The data is in. The test subjects have been evaluated. Women are passing elite schools, undergoing infantry training, and are on their way to being put into our nation’s most well-known special operations units.My personal opinions on women in combat are irrelevant, as it is going to happen regardless of any data suggesting otherwise. There is a narrative that has to be achieved, and it will happen come hell or high water. Even if every branch of the armed forces were to publish a study saying that women in a combat unit cause premature detonations of mortar rounds, increased bear attacks, and more sequels to the “Police Academy” movie series, the narrative will be pushed through.
I can deal with that.
What I cannot handle is the number of people with strong opinions, but no skin in the game.
I have met and conversed with many women who believe in a gender-neutral infantry. I have yet to meet a woman who is actually willing to sign up as an Army or Marine Corps rifleman. Are they out there? Absolutely, but their voices are drowned in a sea of opinions from people who are more than willing to let another woman die for them in a combat zone.
These people are like the Hollywood actors who advocate socialism while benefitting from a capitalist economy. It is easy to preach a redistribution of wealth when I have most of my sizable fortune in overseas accounts, where the consequences of my ideals will not affect me. It is easy to criticize the two female soldiers who passed Ranger School if I have never had the guts to attempt it myself. It is easy for me to advocate that Rhonda Rousey fight Tim Kennedy since I am not the one in the ring getting my face turned into bloody pudding.
Most of those women or men who fervently strive for women in combat will go nowhere near a recruiter’s office, much less sign up as an 0300 or 11 Bravo. I highly doubt many of them will encourage their daughters to go into a combat MOS, but will instead suggest that their talents and intellect make them too good to be wasted in the grunts. Should their ideals get pushed through, they will see it as a great victory in gender equality, and raise their hands in personal triumph when they see some other 19 year old female PFC struggling under the weight of an M2 machinegun and a combat load during an 18 mile road march. They may even cheer on the female squad leader they see on the evening news giving out commands during a firefight. It doesn’t matter, because woman is someone else, and someone else’s daughter.
Among those who disagree with this concept, there is a frustrated contingent of combat MOS holders who feel that their experiences and opinions are not being taken into account. Who would I rather listen to, the career politician who avoided the draft, or the eight year infantry veteran with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan?
There are convincing arguments for women in combat positions. There are even apparently women in tier one units doing Jason Bourne stuff. I have nothing but respect for those women who have actually achieved those levels of chat prowess. The problem is the usual source of the vehement gender-neutral argument; the person with nothing invested in their own position.
Are you a woman who is yearning to sign up for the infantry? Guess what, you’ll get your chance, and I sincerely want to have a conversation over the beer I just bought for you. Should I ever meet one of the women who passed Ranger school, I will shake their hands, listen to their opinions on the subject, and I will do it at parade freaking rest. Their opinions matter to former infantrymen like me because women like that are willing to take the risk and put their skin in the game. They put their money where their mouths are.
The rest seem way too eager to let other women fight and die for them.