22 March 2012


by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 22 March 2012

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers..." William Shakespeare

For today, a follow-on to last Saturday morning's Commentary about the Marine Corps and women in combat. That short missive centered around a video of U. S. Marine General Robert H. Barrow (1922-2008) testifying, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, against women in combat--especially serving in ground combat units.

As luck of good timing would have it, Saturday evening I rallied for dinner with a longtime friend--a Marine who, after being promoted to captain, decided he wanted to be a Navy SEAL. So he started over as an ensign, completed SEAL training, served a career--much of it as an operator, and retired as a Captain. A humble gent, he knows a little something about grueling training and the demands and dangers of combat. I asked him if, reflecting on his career, he could recall any females--Marines or Sailors--capable of completing SEAL training and serving with a team. He could not. Though, as an afterthought and with a subtle smile, he offered it was possible in theory. Anything is possible in theory. Nor could either of us recall any female Marines, though good at what they did, who had any business in a ground combat unit.

The following morning I turned to page A8 of the paper and the headline across the top spilling over to A9, and accompanying photo (a male and female fighting), grabbed my attention (nearly choking on a swallow of coffee): Military puts 'mixed' in martial arts competitions with the subtitle, 'Denied combat roles, Army women battle men in cage fighting.'  David S. Cloud penned the piece about staged fights between male and female soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.

In short, for at least a few years now the Army has allowed male and female soldiers to fight, each other, in chain-link caged rings. The fights are sensationalized with loud music, flashy lights, and smoke--the same adrenalin pumping sensory stimulation used in hip nightclubs or bowling alleys on 'Extreme' night to lure the young crowds. Female soldiers fight in the lighter weights and are permitted to outweigh male opponents by ten pounds or so--in the name of 'fairness' (just as is done on the battlefield). Nonetheless, stretcher bearers have removed some women from the ring. Nice. Good grief.

Female soldiers quoted in the article suggest the fighting proves they're capable of combat duty. If using a conveniently contrived definition of combat, without deference to reality, in the name of political correctness to achieve a warped agenda then perhaps. But not if defining "combat" (as experienced and described by General Barrow) as the physically demanding brutality of locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy; often times in harsh climates under unimaginable conditions.

What Mr. Cloud did not make clear was whether or not these fights were voluntary or compulsory (the former opening the door for the latter) sanctioned under the guise of formal training or MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) carnival shows--"Ladies Night" at the (Fight) Club, sort of speak--open to all military personnel and their families/guests. And he made no mention if alcohol was served to wash down popcorn, peanuts, nachos, and hotdogs nor whether or not children, dependents of any age, were permitted entrance. How confusing for Billy (toddler, tween, or teen), in a culture where it's taboo for men to hit women, if permitted to watch dad fight his friend's mother.

How male versus female cage fighting--under artificial variables (e.g., pairing "combatants" with regard to weight; restricting types of contact; a referee; etc.)--parallels the uncivilized life or death violence of close combat escapes the reasonable mind. To conclude that women (and men for that matter) participating in such, however they emerge, somehow validates them capable of duty in combat units is ludicrous. Women in cage fighting "combat" is not women in combat.

David S. Cloud article: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/15/nation/la-na-women-cage-fights-20120316

Monday evening I received an email responding to Saturday's Commentary that reminded me as to the scope and seriousness of this bewildering push by theorists, social engineers, and feminists (some in Congress) to recklessly thrust women into combat. As there is no military requirement whatsoever, why?

Elaine Donnelly (President, Center for Military Readiness), a member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, sent me the email to clarify the stand up of that commission and the important work they did (and the work she continues to do). Their logical, but not without dissension, conclusion: "The Armed Forces should not assign women to combat."

The links next under are interesting, troubling reading. And though the work thorough and words convincing they are not nearly as compelling as watching and listening to the powerful testimony of General Barrow.

