A Victory for Gender Equality!

 With unanimous support from the Joint Chiefs, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce at a press conference Thursday at the Pentagon that he is ordering the ban lifted against women serving in combat positions.

And there are many many more victories in store for us that we will see in the coming years. Do you want to know what makes me think that?

It is remarkable how little pushback there appears to be. Panetta conferred over a period of months with the Joint Chiefs of Staff both in his office and in the Tank, the secure room at the Pentagon where the Joint Chiefs meet, where it became increasingly obvious that lifting the ban was not only the right thing to do, but would likely encounter little resistance.

The most difficult thing to change on the road to gender equality is not the laws. It’s the mindset. The gendered way of thinking. But once you begin going in the direction of seeing people and not their genitals, the progress will be unstoppable.

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95 comments on “A Victory for Gender Equality!

  1. Very good news indeed, even though I’m not sure if the average person in general would be willing to sacrifice their life in combat, but I’m pretty sure there are many women who care about America enough to want to endure the rigorous training and risk it takes to battle enemies on the frontline.

      • Perhaps the physiology *is* wrong. If a certain segment of the armed forces is physically weaker than average, it puts the entire unit at risk.

        http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/gutmann-military.html

        “In the chase for women and to cajole them along once they managed to bag a few, the obsequious services (less so the Marines) allowed double standards (de facto, de jure) to influence everything from recruiting, to basic training graduation, to moral conduct, to promotion qualifications. Women were allowed to come into basic training at dramatically lower fitness levels and then to climb lower walls, throw shorter distances, and carry lighter packs when they got there.

        In the Gulf War, physical disparities were often glaring: Men in many units took over tearing down tents or loading boxes because most of the women simply couldn’t or wouldn’t do these chores as fast.”

        http://www.bobjust.com/womenincombat/

        “Unequal Load. For years, Sgt. Kelly Logan* believed that women should be allowed into combat units, that “it didn’t matter if you were a man or a woman—there is one standard, we all meet it, bond, and drive on with the mission.” Then came her 1997 tour of duty with peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. “I had a complete change in attitude,” she says. “When we had to do things like digging and reinforcing bunkers, the guys ended up doing most of the physical work. The women tended to move themselves to the sidelines.” Logan watched resentment build until it undermined the unit’s morale.”

      • Women traditionally make much better sharpshooters than men and have much better shooting skills. That’s a skill that is at least as important as pulling down a tent in combat areas.

        The times when wars were won because of people’s physical strength are long gone. Now it’s all technology, weapons, expertise, brains rather than brawn, etc.

      • // Women traditionally make much better sharpshooters than men and have much better shooting skills.

        How do you explain this? Biological differences? A myth? Since a few women joined and only in certain places in military, that meant only the select best of women got there, unlike most of men (among whom there are not worse shooters too)?

      • Since early childhood, girls find it easier to concentrate their attention, be methodical, organized, etc. Any teacher will tell you that. This is, of course, a result of different forms of socialization and upbringing of boys and girls. This will change, too, in time, just like the little girls’ much bigger vocabulary and much better communication skills and little boys’ better athletic skills.

      • It would be impossible for me to imagine that women’s physiology is wrong for all combat situations. It would be wrong for some, but just perfect for others. Guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency might be just perfect for women, under many circumstances, whereas heavy artillery would not be. Nobody can easily carry a cannon for several kilometers.

        i think those who suggest that women would generally not be suited to the army lack imagination as to what it takes to kill. Not every situation demands that you stand in front of the enemy and display your brawn.

    • My first thought when I saw the headline was not oh, equality — it was, wow, they must have figured out they will never have enough people for what they want to do if they don’t get more by including women. Watch them step up the wars!!!

  2. // However, this (hopefully) is but a stepping stone to universal selective service.

    Does “universal service” mean “universal draft”, where some people get a lottery number and must serve, regardless of their desires? If so, why do you think it’ll be good for US?

    • No, it refers to the current system where males between 18-25 must register for the draft. This already exists. Universal selective service is just getting rid of the ‘male’ requirement.

      • “No, it refers to the current system where males between 18-25 must register for the draft. This already exists. Universal selective service is just getting rid of the ‘male’ requirement.”

        – You are absolutely right. Limiting the draft requirement to men is an atrocity.

    • Not quite. There hasn’t been a draft in decades, but when a male citizen in the US turns eighteen he’s required to register for Selective Service, which means he gets a draft number and is eligible to be drafted if it ever happens when he’s between eighteen and some upper limit (I want to say thirty, but I’m not positive). Universal selective service means that everyone is required to register for this, regardless of whether you’re male or female.

