposed to take seriously the idea that penis-free men would make good soldiers, and that the cause of female equality required males to be penis-free.  (I mean that phrase in both senses of the word. In the movie, the men acted like organisms lacking a male member, but they also fornicated with abandon, that is, freely, with subordinate she-soldier bathing beauties. I would call it fraternization, except that it was more like a sorority than a fraternity.)

It occurred to me then that this screwball comedy was actually meant as a mockery of the military, as if Verhoeven thought he was exaggerating things real military people actually did, like having drill sergeants stab recruits, and showing things he thought they should do, like having coed showers and commanding officers encouraging fraternizational fornication as recreation in the ranks. The joke of having clown soldiers do clown things (like ramming their starships into each other, or shooting each other when wounded) was apparently because this craven and nithling director, whose whole life and civilization has been protected by the brave sacrifice of men manlier than he, thought it was funny to denigrate that sacrifice.

And I thought that joke was that if the real soldiers, if they accepted these clown ideas, would end up as clowns. But no, the joke was supposed to be that the soldiers were clowns, and the ideas were merely meant to shock the bourgeoisie. (I suppose the ideas would have been shocking for World War One. The so called progressive ideas of the so called Progressives, from free love to the suffragette movement, date from about the time of the Great War, and have not progressed since.)

As a movie mocking the folly of the war against Bismarck and the Kaiser, and the inhumanity of trench warfare, I think STARSHIP TROOPERS did a fine job. As a retro-historical oddity, a 1997 movie using a 1959 novel to put across a 1919 set of ideas, the movie is worth preserving. Otherwise, all copies should be hunted down heaped on a bonfire and burnt, preferably beneath the stake to which Mr Verhoeven is chained. Because I am totally joking about not getting the point of the movie: I knew from the opening scene that the film was meant to drive a thumb into my eye, and to spit in the face of everyone who loves honor and admires heroes, or who liked Heinlein’s book. I paid nine bucks so that a cowardly man could void his bowls on me.

In sum, STARSHIP TROOPERS the movie was not only the worst science fiction film ever made, and the worse war film ever made, it was made by people who were not in the military and had never spoken to anyone who had been, and was evidently made for an audience of people who were not in the military and had never spoken to anyone who had been.

Now, I am sure that if you had held a vote among just fans of that film as to the advisability of women in combat zones, they would not even be able to comprehend the argument against it. I will not repeat those arguments here: they are too obvious. (But I will link to them.)

But this is not a question of argument, but of emotion. The politically correct have associated the emotion of equal rights for women with the question of how best to use limited resources to pursue the goals of war. To them, protecting women from the danger of combat is the same as yanking the ballot out of their frail and delicate hands. They have associated or aligned two unrelated ideas in a false-to-facts way. So, to a degree, the question cannot be discussed, because you think you will be talking about how best to prosecute a war, and they think you are yanking the ballot out of the woman’s hands, and they will talk as if you said that no matter what you said.

My thoughts can be summed up nicely with these words. As theologian John Piper has said,

If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women.

I also will quote Father Christmas from THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Battles are ugly when women fight.

To be sure, nations like Israel who are under constant attack and ongoing military threat from the US Democrat Party, and from the Democrat’s allies among the Jihadists and Palestinians, simply must place women in dangerous military roles because the tiny nation lacks the manpower otherwise.

You see, I am not opposed to women in combat, if there is a draft. If we are not in such desperate straits that we do not need a draft, a fortiori, we are not in such desperate straits that we need to expose our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in harm’s way.

If even one incident like the capture and rape of Pvt Jessica Lynch can be prevented by a ban on assault weapons, I mean, a ban on allowing women to serve in combat zones, even one life, then I support that ban!

But it is still ugly even when it happens, over and above the hellish ugliness of all wars, because once women are involved, it is ugliness without honor, and without that masculine courage and bravery which is the only small spark of anything good or admirable in the vast darkness and horror and bloodshed of campaign.

In castrated combat, that masculine courage is allegedly replaced by an intellectual affirmation of the equal personhood of all human resources being expended in the mechanics of the military operation.

I say allegedly, because what really happens is that a soldier boy exposes himself to greater danger to protect the soldier girl in his unit, or to show off in front of her, or else he must lose the manly honor that makes him a good soldier; but at the same time all parties involved in the rank structure have to pretend that this does not or should not happen.

That pretense is political correctness. The point of PC is to get everyone in the subordinate population to tell the same lies together, lies none of them believe, because it humiliates them, robs them of strength of will, and makes them mistrust each other so that the subordinates cannot rise up in rebellion.

(You did not think PC was really a matter of courtesy to spare the delicate feelings of others, did you, reader? Has any PC-nik ever struck you as even having the level of courtesy of your average taxi driver or motorcycle gang leader?)

If the soldier girl is his lover, or the lover of someone higher in rank, or the lover of his romantic rival in his unit, matters become more complex and vile. The idea that all this can be tossed aside by merely commanding human nature to obey the dictates of intellectual theory is an idea no one who survived the Twentieth Century should entertain.

We have seen what institutions which take human nature into account are like: marriage, or the US Constitution. We have also seen when institutions which flatly deny human nature in a burst of smug make-believe are like: free love, or the Soviet Constitution. Why make the US Military one more unreality-believing antihuman institution? Why else but to erode it as a fighting force?

Father Christmas was right in more ways than one. Battles are ugly when women are in them, not only because exposing your daughters to danger is ugly, but because making your sons into gormless cowards is very ugly.


  1. Comment by curtjester:

    Whoever believes they will not lower the standards has no connection with reality. The PC overlords directing the military will ensure that this happens and that nobody will be allowed to notice a problem. I say this as a retired Navy Chief who was on the first aircraft carrier to deploy with women as part of the crew. That many women were unable to perform some of the physical actions in regards to drills and had to have men perform these actions was evident. Even some simple tasks such as carrying a toolbox into the cockpit of a plane was deferred to men to assist women techs. Yet the physical requirement tests had different standards for men and women performing in the same job. We were not allowed to notice and complain about these problems or the special treatments afforded to women crew. The military is nothing but a social laboratory for Democrats. Political correctness trumps military readiness.

    Most would think it insane if they passed a law requiring women players in the NFL, but don’t blink at women in combat. When soldiers die because a women soldier was not up to the physical task the problem will be assigned to anything but that. When special treatment is given such as flying women soldiers out for showers after two weeks while men went on for months without this such as occurred in Iraq it does not breed a band of brothers, but a band of others.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      National Review Online makes this comment:

      The political mandate to integrate women into the military had disastrous consequences for standards at West Point, as Walter Williams documented the last time we had this debate. The use of “gender-specific” physical standards meant that female candidates were given passing marks on tests when underperforming their male counterparts on such common benchmarks as push-ups, sit-ups, and running 1.5 miles.

      This repeats the experience of similar civilian agencies, such as police and fire departments, in which standards have been lowered under the guise of revising them for professional relevance. One particularly comical feature of these developments has been the authorities’ insistence that they are acting independently of political pressure while simultaneously acknowledging that they are motivated by the fear of litigation brought by feminist groups. The ideological absurdity at play here is hard to exaggerate: When members of the Los Angeles city council demanded hiring quotas for the LAPD and a consequent relaxation of standards, they argued that concerns about physical difference could be overcome by implementing a “feminist approach to policing.”

      To me, this is almost moot issue. I am a greybearded and shortsighted man shaped like a dumpling and softer. There is many a stalwart young women who study karate and marksmanship no doubt better equipped to face brutal danger than am I. But if that young woman and I were confronted by a mugger in a dark alley, I should step in front of her, not she in front of me. Men are not wired by evolutionary psychology (for those of you who believe in evolutionary psychology) nor made in our souls by God (for those of you who know better than to believe in superstitions) to follow a girl into the gates of hell. Our impulse is to protect them, and that impulse is logical, right and just.

