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Thread: PC/Equality Going too far?

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    PC/Equality Going too far?

    Right, here's an old chestnut.

    The BBC article reports that the Army is to review it's policy on the roles women are permitted to play, particularly with reference to the front lines of combat.

    LET ME SAY UPFRONT - The question I want to ask here is NOT the one about any moral or cultural reasons why a nation shouldn't put its women on the front line. Again THAT IS NOT the point I want to discuss.

    What I want to discuss is the idea that a military force which places any individuals in harm's way should be required to either risk reducing effectiveness or substantially increase tax-payer funded costs
    Quote Originally Posted by BBC Article
    ...Not because there are thousands of women desperate to join the combat arms, but because the message that the Army is not fully open to women who can meet the fitness and other requirements...
    .

    In the discussion about the role women can/should play in the military this question has often bothered me and yet few seem to discuss it. It generally gets shouted down by screams of "EQUALITY!" and "WOMEN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DIE FOR THEIR COUNTRY TOO!"

    Look, if it is the case that women can serve just as well as men on the front-lines of the infantry AND it won't make the military machine more cumbersome (reduce overall effectiveness) then MAYBE there is a case for opening it up.
    However, if it is only a few women who can serve as well as men in what is vitally a very physically demanding role which places lives on the line, I don't see any reason, at all, that the whole military machine should be turned around just because of some misplaced patriotism/career pursuit. And I do mean misplaced.

    You see, as far as I see it, whilst you can find a 'career' in the military, that is not its primary purpose. It's primary purpose is to do a job, a very important, very demanding, and always a very costly job (both in tax payer funds and in tax-payer blood). Some see it as noble - a chance to serve, and so, for them, it is noble and patriotic. However, it seems entirely contradictory to say that one wishes to serve one's country and then demand changes which will cost the nation more in terms of taxes, time, and possibly lives. That is actually telling the nation to serve you and your career interests.

    Dying for your country might be very noble, but it's only noble because it is a sacrifice. If that idea appeals to you - serving sacrificially for your country - then surely you should seek the way that best serves your country and make the military most efficient in every way. Perhaps what is really noble is sacrificing your idea of glory and career in order to be most useful, instead of demanding that the military and the nation sacrifice in order to serve your own goals in career or ego-fulfillment.

    If there is no difference between men serving alone and both men and women serving together, then fine, have at it. What bothers me is that there seem to be some very important questions that directly relate to operational effectiveness and tax-payer cost which in terms of the military seem to be the key points, that are being ignored or tossed out all in the name of supposed 'equality'. I find that approach not only naive but potentially deceptive and rather disgusting.

    /RANT
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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but you don't seem to give any reasons why having women in combat roles would affect effectiveness and cost the tax-payer, let alone 'that the whole military machine should be turned around'. So aren't you just worrying about nothing? I would assume the army would continue to select roles based on capability.

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    I don't understand what the downside is. If and when I do, I may change my opinion, but as things stand I don't see why this hasn't been done already.

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Sorry, but it sounds like you're falling into the trap of everyday sexism and making blanket assumptions based on someone's gender. As long as the fitness goals are the same for the same role why deal with antiquated regulations?

    The only significant issues I can see relate to logistics, the need to cater for a greater range of bodyshapes when comissioning combat gear, and the distribution of some additional items for female team members (and ensuring that they then aren't appropriated for field dressings!)

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    I think it's a rubbish idea to have women on the front line if it comes to fisty cuffs and bayonets. Sure some women are butch killer types but most simply aren't. They physically can't throw as far (grenades) can't punch as hard, can't lift as much (injured/ammo/whatever) and for 7 days of the month are slightly hampered (although they can have the pill and back-to-back when on duty, so maybe that last one is less of an issue). Then there's the whole thing of what happens to them if they get captured - which women will be more vulnerable to generally than men...

    People I know in the forces tell me about the concrete bins they have at training ranges where women are able to pull the pin on grenades and pop them inside to go bang because they can't throw the things far enough to not be a danger when they go off. Hardly what you want beside you on the front line is it? Mind you you should hear what they say about some of the other nations men soldiers they've had to serve with...

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    They physically can't throw as far (grenades) can't punch as hard, can't lift as much (injured/ammo/whatever)
    That's a rubbish reason - there are plenty of weak men around as well. If there's a need for physical strength for a role then you test for it and reject or pass on that, not on the gender of the person taking the test.

    And are our women somehow weaker than women in other armed forces?

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    I remember a recruiter in the Royal Marines telling me and a bunch of classmates that they couldn't let women in because when they'd conducted field tests, women's spines were being damaged by the amount of weight they had to carry.

    If so, that would be a legitimate reason, I guess, but it's a) the Royal Marines have much more stringent requirements, and b) it's far more complex a reason than "men are strong, women are weak".