  3. “The times when wars were won because of people’s physical strength are long gone. Now it’s all technology, weapons, expertise, brains rather than brawn, etc.”

    I don’t think this is true. In fact, the current armed forces disagree with you, too, since they have specific physical requirements and tests that one must pass.

    Are we arguing now that women should be held to different standards for military fitness?

    • “I don’t think this is true. In fact, the current armed forces disagree with you, too, since they have specific physical requirements and tests that one must pass.”

      – Then there is no issue whatsoever. People should be kept away from the battlefield on the basis of not passing these requirements and not on the basis of gender, that’s all.

      • Can we assume though that you disagree with the current military requirements that demand a less physically demanding standard for women than men?

      • “Can we assume though that you disagree with the current military requirements that demand a less physically demanding standard for women than men?”

        – I am now completely confused because everybody says something different. Do such standards exist? Are they different for different kinds of troops? What’s “less physically demanding”? If men find hitting a target much harder than women do, is that reflected in the requirements you talk about? Or speaking foreign languages, which is a lot more crucial in many types of military action than putting up a tent.

        Although, to be honest, I find these stories about how hard it is for female soldiers to put up tents to be a load of baloney. Even I would not find that task impossible, and I’m old, autistic, and sedentary.

      • An 18 year old male marine must be able to run 3 miles in 28 minutes. An 18 year old female marine must be able to run 3 miles in 31 minutes. This is an example, and my understanding is that these sort of things run rampant through physically strenuous public positions. For instance, male firefighters being required to carry a heavier load.

    • I just want to point out that the articles you’ve pointed out don’t list any dates of studies past 1997. That was sixteen years ago, and training requirements often change with time and circumstance.

      • Go to wikipedia* and look for United States Army Physical Fitness Test.

        Out of the three dimensions men and women have the same requirement in one (sit ups) and different requirements in the other two (push ups and a two mile run).

        *I know, but I find the same info elsewhere in less easily comparable forms.

      • “Out of the three dimensions men and women have the same requirement in one (sit ups) and different requirements in the other two (push ups and a two mile run).”

        – Yeah, soldiers in Afghanistan need to know how to do push ups SO much more than how to speak Pushtu or shoot at a moving target.

        Jeez. No wonder the US army lost every single armed conflict it entered since 1898.

      • “- Yeah, soldiers in Afghanistan need to know how to do push ups SO much more than how to speak Pushtu or shoot at a moving target.”

        Yes, pushups are a rather pointless requirement for a physical fitness test. But this also demonstrates how the standards need to be designed correctly, or they could be misleading. Shooting skill as you mentioned, but also the ability to carry HEAVY loads for LOOONG distances is important. For example, the standard combat load for an infantry soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq was 130 lbs.

        “Jeez. No wonder the US army lost every single armed conflict it entered since 1898.”

        It didn’t lose World War I or World War 2. Or the Gulf War. Or the recent Iraq War. Even Vietnam is very much a subject of debate as the U.S. won every major battle in that conflict.

      • “It didn’t lose World War I or World War 2. Or the Gulf War. Or the recent Iraq War. Even Vietnam is very much a subject of debate as the U.S. won every major battle in that conflict.”

        – You are such a funny person. :-) The Gulf War was a victory than later necessitated yet anotehr invasion and anotehr interminable, ruinous war. WWI and WWII are a great example of how not to lose a war by not participating. :-) But what is the point of discussing it if you believe that the Vietnam War was WON by the US.

        No, Kyle, your knowledge of history hasn’t improved since the last time we talked.

        “Shooting skill as you mentioned, but also the ability to carry HEAVY loads for LOOONG distances is important.”

        – How about the following scenario: a man carries a heavy load if that’s all he’s good for in your opinion, and a woman soldier does the actual fighting. Of course, it might make more sense to recruit mules in lieu of males, but hey, as long as the boys get to have some fun. :-)

      • “- You are such a funny person. The Gulf War was a victory than later necessitated yet anotehr invasion and anotehr interminable, ruinous war.”

        No it didn’t. The second war was completely unnecessary. George Bush and Dick Cheney thought it was necessary.

        “WWI and WWII are a great example of how not to lose a war by not participating.”

        The U.S. participated in both wars and fought on two fronts.

        “But what is the point of discussing it if you believe that the Vietnam War was WON by the US.”

        I don’t think it was “won” by the U.S. but I am saying it is debatable as to whether it was “lost” either (South Vietnam only fell in the end because Congress cut the funding to it).

