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Combat exclusion.

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Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:42 am
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Karzkin says...



The US Combat Exclusion Policy reads thus:

"Service members are eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they are qualified, except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground."

Australia, Britain, Greece, India, and many other countries have similar policies (interestingly though, Canada has no such policy).

There are a number of reasons for this:

- The human female skeleton is generally less dense than that of males, thus more prone to breakages.

- Human females are typically shorter, have 45 - 50% less upper body strength, and 25 - 30% less aerobic capacity (although this is a generalisation, and some women are capable of meeting the physical requirements of combat soldiers).

- Captured women are more likely to be sexually assaulted by their captors than men.

- Male Islamic militants rarely if ever surrender to female soldiers (a problem in warzones where intelligence is more valuable than numeric superiority, so a captured enemy is better than a dead one).

- The Israeli and Australian defence forces have both found that in combat situations where a woman is wounded, the men in her unit experience an uncontrollable, instinctual protective aggression, severely degrading unit cohesion and combat effectiveness. The men's priority will be to save the women rather than complete the mission. Basically, while men might be able to be programmed to kill, it is not as easy to program men to neglect women.

There are, however, a number of reasons supporting women in combat roles:

- Equality of opportunity for advancement and promotion between men and women.

- Women could more easily search and interrogate female civilians in Islamic environments (orthodox Islamic women may not speak to a man they are not married or related to).

- Female soldiers could enter the female sections of segregates mosques with less disruption and offense to the locals.

- Local populations may have a less hostile attitude to enemy female soldiers.

So, what do we all think?

Personally, I know four women in the Australian Defence Forces, and they are all pro combat exclusion. They do not feel disadvantaged, they feel they have the same opportunity for promotion, and they would prefer to not be shot at if they can possibly help it (an opinion I also share!)
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:11 am
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inkwell says...



While it may not offer ideal equality, there could be all-female groups, instead of mixing sexes so to speak. This solves the male instinct problem that many people raise. Does that make sense? It's late...
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:49 am
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Karzkin says...



Well yes Inky, but I think we'd find all-female combat teams being deployed far less frequently than male combat teams. All-female combat teams would be viewed as inferior to all-male combat teams, due to the (often true) perception that males are stronger, faster, and have better endurance than females, and (at least early on) the greater level of experience of veteran male combat teams than newly-formed female combat teams. I can think of very few situations that would specifically require an all-female combat team.
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:22 pm
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Snoink says...



Lol. An all female combat team could work if all the females had PMS simultaneously! Then, woe to the enemy. They won't stand a chance.
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Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:29 pm
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Rianne says...



they would, too. That happens to women who spend a lot of time together! (walks off and disolves into giggles...)

on the subject of females in combat, my innate feminisn says they should be allowed to, but all the points you put above are valid, and make sense. you know, I kind of DO like the idea of an all-female combat team. They would be TERRIFYING.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:13 am
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Nate says...



I heard something in the news this past week about someone bringing up the idea of all-female combat brigades. Can't be remember where though or in what context.

In any case, I think it's important to first point out that even though woman can't currently serve in combat brigades, that does not mean they don't go into harm's way. Quite the contrary. People may recall the story of Jessica Lynch who was captured by Iraqi soldiers in 2003, and hundreds of women have died in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They do get shot at, they do have guns, and they do fire back.

Personally, I'm always kind of wary of any arguments used in favor of discrimination. Many soldiers in the past have been kept from serving their country merely because of the color of their skin or because of who they are (or, in my case, because they have asthma...). But sometimes, discrimination does make sense. For example, it makes sense that my asthma caused the military to reject me when I tried joining several years ago.

With regards to women, some of those arguments that were brought up are pointless. Most of them are personal decisions that can certainly be made by the woman herself. For example, any woman can certainly decide whether the risk of sexual assault by her colleagues or by possible captors is worth it.

Although, now that I think about it, that wouldn't necessarily work. Men have no option about whether or not to serve in a combat brigade. They are told where to go, and they must obey. If women were allowed to join combat brigades, they'd either have to do what the military says or be given the option to decline their orders. In an organization like the military where equality is everything, allowing one segment of soldiers an option to decline orders based solely on their gender would not be good.

But regardless, I don't think it would really work. The problem is, you can't have completely separate facilities for each gender in a combat brigade (and in fact, this wouldn't even be desirable). And the inability to have separate facilities almost invariably leads to unintended pregnancies. That leads to the combat brigade losing a solider that is not necessarily easily replaced. On deployments, you want the solider to be there for up to a year, and even longer in some cases. Each solider in a combat brigade represents literally hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars in investment, which is why they are not easily replaced. So while many women would certainly excel in a combat brigade, it still may not be a wise policy.

Maybe I'm wrong. If I am though, it doesn't really matter. In 20 years, wars will be handled by drones, who are remotely operated by soldiers thousands of miles away.

Until, that is, the drones rebel...



As a quick note, I do again want to point out that women do serve in the military in positions that involve extremely dangerous activities. I think there's a popular perception that women are confined to a base, where they handle paperwork, work as a nurse, or do the cooking. While there certainly are women in such positions, there are also women in positions that require them to carry a gun. They lead combat forces, and they engage the enemy. They're just not part of deliberate military action (as in, planned battles that may involve days or even weeks in the field).
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:54 am
Karzkin says...