      I say it is “almost” a moot issue because I firmly believe that the point of political correctness is not equality for women. The PC-niks want women to be slaves as much as they want us to be slaves. The culture of death wants to kill them in the womb and kill them in the sickbed and overtax them to death and kill them to make more room for mother nature no less than it wants us men dead.

      No, it is “almost” a moot issue because the POINT is to lower the standards, and then to have everyone lie about it.

      The reason why the Communists forced everyone to speak to pretend to believe obvious lies was not to convince anyone. It was to humiliate them. The masters prove that your mouth belongs to them, not to you. It makes brave men cowards and cowardly men craven. Because a lie is not like trampling a crucifix. No one is willing to be martyred just for insisting that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

      Political Correctness is a voluntary form of this slave mentality. The herd wants everyone in the herd to share the guilt of lying about pointless things, so that no one can find his moral backbone. It also acts like a brand, and identifies you as a member of the herd. It also disarms you, because once you have lied about pointless things, who will believe you when you tell the truth? It also lobotomizes you, because once you have changed your vocabulary ten times in twenty years with new words and phrases that mean the opposite of what you know they mean, you begin to think words have no meaning, syllogisms have no meaning, conclusions have no meaning. Everything is merely a matter of opinion. And since the changes to vocabulary are always made by some anonymous consensus that seems to issue from nowhere and to whom no one is responsible, there is no one to confront, no one to argue with, no trial, no debate, no fight, and you never get a vote. It is arbitrary. The arbitrariness, the illogic of it, the suddenness of the changes are not bugs, they are features, they are THE feature. A tyrant who is strict about clearly defined rules is not as frightening as a tyrant who is whimsical and arbitrary, because the arbitrary tyrant paralyzes the reason. You don’t know which way to jump.

      That is the point of all this. Women are not being put in combat because we need the manpower. It is not to help the women or improve their ability to make life-choices about what they in their wonderful terrific self-esteemy goodness want to do for themselves with the combat zone as a backdrop to their psychodrama or career ambitions. it is not to help the unit.

      The point is lies. The point is the push everyone one more step in the direction of political correctness, to shut down thought, to stop virtue, to expand the culture of death, and to contract the culture of Christ.

      • Comment by Mary:

        Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to. — Theodore Dalrymple

        From this interview.

    • Comment by Noah D:

      I say this as a retired Navy Chief who was on the first aircraft carrier to deploy with women as part of the crew.

      Heck, my entire exposure to the issue of women onboard ship is the PBS series ‘Carrier’, and it was patently obvious, even though they studiously avoided drawing the conclusion, that it was a bad, bad idea.

      People need to read ‘House to House’, by David Bellavia, and then think of putting women in that situation. It wasn’t just the combat itself, it was the horrific nature of their day-to-day existence in an urban combat zone. Bellavia’s detailing of their physical maladies was…colorful and left very little to the imagination.

      (Yes, MPs will on occasion be exposed to enemy attacks, and I don’t think that’s an excuse to go ahead and put them in infantry units. I think it might be a reason for them to not be MPs.)

  2. Comment by meunke:

    This gentleman, a Marine combat vet, expounds on your points with additional facts as well:

  3. Comment by Ephirius:

    That pretense is political correctness. The point of PC is to get everyone in the subordinate population to tell the same lies together, lies none of them believe, because it humiliates them, robs them of strength of will, and makes them mistrust each other so that the subordinates cannot rise up in rebellion.

    (You did not think PC was really a matter of courtesy to spare the delicate feelings of others, did you, reader? Has any PC-nik ever struck you as even having the level of courtesy of your average taxi driver or motorcycle gang leader?)

    If the soldier girl is his lover, or the lover of someone higher in rank, or the lover of his romantic rival in his unit, matters become more complex and vile. The idea that all this can be tossed aside by merely commanding human nature to obey the dictates of intellectual theory is an idea no one who survived the Twentieth Century should entertain.

    I’ve read your blog for quite a while and thoroughly enjoy it. This, however, may be one of the greatest things I have read. All I can say is, “Amen”.

  4. Comment by meunke:

    ” I saw the movie STARSHIP TROOPERS by Paul Verhoeven.”
    – When I read this, I had a similar reaction as the elves did when Gandalf spoke the language of Mordor in Rivendell.

  5. Comment by Rolf Andreassen:

    This sentence seems to have lost something:

    If even one incident like the capture and rape of Pvt Jessica Lynch that a ban on assault weapons, I mean, a ban on allowing women to serve in combat zones, even one life, then I support that ban!

    Possibly an “is prevented by”?

  6. Comment by Bruno Moreno:

    A very good article. One of the best I’ve read by you.

    I agree with Ephirius: Amen to what you said about political correctness.

    The way soldiers are portrayed in the film Starship Troopers might seem incredibly ignorant, but I’m afraid that’s exactly how 99% of the people in Europe (with the possible exception of the UK) see the military. Soldiers are only portrayed in European movies or books to mock them or to present them as examples of petty tyrants, deranged would-be killers or criminals. In Spain, the military never wear their uniforms in public (three decades ago, ETA terrorist attacks provided a useful excuse to start this hiding policy, and now, even though there are no more terrorist attacks, no one would dream of seeing soldiers wearing their uniforms anywhere outside the barracks). The first time I went to the USA, the thing that surprised me most was to see a uniformed marine at a bus station, waiting for his bus. I had never seen anything like that in Spain. I’ve been a friend of an infantry coronel for fifteen years and I’ve never seen his uniform.

    Spain, as a country, has lost all respect for those who would shed their blood to defend us against an attack. I’m ashamed to say that we’ve become a country of politically-correct wimps (sigh).

    • Comment by Sean Michael:

      Dear Senor Moreno:

      In these dark days of the insanity of Political Correctness and Jihadist fanaticism, I hope Spaniards rediscover pride in wearing His Majesty’s uniform and serving their country.

      One time I did see Spaniards wearing military unifoms in public. I was in Rome for the Holy Year in November of 2000 and I once noticed a Spanish military unit leaving St. Peter’s Square after the conclusion of a ceremony.

      Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

  7. Comment by Scott W.:

    Then, as I was whooping at this zany comedy, I noticed I was the only one in the movie theater laughing.

    That happened to me during the original Total Recall when the villain gets sliced by a moving elevator and Arnold is left standing with two dismembered arms in his hands. My friends looked at me like I had a tarantula coming out of my nose.

    • Comment by Tom Simon:

      Sudden insight:

      You may remember that Oscar Wilde said, ‘One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.’ That was the epitaph of Victorian sentimentalism, for Wilde, in his epigrammatic mood, was not one to take potshots at a target unless the target was already safely dead.

      Our modern purveyors of cheap melodrama, therefore, have lost the ability to use sentimentality to hornswoggle the audience into feeling the emotions they wish to induce. To a modern audience (unless very carefully selected and prepared in advance), sentimentality provokes derisive laughter. But they can still use gore for the same purpose; and most of the audience are still influenced by peer pressure and d0n’t dare to laugh at gore. The gore in Total Recall, like the film as a whole, was laughable; but it is Not Done to laugh at such things, no matter how badly done.

      Pornographic violence is not necessarily an end in itself, but a means of ensuring that a piffling artist will have his work treated seriously.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      In truth, I was only kidding about laughing in the theater at STARSHIP TROOPERS. That did not really happen. What really happened is that I was rolling on the ground beneath the seats in a puddle of spilled popcorn and butter-flavored substitute while clutching my head, with blood coming from my ears and nose as my brain was bruised all over from the sheer unadulterated elephantine mass of pure stupidity eruptting from the screen.