        “- How about the following scenario: a man carries a heavy load if that’s all he’s good for in your opinion, and a woman soldier does the actual fighting. Of course, it might make more sense to recruit mules in lieu of males, but hey, as long as the boys get to have some fun.”

        The pack mule mode is for when each soldier carries their equipment. So the only way your scenario would work is if there’s enough women to do the fighting and an equal number of men to serve as the pack mules for the women. Although I think the women would have a problem if they were the only ones who had to do the fighting.

      • “No it didn’t. The second war was completely unnecessary. George Bush and Dick Cheney thought it was necessary.”

        – I hate to break it to you by they were the leaders of the US. One of them was the Commander in Chief of the US Army. :-) :-)

        “The U.S. participated in both wars and fought on two fronts.”

        :-) :-) Hopeless.

        “I don’t think it was “won” by the U.S. but I am saying it is debatable as to whether it was “lost” either (South Vietnam only fell in the end because Congress cut the funding to it).”

        – Linguistic skills are poor, too. :-) Now, let’s try this together: what is the antonym of “win”? :-)

        I have to say, Kyle, if I were an armed teacher and you were my student, I cannot guarantee you would live to see graduation. This is very very trying for my patience and, well, everybody is human. :-) :-)

      • “- I hate to break it to you by they were the leaders of the US. One of them was the Commander in Chief of the US Army.”

        So what? You said that the first Gulf War necessitated the second invasion. I’m pointing out that it didn’t necessitate anything technically.

        “- Hopeless.”

        The U.S. fought in World War I and World War II. That it didn’t immediately enter the wars is irrelevent. In terms of fighting the war for its own protection, it was victorious in both in terms of what it did.

        “- Linguistic skills are poor, too. Now, let’s try this together: what is the antonym of “win”?”

        In war, there are different types of win. For example, a Pyrrhic Victory.

        “I have to say, Kyle, if I were an armed teacher and you were my student, I cannot guarantee you would live to see graduation. This is very very trying for my patience and, well, everybody is human.”
        :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Wow you have made me smile here. I am sorry if I am so, but I have to voice my disagreements on certain arguments you make.

      • “Yeah, soldiers in Afghanistan need to know how to do push ups SO much more than how to speak Pushtu or shoot at a moving target”

        Push ups are a proxy for upper body strength. On the other stuff you might have a point (except that Afghanistan is/was a fool’s war, Afghanistan is a cesspit because that’s the kind of place that Afghan values lead to. Afghanistan is where dreams of civilization die).

        But, back to the point, it does indicate that women in the army are held to a less demanding absolute physical standard than men are. And that would in turn suggest that when tasks requiring physical strength do appear men will be doing most of that work.

      • “But, back to the point, it does indicate that women in the army are held to a less demanding absolute physical standard than men are.”

        – I can only repeat that “absolute physical strength” hasn’t won any wars since the Middle Ages.

        “And that would in turn suggest that when tasks requiring physical strength do appear men will be doing most of that work.”

        – I don’t despise men enough to believe that this is all they are good for.

      • “- I don’t despise men enough to believe that this is all they are good for”

        If you go to google and type in “Unintended pregnancies on the rise in servicewomen” you’ll see that servicewomen find men useful for something else as well.

      • “If you go to google and type in “Unintended pregnancies on the rise in servicewomen” you’ll see that servicewomen find men useful for something else as well.”

        – You do know that a female soldier in the US Army has a greater chance to be raped by her fellow soldiers than to be killed in action, right? This is really not funny.

      • “You do know that a female soldier in the US Army has a greater chance to be raped by her fellow soldiers than to be killed in action, right? This is really not funny.”

        If that is true (and it is distressingly easy to believe) it is not germane to the article in question (unless you’re suggesting that most of the unintended pregnancies are due to sexual assault (which was not addressed in the article).

        A quick survey does seem to indicate that servicewomen experience significantly higher rates of unintended pregnancies (which indicates it’s also an issue which affects the question of women in combat).

  4. “People should be kept away from the battlefield on the basis of not passing these requirements and not on the basis of gender, that’s all.”

    -I agree, but that’s not what’s happening here.

    “Although, to be honest, I find these stories about how hard it is for female soldiers to put up tents to be a load of baloney”

    -Putting up tents is just one example. We’re still a long way from fighting on the front lines being as demanding as videogaming. Until then, it’s still a very physically challenging job that most women soldiers are simply unable or unwilling to do.

