Combat Women.

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture

quote:


If I were a woman in Iraq -- and a few other places -- right now, I also would be grateful to anyone who would give me a gun and train me to use it. I am an utter wimp -- but at some point, self-preservation kicks in, eh? And even more powerfully, the Mother Bear instincts kick in.

Love the ones you're with, and save 'em for as long as you can remain vertical.


Amen, skdadl. Pacifist though I am, I wouldn't recommend getting between me and my cubs.

david 40

Dear Skadie, Wei-Chi & etc:
To address several points in no order of priority...
Yes, of course it is the rucksack that is dropped, not the webbing. An overtype on my part.
When was the last time Canadian infantry was in battle? Last year, wasn't it? In Afganistan? It was in all the papers.
You suggest infantry is irrelevant in modern war? Well, I'll not dispute the issue, as your views are demonstratbly at odds with reality. Watch today's T.V. All those uniformed guys with rifles...?
What few troops Canada has enjoy a good reputation when they actually get to the sharp end. They are, however, so few, and so poorly equipped, that the Canadian military entire likely couldn't defend Cape Breton Island against Brazil.
Thanks to everyone for the discussion. The topic reminds me of the dialogue from "The Life of Brian" where a group of fellows (and one cross-dressing wannabe woman) are portentiously debating whether men should have the right to have babies. Anyway, to summarize my thoughts...
a) I support that almost any job, military or civil, ought to be open to any qualified applicant. The exceptions are infantry and armour, where i) the costs of selecting and training the vanishingly few qualified applicants exceeds the benefit of getting them there, and ii) Having them there at all is a net cost in combat power, not a net benefit.
b)Recent history provides examples of national peril where women as individuals and in formed units were used in line combat. No country that has actually experienced the result does it anymore. The wise learn from the mistakes of others: Fools learn from their own.
Kind regards. David

skadie

quote:


You suggest infantry is irrelevant in modern war?

No I do not. I suggest the [b]Canadian[/b] infantry is irrelevant in modern war.

quote:

b)Recent history provides examples of national peril where women as individuals and in formed units were used in line combat. No country that has actually experienced the result does it anymore. The wise learn from the mistakes of others: Fools learn from their own.


I'd be eager to see what links and information you can provide to back that assertion up. I don't believe that.

[ 03 April 2003: Message edited by: skadie ]

wei-chi

David:

I still don't buy your arguments that it is not efficient to enrol women as infanteers. Your previous posts suggests that too many women don't cut it, so we shouldn't bother enrolling any. What extra costs are associated with enrolling women? Looking at the numbers, far more men fail off Basic than women.

Using an argument strictly based on tradition, is a fallacy. Just because women haven't been present on the battlefield in great numbers throughout history CANNOT be used a justification to keep them off in the future.

What prevented women from fighting in the past was a social and ideological structure prevalent in Western Civilization. Those social and ideological barriers continue to be removed.

If you can't be permitted to fight on the front lines - can you really be considered a fully enfranchised citizen?

Mandos

That last question reminded me of Starship Troopers.

Aviator

quote:


Looking at the numbers, far more men fail off Basic than women.


Well, of course! There are far more men in the infantry, so statistically speaking, this would be obvious.

skadie

quote:


Despite the restrictions, many U.S. military women are becoming leaders. Lory Manning, head of the military project at the Women's Research and Education Institute, says, "They are involved strategically in a way that we have not seen."

[url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002/01/10/warriors.htm]An interesting article.[/url]

wei-chi

Aviator:

quote:

Well, of course! There are far more men in the infantry, so statistically speaking, this would be obvious.

Exactly! It seemed to me that David was trying to suggest that because of the high numbers of women failures, it wasn't cost effective to bother training them. That mightn't have been his point, but I thought it was.

So, my point is that in terms of actual dollars, more money is wasted on men than women.

wei-chi

quote:


The worrisome trained-strength projection reinforces the argument that recruiting from a diverse population base is not just a ‘nice to have’ in terms of being able to better reflect Canada’s demographic composition, but an absolute necessity if the CF is to have any hope of meeting its longer-term intake requirements. During his tenure as Chief of the Defence Staff, General Baril repeatedly made the point that one of the fundamental drivers of his expressed policy on gender and visible minority inclusiveness was his desire to be able to select from the full range of high quality people within the recruitable cohort, instead of simply the traditional white male group. It is now clear that even this eminently reasonable proposition does not go far enough. Simply put, if the CF cannot solve its recruiting difficulties in non-traditional demographic groups, its ability to remain a militarily effective entity will likely be threatened long before any significant political or societal backlash arises over poor visible-minority inclusiveness.

[url=http://www.journal.dnd.ca/legacy/vol2/no3_e/recruit_e/recruit1_e.htm]From the Canadian Military Journal[/url]

Another good reason why we need women in the combat trades. The article is a good overview of the main sociological problems with current CF recruiting strategy.