      I managed to lever open one red eyelid to notice that Denise Richards (1) is really, really cute and (2) cannot act worth beans.

      The medical technicians had to carry me out on a stretcher wrapped in a straight jacket while I was feebly muttering, “No power armor! Where is the power armor!” and the therapist had to soak me for six days in a warm mineral bath in a dark room, watching THE SEVEN SAMURAI and SUPERMAN THE MOVIE and WIZARD OF OZ and CITIZEN KANE and ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE and MARY POPPINS and THE INCREDIBLES over and over again. Thanks to the doctors at the clinic, I am now able to go in a theater without any violent twitching overcoming my body.

      So, no. In real life, I was not actually strong enough to laugh at, or laugh off, that movie. I hate STARSHIP TROOPER the movie with a raging passion, the way Gollum hates Bagginses, my preciousss. We hates it forever.

      • Comment by Boggy Man:

        I remember when I first heard Troopers declared to be genius. Granted, my taste has changed greatly since I first saw that mess, but I still thought it was some sort of elaborate hipster in-joke.

        It reminds me a bit of Warhammer 40k. Since only a dolt could take the story at face value (and many do) the excuse is; “well of course, it’s a parody”. My answer in both cases is “Yes, but it’s a really stupid uninteresting parody.”

        I heartily endorse the cinema therapy. If I give myself a double booster of Casablanca and Patton, I can at least watch Avatar with a Rifftrax attached.

      • Comment by Sean Michael:

        Dear Mr. Wright:

        I fully agree with you in this essay of yours. Women do not belong in, and should not be in combat units. Or even in any but auxiliary military units at all.

        You did mention Israel as an exception, but only because of the dire straits it’s in, surrounded by savage and barbaric enemies.

        I also agree the filmed version of STARSHIP TROOPERS was ghastly, even worse than the movie version of DUNE.

        I started reading your THE HERMETIC MILLENNIA. So far, I like it.

        Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

        • Comment by Dirigibletrance:

          I wouldn’t criticize the old Dune movie so badly. It failed to really capture the majesty of Herbert’s work, but not for lack of trying. David Lynch simply wasn’t up to the task. It was still an enjoyable 80s science fiction flick, and I loved it both before and after having read Dune.

          Lynch respected the source material and tried, he simply failed. Or didn’t succeed completely.

          Paul Verhoeven had contempt for the source material and pissed all over it gleefully, while stealing the name in order to make his Bug Hunt movie sell better.

          • Comment by Sean Michael:

            Hi, Dirigibletrance:

            In justice, I feel compelled to accept your comments about the filmed form of DUNE. I would need to see David Lynch’s work again before I should try responding to your defense. I am glad Lynch at least RESPECTED the original DUNE. That certainly could not be said of Verhoeven’s horrible film.

            As a zealous fan of the works of Poul Anderson, I’ve sometimes wished some of his stories had been “translated” to film. Maybe it’s just as well that has happened only once (a forgettable version, I think, of THE HIGH CRUSADE). I would not want hacks like Verhoeven butchering Anderson’s work.

            Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

            • Comment by Boggy Man:

              @Dirigibletrance; The Guard features gay nazis executing troops for improperly laced boots, and you’re right, they’re still more competent than the forces in ‘Troopers’. (Then again I’m venting; I really like what 40k was in ‘Trader’ and hate what it’s become; Parody mistaken as straight-faced after employee shifts. Hell, I’m still mad about the squats.)

              Dune has grown on me because while the narrative is choppy it manages to evoke a very alien setting. It’s almost the opposite of ‘Troopers’ which is a popcorn plot played in phony pantomime. It’s a shame Michael Bay is so pro-military, otherwise we’d be hearing how complex a work Battleship is in a couple decades.

              • Comment by Dirigibletrance:

                Gay Nazis? I don’t recall any such thing. The Imperial Guard is a kind of pastiche of both the German and Soviet armies during World War II, however.

                Actually, for the most part of the Imperium is *extremely* socially conservative by our standards. On many worlds women are not allowed to join the Imperial Guard at all, in any capacity. The Tanith First was rather shocked when they had to acquire replacement troops from a unit that did have female members. Many occupations require vows of chastity, and so on. Recall that the entire setting is a sort of pastiche of medieval Christendom, in space in the far future.

                The only reason the Sororitas exist at all is because it is the only loophole the Ecclesiarchy has to continue to maintain a standing army.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  Gay Nazis? I don’t recall any such thing.

                  Hitler’s mentor, Ernst Rohm, was an open homosexual, whom Hitler later betrayed and killed. Gerhard Rossbach, the founder of the Brown Shirts, was a homosexual, as were Hermann Goering (openly) and Heinrich Himmler (secretly).

                  • Comment by lotdw:

                    I knew that much of the old guard of Nazism was homosexual, but I had never heard it claimed of Goering or Himmler. Goering was a crossdresser, I know, but that’s not necessarily the same thing – take Eddie Izzard, for one. And Himmler was one of the most anti-homosexual of the Nazis – while it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he was so out of self-loathing, I would not have thought it. What’s the source for your information?

                  • Comment by Rolf Andreassen:

                    I think DirigibleTrance is saying that he does not recall seeing any gay nazis in the Imperial Guard of the WH40K setting; he’s not talking about 1930s Germany.

                    For what it’s worth, neither do I, though it’s been a while since I followed it at all closely, and who knows what might be found in the more obscure sourcebooks of the older editions? The Guard have, by design, so many regiments that you can find an expy of practically any military force whatever, even in canon, much less the innumerable fanfics.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      I misunderstood the comment. I thought he meant that there were no homosexual Nazis among the Nazis as well as none among the Imperials. I have no Geek cred when it comes to WH40K — it is not a universe I’ve visited.

                    • Comment by Boggy Man:

                      My apologies for the confusion; I meant it along the lines of ‘foppish effete sadistic ninnies who dress like Prussian Christmas trees’. Googling imperial guard commissar brings up some horribly embarrassing designs.

                      @John; You are very wise to stay out of the 40k universe. As I said, it’s parody that someone higher up decided to treat like serious space opera. There were once rocket-surfing hairmetal dwarves and now it’s just constipated men dressed like Megatron grimacing at each other.

                    • Comment by Tom Simon:

                      @Boggy Man:

                      How dare you say mean things about the Glorious Glory that is 40K? As if there were something wrong with constipated men dressing like Megatron! Constipated men dressed like Megatron RAWK. They can commit suicide by cracking their knuckles! They even have spikes on their dicks! How cool is that?

                      (OK, I’ve got that out of my system now. My cover artist’s Significant Other is a 40K nut. This enforced exposure causes the whole phenomenon to get up my left nostril and make my brain bleed.)

            • Comment by Bobby Trosclair:

              I also am a huge fan of Poul Anderson’s writings, and am glad that no cinematic hack has ever butchered or ripped off his work. I hope that no one will ever take the plot of, say, his novella “Call Me Joe” about a paraplegic in telepathic control of an artificially created alien life form on another planet, enjoying the freedom of his new body, fighting predators, and gradually going native. I also hope no one will take the title of a different Anderson novel and stick it on, and then maybe rip-off the concept of a planet-wide, tree-based system of communication from James Blish’s excellent novel about first contact and Catholic theology, “A Case of Conscience.”

              • Comment by Sean Michael:

                Hi, Mr. Trosclair:

                I’m delighted to “meet” another fan of the late Poul Anderson. With Mr. Wright’s indulgence, I hope we sometimes talk about Poul Anderson and his works.

                Your comments about Anderson’s masterful “Call Me Joe” reminded me of how I forgot about accusations that James Cameron ripped off that story or ideas from it in his film “Avatar.” Not so much in HOW Cameron used the material as in him not giving Anderson credit for it.

                Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  I am also a fan of Poul Anderson. I strongly recommend his HARVEST OF STARS. No one does space-elves better.

                  • Comment by Sean Michael:

                    Messieurs Wright and Trosclair:

                    I absolutely agree with the high opinion Mr. Wright has of Poul Anderson’s “Harvest of Stars” books. Altho I had to first read his review of HARVEST OF STARS to realize Anderson’s Lunarians were actually space elves.

                    I bring to your attention, in case neither of you knows it, that Subterranean Press plans to publish an anthology in honor of Anderson called MULTIVERSE. The book will contain stories by writers such as S.M. Stirling, Raymond Feist, etc., set in various of the “universes” Anderson created. Plus non fiction essays by people such as Mrs. Anderson about life with him.

                    And simply to be somewhat on topic with this thread, Poul Anderson wrote many stories and novels where the military and their problems and needs are treated
                    with respect. Examples being “Kings Who Die” or ENSIGN FLANDRY.

                    Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

          • Comment by lotdw:

            I love the old Dune movie as a glorious mess. What’s often forgotten now, after Lynch has been in the cultural consciousness for so long, is that Dune was one of his first movies, and the very first for which he had a Hollywood budget. That’s why he wasn’t up to the task.

  8. Comment by Malcolm Smith:

    I worked for 30 years in the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs. I don’t think we have relaxed our physical standards for servicewomen (yet). The reason I say so is that I had to deal with a number of women who had been severely disabled by doing the sort of exercises and work that an ordinary man would take in his stride.
    I also remember a sexual harassment scandal aboard an Australian warship a couple of decades ago. The complaints turned out to involve three things: genuine sexual harrassment, the men behaving in their usual vulgar manner even in the presence of women, and the lack of facilities for women’s special needs. My mother (born 1909) make a succinct comment: “What sort of idiot was it who decided to put women on board a warship?”
    My first impulse is to label women in combat as barbaric, but that would be unfair. Both history and anthropology reveal that barbarians have rarely behaved so badly.

    • Comment by Dirigibletrance:

      These are also exercises and activities that male service members can’t really handle either. We are asking men to go to war, after all. I can’t count the number of times veteran friends have told me of injuries from their time in the military, injuries which never really healed properly or left them physically diminished.

      A friend who was a captain in the Rangers told me that after Mountain Phase, his body was never the same. His knees and ankles were shot, he got fatigued much more quickly, and was never as steady. He went on to have a successful career in the 75th for years after that, so I can only imagine what kind of athlete and soldier he was beforehand.

      Still, these are activities which even the most prime examples of human male athleticism often cannot pass through unscathed and undamaged. How much more damaging to the bodies of women they must be, who do not have the advantage of the kind of brute strength or durability or bone mass that men have.

  9. Comment by Bobby Trosclair:

    This is priceless and deserves repeating:

    My theory is that if American women are such helpless ninnies that they cannot save enough pin money to buy their cheapass lovers condoms at the drugstore without my Archbishop having to take money out of the church poor box to foot the bill, then the girls are not man enough to storm Normandy Beach.

  10. Comment by fabulous_mrs_f:

    I am so glad you wrote this; it articulates the problem much better than I could (and I tried all Wed. evening to explain it to my husband, and failed). But darn it, I feel like I ought to go do penance for being IN Starship Troopers, now. What’s the going sci-fi penance these days?

  11. Comment by The Ubiquitous:

    There is no recent post which would be on-topic for me to say this, but I should say it somewhere because it is deserved: The Hermetic Millennia was startlingly well-executed, bizarre as it was to read at first. It is as different a novel from Count to A Trillion as Speaker for the Dead is from Ender’s Game, if not quite so good as that duet, yet it works as well with its source material, transforming it into something quite startling. Thank you, Mr. Wright. My favorite of yours since the Golden Age series.

  12. Comment by Stu:

    Men are cowards when they let women go off and fight their battles. But further, I resent the fact that such notions could ultimately put my wife and daughters in greater danger in a greater war. I realize that women have been victimized in war but at least there was a notion among many that they were non-combatants. That slowly begins to change as we continue to push women into combat roles because we want to make sure they have “career opportunities.”

    What a goat rope.

  13. Comment by The Deuce:


    Good thing this happened while the looming debt crisis is about to bankrupt us…

    Given all the things that follow that part, and more, I am coming to believe it really is a good thing. I think our government would, if it had the wealth, pursue many great evils in the coming years, that its own bankruptcy will prevent it from ever achieving.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      No. All that will happen is that the USA will be unable to keep the peace around the world, and so wars will spread, and international trade be cut off. The rest of the world is in an even more precarious economic situation, and will crash when we crash.

      • Comment by The Deuce:

        This is probably true. TBH, I think that mass defaults across the world, and the chaos that goes with it, are essentially unavoidable now. Even if everyone started doing everything right at this point, I think it’s too late, but the fact is that everyone is doing the opposite.

        I’m just looking for silver linings here. To start with your list, our government soon will not be able to enforce executive orders that infringe our gun rights, will not be able to enforce bureaucratic edicts demanding that the Catholic Church violate her own edicts, and will not be able to subject us to the slavery of socialized medicine for long. And to add to that, it soon won’t be able to add more to the already ~$200,000 our children owe each (and probably will not be able to force them pay them even that), and will not be able to afford student loans to subsidize higher-ed indoctrination centers at constantly ballooning prices, and will not be able to pay enough people to torment those trying to make a living with the EPA’s arbitrary rulings, and will not be able to throw away our hard-earned money to fund Solyndras and banks while destroying actually productive industries, etc, etc, etc

        Even the USA’s peace-keeping missions are being rapidly replaced by our ill-conceived terrorist-state-funding missions, and the post-WWII occupations were never supposed to be permanent anyhow.

        Look, my preference would be that the USA would come to her senses, and just stop the runaway spending and the creeping tyranny, shutting down all harmful and useless government bureaucracies and agencies overnight and firing the czars, and overturning all unjust laws that infringe on our rights. And that’s not just my preference; it’s what would be objectively best for us and for the world.

        But it’s clear that this isn’t the trajectory we’re on, and that nobody in a position of power is even *considering* that trajectory. It looks to me like we’re determined to follow this trajectory to its conclusion, and that nothing will break us out of it except experiencing the consequences.

        Imagine, if you will, that this country were in the same situation it is now, with the same laws and bureaucracies and everything, and with Barack Obama as President, except that it somehow had a $17 trillion surplus for him to burn through instead of a $17 trillion debt.

        How much evil could the Ruling Class do with all that money to pay for it? Where would we be in 10 years? We’d be funding programs to euthanize the elderly and abort children after birth, and legalizing sexual abuse of children by government elites, I wager. We’d probably be making birth control practically mandatory, and beating unemployed men down even further in ever-more-absurd schemes to close the nonexistent “gender wage gap,” with our women ever more miserable and corrupt and at the predatorial mercy of the “sexual revolution.” We’d probably have 60%+ of the population brainwashed and dependent on the government. We’d be reducing the productive, manufacturing economy to no more than a husk, and spending the money on the politicians’ self-dealing “green” pursuits and unions. We’d be making war on every last vestige of the church and the functional family, with social chaos and crime spiraling out of control, and with technocratic government “solutions” constantly being created to contain it. We’d be funding Islamic insanity even more lavishly than we are now.

        And we’d probably keep doing all that stuff until we went broke and couldn’t afford it anymore, just as we will now.

        From my perspective, if it’s a foregone conclusion that this is where we’re going, and that nothing is going to turn this freight train around except that brick wall it’s hurtling toward, it’s better that it gets there before it picks up too much speed. At least that way, when it’s time for us to pick up the pieces, there will be more intact remnants of our civilization left to put back together. And I would prefer that I be the one to deal with the fallout more than my son.

