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theophrastus 1
slightly tangential, but does the military healthcare system allow for abortions? i should think they sensibly would; as providing such might result in a trained soldier staying active. and if they do, doesn't the military budget (beloved of the gop) pay for abortions?
Posted by theophrastus on January 23, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 2
They send a thousand Paul Constants to the front lines, where they'd all cower in the corner of a bunker writing love letters to their mothers.
Posted by dnt trust me on January 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 3
Ugh, thanks for that. I know, I know... it was my choice to read on.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on January 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
I think it's a great idea to have women shooting the Taliban.
That'll teach the motherfuckers.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 23, 2013 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 5
So are they anti-gun when it comes to women?
Posted by Matt the Engineer on January 23, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 6

No. The military only covers abortion for the health/life* of the pregnant woman and, only recently (like literally in the past few months), in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. All other elective abortions must be paid for by the woman and be sought outside the VA.

*And this has often been exceedingly difficult for women to obtain.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
Neanderthal-like comments on conservative blogs? That's noteworthy because... ?
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
mrbarky 8
I for one welcome our new blue helmeted metrosexual and women overlords.
Posted by mrbarky on January 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Pick1 9
Pshaw! Misogyny doesn't exist anymore...we dealt with that years ago
Posted by Pick1 on January 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Bub 10
Haven't these guys ever seen Starship Troopers? Women can kill bugs as well as men can.
Posted by Bub on January 23, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 11
A bunch of retards talking about shit they know nothing about.

I'd bet good money none of them are in the military.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
The Max 12
Funniest of the above misogynist bullshit is that last: that women can't pee standing up.

1) as if it mattered.

2) Not just seen it done, but learned the theory and provided instruction. (I dormed in a coed dorm built as boys only complete with urinals.) Just takes more practice.
Posted by The Max on January 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
pfffter 13
Wow. A bunch of idiots mouthing off on right-wing blogs. Who woulda thunk?

Interesting that the ability to spell is inversely proportional to the degree of their "conservatism"
Posted by pfffter on January 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 14
"Patton, MacArthur, and Schwarzkopf."

Schwarzkopf? Seriously? I guess I should be impressed it it didn't read "Patton, MacArthur, and Admiral Ackbar."
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 23, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
emma's bee 15
Wow, they are really lowering the bar for us ladies. We can't even be firefighters now? Don't tell the chief of the SFFD.

Posted by emma's bee on January 23, 2013 at 4:21 PM · Report this
fletc3her 16
@10 And the group showers are sexy! See also BSG and Dollhouse. Who needs separate facilities in our post gender world?
Posted by fletc3her on January 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 17
You know...not being a professional killer in the service of the government myself, I can't really speak with any authority about how women themselves will or won't do in combat. It's not inconceivable to me that there are some physical requirements that fewer women than men can meet.

Of course, I doubt the average American man could meet them, either. Anyway, that's easily answered by simply requiring women to meet the same physical requirements as men, and letting them fight if they do.

What I can't get my head around is the idea that we can entrust these young people with multi-million dollar machines and life-and-death responsibility, BUT...we don't think they can "handle" having women around.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 23, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
I think a lot of these armchair warriors are simply terrified at the possibility of encountering a female with front line combat experience. I mean, how are you going to keep them barefoot, preggers and docile once they've PROVEN they can sell you the farm?
Posted by COMTE on January 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 19
I thought drones did all of our child-killing these days. Who cares what gender the person writing the kill-sequence programming is?
Posted by Matt the Engineer on January 23, 2013 at 4:53 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 20
Women are more level-headed in combat and less prone to stupid boy aggression.
Posted by Daddy Love on January 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
That's okay. This is the same group who was saying the same thing about Negros a few decades ago.
Posted by usagi on January 23, 2013 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Rotten666 22
cow says moo.
Posted by Rotten666 on January 23, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
Just out of curiosity, anyone care to explain just how this change helps the average grunt on the ground? Helps him stay alive? Helps him defeat the enemy?

That's the only lens worth looking through: does it make fighting easier or harder for those individual infantrymen doing the actual fighting?

I know college educated liberal kiddies sipping lattes while discussing the artistic merits of comic books don't really give a damn about the lives of those guys. Far, far more important to make a political point.

And I know that attitude extends to the upper reaches of the officer corps and the political leadership of the country and especially to the neocons agitating for yet another war.

But I do give a damn. Because they were my guys once. Because, as dumb and ugly as grunts can be, someone's gotta look out for their best interest.

