Why Women Should NEVER Fight in the Front Lines

Well first and foremost because it's still a colossally stupid idea:
One staff sergeant worried that the Marine Corps’ high standards would have to be lowered if women were assigned to combat. Other Marines in the group agreed, warning that women would not be accepted by their male counterparts living in spartan wartime conditions, or that family lives would suffer, especially for those female Marines hoping to have children...
All 15 were forthright, even bold, in expressing their views on a contentious issue with the secretary of defense. 
And all 15 of the Marines were women.
 ...
“I think it’s safe to say there is going to be more sexual assault and harassment when females do go into these organizations that are predominantly men,” a first sergeant said. “It just seems it’s not a great time for all of these things to happen. I do not like the thought whatsoever of having females – whether first sergeants or privates – in an infantry unit.” 
Mr. Hagel asked why that decision should not be left to each individual Marine. “Do you think we should foreclose an opportunity for a young female Marine who wants to try to join if she can fulfill the criteria?” he asked. After all, he said, the American military is all-volunteer. 
“I haven’t met a female Marine or a female in general who is standing up and shouting, ‘I want to be infantry,’” one captain said. 
... 
“Equality is good but not if you lower standards,” another Marine said. “Let’s face it, males and females have different physical ability.”
[Emphasis mine]

I want to deal specifically with the two statements I have emphasised above. The first statement is about the fact that front-line combat is fought by men- yes, men- who have volunteered to put themselves there. Whether you agree with a specific cassus belli or not, when that first bullet goes past your head or buries itself in the body of your comrade, politics and philosophy go straight to hell- all that matters is that someone has attacked you and your brothers, and you have accepted voluntary responsibility to protect them with your body and your life. If you can't accept that responsibility- and it would appear that women want nothing whatsoever to do with that responsibility- then you have absolutely no bloody business telling the rest of us that you should be given something you cannot and will not handle. If you are a woman reading this, and you advocate putting women in front-line combat, ask yourself one very simple question: are you willing to fight and potentially die to protect your brothers and sisters on the ground? It's that simple. If you cannot or will not accept that women on the front lines are directly responsible for the lives of their comrades, then you are no better than the bastard politicians who put brave fighting men in harm's way in the first place for causes that have nothing to do with them.

The second statement concerns physical abilities and standards. I have more than a passing interest in this. Recently I had the immense honour and privilege of watching candidates test for Yellow Belt and then Orange Belt qualifications in Krav Maga, on two separate occasions. Since I first watched a Krav Maga test back in August, I resolved to be present at as many tests as possible, in order to show honour and give respect that is rightly due to those who willingly put themselves through the trials, and so that I may honour the traditions of an art that I have come to revere.

Last weekend I watched as one girl qualified for Orange Belt- and make no mistake, this is a very difficult test. It involves far more material at a much more difficult level than Yellow Belt- far more combative techniques, much more complicated defensive techniques, the addition of a shadow-boxing session that is basically a choreographed dance of sorts, and the addition of a sparring component in the form of boxing and blocking punches and kicks. This girl did pretty well overall- I'll be the first to state that- but I was greatly struck by the way things went when it came time to go to doubles and go through the combat exercises. The final part of the test consisted of a boxing exercise against a partner who was male, significantly taller, and as a natural consequence quite a lot stronger. For comparison, he was basically roughly 1.5x her size- and he wasn't really all that big, muscular, or fast.

The contrast could not be more obvious. It was clear that no matter how fast the girl was, she was quickly being overwhelmed by the reach, speed, and power of her opponent. And her opponent- a Yellow Belt- was pulling his punches. All he had to do was hit her with a single hard straight jab to the head and she'd have been out. While he could block and deflect her punches with ease, she could barely stop him from getting through her guard and spent much of her time "covering"- that's what boxers do when they bring their gloves right up against their faces in an attempt to deflect jabs and roundhouses to their heads.

Do not mistake my intent here. I do not take anything away from the girl who passed that test, or from anyone else who takes and passes a Krav Maga test at any level. It was an extremely physical test that would have taxed even someone as fit as me- by the time she was done, she was basically a puddle of sweat on the mat. She demonstrated great proficiency in the techniques of the art at the level that she needed to show them, and I have nothing but admiration and respect for those who achieve these distinctions in the art.

What I am saying is that even if you removed the size differential, the outcome would not have changed. Against a man of similar height and weight, she would still have come off second best.

There is no question in my mind that she was judged by a different set of standards than she would have been if she were male. If she were a man, she would have been criticised for her (lack of) speed- since women simply don't have as much fast-twitch muscle fibre as men do. She also would have been criticised for letting so many punches through during the sparring round. And there is no question that her opponent would have been vastly more aggressive during the segment involving blocks against punches and kicks.

The point of this little narrative is to demonstrate the vast gap in physical strength and power between men and women. And make no mistake- it is vast. You will almost never meet a woman my size- I stand roughly 180cm tall and weigh something like 80kg- who is in the kind of shape I'm in and who can hit even half as hard as I can. Yet, that is exactly the kind of woman you want serving on the front lines, if you must have them serving at all- someone who can deal with the physical burden of combat and not collapse completely under those demands.

Given that those who advocate having women in combat don't seem to understand this basic truth, you have to wonder whether they understand the difference between is and ought at all. And never forget that what is will always win out against what ought to be.

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