    “She also observed that many women were “so unprepared for heavy-duty soldiering that they would have endangered the unit in a crisis.” Patrolling in Bosnia required soldiers to remain on high alert and in full battle gear, including flak vests and ammo. Says Logan: “The equipment prevented many of the women from moving as quickly as men, let alone being combat-effective.””

    “Whether it was changing truck tires, loading cargo, or even moving heavy cooking pots into position on the chow line, Ryskind says men “always pulled the hard work. Pretty soon this made it an us-and-them situation.””

    “In 1994 an Army rule barring women from hundreds of “combat support” positions was eliminated. Meanwhile the Army tried to institute tests to match a soldier’s physical strength to a specific “military occupation specialty,” or MOS. Then it was discovered that the tests would have disqualified most Army women from 65 percent of the more than 200 MOSs. The tests were scrapped.”

    • Who cares what one sexist cow says, seriously? I’m sure she has her reasons to bellyache. People tend to blame their own lack of success in their field of work on anything but themselves all the time.

      There are so many things to do in a functioning army that the issue of who lifts something heavy is completely trivial. Now that this sexist ban is lifted, all of these minor details will iron themselves out.

      • “Who cares what one sexist cow says, seriously?”

        You’re very quick to dismiss a person’s first hand observations because they don’t fit your biases. Maybe join the army yourself and you’ll have your own first hand observations to counter hers with. Until then, she’s been there and you haven’t so she has more credibility than you.

        If a bunch of other first hand observers have very different experiences than she does then I’ll consider them too. Until then…..

      • “You’re very quick to dismiss a person’s first hand observations”

        – Everybody knows that nothing is less reliable than witness testimony.

        “Maybe join the army yourself and you’ll have your own first hand observations to counter hers with. Until then, she’s been there and you haven’t so she has more credibility than you.”

        – This is the point of expressing different opinions. Everybody gets a chance to speak and then people make up their own minds. Do you have a problem with this?

        It is surprising to me that instead of feeling happy that dying in combat is no longer automatically considered a man’s job, two men in this thread are getting so upset about this great new development.

    • This quote from above: “Until then, it’s still a very physically challenging job that most women soldiers are simply unable or unwilling to do.”

      This shows that the writer has no knowledge of the army and its ways. There is no such situation that would ALLOW any soldier, whether male or female, to be *unwilling* to do something. The assumption that military life is like civilian life, allowing for the scope of choice, betrays this writer’s ignorance about his/her subject matter.

  5. “Everybody knows that nothing is less reliable than witness testimony.”

    So you admit you know nothing of Ukrainian society. Not what I exptected from you, but as the song says, strange things happening every day.

    • “So you admit you know nothing of Ukrainian society. Not what I exptected from you, but as the song says, strange things happening every day.”

      – If I based my conclusions about Ukrainian society exclusively on what I saw, I’d advise you not to listen to me. I never saw either Timoshenko or FEMEN. Never witnessed the Ukrainian Republic of 1918, never met Vynnychenko, never witnessed the pogroms of the early XXth century, never fought in the WWII. :-) If all one knows of any phenomenon is one’s tiny little personal segment of it, that person should definitely not pontificate about it.

      • “If all one knows of any phenomenon is one’s tiny little personal segment of it, that person should definitely not pontificate about it.”

        True. And if one has _no_ knowledge on the internal workings of an institution (like you regarding the military) there’s all the more reason to not pontificate.

      • “And if one has _no_ knowledge on the internal workings of an institution (like you regarding the military) there’s all the more reason to not pontificate.”

        – I will say whatever I please in my blog that everybody else is completely free not to read.

        I have lost count of how many times I have had to remind people that trying to tell me what to blog about is useless. Has it been 200 times or more like 400?

    • it is hilarious that lower standards are required for making sure sufficient woman enter into army and this is some how gender equality

  6. The one good thing, though, that has come out of this is that the Army can continue doing what they’ve already been doing (women soldiers in combat) without having to lie about it. So the women who are actually fighting in combat can officially receive credit for it. I think that’s a good thing.

  7. Most of the men bitching about this are not and have never been in the military, of course. They think sitting on their asses playing Call of Duty makes them experts.

    I, for one, am ecstatic about the news. I was in Army ROTC for two years before I was medically disqualified, and I wanted Infantry. Badly. It pissed me off that I couldn’t even try for it, and it pissed me off that my male classmates could do whatever they wanted, while my options were limited. My MS2 instructor advised me to do Military Police, so I could get some action. So yeah, Stringer Bell is right. Women have BEEN in combat. They’ve just not been getting the cred for it.