        Again, I would like if we could turn this thing around, but if that’s not going to happen, then it’s actually a blessing in disguise for us to become bankrupt sooner rather than later, because it limits how out-of-control the tyranny can get in the meantime, and increases the chance that there will still be something resembling the United States Of America to be rescued from the ashes.

  14. Comment by ronvanwegen:

    This is of interest…

    “The day before defense secretary Leon Panetta announced the lifting of the ban on women in combat, Jennifer Norris, an air force veteran and rape survivor, testified before a congressional panel into one of the worst sexual scandals in military history.”

  15. Ping from I couldn’t say it better | On the North River:

    […] My theory is that if American women are such helpless ninnies that they cannot save enough pin money… […]

  16. Comment by Dirigibletrance:

    I would also like to point out that the movie was not even originally going to be titled “Starship Troopers” at all. The original title was going to be “Bug Hunt on Moon 9” or something similar to that. Verhoeven acquired the liscense to the Starship Troopers IP during product, and decided to change the name because he thought it would allow the movie to sell better (which it did).

    He does not care about Heinlien’s work, and has said so in interviews. He was excited about making a movie with his friend Phil Tippet (who was the guy who designed the Bugs, I think) and showing hordes of soldiers engaging in messy slaughter with said same bugs. Powered Armor was discarded as an idea for the movie very quickly after they acquired the liscense, as Verhoeven felt that theme had already been explored sufficiently in anime and video games.

    A tremendous shame on so many levels.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      In my house, where I fall to the ground frothing and yodeling if anyone refers to the Movie That Must Not Be Named as “Starship Troopers” we are in the habit of calling it BUG WARS. I am aghast that my jest mocking the filthy little film struck so close to the truth of the matter. BUG HUNT? Some things are beyond parody.

  17. Comment by Bobby Trosclair:

    many, if not most, women are courageous and can endure considerable pain and discomfort, and that most good women would fight to their death to protect their children and other innocent people. They are very capable of carrying out most of the technical tasks in the modern military. It speaks well of the patriotism of many women that they seek a chance to serve.

    But that’s not what we’re talking about in the combat arms – infantry, armor, artillery, special operations. There is a reason that warplanners have begun to call those in such positions “combat athletes” – the physical demands, as well as the emotional and spiritual demands, are overwhelming. While exceptionally physical talented women might be able to endure the demands of those tasks – carrying a rucksack that weighs over 100 pounds cross-country, lifting and loading artillery shells, pulling a track off a tank, all while armed and dangerous men are trying to kill you, for months on end – the vast majority of women are not capable of doing that. Even the woman who prides herself on being able to run a marathon, backpack the Appalachian Trail, or earn a black belt in Krav Maga. It’s a whole different ball game when your life, and the lives of others, depends on your being able to perform to standard. Many men aren’t even capable of doing this, but statistically, men are more likely to have the physical attributes to do so. The cumulative physical cost of such efforts takes a toll that the young male body is more able to endure – collapsed arches, blown-out knees, ruptured discs, are common overuse injuries in the combat arms, but they have a disproportionate impact on young women who have just begun Basic Training — the first and least demanding of the progression of schools that a combat arms soldier must accomplish.

    In today’s warzone, the combat arms leader, especially special operations soldiers, also have to deal with foreign nationals who regard women as mere chattel, and who would recoil at the shame of taking advice or orders from a mere woman. That’s not right, but it is what it is, and you are in their country. If a combat arms leader is to be effective, he has to be able to deal with foreign nationals who do not and will never respect female soldiers. Most jihadi enemy combatants would consider group sexual assault as fitting punishment for a woman who opposes him, or who is just in his presence or his country bearing arms. The horrible gang rape the female CNN reporter experienced during the victory celebrations in Egypt would probably be mild in comparison to what a captured female American soldier would experience.

    The combat soldier also has to live in close quarters with other young males in the field – there are no separate shower facilities, or latrine facilities, and the field soldier’s latrine is often a hole in the ground and the occasional bathing facility may be wet wipes or if lucky, a hose down along with the rest of the platoon.

    One must also have, and be willing to bear the spiritual cost, of having to kill other young men, often in extreme close quarters, and to bear the emotional cost of ordering your own young men to take actions that may cause them to die. And to do this day after bloody day, while separated from the support of your family and your friends, including your children. And to possibly deal with the loss of a leg or legs, loss of an arm or arms, loss of bodily movement and function, and the emotional and physical long-term effects of PTSD as a reward for your service.

    So, what is the pressing need to add all these burdens on the American female soldier? Are all the female enlisted and non-coms demanding the right? No. Most are very familiar with the demands of combat arms and did not join to be Willie and Joe in the trenches. The demand for combat experience is coming from a rather small group of vocal female officers, who see their promotion opportunities reduced by their inability to obtain combat experience.

    It is less about the needs of the service, or making their service more effective, than it is about the personal ambitions and ego of these female officers – many of whom have a willing ear on Capitol Hill. As well as a bunch of cheerleaders in the media, almost none of whom are actual veterans.

    As an example, see the current demands to admit women into Ranger School. Ranger School is an incredibly demanding (physically, emotionally, mentally) combat leadership school within the U.S. Army. It has maintained its standards for decades. It has a very high failure rate, about 50%. It can also be very important for advancement within the officer corps of the Army – 90% of high-ranking Infantry officers are Ranger qualified. As such, female officers are increasingly demanding the right to attend, and with Panetta and Obama allowing women into the infantry, there will be pressure to allow them to attend.

    As Stephen Kilcullen pointed out in his article in the WSJ (…376681662.html), Ranger School is not supposed to be a career advancement school – it is supposed to be a school that teaches leaders how to lead soldiers to victory in armed combat. The careerism demonstrated by such a change would be pernicious, in that the goal of facilitating the advancement of women in the Army will inevitably lead to a change in the Ranger School’s standards. Which means that not only that women who cannot physically handle the current standards will start to pass, but so will men who cannot handle the current standards – or you will have two sets of standards, which female officers will see as demeaning. In microcosm, this is what will happen to the entire U.S. military.

    If your son goes to war, do you want his leader to be an officer who was under the old or the new Ranger standards? If the fate of your country’s survival may depend on the actions of your military’s combat leaders, do you want them to have passed the toughest school or the best school?

    As Thucydides said, “We must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.”

    The military has always taught that the essence of leadership can be taught as “Mission, Men, Me” – in that order. Your priorities are to accomplish your mission, then look after the needs of the soldiers under your command, and then, and only then, your own needs and goals. The best leaders in our history have always followed this. The female officers who see their own need for a combat command as overriding all other demands have subverted this to “Me, Me, Me.”

    Catholics who see an analog in this situation to the demand by some for the ordination of female priestesses in the Church, and the demand for egotistic personal advancement over the good of the organization, are quite correct.

    • Comment by Dirigibletrance:

      Unfortunately, while Ranger school is not supposed to be a career advancement school, the fact is that it is. The more tabs you have on your uniform, the more likely you will be to get promoted.

      I hadn’t thought about the fact that much of this maybe simply be some female officers trying to break a glass ceiling. While abstractly I can respect their wishes for equal treatment, the military is not the same as the corporate or music world or what have you. In other places, glass ceilings have existed due to prejudice. In the military, it is a matter of life and death and safety.

      So, while their motivations may be understandable, they obviously have not considered the consequences of their actions in the long run.