As a quick note, I do again want to point out that women do serve in the military in positions that involve extremely dangerous activities. I think there's a popular perception that women are confined to a base, where they handle paperwork, work as a nurse, or do the cooking.

Of course, you are correct Nate. Women are only excluded from units whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat with the enemy. Women can still be sailors and submariners, pilots and flight crew, drivers (although not on combat missions) and artillery crew.
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Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:51 pm
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skwmusic says...



I think there should be no combat exclusions for women, they're the same as us and should be treated as such. If a woman wants to join the military and wants to go on dangerous missions, than that is her choice,there are women who would definitely be more capable of doing it than men. Likewise, if a woman, like the ones you mention, don't want to get shot, well than they shouldn't join the military. We can't just have this double standard where "ok we're all equal but women get special treatment". I do think it is fair, however, that we list all the risks of going in as a woman. Like all those statistics and stuff. You can list all the risks you want but in reality, these are all societal constraints of the warzone.
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:01 am
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Karzkin says...



I think there should be no combat exclusions for women, they're the same as us and should be treated as such.

Did you read the original thesis? Women are not the same as men.
- The human female skeleton is generally less dense than that of males, thus more prone to breakages.

- Human females are typically shorter, have 45 - 50% less upper body strength, and 25 - 30% less aerobic capacity (although this is a generalisation, and some women are capable of meeting the physical requirements of combat soldiers).

That isn't "societal constraints", that anatomical constraints. Hard science, not "social science". If I were in a warzone and my life was in another's hands, I would want that person to kick as much ass as possible. The fact is that, on average, a man kicks more ass than a woman.
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:30 pm
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hopeispeace says...



"The fact is that, on average, a man kicks more ass than a woman."

We have a word for phrases like that. That word is 'sexist'.



"Human females are typically shorter, have 45 - 50% less upper body strength, and 25 - 30% less aerobic capacity (although this is a generalisation, and some women are capable of meeting the physical requirements of combat soldiers)."

Wait, what was that last part?

"(although this is a generalisation, and some women are capable of meeting the physical requirements of combat soldiers)"

One more time?

"this is a generalisation"

Yes, yes it is. So why is a generalization part of the basis of government policy?



"The men's priority will be to save the women rather than complete the mission. Basically, while men might be able to be programmed to kill, it is not as easy to program men to neglect women."

This whole section had me shaking my head. Not only is this a ridiculous reason to not allow women in direct combat, but not even a real reason. As humans we ALL feel protective of each other. Especially allies in war, no? It doesn't make a difference what gender person felt protective of another person.



"There are, however, a number of reasons supporting women in combat roles:

- Equality of opportunity for advancement and promotion between men and women."

If you ask me, equality should be reason enough to allow women to fight if they want to fight. If they know the risks (the scientific, proven risks) and accept them and their responsibilities, they should undoubtedly be permitted the same opportunity to serve their country.
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:39 pm
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inkwell says...



Please correct me if I have misinterpreted, but it seems to me that the consensus is, when it comes to military operations:

1. What is effective IS what is moral.
2. Women alongside men in combat is not effective.

ergo,

3. Women alongside men in combat is wrong.

OR

1. Efficiency does not determine moral questions.
2. While women alongside men in combat may not be effective, it is consistent with our moral values.

ergo,

3. Women alongside men in combat is right.
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:06 pm
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Pigeon says...



If you ask me, equality should be reason enough to allow women to fight if they want to fight.
Actually, equality is not enough reason to allow women to fight. As Nate pointed out earlier, some people are excluded because of asthma or other reasons they are physically unsuitable for the task. Women are generally physically weaker than men. That makes then less physically suitable for the task. However, I am uncomfortable with the outright exclusion of women, because as Karzkin actually pointed out:
this is a generalisation, and some women are capable of meeting the physical requirements of combat soldiers
I think all soldiers, male and female, should undergo physical tests before being deemed suitable for combat teams, with women being held to exactly the same standards that men are. This would probably mean that the vast majority of the members of the teams would be men, but it would be because they were most fit for the job, not because women had been excluded.

The problem of men wanting to protect women sounds like a discipline issue to me, or a reflection of deeply rooted sexism and chivalry in the army, something which should be overcome.

The other issues of there being greater risk for women being raped when captured, and the unlikelihood of male Islamic militants surrendering to women, may be grounds for exclusion, but only in situations which have these risks. It is not enough to make a blanket rule which excludes women from combat teams in all situations.
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:14 pm
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Snoink says...



The problem of men wanting to protect women sounds like a discipline issue to me, or a reflection of deeply rooted sexism and chivalry in the army, something which should be overcome.


Don't worry. Chivalry is on the chopping block to be destroyed, along with honor and valor.
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:19 pm
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Pigeon says...



Oops, wrong word?
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Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:56 am
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Snoink says...



Kind of. XD

As far as what is effective vs. what is moral? I think that in this case you have the materialistic philosophy clashing with something else.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

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