    • What about all of the men actually in the combat arms units who are against it? I don’t think anyone has a problem with women serving in these units if they can meet the standards. The problem is that so many can’t. That’s why we have separate standards for male and female soldiers, separate standards for male and female firefighters and police, and separate sports teams for men and women.

      The major flaw with this is that in a perfect world, we could have one set of standards and if you meet them, you get the job, male or female. But in reality, what usually happens is that so many women will fail to meet the standards that sexual discrimination will be cried and they will reduce the standards for the women to get large numbers through.

      This is what happened with Army Airborne School. When they let women begin attending it in the 1970s, so many couldn’t meet the standards that they reduced the standards greatly. Also with Navy pilots. When they first started letting women fly the fighter planes, they essentially pushed through women who were not qualified to fly the planes. The result was one pilot (Kathy Huchul) ended up getting herself killed while trying to land her plane on the aircraft carrier and another had to be removed from flight status because she was such a terrible pilot. It’s improved a lot now where women can fly the planes fine, but with flying aircraft, the physical demands are not required like with something such as infantry.

      • Cripes, my brain must not be working, the female pilot who killed herself was not named Kathy Huchul, that was my prior Congresswoman. It was Kara Hultgreen.

      • “What about all of the men actually in the combat arms units who are against it?”

        – They should get over their sexism and realize that having several women in the unit who can shoot and kill much better than they do will serve their lives. Of course, if these castrates prefer to nurse their sexist grievances at the cost of dying, I say good riddance. Let’s respect their choice to die surrounded by their homoerotic paradise.

        “When they first started letting women fly the fighter planes, they essentially pushed through women who were not qualified to fly the planes. The result was one pilot (Kathy Huchul) ended up getting herself killed while trying to land her plane on the aircraft carrier and another had to be removed from flight status because she was such a terrible pilot.”

        – Please give a number of how many male pilots had to be removed for being horrible pilots in the history of the school.

        You suffer from intense sexism, my friend. This is why you will remain lonely and spend your life boffing your little lonely thing that no woman has any interest in. Keep telling yourself these stupid lies. Maybe they will keep you warn at night in your empty, cold bed.

      • “- They should get over their sexism and realize that having several women in the unit who can shoot and kill much better than they do will serve their lives. Of course, if these castrates prefer to nurse their sexist grievances at the cost of dying, I say good riddance. Let’s respect their choice to die surrounded by their homoerotic paradise.”

        They aren’t against women who can shoot and kill much better then them, they are against women who cannot shoot and kill much better then them who may have been pushed through the training for reasons of political correctness.

        “- Please give a number of how many male pilots had to be removed for being horrible pilots in the history of the school.”

        You completely miss my point. The point is that they pushed through what were unqualified women because if they had failed them, there would have been an uproar and some people would probably have lost their jobs, or seen their chances for career advancement vanish.

        “You suffer from intense sexism, my friend. This is why you will remain lonely and spend your life boffing your little lonely thing that no woman has any interest in. Keep telling yourself these stupid lies. Maybe they will keep you warn at night in your empty, cold bed.”

        No sexism at all here. Sorry you think that.

      • Ah, I see a conspiracy theory about a bunch of PC fanatics in Pentagon. The same Pentagon that refuses to do anything about the horrible incidense of rape of men and women in the army. Yes, this makes tons of sense.

      • Well the way they are seeking to implement it I don’t think is PC, but it could become PC. If all works well, they will implement one set of standards for the combat arms jobs and then the women and men who can meet the standards can do them, which would be great if it works. But where problems will possibly arise is if large numbers of women cannot meet the standards set.

      • I’m sure there is a reason why you need this fantasy. Note that even the dried as dust, ancient Pentagon generals don’t have the same preoccupation. Ah, I know, they must have been massively reading Simone de Beauvoir! :-)

      • The Pentagon generals do have the same pre-occupation, but they want to keep their jobs. There have been some generals and colonels who lost their jobs when giving their opinion that this was a bad idea.

  8. Oh well, USA has probably the strongest military in the world. It makes sense US citizens try to get into it, even into infantry (PFI…). Besides, it’s been decades since your military fought somebody roughly on their level.

      • At present, the US has by far the strongest military both in terms of traditional combat and being able to deliver destruction from afar.

        The first is why there is _no_ challenge to the US on the traditional combat ground today. Unfortunately traditional combat tactics don’t work in a variety of non-traditional settings which is why more clever opponents have shifted to those.

