A hammer and a screwdriver are different tools designed for different jobs. Is the hammer better than the screwdriver? No. Is a screwdriver better than a hammer? Of course not! Can you use a screwdriver as a hammer? Maybe, but it won’t work as well. Who is better, men or women? The answer to that question is “Yes!” A man is infinitely superior to a woman at being a man, and a woman is infinitely superior to a man at being a woman. Men and women are different—by design. Neither is superior to the other, but they are very, very different.
One can easily conceive that in…striving to equalize one sex with the other, one degrades them both; and that from this coarse mixture of nature’s works, only weak men and disreputable women can ever emerge.
—Alexis de Tocqueville—
In the Republican presidential debate that took place last Saturday evening, February 6, 2016, at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz directed a very important question to Marco Rubio about women in the military.
Martha Raddatz: I want to move on to the military. Senator Rubio, all restrictions on women in combat as long as they qualify. Positions including special operations forces, like Navy Seals. Just this week military leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said that they believed young women, just as young men are required to do, should sign up for Selective Service in case the Draft is reinstated.
Many of you have young daughters. Senator Rubio, should young women be required to sign up for Selective Service in case of a national emergency?
After Rubio answered, two other candidates, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, responded to the question as well. Another candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, made a statement about supporting veterans, but in it he did not directly answer the question Raddatz had asked. Watch the exchange.
Unfortunately, each of the three candidates who spoke about drafting women framed his answer, to one degree or another, in terms of the feel good, politically correct narrative of equal opportunity, equal ability, and fulfilling one’s potential. Amazingly, Governor Bush didn’t seem to see the connection between being required to sign up for a draft and being conscripted to serve in the military! While for many years the United States hasn’t had a draft, we would be foolish to assume it never will need to be reinstated.
The answers of all three candidates—Rubio, Bush, and Christie—represent political correctness run amok. Note that Donald Trump also has stated he would support women’s serving in combat roles, though he did qualify his position somewhat.
We need to understand that combat in warfare is not primarily an opportunity to fulfill one’s potential or to accomplish everything of which one is capable. As the editors of National Review state,
Ground combat is barbaric. Even today, men grapple with men, killing each other with anything they can find. Returning veterans describe countless incidents of hand-to-hand combat with jihadists.… In his book about the Battle of Ganjgal, Into the Fire, Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer describes just such an encounter with a Taliban fighter. The Taliban tried to capture Meyer, and they ended up wrestling in the dirt. Meyer describes what happened next:
I pawed at the ground with my right hand and found a rock the size of a baseball. I clutched it and swung blindly at his face. The blow stunned him. Before he could recover, I pushed off his chest, lifted the rock high in my right fist, and smashed it down like a hammer, breaking his front teeth. He looked me in the eyes, the fight knocked out of him, his head not moving. We both knew it was over. I drew back my arm and drove the stone down, crushing his left cheekbone. He went limp. I pushed up on my knees and hit him with more force. This blow caved in the left side of his forehead. I smashed his face again and again, driven by pure primal rage.
That is war. It is not a video game. It is not a movie, where young Hollywood starlets karate-kick their way through masses of inept thugs and goons. When we order women into ground combat, we are ordering them into situations where men larger and stronger than they will show no mercy—crushing the life out of them like Meyer crushed that Taliban.
No one would want this for any soldier—male or female—but again, this is the harsh reality of war. It’s a reality from which we should feel compelled to shield our wives daughters! To do this, we have to understand that military policies matter. Surely men and women are equal in terms of their worth, but they are not identical, and to treat them as though they were identical or interchangeable in a combat setting will compromise the safety of both male and female troops. Needless to say, it will decrease our national security as well.
On Wednesday and Thursday, February 3–4, 2016, Dr. James Dobson featured Mrs. Elaine Donnelly on his Family Talk broadcast. Mrs. Donnelly is an expert in military affairs and is the president of the Center for Military Readiness. On Wednesday’s program, Mrs. Donnelly said1 that active duty men and women in the military
every day have to live under the policies made by the president—usually by Congress—but in the last seven years, this administration has been making very harmful changes in the policies that affect both men and women in the military. Congress, unfortunately, has been missing in action. They have not had hearings except on problems like sexual assault in the military, but they’re not connecting the dots. And they’ve said virtually nothing when last December 3 the Secretary of Defense announced that henceforth young women in the military will be eligible for direct ground combat assignments.
Now we have to differentiate what that means. Women have served with courage in harm’s way, in war zones. They have done amazing things; we’re very proud of them, and their families are proud of them. Many have died in recent wars. But the units that attack the enemy…—the infantry, armor, artillery Special Operations Forces, Navy Seals, the Rangers, Delta Force—these are the tough guys, these are the ones who, when they are called upon to attack the enemy, have to be ready, and the policies that affect them, and the training, has to be as tough as it possibly can be. Now we’re going to have gender integration in these units. And when the media asked the Secretary of Defense, “Will this be voluntary?” he made it unequivocally clear, “Of course not. It will have to be on the same equal basis as men.”