  18. Comment by Bobby Trosclair:

    John – O/T but maybe of interest – on the Patheos blog “Unequally Yoked” by Leah Libresco, a recent convert from atheism to Catholicism, she has a long post by a “Darren,” who proposes a non-religiously based system of secular humanist morality:

    The conclusions he draws from his propositions seem more than a little logically suspect, and Darren’s attempts to combine Old Testament phrasing with slacker verbal tropes grows a little tiresome over the prolonged length of the essay, but he cites your novel “The Golden Age” as well as Greg Egan’s “Permutation City” (with which I am unfamiliar) as one of the sources for his system. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    • Comment by The Ubiquitous:

      He has a comment in which he in particular calls out The Golden Age, in which he replies to the existing refutations.

      • Comment by John C Wright:

        His comment mentions my book, but I did not see where he draws an conclusions from that book to his system.

        Since I wrote the book when I was an atheist, I am pleased rather than embarrassed if it helps him put his mental house in order.

        If he follows the path of philosophy long enough, he will find, as I did, to his shock and surprise, that philosophy properly pursued leads toward Christianity, or at least toward the pre-Christian pagan ideals of an Unmoved Mover, a Prime Idea of the Good, and the cardinal virtues.

        At that point, it is impossible to be loyal to a Leftwing worldview, and it is too civilized for a Jihadist worldview (Islam is merely a barbaric and simplistic form of Arian Catholicism) and the Judaeochristian worldview is the only major worldview on stage at this period of history to compete for one’s loyalty. Modern Virtuous Pagans end up as Christians, or, at least, as fans and supporters of the Western Christian tradition.

        Much as I admire libertarianism or other secular forms of classical liberal thinking, they are difficult to reconcile with the experience of life and the needs of the human soul. Old libertarians tend either to see the logic of social conservatism, that is to say, self-control in personal matters, and grow into Judaeochristian tradition, or to blindly follow the principle of selfish greed into the political arena and slip toward socialism.

        I do not express these two options as equally valid because I do not think the ground is level. One is ascending the mountain toward truth, the other is tobogganing while snoring off the snowy brink into the abyss.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      No doubt when I find the time I will look over the material. Until then, let me make a preliminary comment: I have never doubted that atheists can make up perfectly valid and logical moral systems without God which will support the classical virtues of fortitude, justice, prudence and temperance, because all those virtues are merely a matter of logic as applied to human action. One only needs God to explain and admire acts of extraordinary self sacrifice, faith and hope and charity.

      • Comment by Tom Simon:

        The trouble is that atheists are far better at making up moral systems than at living up to them. If I may be permitted to quote from my own piece ‘The Terminal Orc’:

        What all the great secular systems of ethics have in common (apart from their content, in which all of them are remarkably similar) is the fewness of their followers. It takes considerable intelligence, education, and willpower to be a successful Stoic, or Utilitarian, or to live strictly by the ethical precepts of Confucius or Buddha. In a sense it is true that Good can be identified with enlightened self-interest; the trouble is that so very few people are enlightened. Most of us do not have the intellectual prowess for that kind of enlightenment, and those who need it most do not even desire it.

        Napoleon spoke of ‘two o’clock in the morning courage’, the cold courage that is trained into a man’s bones and will allow him to act bravely in no matter what adversity. Hardly anybody is born with such courage, and most people never acquire it. To truly follow a purely secular ethical code we need two o’clock in the morning enlightenment: the ability to see, through the clamour of our desires and fears, what is the wise thing to do in each situation we encounter. And we need the courage as well, or we will not be able to go through with some of the actions we know are necessary. But we need to have a good-sized portion of enlightenment before we can even understand the need to be enlightened. Not many of us get that far without the sanctions of some religion or other. In this sense it is quite true that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It is not the only possible beginning, but even today it remains the usual one.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          No doubt the number of seculars who fall short of their Stoic or Buddhist of Utilitarian precepts roughly the same as the number of Christians who fall short of Christian ethics. Unfortunately, the Stoics do not have a Stoic Spirit which infuses them from heaven to sustain them in their cold hours of grief and temptation, nor are their Stoic churches of their friends and neighbors who will by prayer and public confession chide them when their zeal flags. All this is true. The God of the Philosophers is remote and cold and answers no prayers. All this is true.

          But my comment, as a recovering atheist, is that atheists are not necessarily unable to justify their moral codes on purely logical and secular grounds. I had a well reasoned system starting from first principles which led to the same common principles of natural law any Thomist would admit.

          The only oddity from the Christian viewpoint is that such a secular system can justify prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice, but invert the higher virtues, praising self-interest over charity, skepticism over faith, cynicism over hope.

          • Comment by Tom Simon:

            No doubt the number of seculars who fall short of their Stoic or Buddhist of Utilitarian precepts roughly the same as the number of Christians who fall short of Christian ethics.

            Actually, the number of seculars who fall short of their Stoic or Buddhist or Utilitarian precepts is roughly one-thousandth the number of Christians who fall short of Christian ethics. If you are a Christian and fall short of Christ, you know what you are falling short of and the standard remains, untouched and unimpeachable. If you subscribe to a system of secular ethics and fall short of Zeno or Bentham or what have you, you just cancel your subscription, and subscribe to something with lower standards. The trouble with secular systems of ethics is that anyone can make one up, and there is no compelling reason to prefer one over another. It is fatally easy to pretend that (for instance) a ‘morality’ of unbridled hedonism and sexual permissiveness is just as good as the Nicomachean Ethics, or better; and in fact huge numbers of self-styled intellectuals do exactly that.

  19. Ping from Plenty of challenges, but not a few graces too! | Followers of the Way:

    […] C. Wright is a regular blogger (not like here….) and has posted a lengthy, but worthy critique of the move to allow women on the front lines of combat. His reference to Starship Troopers rings especially true. I remember feeling the same […]

  20. Ping from Lightning Round – 2013/01/30 « Free Northerner:

    […] on women in the military. He’s correct on all points, but I’m not sure I agree with his final position for Vox’s […]

  21. Comment by shonirue:

    What so many comments are missing is the fact that the distinction of combat and non combat roles are disappearing. In modern warfare, women have taken and returned fire. They have dragged fellow soldiers out of harms way. They have been injured by the enemy – and yet none of this has been called combat.

    This is not so much a change as an acknowledgment of reality, however unfortunate one may find it. With this red tape removed women will receive the same compensation as men for facing the same dangers.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Compensation? Do you think all this argument is merely about hazardous duty pay?

      • Comment by shonirue:

        That is a nontrivial part of it.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Do you feel no twinge of conscience when you advocate that men in a unit sharing a billet with women should be exposed to greater danger, and should be wounded, maimed and killed, so that she could get more pay in her envelope?

          If this is what you mean, please tell me in so many words that you believe that money is more important than human life and regimental honor, just so that all will read and know the loathsome moral plane those which support your posturing operate.

    • Comment by Foxfier:

      If you think that is what has been pushed forward, you have been greatly misinformed.

      Combat jobs are those that are put into situations specifically to be in combat.

      Anyone that is in a combat zone, on the other hand, might face combat– that’s why there is pay for the specific zone.

      This is not an “acknowledgment of reality;” whoever told you so was either lying or incorrect. This is taking the unfortunate reality that non-combat personnel have been in combat and using it as justification for putting more of them into combat situations, regardless of how it impacts the mission.

      The sad reality is that inside the military, the big push is from female officers who want to be able to check the “combat command” box on their promotion sheets, and to hell with how many enlisted die or suffer bad health effects.

      • Comment by shonirue:

        That is part of what has been put forward. And it is an important part for the women who have been injured in service to their country. I do not disagree that putting more women into combat situations is unfortunate – I am not happy that anyone goes into combat.

        As for the “big push from female officers” who just want to be promoted – that is important too. Too many women are being raped in the military. Too many women are told to cover it up. Too many who are accused are not brought to justice, and too many accusers are punished. More women in the command structure will be an important part of changing this. For better or worse command and combat are currently inseparable.