        Delivering destruction from afar has been the typical response to non-traditional combatants but modern sensitivies greatly restrict how much that can be used (which is mostly for the best).

      • “At present, the US has by far the strongest military both in terms of traditional combat and being able to deliver destruction from afar.”

        – Hee hee hee. You guys have gone into a repeating mode. I’m off to sleep now, hoping that maybe tomorrow somebody will have something fresh to say.

        “The first is why there is _no_ challenge to the US on the traditional combat ground today. ”

        – I have heard many funny things this week but this one is so good. :-) I’m about to wake the whole house up with my laughter. :-) :-) This is too funny. OK, good night, everybody!

    • Of course by spending so much on sustaining a standing army like that US spends a ridiculous amount of money that could be used elsewhere. As for the US-Afghan conflict : it’s a typical asymmetric warfare that US simply cannot win: partisans have great local support (and thanks to “great” US diplomatic relations with Pakistan (which are entirely US fault for treating their allies like shit) also from abroad.
      For every combatant soldiers manage to kill there are 3 new ones (thanks to “we are oh so much sorry, but these are acceptable civilian losses” attacks, bombings, drone strikes).
      US troops are in Afghanistan for almost 12 years, already longer than Soviet troops were, but the end will be the same. They will withdraw leaving their puppet government behind, which will try to rule on ever shrinking territory. And one they they will have to either join Taliban (or whatever movement that will lead the uprising) or face death for treason and collaboration with occupants.
      As for the relative US strength: you need so many aircraft carriers, strong navy and aircraft because of your military doctrine. Both Russians and Chinese have different objectives and they need different kind of toys to play with.

  9. It’s amusing that this is the hill you gents want to die on.

    Women have the vote and the right to hold office. Tradcons have lost every battle they’ve fought in the 20th century. Every single one. And now you want to take a stand on the idea that only men should risk their lives in foreign hellholes?That’s the line you’ll draw in terms of where you’ll finally start taking the fight to liberalism? Well, okay then.

    I dream of a world where women make up the same proportion of bodybags as they do CEOs and Congress(wo)men.. And if those numbers are 50% – or hell, as north of 50 as anyone could possibly want, then that’s dandy.

  10. “The first is why there is _no_ challenge to the US on the traditional combat ground today. ”
    //I have heard many funny things this week but this one is so good. I’m about to wake the whole house up with my laughter. This is too funny. OK, good night, everybody!

    Who in your opinion has better army than US?

    Israel also has a good army, but modern warfare with terrorists among civilian enemy population (*) gives advantage to terrorists.

    (*) Plus the international and local views on what is moral and/or “moral” nowadays. If you tie both hands before fight’s start, then blaming army for lack of “victory” isn’t fare.

      • I guess you’ve never heard of a little place called Grenada…..

        Seriously, my point is that the combination of size and technology means that no country is in any condition to challenge the US on the battlefield, which is why US enemies focus on non-traditional, assymetrical conflicts which the US military does pretty much suck at.

      • // no country is in any condition to challenge the US on the battlefield, which is why US enemies focus on non-traditional, assymetrical conflicts which the US military does pretty much suck at.

        After invention of gunpowder weapons knights couldn’t demonstrate their power? :)

        If seriously, assymetrical conflicts seem to be the rule nowadays (says Israeli). May be, it’s for the better. I shudder to think of traditional war between 2 nuclear countries.

      • // have I had a chance to share this true story about Pres. Bush’s daughter who gave a presentation about Grenada at my department? It is hilarious.

        I don’t remember. Would be interesting to read about.

  11. Amanda Marcotte wrote about Jailing Rape Victims for Abortion law too:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/25/new-republican-idea-punishing-rape-victims-with-jail-time/

    To understand what’s going on here, you have to understand that anti-choicers primarily understand abortion as an attempt by women to hide how naughty they are. Never mind that most women getting abortions are in their 20s and are mothers already; the myth that abortion patients are young girls having all this sexy fun they’re not supposed to have and then hiding the “evidence” with abortion is so erotic and enticing for anti-choicers that they’re not letting it go. … this anti-choice obsession with abortion is so profound that “sexual fetish, no matter how sublimated” is the likeliest explanation.

    The narratives of sexual transgression and concealment that dictate how anti-choicers view abortion make this bill all the easier to understand. The possibility that women have abortions to reduce suffering in their lives, prevent economic catastrophe, or regain control over their lives are dismissed in favor of believing that an abortion means someone is hiding a sexy secret. It reduces rape to a “sexy secret” and, of course, reinforces the narrative that women are to blame for their rapes, because they are being so dirty and naughty and rowr that men have no choice but to put them in their place with some raping. (Implicit anti-choice narratives and really foul porn plots have a lot in common, which doesn’t strike me as a coincidence.) That’s why you get terms like “legitimate rape”.

