"In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on rather than off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day." - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Saturday, January 26, 2013

All's Fair In Love And War

United States military leaders recently lifted a ban on women in front-line roles. While women already made up about 14% of the US Army, they were restricted from what were considered "front-line" roles such as infantry, armor, or artillery units.

Considering the nature of guerilla warfare, any unit could possibly see combat at any time, even if they're only supposed to be "supply and logistics" or "intelligence." Over 150 female soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, in what were supposed to be "non-combatant" roles.

It makes perfect sense to allow women the right to fight for their country. After all, if they can deal with the unthinkable horrors of war and perform (under fire) just as well as a man in the same role, why shouldn't they be allowed? 

That's where the problem is, though. Let's look at the minimum requirements for the US Army's Basic Training Physical Fitness Test (what you need to pass to get through Basic Training):

Age Group Gender Pushups Situps    2-Mile Run
17-21 Male 35 47 16m36s

Female 13 47 19m42s

22-26 Male 31 43 17m30s

Female 11 43 20m36s
As part of getting through training in the US Marines, a male recruit currently has to be able to do at least 2 pullups. A female recruit only needs to be able to dead-hang for 12 seconds. As of 2014, a male recruit will have to do at least 8 pullups for a perfect score while a female will have to do at least 3.

If women are to be officially allowed in combat roles, the branches of the US military should hold everyone to the same physical standards, regardless of sex. A 200-lb man with a 60-pound pack who is wounded and needs to be dragged or carried to cover isn't going to get lighter just because the only person around to help is a woman who may have only gotten through training because of the more lax standards for women.

And that's not even to say that there aren't any women who are strong enough. There are plenty of women out there, some already in the military, who can deadlift over 300 pounds and do as many pullups as there are hours in a day. 

Didn't we learn anything from G.I. Jane?

 Obviously women don't want or need an excuse, so what's the point of the gender handicap in the fitness standards? It's totally idiotic to hold potential soldiers to varying standards based on sex. Same job, same requirements.


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