Center for Military Readiness (Selected Findings from the 1992 Presidential Commission): http://cmrlink.org/printfriendly.asp?docID=233

From 09 February 2012: http://cmrlink.org/WomenInCombat.asp?docID=408

Center for Military Readiness homepage: http://cmrlink.org/

General Barrow, an infantry officer and decorated combat veteran who commanded and fought in three wars and who'd been retired eight years (his last billet as Commandant), clarified the definition of combat and said women in combat units does not work. The sage, battle-hardened general, a southern gentleman to the core, was to the point--thoughtful, articulate, passionate, at times emotional, and downright uncompromising in his beliefs as to what assigning women to combat units would do to the Marine Corps. His prediction, "It will destroy the Marine Corps. Simple as that. Something no enemy has been able to do in over 200 years."

In General Barrow's words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy--whDNNKk

Any step, even one to prove a point that does not need proof, toward assigning women to Marine Corps combat units is a step of retreat--a step toward that destruction.

There's talk these are different times as the theorists and social engineers with feminists walking point continue to press with illogical arguments backed with incomplete, misleading, conveniently tailored "data" in their effort to force the assignment of women to combat units. Nonsense. Equality? From birth, life is not fair. Males and females are different.

So how fortuitous, serendipitous, ironic, of grand design, or however one opts to view it that this issue can, in reality with the application of fact and common sense, be dispatched with 'logical' argument. That is, biological to histological to physiological to psychological, and to the cultural, and more. Ergo General Barrow's insights were not and are not old-fashioned nor outdated but sensible and relevant to this day, and tomorrow. Of course. The issue is combat readiness; combat effectiveness; winning the next conflict; and national security--so goes the general's perspective.

Any doubt General Barrow would be appalled by male versus female cage fighting? Aren't all Marines appalled?

Women in combat. In vogue? Illogical? Insanity?

Long live our Corps?

Semper Fidelis.

In closing...

It's basketball season. Why doesn't the NCAA pit the champions of the men's and women's tournaments against each other to determine who truly has the best team? And that's merely a game. Theorists, social engineers, and feminists, where are you?

Post Script

Last Saturday's Commentary: http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2012/03/destroying-marine-corps-women-in-combat.html


Kim Winzeler said...

Andy, the SASC testimony of General Barrow (from 1991) and his testimony are remarkable far beyond the scope of the topic (women in ground/air combat) on which he so eloquently and uniquely commented. How far our American world has moved in a generation ... it is truly sad to witness the decline of our nation and the trivialization of wisdom. Our nation's fundamental problems are not attack from terrorists beyond our borders ... rahter the removal of "backbone" from within. Such testimony (as Gen Barrow's) may be ridiculed today given the short-sightedness of our cultural liberalism and the near total lack of understanding the sacrifices made to preserve America (by our military) for generations. This wave of dumbing down our society by aligning "equality" of opportunity with "Political Correctness" insidiously infects our national psyche ... we must remember this each day: "there is no right way to do the wrong thing." Andy, my friend, thanks for your diligence and concern ... And a final comment: I'm sadly surprised (but shouldn't be) how few people have commented on this topic ... which further shows the depth of our complacency about national security. There are no easy answers now, nor were there easy answers in past generations ... but there are better ways of dealing with social issues than using our military as the lab in this particular gender issue. I sure miss Gen Barrow's leadership, wisdom and charisma.

Bruce Hoffman said...

Good job once again Colonel.

Tom Knowles said...

I believe that there should be female combat troops in all services. Be it a squad, platoon company etc. It should be ALL female with NO male members. If the females wish to prove themselves then let them di it with no male MARINES, ARMY or Air Force there to help--LET THEM DO IT BY THEMSELVES.

Tom Knowles

Ken Plato said...

Having served in a combat zone and watched female soldiers and Marines don the same battle dress as male soldiers and Marines, and load up in the same combat vehicles as male soldiers and Marines, and patrol the same violent streets as male soldiers and Marines, and engage the enemy with those same male soldiers and Marines (sometimes in the form of IEDs, sometimes with small-arms fire) I do believe there is a very defined role for females in infantry units in certain situations.
These females are used to deal with females encountered during the patrols. To not provide them with the some of the same combat survival training as males just doesn't make sense.
I do not think the answer is to integrate them into the same infantry training units as males, but the same survival techniques must be passed on to women as we ask them to enter the same combat environment as males (for very good reasons).

Ken Plato