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    I'm sure the average woman couldn't handle it! but neither could the average man. The average woman can't run as fast or throw as far as the average man. But these won't be the average women joining up.

    They will be women that are hard as nails mentally and physically and want to prove it.

    If they can handle the same basic training and make it to their passing out parade, then why not?

    There have been some hard women in history and folklore Joan of arc, Boudica etc. The soviets had women on the front line.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rs_in_folklore

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucio View Post
    Sorry, but it sounds like you're falling into the trap of everyday sexism and making blanket assumptions based on someone's gender.
    There's no need for sexism and blanket assumptions. It's an undeniable biological fact that there's a significant natural sexual dimorphism between men and women where mass, reach, strength, speed, and endurance is concerned. That's why we have sex-specific athletic events, because otherwise female competitors would be put at a natural and unfair disadvantage and be squeezed out from competing altogether. But there's no room for 'fairness' and feminist ideology on the battlefield, we can't neatly direct women on women fighting, and they can't yell patriarchy when male enemies are choking the life out of them, or are being ripped up with bayonets because their reach wasn't long enough to stick them first.
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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    There's no need for sexism and blanket assumptions. It's an undeniable biological fact that there's a significant natural sexual dimorphism between men and women where mass, reach, strength, speed, and endurance is concerned. That's why we have sex-specific athletic events, because otherwise female competitors would be put at a natural and unfair disadvantage and be squeezed out from competing altogether. But there's no room for 'fairness' and feminist ideology on the battlefield, we can't neatly direct women on women fighting, and they can't yell patriarchy when male enemies are choking the life out of them, or are being ripped up with bayonets because their reach wasn't long enough to stick them first.
    Do you believe that, over say the next five years, the best female recruit to sign up would be inferior to the worst male recruit who passed all of the training requirements?

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Do you believe that, over say the next five years, the best female recruit to sign up would be inferior to the worst male recruit who passed all of the training requirements?
    Am I going to say that every one of the very best female recruits can never have any chance against the very worst male recruits? No. Of course that may not be the case every time without fail. But that's a ridiculous absolutism. The best female recruits wont be fighting against the worst male recruits, they're going to be fighting against the average male enemy recruits. And that's an unfair disadvantage.
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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Am I going to say that every one of the very best female recruits can never have any chance against the very worst male recruits? No. Of course that may not be the case every time without fail. But that's a ridiculous absolutism. The best female recruits wont be fighting against the worst male recruits, they're going to be fighting against the average male enemy recruits. And that's an unfair disadvantage.
    But they would be taking the place of the worst male recruits, and therefore would have a better chance of survival.

    The military has minimum standards - if a woman meets them, why not? If she's not capable, then raise the standards.

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Right, first point - please notice that all comments here are based on/to do with letting women in as long as they meet the requirements. It's about performance. When we're talking about the military the whole thing should absolutely be about performance. It's massively expensive financially and although necessary, if the government can keep unnecessary costs down it definitely should. The military, whose purpose on the whole is to kill people and blow things up, should be constructed wholly along pragmatic lines. It's not about entertainment, extravagance, making money or anything else. It's about the most costly and dangerous and ugly aspects of life on earth. No more money or blood should be given than absolutely necessary just as no less money or blood should be spilled than absolutely necessary. Not enough money and blood spent to get its job done is just as wasteful as too much money and blood spent.

    Now, that being said, the question for anyone or anything serving in the military - man or woman, young or old, plane or tank or rifle or ship - is rightly asked, does it serve it's purpose, can it do the job, and is it the best and most efficient way to do it, or can we do better? That is, what is the job at hand, what do we need to do it, how can we do it most safely. We're killing people and blowing things up and we're spending tax payer money and human lives to do it. We should spend absolutely no more than necessary and yet make sure we spend enough to get the job done.

    I think everyone, this far, has agreed.

    My primary contention in this thread, is that when it comes to the question of women serving in certain roles, this concern, this question, although paid lip-service is being ignored, worn down, or thrown out. Please note the quote. What the man is saying is that even though we're talking about a small group of interested people we are still discussing making changes to accommodate them, and we're doing it because of a "message", an image, a point of political correctness. That is my primary concern. That this whole discussion is taking place as a part of the wider 'equality' of women discussion, and while that's all good and equality for women should be pursued, the military - the expensive, pragmatic, get the job done, military should, in it's maintenance and the performance of its duty and structure, be free from this sort of pressure with the guiding line being, as above, getting the job done.

    You see any changes made in the military in this way - for this admittedly small group - will, by the very nature of the military, be disproportionate. This isn't just about lifting weights and throwing punches and grenades. That's a part of it, an important part, but it's more than that.