Aviator

quote:


So, my point is that in terms of actual dollars, more money is wasted on men than women.

It is no more "wasted" on men who fail the rigors of training than it is on women. In fact, the per recruit cost would be the same. There would be some variation based on the time when a recruit "washed out." The reason that I put the word wasted in quotation marks is that the money is not really wasted. No screening system is perfect and training is the final step in weeding out people, be they men or women. In short, you have to spend money to eliminate people.

Again, in absolute terms, more money is "wasted" on men than women because there are simply more men in the infantry. If the numbers for genders were reversed, then more money would be "wasted" on women.

skadie

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I have therefore a credible professional and personal view of the issue.

I was in the infantry. Is that credible enough for you? [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

smcniven

It's probably a bit late to add my $0.02 worth but the last year I was in the reserves, my gunner was a woman. She was tiny and as tough as nails and I'm sure she did her job better than most of the guys in the Regiment.

Anyways, she ended up doing a tour in the Balkans (Yugo or Bosnia, I can never remember anymore) and apparantly acquitted herself quite well in a firefight with the locals. I never got all the details (I had left reserves at that point) but when the sh*t hit the fan she kept her cool and let her training kick in.

I'll also point out that I (a wimpy male) never volunteered to go overseas when I was still in, but she had no qualms about it.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I think that there are no biological reasons why women shouldn't be in combat roles.

However what I can't figure out is how women fighting in combat roles has anything to do with pro-feminism. I thought that a large part of the reason for changing society was to reduce the violent nature of our cultures. Is feminism really about getting women doing what men do now or is it about changing the power structure so that women can effect positive change without having to accept the status quo. The military is likely the ultimate example of a patriarchal institution.

skadie

quote:


The military is likely the ultimate example of a patriarchal institution.


Which is why we must infiltrate!!!!!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Which is why we must infiltrate!!!!!


And how do you tell the difference between infiltrationa and collaberation with the enemy. And are any of the women who join the forces going to be there to infiltrate and presumably be court marshalled as soon as they impliment their hidden agenda of overthrowing the patriarchy from within.

I think the answer above was in fact a dodge of a serious and difficult question. Or is this forum just for cheerleading not real debates about what is feminism and how can it be advanced. To me this thread hits on both of those questions. Is feminism compatable with a military culture? If a mixed gender army is supposed to help change the violent patriarchal culture we live in, how do the advocates for that view envision the change happening.

skadie

quote:


However what I can't figure out is how women fighting in combat roles has anything to do with pro-feminism. I thought that a large part of the reason for changing society was to reduce the violent nature of our cultures. Is feminism really about getting women doing what men do now or is it about changing the power structure so that women can effect positive change without having to accept the status quo. The military is likely the ultimate example of a patriarchal institution.

So, in your opinion to be feminist one must try to dismantle the military from the outside? (Just clarifying, not putting words in your mouth.)

It's hard to adapt the status quo when you aren't part of it.

I see it this way, the military is a "bad" institution but it is necessary. A high-ranking officers position may be considered a "bad" position, but there is still a need for officers. So, the way to really change the military is to have more women involved in these position rather than railing at it as a civilian. The most effective way to become a high-ranking officer is to work your way up.

If women had avoided becoming part of the dominant power structures we certainly wouldn't be where we are today. My "infiltrate" comment may have seemed like a dodge to you, but it really sums up my feelings.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


So, in your opinion to be feminist one must try to dismantle the military from the outside? (Just clarifying, not putting words in your mouth.)

No I didn't say that I was asking for others opinions. My opinion is framed as much from an anti-authoritarian and anti-class perspective as it is anti-patriarchy viewpoint. I guess I am just trying to get a handle on how women on this feminist forum view the military and for that matter the Board rooms of places like Walmart.

Is getting more women into organizations that traditionally opprese people progress or will it end up merely proving that it is the nature of the institutions themselves that causes systemic discrimination not the gender of the people making the decisions in those institutions.

Can you be a feminist and a CEO of a company that utilizes sweatshops or a military commander that orders strikes against cities knowing full well therre will be civilian casualties. I know it is possible although not currently probable that a woman could do either of those things but is that a pro-feminist agenda.

I think that certain institutions require loyalty to the insitution above all else and if anyone is not willing to adopt the staus quo for those instituions they will never rise through the ranks. That in my opinion applies to both genders. If a man joins the military and trys to make it less heirarchical he will be as successful as a woman, that is not very. And a man who trys to climb the corporate ladder had better not have other peoples welfare in mind because only a focus on advancing the corporate bottomline leads to success.

writer writer's picture

women and war

jrose

Sorry, thread is getting too long.

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