So once you sign up to join the military, young women will have a heavier burden. They will be subject to these involuntary assignments if they are “minimally qualified”—that’s another thing. They don’t have to do 20 pull-ups like the men do. If they can only do three, they’re qualified to go into the infantry. You see how all this is going to work out. They are going to be subject to injury rates at least double those of men [and] higher in the combat arms units that are what the call “dismounted,” that means you walk, you have to march, you carry a heavy burden on your back, and when you get there, then you have to attack the enemy.
Research done by the United States Marine Corps in the past three years—especially in the past year—showed that in that environment the performance of gender-mixed groups lagged far behind the performance of all male groups. Now, these are realities that the [Obama] administration just swept aside, [essentially saying,] We don’t care. We’re going to make women eligible for the combat arms regardless of the consequences, and Congress has said virtually nothing about it.…
This is a social experiment. They are trying to prove that women and men are interchangeable in all roles, including the toughest ones, and they’re going to get people killed as a result. How many bones do we have to break to demonstrate what medical experts have told me…and said…on the record? If you start fooling around with female physiology, you’re going to weaken both [male and female physiology, and consequently the chances of survival for both men and women in combat]. I won’t go into all the technical, medical terms. If you change the calcium levels, you make bones more brittle, you end up having more injuries. And that’s what happens when you try to build up body muscle strength in women when they don’t have the same hormones that men do—the androgens. Testosterone and estrogen are different! They’re different for a reason. You start trying to fool around and make women more like men, you’re going to start hurting the health of those women and putting them at greater risk of injury. The evidence of this is [absolutely] overwhelming. Most people are not exposed to it. I make it my business to read all this stuff. [In their study, the] Marines did everything right. Their research is overwhelming. It is convincing and definitive.
In September of 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported on the study to which Mrs. Donnelly referred. The research found that in most tactical areas, mixed-gender military units underperformed when compared to military units made up of males only. Moreover, injury rates were higher in women than in men: The rate of injury to the muscular and skeletal systems was marked at 40.5 percent for women, contrasted to 18.8 percent for their male counterparts. Here were some of the study’s additional findings.
- In 69 percent of assigned tasks (93 of 134 jobs) the units composed solely of male soldiers outperformed those composed of both male and female soldiers. In only two tasks did the mixed-gender units outperform the male-only units.
- In maneuvering on foot, the all-male squads moved more rapidly than the mixed-gender units. The differences were even starker when soldiers were required to carry “crew-served” weapons like machine guns in addition to standard arms.
- Infantry rifleman squads composed of men only shot significantly more accurately with every type of weapon but one—the M4 rifle.
- Male-only units navigated obstacles better than did the units composed of both males and females. When the obstacle was a wall, for example, the women typically needed help to get their packs to the top of the wall, but the men were able to throw their packs to the top of the wall themselves. Moreover, the all-male units were able to evacuate casualties more effectively as a group.
- “Men in the provisional infantry platoon who had not attended the infantry course were more accurate marksmen than women who had [attended], hitting 44% of targets with the M4 rifle versus 28% among women trained at the infantry school.”
- Peak oxygen uptake and body mass were found to be two important factors in effectively moving ahead and carrying burdensome gear. In both categories, men were better off. They averaged 20 percent body fat to the women’s average of 24 percent; the average peak oxygen intake for the women was 10 lower than that of the men.
Even with all this evidence, we must understand that it isn’t just the disparity between men and women in the realm of physical strength that makes putting women in combat units a bad idea. In an article citing several problems with the proposal, defense expert Anna Simons writes that
men and women have been each other’s most consistent distraction since the beginning of time. To pretend that we don’t know what will happen when men and women are thrown together for prolonged periods in emotionally intense situations defies common sense. Being overly academic and insufficiently adult about adult behavior isn’t just irresponsible but imperiling, and belies the deadly seriousness with which we should want combat units to perform.
Add to this an awareness that in many situations, female prisoners of war would be treated with extreme brutality. It is ironic that we would condemn sexual harassment and sexual assaults in the military, yet not shield America’s women from combat, which includes the certainty that many of them would be sexually abused as prisoners of war.
Is there a war on women? Yes, there is—and it is being waged by advocates of politically correct (PC) thought! Progressives may have good intentions, but the policies they advocate have very harmful consequences. The politically correct perspective, especially on the subject of the interchangeability of women and men, is erroneous. Political correctness actually is the sweet and beautiful theory that is blown apart and destroyed by cold, brutal facts!2 We need people who will be willing to swim upstream against the cultural tide to expose the lies.
Thankfully, at least one candidate has been willing to do this. On Sunday, February 7—the day following the debate—Ted Cruz said this about his opponents who had openly agreed with the idea of requiring women to register for the draft: “Are you guys nuts?” Later, he also said,
Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it… But the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all.
Watch Senator Cruz address the issue in this clip from WWLP, Channel 22 News, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Don’t let the PC river carry you downstream! Ted Cruz is absolutely right!
Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.
1Mrs. Donnelly’s statements have been slightly edited for clarity and smoothness.