I don't think this is in their best interest. But that's irrelevant to this crowd, isn't it?
Posted by Corydon on January 23, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
@23: The fact is, I care a lot more about the women in the military than I care about the men. Limiting women to support positions has not protected them from dying, it's only prevented them from getting promoted because for the most part, one can't get promoted if one isn't in the combat track. On top of that, the military has a rape problem and I would rather see that stopped.

And guess what? "Unit cohesion" has proved to be a bullshit argument every time it's raised. In addition, people who are saying that the standards are going to be lowered are idiots; the standards are the standards, and if women want to be in combat, they have to meet them. Any other reason that it might cause the grunts problems to have women with them seems to me like a load of sexism that they need to get over sooner rather than later.

The Soviets had women combatants in WWII. I don't think it's so far-fetched to include them in combat 70 years later.
Posted by alguna_rubia on January 23, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Knat 25
@23: The Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs disagree with your assessment. Is that relevant to you?
Posted by Knat on January 23, 2013 at 6:38 PM · Report this
@25 not particularly, since the secdef's only military experience is as a REMF and is basically an elitist political bastard like the rest of Washington. And because it's been years since there's been much of a general officer corps that gave much of a damn about enlisted soldiers. Show me the last officer who got relieved of his command for incompetence.

@24 it's not about unit cohesion. It's about doing the job. There are, no doubt, combat roles that women can do just fine. Fighter pilots, for instance. But there are others, like light infantry, that most women are simply not suited to physically.

The typical male soldier can pull a guy like me off the battlefield if I get wounded. The typical female would have a lot more trouble. That tells me that the leadership doesn't really care that a guy like me dies instead of survives in order to make a political point.

As for the promotion argument, that only applies to officers seeking to move from being branched to general officers. Enlisted soldiers in any MOS can and do make CSM. Officers in any branch can make COL. But combat arms do have an advantage when it comes to pinning on that star.

So the grunts have to pay with their lives so some elitist female can make the Pentagon look good on TV for the politicians. Like I said...par for the course these days.
Posted by Corydon on January 23, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 28

If a college education is the root of the problem, and all of the officers in charge of the grunts went to college, drinking lattes the whole time, then it sounds like the grunts were pretty much fucked long before today. If you are really that bitter about your boss going to college, just tell every kid you know to never enlist.

I don't think you mean any of it, of course. You're just reeling off aggro buzzwords from a list. Anyone who actually cared about the grunts would care enough to take the time to read the policy before spewing.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 29

Again, read. Read. Read.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 23, 2013 at 7:34 PM · Report this
Christampa 30
It'll be okay Corydon: Women will naturally develop the upper body strength necessary to pull a man off the field now that men will stop holding doors open for them, and they'll have to open them all themselves.
Posted by Christampa on January 23, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 31
Most combat is not hand to hand these days so keeping women off of the front lines makes little sense. Maybe if we were still wore suits of plate or chain male armor it might but consider this. During the seiges of Stalingrad and Leningrad many of the Russian snipers were women. They were quit effective.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on January 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
Women can't be combat soldiers? Tell that to the Israeli army.
Posted by sarah70 on January 23, 2013 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 33
@corydon and @26,

I served as an infantryman in the Army for eight years, so I'd hope I'm qualified to say who can handle it and who can't.

The infantry is not comprised entirely of beefcakes like you see in the movies. Guys with physical skills go into sports (or acting, or modeling, or any number of jobs that pay a million times more than the military). Most of the guys I served with were very average in the physical fitness department.

Most women could very easily meet the minimum standards required to serve in the U.S. Army infantry.

The infantry is not looking for pack mules who can carry tons but don't need intelligence. Yes, fitness is certainly important, but more important is adaptability, quick thinking and quick action, patience and insight, and the ability to both give and follow orders.

Unless the infantry has changed drastically since I served not that long ago, I'd predict the average woman will do as well as the average man in the combat units.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 23, 2013 at 11:52 PM · Report this
It is a sad day for progressive values when the big win is gender equality in fighting morally bankrupt wars.
Posted by subaltern on January 24, 2013 at 2:03 AM · Report this
@33 I was there myself, as a SAW gunner, RTO, team leader and squad leader, with a brief detour as a company armorer.

Yes, infantrymen don't have Arnold Schwarzenegger physiques. Yes, they tend to be lean because the job requires both physical strength and endurance.

