I heard something in passing a few days ago that I didn’t think much of at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more it festered. I heard someone say that women are not permitted to participate in actual combat in the United States military. I thought, ‘no…that’s ridiculous. Who would make a stupid rule like that?’
Turns out, stupid rules like that do exist.
It has only been since 1985 that women have been allowed to serve on submarines. NINETEEN EIGHTY FIVE. I mean, okay, the first time ANYONE served on a submarine was in the early teens of the twentieth century, but NINETEEN EIGHTY FIVE, people. Do you even know how ridiculous that is?
I don’t want to get too sidetracked here on the basic ridiculousness of sexism, because I could just go on mocking folks all day. You know, for a *change*.
Anyway, I’d heard the claims that women cannot match men when it comes to physical exertion and ability. I’d heard the goofy idea that men in the military would be ‘adversely affected’ in seeing a female comrade fall to enemy fire. I’d even heard that womens’ roles are as nurturers; that we need women in order to raise up the next generation (of soldiers, presumably). And that allowing women (and, for that matter, gay folks) would somehow cause military units to crumble with diversity.
In my naïveté, I thought these arguments were just simple smokescreens for basic sexism. And they may well be. But there are people who actually *believe* this crap. That always comes as a surprise to me.
I was sent this article which discusses a recent move in the US military to lift bans on women participating in combat. And something really struck me when I read:
Americans will not tolerate large numbers of women coming home in body bags.
And here it is.
Do you value your sons so little? Are your daughters more worthy than your sons? Because if this is the case, I think you’re doing it wrong. On one hand, the right-wing says that women are content in their subordinate roles as caregivers and mothers. That it’s okay to have special rules for women because they’re just not as capable as men. So on one hand, they *devalue* women. But then they turn around and say, “No no no, you cannot let women get killed in combat. We won’t stand for that.”
So you’re fine with indentured servitude (proscribed roles for women), but you’re not okay with freedom (womens’ right to choose how to serve their country). Gotcha. You know, that’s kind of backward to the way you’re portrayed in the media.
But I want to get back to something here. It’s okay to send dozens of young men home in bags, but you take a step back when there’s a possibility some of those body bags contain uteri? “Well, no”, you’ll say, “ideally we don’t want ANYONE to have to give their life for their country.”
But, in essence, when someone DOES give their life for their country, better it be a young man. I do not see the logic here.
Rick Santorum, who is a raging madman (in fact, I usually refer to him as Rick Sanatorium), claims that the reason it would be a mistake to ALLOW women full participation in the military is because it would be really difficult emotionally for male soldiers to see a female soldier’s life threatened, and that reaction would be distracting from their missions. Because, you know, watching an enemy of the state blow your buddy’s brains out in front of you is fine as long as your buddy is another dude.
More mind-boggling are the comments of one of the people who served on a task force that studied the role of women in the military in 1992. Elaine Donnelly said:
it’s a cultural issue and that Santorum’s concerns are legitimate. The commission voted against sending women in close combat because “that would like being an endorsement of violence against women,” she said.
No, really. Go back and read that again.
You cannot allow women in the military because that means our country supports violence against women. We also support violence against men, but that doesn’t matter because men can take care of themselves. You know, it’s too bad there aren’t people who are opposed to violence. Then maybe we wouldn’t NEED a military.
I feel this is a good time to point out that Ms. Donnelly is the president of the Center for Military Readiness. While I’m sure this is a worthy organisation, I can’t help but imagine it as a bunch of super jumpy people in a high-tech room, all of whom have had WAAY too much coffee. And they all just cop these ninja poses every now and then and shout: “ARE YOU READY? **ARE YOU READY!!!???**”
She (Donnelly) goes on to say:
If a soldier is injured and his support soldier is a woman, “that man dies because she’s not going to be able to meet the physical requirements and it doesn’t matter how brave and courageous she is. … We respect women in the military but when you’re talking about direct ground combat, if you start making diversity the most important factor, then you put lives at risk.”
As my good friend Ferlak pointed out, the army has combat readiness tests, and if you don’t pass those, you don’t get to do frontline combat, period. Regardless, one would assume, of your gender. Trust me, if you were on the front lines with His Nibs and I, which of us would you want dragging your shellshocked arse back behind a tank and out of the line of fire? [Note: you want me.] [Also note: I’m a chick.]
I should just like to point out that I am of the extreme left-wing socialist bent who is opposed to the need for a military period. This doesn’t mean I think there are times when military action isn’t the fastest and most effective way of protecting people against despotic military regimes, genocide, and all sorts of evil acts performed by men and women on one another. I *despise* the taking of human lives, no matter in whose name it is done. But here’s the ticket….I despise the taking of male lives *just as much* as I despise the taking of female lives.
It is no more wrong to hurt a woman than it is to hurt a man.
And this archaic, backward policy that the Pentagon is trying to change (that of women not being permitted to serve in combat roles) needs to go. It needs to recognise the value of *all* lives, regardless of their gender.
Give some more credit to the people who *do* choose to serve in the military (I am certainly not one of them), and in their ability to do their jobs, and to do them well, regardless of their chromosomes.
Also, my American friends, PLEASE don’t elect a nutbar. PLEASE don’t elect Rick Sanatorium. Or Mitt Romney (HIS NAME IS MITT. MITT. HOW CAN YOU, WITH A STRAIGHT FACE, EVEN CONSIDER SAYING “President MITT”?). Or Newt Gingritch. HIS NAME IS NEWT. NEWT. All three of these men are dangerous to freedom, liberty, and, to be honest, common sense. Some of them are dangerous to sanity. In exchange, I will do my very best to try to get Stephen Harper out of office here at home.