    The military, especially infantry, have to be ready to go and fight and survive anywhere, and whole arms of the military exist to create whatever support structures are necessary to get the job done. As I said, that job should be done as efficiently, effectively, pragmatically as possible. What should it cost - in money and lives and families - to kill a man or blow up a bridge? As little as possible. Now when you mobilise a force you have to feed that force, move that force, house that force, and maintain that force. You have to do it in often nasty, ugly scenarios. You also have to motivate that force, maintaining morale, even in some of the worse environments, most traumatic situations that a human being can experience. All of this in involved in everything the military is and does. All of this takes money and lives. Yet for the sake of political correctness, we're talking about making changes. Alright, fair enough, but here's a question - how much is that going to cost and what sort of changes are going to be forced on the way the military operates?

    The army have to shower, sleep, go to the toilet etc. Do we now have to build new buildings for that? More money. In the field do we have to erect separate tents or buildings? Apart from more money does that mean more space? What protocols do we have to create in how we work with men and women together in those scenarios? Is that more administration? Do we really have to pay this extra money to get the job done when we could have done it just as effectively for less money and with less hassle?

    How about the personal side of things? Yes the military is supposed to be a professional work environment. Let's not kid ourselves though. We're talking about recruits that are often young kids. We're talking about some very rough, unrefined men. The military isn't in the business of producing gentlemen. (I'm not talking about abuses - I know that's an issue - there's no excuse for abuse, it absolutely has to stop). What happens when we get men and women together in close quarters, especially younger ones? They might be soldiers, might be professionals, but they're also still human beings, flung together in harsh circumstances. Do we try to keep them from seeing one another naked or going to the toilet, or do we try to train them to think counter to what comes naturally? How much time and money are we going to spend on that?
    What happens when the women get pregnant - which they do and will. Why are we paying that cost again?
    How about the morale of the men when women get killed? The debate rages on, but even if men can be trained to ignore what they might naturally feel and feel is right and noble otherwise, why are we spending the time and money to do that again?
    Then of course there are the physical standards people have been talking about. The primary argument is - why should I pay the same amount of money to train a soldier who will be less effective than another and reduce the overall effectiveness?
    The counter argument is - but if they pass the tests, if treated equally, it's fine.
    I've tried to list a few of the unnecessary, disproportionate changes/costs that occur when you cater to that special few. However, in addition, the reality check is, that even in the tests which occur now, for other areas of the military, women are permitted to perform to a lower standard. It happens already. Yet the pressure is on to push it further, all in the name of political correctness.
    Additionally, the minimum standards of entry aren't the whole question. When you're in you're expected to grow, to train, and more than that, when talking about being in the field minimum standards are the least of anyone's worries. We're talking about situations that can and will tax and challenge anyone and will do so at the threat of taking many lives. On the whole, men are, generally, going to have more physical 'upside' than women. When the crunch comes, men have more physical strength potential than women. Why would you spend a ton of money, and make a lot of lives depend, on a soldier who might not have as much potential through training and in any given moment?

    None of this is about women's rights or equality. This is about the brutal, pragmatic world of the military that is, and always will be, too expensive in every way, but which, sadly, is a necessity. The military should be free to be constructed in the most efficient way possible. This isn't some theoretical exercise. It's the reality of risking and taking many lives and hurting many families. It shouldn't be a PR exercise and yet that is what much of society and the media is turning this into. What I find disgusting is, with as many lives are already wasted, the thought of risking extra lives, making tax payers pay more and potentially reducing the effectiveness of the whole thing (potentially affecting every life involved) unnecessarily because we think it sounds nice.
    Last edited by Galant; 08-05-2014 at 09:59 PM.
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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    I can't remember the exact conversation I had, but I was told one of the reasons women weren't allowed in close combat was actually psychological...for the men! Apparently, there were studies that men were more likely to irrationally risk themselves to rescue a fallen female comrade than a male one.

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    I'd always thought it was a similar reason along the lines that men would be seriously detrimentally affected by seeing women blown to pieces next to them. Not that seeing men getting killed isn't traumatic but an element of gender programming must come into play that makes men less combat effective.

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    Re: PC/Equality Going too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    But they would be taking the place of the worst male recruits, and therefore would have a better chance of survival.

    The military has minimum standards - if a woman meets them, why not? If she's not capable, then raise the standards.
    Because a ridiculously hypothetical possibility, at best, isn't reason enough to go to the additional burdens and expense to support females in the field, especially when doing so can potentially compromise the squad's effectiveness as a whole. Compromises will inevitably have to be made to make it work, and compromising our front-line fighting forces will get more people killed. On balance there needs to be a net gain to enacting a policy, otherwise it's just stupid. Fielding a sexual minority (even if having marginally better survivability odds) is vastly more complex than just strapping on a backpack, sticking a rifle in their arms and kicking them out an aircraft over enemy lines. Determining physical fitness is just the basics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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