I got some stick last year when I wrote in a blog after the Olympics that the thought of women punching each other in a boxing ring depressed me. This view has nothing to do with the characters of the young women so engaged; it is my battle (using words rather than fists) against these latter decades of feminism which has made such a pugilistic scenario possible. Over boxing I wrote, “It might seem a victory in the on-going feminist struggle of women’s complete equality with men, but it strikes me as a hollow victory; a blow against the nature of womankind; indeed, a step backwards for civilisation.”
Last week we larned that in the US women are going to be allowed to engage in front-line combat duty alongside men. I see it as a further downward slide; what will be next?
Soon, as Yeats wrote in the context of the Great War, “mere anarchy” will be “loosed upon the world.” I am not being alarmist; nor am I alone in my opinions here; Robert Reilly in a good article in Mercator Net, challenges US General Martin Dempsey who has proclaimed that “The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.” As Reilly comments, it is ideological pressure that has created this supposed requirement – not military necessity.
He points to research in 1994 for the Heritage Foundation which has shown that “the presence of women has had a devastating impact on the effectiveness of men in battle.”
Why? Because it is a natural male instinct to protect and assist women when they are in danger rather than continue with their attack. This in turn further jeopardises their own lives and also the survival of the whole unit. “The study further revealed that unit morale was damaged when men saw women killed or maimed on the battlefield.”
The article refers to the late Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Dayan, who also thought that women reduced the effectiveness of male units because men took steps to protect them “out of fear of what the Arabs would do to the women if they captured them.” All this makes complete sense. War is horrible. It is bad enough that men sometimes have to engage in its brutalities. Why now include women in combat roles?
Retired US General Volney Warner strikes a note of common sense (unlike President Obama who, not surprisingly, sees the ending of the combat exclusion as “appropriate”). He states, “I remain convinced that women are better at giving life than taking it.” That says everything about the difference between men and women and why they should not be considered “equal” on the battle-field. Reilly asks rhetorically, “What kind of society seeks to put its women, its life givers, directly in harm’s way… The answer is, a society that no longer knows what women are or why men fight to protect them.”
Where America leads, we follow. What a gloomy prospect.