        • Comment by Foxfier:

          And it is an important part for the women who have been injured in service to their country.

          No, it is not.

          Where on earth are you getting the idea that being shot by the enemy is treated differently depending on what your job is?

          Too many who are accused are not brought to justice, and too many accusers are punished.

          You are…*considers the host’s sensibilities* full of fresh organic fertilizer.

          My roommate falsely accused a guy of rape.

          The only reason he was not punished was because it was shown to be physically impossible– since he was not only in a different state at the time of the supposed assault, he was on a flightline in front of a handful of high ranking officers at the time.

          She was not punished at all, and the other accusations she’d thrown about were not stricken from the files of those she’d accused.

          You should be ashamed to spread such falsehoods.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          So, your solution to decreasing the number of rapes in the military is to put women into situations of greater danger and severity, under harsher conditions, to do a task that they are physically unable to do, and which, if done poorly, will result in the death of their squadmates, of civilians, and the losses to the United States?

          And you also wish to see women in the military paid more.

          Allow me to suggest a better method for achieving these goals is to agitate for pay raises in the military, and to argue in favor for the death penalty for rape. You see, if these policies were carried out, there is no risk of yet another round of large scale death caused by moral preening and by the arrogant contempt for reality which characterizes Politically Correct thinking emotional displays.

          The military operates by the rules of harsh reality. Civilian life is a small island of peace and justice and unreality which operates because of the military surrounding it. In civilian life, demanding women who cannot perform a task should be given pay equal to men who perform the task is feasible, because society can afford to waste the money on such inefficiencies and no one’s life hangs in the balance. In harsh reality, demanding women who cannot perform a task be treated as if they can, in order to achieve some remote side effects having to do with rape and paychecks, costs life and victory, and more importantly, honor.

          In reality, if and only if the military units are asking and demanding to put women into combat roles in order to increase unit cohesion, combat readiness, and the ability of the unit to kill the enemy, would this demand be moral and decent. For the selfish individual to make the demand that the unit suffer for her sake is immoral and indecent and hysterical.

          What you are saying is not merely impractical and imprudent. What you are saying is evil. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          So, your solution to decreasing the number of rapes in the military is to put women into situations of greater danger and severity, under harsher conditions, to do a task that they are physically unable to do, and which, if done poorly, will result in the death of their squadmates, of civilians, and the losses to the United States?

          And you also wish to see women in the military paid more.

          Allow me to suggest a better method for achieving these goals is to agitate for pay raises in the military, and agitation for the death penalty for rape. You see, if these policies were carried out, there is no risk of yet another round of large scale death caused by moral preening and by the arrogant contempt for reality which characterizes Politically Correct thinking emotional displays.

          The military operates by the rules of harsh reality. Civilian life is a small island of peace and justice which operated because of the military surrounding it like a wall. In Civilian life, demanding women who cannot perform a task should be given pay equal to men who perform the task is feasible, because society can afford to waste the money on such inefficiencies and no one life hangs in the balance. In harsh reality, demanding women who cannot perform a task be treated as if they can costs life and victory.

          In reality, if and only if the military units are asking and demanding to put women into combat roles in order to increase unit cohesion, combat readiness, and the ability of the unit to kill the enemy, then to make the demand is moral and decent. For the selfish individual to make the demand that the unit suffer for her sake is immoral and indecent.

          What you are saying is not merely impractical and imprudent. What you are saying is evil. You should be ashamed of yourself.

          • Comment by shonirue:

            I do not accept the premise that women are automatically a liability in combat. Nor do I accept that serving in combat is something women are physically unable to do (they have been serving unofficially in combat for some time now). As this appears to be the premise of your objections, I do not think we have much further to discuss, though do feel free to elaborate further on those points.

            If I may, I would like to correct one of your assumptions of my position. I do not want women to be paid more (though I do think a pay raise in the military may be due for everyone). I want everyone to be paid according to their service. Women have been injured in combat. Women have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because it was not called combat they were denied not only hazard pay, but services and health benefits and, yes, promotions.

            • Comment by Foxfier:

              I do not accept the premise that women are automatically a liability in combat.

              As you offer no argument other than your lack of acceptance, I do not accept your lack of acceptance as being of any more worth than your repeated falsehoods.

              Hazardous Duty pay is authorized any time you are stationed in a hazardous duty zone.

              Injury by the enemy is not classified differently if you are a cook or a grunt.

              That you think it’s just fine for enlisted women to die to improve the promotion chances of female officers is not something to brag about.

              • Comment by John C Wright:

                I could have named this piece “It is Ugly When Women Want to Fight” — look at the kind of argument which is made from the feminist viewpoint in order to maintain the pretense that it is some sort of social injustice or act of oppression to save our daughters from the hell of war.

                Look at the ugly, ugly kind of things “Shonirue” is forced to say and to pretend to believe merely to make the argument. That the army is full of rapists, and that the only way to stop the rapists is to put women in command positions?

                I had no idea the army was so full of rapists! By this logic, we must immediately exclude women from all armed services, for if we do not we are complicit with vile sexual assault.

                Perhaps we can make an exception of the Air Force, because fighter-jocks are too effete to offer women insult or outrage. (Sorry. Mean joke. Son of a Naval Aviator. Intraservice rivalry at times rears its ungainly head.)

                • Comment by shonirue:

                  The defense department estimates about 1 in 3 women in the military are sexually assaulted – twice the civilian rate, and certainly not something to trivialize. Putting women in command roles is by no means the only way to “stop the rapists,” but it is one way to help. Another would be, as you say, to stop women from being in the military at all. That is of course a valid position. Indeed, it also solves the quandary of serving in combat, as the distinction has become less and less meaningful.

                  You suggest it is ugly when women want to fight. What about wanting to serve and protect?

                  • Comment by Foxfier:

                    Source? Same as your false claim about hazard pay? Daily Kos? Someone On The Internet? My former roommate?

                    You claim that the DOD made the estimate, so it should be rather easy to offer an actual citation, especially since there are yearly reports.

                    Incidentally, “one in three” is also the commonly claimed statistic for sexual assault for college women; one in six is the commonly claimed attempted rape rate for the entire female population of the US. (The DOD’s use of the term “address a range of crimes including rape, aggravated sexual assault, wrongful sexual contact, non-consensual sodomy, abusive sexual contact, aggravated sexual contact, and indecent assault.”)

              • Comment by shonirue:

                Thank you for your reply! I apologize for not being more clear. I do not accept that premise because women have been serving in combat for some time now. Rather than being labeled a liability, women have been attached to units currently in combat. The fact that this has continued to be the case indicates that their service has been satisfactory. I, for one, appreciate it.

                As for the combat pay, I yield to your experience.

                Would you mind explaining your last statement? I believe this move will allow enlisted women to have the same chances as enlisted men at promotion. I do not believe the deaths of enlisted men or women have ever been regarded as stepping stones to the promotion of their respectively gendered officers. Thank you in advance.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              One of the odd pleasures of the modern age is the need to explain the obvious to the oblivious.

              From the report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (report date November 15, 1992, published in book form by Brassey’s in 1993): “The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength… An Army study of 124 men and 186 women done in 1988 found that women are more than twice as likely to suffer leg injuries and nearly five times as likely to suffer [stress] fractures as men.”

              Further: “The Commission heard an abundance of expert testimony about the physical differences between men and women that can be summarized as follows:

              “Women’s aerobic capacity is significantly lower, meaning they cannot carry as much as far as fast as men, and they are more susceptible to fatigue.

              “In terms of physical capability, the upper five percent of women are at the level of the male median. The average 20-to-30 year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man.”

