Kathleen Parker has addressed the subject of women in combat before, but she goes back to it, because, apparently, too many people have failed to get the point.
Women, because of their inferior physical capacities and greater vulnerabilities upon capture, have a diminished opportunity for survival.
And yes, elevated testosterone levels enhance a young man’s capacity for aggression.
In Parker’s words:
We’re potentially talking about 18-year-old girls, notwithstanding their “adult” designation under the law. (Parents know better.) At least 18-year-old males have the advantage of being gassed up on testosterone, the hormone that fuels not just sexual libido but, more to the point, aggression. To those suffering a sudden onset of the vapors, ignore hormones at your peril.
So many people are so confused about the meaning of equality—many think it is a synonym for “same”—that Parker feels obliged to it does not mean that everyone is the same when it comes to job opportunities:
Now, hold the image of your 18-year-old daughter, neighbor, sister or girlfriend as you follow these facts, which somehow have been ignored in the advancement of a fallacy. The fallacy is that because men and women are equal under the law, they are equal in all endeavors and should have all access to the same opportunities. This is true except when the opportunity requires certain characteristics. Fact: Females have only half the upper-body strength as males — no small point in the field.
Of course, the combat military is not just another job, any more than is playing in the NBA. Do you think that women are being deprived of equal opportunity and career advancement because they do not and cannot play in the NBA?
Further to the fallacy is the operating assumption that military service is just another job. The rules of civil society do not apply to the military, which is a top-down organization in which the rules are created to maximize efficiency in killing enemies. It is not just another job that can be managed with the human resources department’s Manual on Diversity and Sensitivity.
The argument that women’s performance on de facto front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan has proved concerns about combat roles unwarranted is false logic. Just because women in forward support companies can return fire when necessary — or die — doesn’t necessarily mean they are equal to men in combat.
Unbeknown perhaps to many civilians, combat has a very specific meaning in the military. It has nothing to do with stepping on an IED or suffering the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It means aggressively engaging and attacking the enemy with deliberate offensive action, with a high probability of face-to-face contact.
As a society we are strongly opposed to violence against women. We believe that women need special protection against male violence. Aren’t we contradicting ourselves when we declare that it is fine to expose women to the risk of unnecessary violence:
If the enemy is all around you — and you need every available person — that is one set of circumstances. To ask women to engage vicious men and risk capture under any other is beyond understanding.
Parker adds another point, one that no one really wants to think about: what happens when that eighteen year old girl is captured by the enemy:
The threat to unit cohesion should require no elaboration. But let’s leave that obvious point to pedants and cross into enemy territory where somebody’s 18-year-old daughter has been captured. No one wants to imagine a son in these circumstances either, obviously, but women face special tortures. And, no, the rape of men has never held comparable appeal.
We can train our men to ignore the screams of their female comrades, but is this the society we want to create? And though some female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have endured remarkable suffering, their ability to withstand or survive violent circumstances is no rational argument for putting American girls and women in the hands of enemy men.
It will kill us in the end.