But if you're discounting the weight you have to carry, then you've obviously forgotten what things were like. Machine guns aren't light. Radios aren't light. Mortars sure as hell aren't light. And the ammunition for all of these things sure isn't light either.

As I've noted elsewhere, if an AG is carrying everything he needs to fight and survive for three days, before supply lines catch up with him, it's not unusual for the weight he's carrying to significantly exceed 100 lbs.

Now granted, if you're a 2LT platoon leader,you won't be carrying all that stuff. You'll have an M4 and that's about it. But that's precisely my point: this whole discussion is revolving around the wants of the officer corps when it should be focused on the needs of the enlisted side.

And that's an ongoing problem with the Pentagon that dates back at least as far as Vietnam.
Posted by Corydon on January 24, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
Pick1 36
@35 The women that I know that actually want to serve in the military could all kick my ass.

They could've met the requirements easily, but weren't even considered because they were born with girly parts. Want it or not, I was given the full array of job opportunities in the military because of my penis. I don't know if I would've made the cut, but I could've tried.

That's why they have requirements and tests and any woman that can't cut it (just like any man that can't cut it)...won't make the cut.

It's as simple as that.
Posted by Pick1 on January 24, 2013 at 8:37 AM · Report this
@36 I'd be happy if that were the case, but the US military's track record is one of adjusting the standards until the desired result is attained.
Posted by Corydon on January 24, 2013 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 38
Cool. Yeah I started as just a rifleman, then a grenadier with the M203, and finally I switched on and off as an M113 APC driver when our company became mechanized infantry.

Sure, the equipment is heavy, but that's what basic and advanced training is for, to get new soldiers into shape to carry it and weed out those who can't. There's no way in hell I'd have been able to make a 20 mile road march in the first couple weeks of basic training, but by the end it almost seemed easy.

Some women can do it, some can't. Just like some men can do it and some can't. The military shouldn't automatically discount an entire gender without at least testing to see if they can hack it.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
I dunno. I trained alongside women in jump school and, with one or two notable exceptions, the results weren't encouraging.

The question is whether those one or two exceptions make the change in policy worthwhile.
Posted by Corydon on January 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 40

What you're misunderstanding is that they old policy had women in combat, on the front lines, but on the down-low. Because it was a gray area with lots of discretion, women who might never have passed infantry training were acting as de facto infantrymen. So if you're worried about policy being ignored, that horse has done left the barn.

Now we have a more explicit policy that ignores sex and moves the focus to where it belongs: qualification. Anyone who meets the physical standards can have the position, combat or non-combat.

None of that guarantees that they will stick to the rules and maintain physical standards, but at least it's out in the open and there's no bullshit. Before it was: stay off the front lines because you're a woman -- oops looks like the front lines found you oh well now you guys make the best of it. Now it's simple and direct: Can you meet the standards? Yes, good to go. Fail the standards: you're out. No fig leaf, no excuses.

We used to have a bullshit double standard if your skin was black and that got troops killed too. Getting rid of the racist double standard was a step in the right direction, and this is also a step in the right direction.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 41

Look at this NYG glurge. It's an inspiring story of a woman photographer who found herself in an armored personnel carrier under attack. She ran out and dragged a wounded man twice her weight to safety. It's all great that it had a happy ending, but what if it hadn't? What if that 200 pound soldier had died because she wasn't strong enough to carry him? There would have been no repercussions because she's not really a combat soldier and she wasn't "really" there. It was bullshit; a double standard. The justification for her being where she was was a lie.

Now the bullshit double standard is gone. Now, the only criteria are qualifications, not sex. That means -- we can hope -- that the only female photographers or whatever other job you can name -- who go into real combat on the front lines, are genuinely qualified. Not sneaking in on the down low because of a technicality, because we're all pretending they're not really combat troops.

Of course commanders can still lie, cheat, and fuck up. But that's how it goes. That's war. But now we have one less reason for the wrong person to be next to you in a fox hole.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 25, 2013 at 2:25 PM · Report this
lolorhone 42
@41: Exactly. I think most of us commenting on this issue would fail the physical fitness requirements for the military. Those who can should be able to serve in whatever capacity they wish, if they are willing. I'm a bed-wetting liberal, and it seems to me this a matter of those who want careers in the military getting their due- which is for damn sure is not an abstract political point. And neither is our tendency to send these brave folks into bullshit conflict based upon greed and not necessity. We should applaud the progress on the former and work like hell on the latter.
Posted by lolorhone on January 26, 2013 at 1:12 AM · Report this

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