    And, of course, there is a man in the comments saying that “The circumstances of conception don’t make a baby’s life less valuable. Adoption is the better option for the woman who does not want the child she has borne. Pregnancy is, indeed, a minor inconvenience for most women.”

    • A recent poll demonstrated that the absolute majority of Americans supports abortion in all or some cases. I am convinced that the stage of offering counterarguments to nutjobs such as these is over. There is no need to engage with them as if they have any power any longer. They have lost the battle. It’s done. The recent election – where every loser who made insane antiwoman statements got creamed at the polls – demonstrates that.

      This is why today the best way of dealing with them is ridicule. Everything Marcotte is saying in this piece is correct. However, she includes these folks into a discussion as if their insane opinions matter and offers them a chance to feel like they still matter. I don’t see the point of doing that. We have won the public opinion already. Whom is she trying to convince? A few random castrates? Who cares what they think? They have no influence on anything.

    • ” there is a man in the comments saying that “The circumstances of conception don’t make a baby’s life less valuable”

      I disagree. I personally think that in the case of pregnancy caused by rape getting an abotion is the single most moral thing the woman can do. But then I believe in evolution (and think rapists should not receive the genetic reward of offspring).

      I have no wish to impose my personal morality on others though so if a woman choses to carry the fetus to term then that’s her choice, she just shouldn’t count on admiration or anything.

      • Re evolution, I too know it exists, but think its’ understanding as “abortion is the single most moral thing” because rapist gene/s, or “poor / stupid people shouldn’t reproduce because lazy / stupid genes” , is simplistic. You didn’t claim the second, but the logic is the same and the 2nd is used more often, so decided to mention it.

        Also many rapists marry and have children anyway, and I feel that talking as if there is this magical rapist gene (not found yet by science) a woman should abort is a tactic of Othering, returning to proverbial rapist in the bushes. It is the gene we, normal people, lack! Sure.

        I guess, in countries like Congo, where rape is used as warfare, must be more people with this gene than in our civilized society?

        Last, I hope that women decide whether to raise a child not based on any admiration quota.

      • “its’ understanding as “abortion is the single most moral thing” because rapist gene/s, or “poor / stupid people shouldn’t reproduce because lazy / stupid genes” is simplistic.”

        You misunderstand me, want men who rape to have as few offspring as possible, primarily because passing on ones’ genes is a genetic reward I don’t want them to have.

        Poor and stupid people are welcome to have as many kids as they want (that I dont’ have to support or worry about).

        “is a tactic of Othering”

        I strongly disbelieve in words like ‘othering’

        “in countries like Congo, where rape is used as warfare, must be more people with this gene”

        And how’s that working out for them?

        “than in our civilized society?”

        you said it, pas moi.

        “I hope that women decide whether to raise a child not based on any admiration quota”

        Hope tempered with realism tends to work better than unrestrained hope.

      • “Poor and stupid people are welcome to have as many kids as they want (that I dont’ have to support or worry about).”

        – Hear, hear. Although it would be nice if they weren’t too stupid. :-)

      • // Hope tempered with realism tends to work better than unrestrained hope.

        Do you think admiration enters in such decisions?

        // because passing on ones’ genes is a genetic reward I don’t want them to have.

        I doubt many rapists are moved by thoughts of this genetic reward. If you don’t think children will be bad (however you define it), why would 1 decision be more moral than the other?

        Have you read the linked by me article below? She talked about male vs female standards in military too.

      • “I doubt many rapists are moved by thoughts of this genetic reward.”

        – There are actually some. There is a name for their disorder but I forget what it is. It’s a need to procreate by any means and at any cost.

      • “Do you think admiration enters in such decisions?”

        I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

        “I doubt many rapists are moved by thoughts of this genetic reward”

        YOu might be surprised (esp in war situations)

        “If you don’t think children will be bad (however you define it), why would 1 decision be more moral than the other? ”

        How many ways do I have to say : I don’t want rapists to have offspring and think it’s moral to deny them that.

      • // YOu might be surprised (esp in war situations)

        In war situations it is different, but in America?

        // I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

        How much admiration do single mothers get?

        How often does a community protect a rapist, esp from a “good family”? I read about a case in US, in which 11-year-old was blamed for ruining good boys lives.