              From the same report: “Lt Col. William Gregor, United States Army, testified before the Commission regarding a survey he conducted at an Army ROTC Advanced Summer Camp on 623 women and 3540 men. …Evidence Gregor presented to the Commission includes:

              “(a) Using the standard Army Physical Fitness Test, he found that the upper quintile of women at West point achieved scores on the test equivalent to the bottom quintile of men.

              “(c) Only 21 women out of the initial 623 (3.4%) achieved a score equal to the male mean score of 260.

              “(d) On the push-up test, only seven percent of women can meet a score of 60, while 78 percent of men exceed it.

              “(e) Adopting a male standard of fitness at West Point would mean 70 percent of the women he studied would be separated as failures at the end of their junior year, only three percent would be eligible for the Recondo badge, and not one would receive the Army Physical Fitness badge….”

              The following, quoted by Brian Mitchell in his book Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster (Regnery, 1998) and widely known to students of the military, are results of a test the Navy did to see how well women could perform in damage control — i.e., tasks necessary to save a ship that had been hit.

              Also from the Commission’s report: “Non-deployability briefings before the Commission showed that women were three times more non-deployable than men, primarily due to pregnancy, during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. According to Navy Captain Martha Whitehead’s testimony before the Commission, ‘the primary reason for the women being unable to deploy was pregnancy, that representing 47 percent of the women who could not deploy.'”

              Study the following chart. The first column is the women failure rate out of a hundred before training. The second column is the women failure rate after. The third is the men failure rate before training. The fourth is the men failure rate after. Note particularly the 4 percent failure rate after training for men carrying a large pump down a ladder, compared to the 99 percent failure rate for women after training.

              Stretcher carry, level……….63…38…0…0
              Stretcher carry up/down….94…88…0…0
              Fire hose………………….19….6…0…0
              P250 pump, carry down…99…99…9…4
              P250 pump, carry up…….73…52…0…0
              P250, start pump………….90…75…0…0
              Remove SSTO pump……..99…99…0…0
              Torque engine bolt………78…47…0…0

              If you wish for women injured in combat to be paid hazard pay, then agitate for that. Placing women in combat billets in order to correct for a pay policy shows a reckless disregard for the needs of the unit.

              I have given you several paragraphs of evidence, with proper cites so you can look up and confirm the conclusions yourself. Now you give me one paragraph of evidence, one line, one word, showing me that the regiment and the unit need and want women in combat because that will help the unit to perform its mission.

              If you cannot, then please admit that your argument places the desires of the individual above the needs of the unit and the mission, which would therefore show that you neither understand the military nor understand basic moral sense.

              • Comment by John Hutchins:

                Stress fracture is interesting, it is what ended up washing out one of the women that they put into Marine officer training (the one that made it past the first day of training).

                I wonder why they had the Marines doing those studies last year if they already knew the answer of 3%.

              • Comment by shonirue:

                Ooh, data! And I love that word, quintile.

                I think you have misunderstood my premise – that is my fault, for being too brief. By no means do I believe that standards should be lowered for women. I do believe that those women who can meet those standards should be given every opportunity to serve. By your own data (and thank you for the citations, good form), women can meet those standards. Point (e) for example – 30 % of women could in fact pass the male fitness standards (while the other points do a very good job of showing disparity, they do not discuss minimum qualifications, and so do not answer for our purposes here).

                I am not arguing that women are as strong, or stronger than men. I am arguing that extraordinary women who can meet the physical requirements and are prepared to face the possibility of stress injuries should be given the chance to serve. Your own data proves that women can meet those requirements.

                I will revise my statement, upon reflection. I do not accept the premise that all women are physically incapable of serving in combat.

                As for evidence that women in combat will help the unit – they already have. As women have not, until this point, been allowed to officially serve in combat, there were no quotas to fill. Quite the opposite. And yet women were attached to combat units – in patrols, as pilots, as medics, armed and under fire – to fill needed positions – and they served successfully and with honor. Removing this restriction will restore command structure, improve order, fill needed positions within the ranks, and allow our military to continue on an all volunteer basis.

                I do believe we have argued ourselves in a circle, and I will sign off on a personal note with you, Mr. Wright. You have labeled my words as evil, ugly, and on a loathsome moral plane, told me that I should be ashamed, accused me of lacking honor and understanding and basic moral sense. These very personal remarks are unnecessary, unkind, and most certainly unworthy of your otherwise exemplary writing.

                In all sincerity, however, thank you for your time! This debate has certainly given me a lot to think about – and really, that is what debate is all about. Best.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  By your own data (and thank you for the citations, good form), women can meet those standards.

                  This is certainly an impressive falsehood, considering that we are both looking at the same data, and which are unambiguous. I would compliment you on your awe-inspiring nonchalance, except that we are discussing something serious, or, at least, I am.

                  Perhaps we can stand under a noonday sun sometime soon, and you can tell me it is midnight at that spot and time, and do it without cracking a smile.

                  You say that you would welcome women in combat roles if the standards were not lowered. But this is a display of galling ignorance on your part. When General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was asked if women will be able to meet the physical standards set for certain roles, he replied that the burden will be on the service to explain why the standards have to be so high, or lower the standards so that women can meet them. Please read the news:

                  I have not argued myself in a circle. You made an outrageously false statement, and when confronted with contrary data, merely pretend it does not exist. And then you stated your conclusion again, which is, indeed, a circular argument.

                  My remarks about the vile evil you are promoting, and your lack of shame, were not personal at all. You are simply uttering something you know or should know to be false, for reason which shows a contemptuous disregard for reality, logic, truth, and honesty. It would be wrong of me not to be appalled, and wrong not to say so.

                  It is your remarks, and not you yourself, I condemn. You yourself I know nothing of, neither your sex nor age nor sobriety.

                  If you recommend that brave young men die to affirm what is basically a posture of bogus moral preening, this is objectively evil. It is no more rude nor personal for me to say so that to say that an elephant outweighs a rat.

                  But I will end with a personal remark, and a plea for sanity:

                  You are trapped in a thought prison called political correctness. You can tell it is a prison if, upon examination, you find you have no intellectual methods for coming to conclusions opposite of your current conclusions. If no hypothetical argument nor evidence could possibly change your mind, then your world view has stolen from you the mental tools needed to change position in light of new facts. It is a prison. You have thrown away the key.

  22. Ping from Battles Are Ugly When Women Fight « Do_While(True):

    […] can have several different meanings in modern contexts. John Wright used the line as the title of a recent post of his, talking about the Obama Administration’s decision to start assigning women soldiers to the […]

  23. Comment by John the River:

    The hand grenade story;
    I haven’t been able to find this (google) anywhere, I think I read it in “Soldier of Fortune” magazine years ago as a personal experience related by a American Veteran:

    A Congressional fact finding committee was visiting an infantry training facility. Eventually the tour arrived at the hand grenade training area. After watching the soldiers throwing practice hand grenades, a female senator complained that no female soldiers had been presented. So the question was asked of the senior drill instructor, “Why aren’t any female soldiers being trained on hand grenades?”. The DI replied,” ma’am, our testing has shown that female infantry recruits are unable to throw the standard issue hand grenade far enough to escape injury upon detonation”.

    The unnamed female senator began to complain that the army was not doing enough to integrate females into the American armed forces. The DI attempted to explain to her that it was not a gender issue. The DI explained thusly,” when the pin has been removed, Mr. Hand Grenade is no longer your friend. If you are unable to throw it far enough to be outside its lethal radius, you will be killed”.

    The senator persisted saying the army should develop a hand grenade for female soldiers.

    Reportedly, in addition to a number of red faces and tightly pursed lips. One non-com had to be treated for a hernia.

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