        How much convictions are in rape cases? How many not brought to trial at all, f.e. dropped before that stage?

        Blaming victims and disbelieving them is a rule rather than exception, unfortunately.

      • “I disagree. I personally think that in the case of pregnancy caused by rape getting an abortion is the single most moral thing the woman can do. But then I believe in evolution (and think rapists should not receive the genetic reward of offspring). I have no wish to impose my personal morality on others though so if a woman choses to carry the fetus to term then that’s her choice, she just shouldn’t count on admiration or anything.”

        – Yes. I agree. This will be a severely damaged child to begin with, and, although as I respect every woman’s choice, this is a choice that has many many potentially dangerous consequences. And these consequences have to be taken into account. Just for starters, the first trimester of pregnancy is crucial for the foetal development. OB-GYNs implore women to avoid even a shadow of stress during this time. How likely is it, though, that a rape victim will have a blissful experience of those first 3 months? And then there is the father’s horrible genetic heritage, as you say. And many many other things.

  12. A woman with knowledge about military reacts:
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/civicfeminism/2013/01/25/i-have-had-the-satisfaction-ending-the-combat-exclusion/

    Men, who commented here against the decision, should take a look:

    “the summer of 2001 and you could smell war coming. I knew that if the past was any guide to the future, the military would greatly expand its use of women and its tolerance for gay men and lesbian women while lying about what it was doing so these people could not claim their just due, and then, as soon as possible, contract their opportunities.”

    That’s what is done in practice under under-women laws, using women in combat, while not giving their due.

    • Have sort of read it (horrible formatting makes it a chorse, she’s clearly never heard of ‘white space’.

      I have to say that overall it’s the most reasonable and balanced take on the issue (esp on fitness standards).

      But toward the end there is some strange stuff

      “the military has to treat women as it treats men: like individuals”
      “the military needs to treat women like citizens and human beings”

      I’ve never heard from a man in the US military that they were treated like individuals or human beings. One was convinced that the military acts as if its own soldiers are an eternal enemy who has to be subjugated at all times.

      • “I’ve never heard from a man in the US military that they were treated like individuals or human beings. One was convinced that the military acts as if its own soldiers are an eternal enemy who has to be subjugated at all times.”

        – Exactly. A training in any army begins with breaking the soldiers’ individuality. That’s the whole point.

        People sometimes lose sight of reality behind their rhetorical flourishes.

  13. // “… offspring and think it’s moral to deny them that.”
    – Makes sense to me.

    I got what is so bothering me about it. Cliff is judging women for not thinking about “punishing” rapist before they think of themselves. If a child will be normal and a woman wants to raise him or her, yet some people think she should “punish” a man by abortion, even if it will hurt her, to be concidered “moral”. Hmm, putting rewarding / punishing (2 sides of the same coin) a man before woman, where have I heard it before?

    Imo, criminal’s desires (either for procreation or abortion) shouldn’t be taken into account at all, and rapist’s punishment shouldn’t come via punishing a victim more.

    • “Cliff is judging women for not thinking about “punishing” rapist before they think of themselves”

      I judge everybody and nobody. My _personal_ view is that abortion is the most moral action in that case as it spares society propogation of a rapist’s genes. But, I don’t want to inflict my personal (often byzantine) moralizing on others. A woman in that position should follow her conscience.

      Back to the admiration thing: I was thinking of a case of a panel discussion kind of tv show I saw some years go. A devout woman was pregnant and it was discovered early on that the fetus was very abnormal and had approximately zero chance of surviving more than a few hours after birth. The doctors advised therapeutic abortion but she decided to carry the pregnancy to term (out of god’s will or some damn thing). The baby was born and died within a few (probably pain filled) hours (and considerable more cost to the taxpayer than the abortion would have been).

      The more conservative panel members were oohing and aaahing about how wonderful and moral she was and she was just _glowing_ as the center of all this admiring attention. That’s what I mean.

      Never think that people won’t put themselves (and others) through hell to look good to themselves and others.

      • RE carrying abnormal fetus to term doesn’t surprise me, have heard of it before. However, that woman was 1) married 2) not accusing any man in her community.

  14. May be it’s obvious to people here, but in the following post Echidne mentions how MRAs claim that “centuries of male warfare demonstrate discrimination against men and the lower value assigned to men’s lives” AND are against women in military at the same time. This showing MRAs true agenda: preservation of gender roles.

    “The function of only-male military service is to explain why all men should have a higher standing in the society than any woman. ”

    http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/annie-get-your-gun-removing-combat-ban.html#disqus_thread

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