“From this day to the ending of the World
… we in it shall be remembered
… we band of brothers.” — A quote from William Shakespeare’s Henry V as it appears in Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers
On Jan. 24, the Administration of President Barack Obama lifted the ban on allowing women in U.S. military combat positions, granting full equality in combat for women.
It is a reversal of more than a 200-year-old policy that kept women off the front line in a combat role. It is pure politics and has zero consideration of the inherent and real physical differentials that exist between the sexes.
This is just the latest step in which Obama is kowtowing to a special interest group — in this case, feminists.
There’s just one problem: Women and men should have equal rights, but please don’t tell me they have equal physical strength.
I have been involved in athletics all my life as a participant and as a coach. Since I was a teenager, I have read everything I could about warfare. And I sat through as many lectures on the subject as I could when I was in school.
What mesmerized me the most was not what I learned in class but a talk I heard 15 years ago in New Orleans at the MoneyShow. It so happened I was standing next to my old friend, Personal Liberty Digest™ contributor Chip Wood. We were listening to Stephen Ambrose speak about his book, Band of Brothers. (This was a couple of years before the book was made into a TV miniseries by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.)
The focus of the book and the miniseries is on the 101st Airborne during World War II. I came to understand the physical hardships they endured from their first day at boot camp until the final defeat of Nazi Germany.
On D-Day the men of the 101st were dropped behind German enemy lines at night, spread apart because of heavy flack fire and carrying up to 120 pounds in gear. So heavy were their packs and weapons that they had to be pulled to their feet and assisted into transport planes and gliders. They parachuted into the night sky, striking the ground at more than 10 miles per hour. This is where their physical strength came in.
There are strong women, but my personal experience is that women are not nearly as strong as men.
In the 1990s, I did a few bench press competitions. To win, a man had to bench 1.5 times his body weight one time. A woman had a different test; she had to push a barbell weighing one time her body weight. I saw scores of men do it but I saw only one woman complete it.
It is not just strength but also speed and endurance that separate the sexes. I will give you another anecdotal example. My son and his wife run at least four marathon races each year. My son runs the race in less than 2 hours and 50 minutes. His wife has a personal best of just more than 3 hours and 15 minutes. Yet my daughter-in-law places slightly higher against women competitors than my son does against the men.
If you are not convinced this is an absolute truth across the board, you have to answer a question: Why is it that in every athletic endeavor men are matched against men while women compete against women?
I’m not the only one who thinks there are physical differences between men and women. Margaret Wente of The Global Mail wrote this in an opinion piece following the Pentagon’s announcement:
Let’s get real. Women cannot equal men in ground combat, the kind of dirty, brutal stuff that (fortunately) makes up a very minor part of modern military life, especially post-Afghanistan. It’s not that they can’t be trained to kill – they can. The issue is that the physical differences between men and women are very large, and on the battlefield, they really matter, and can’t be wished away. Men are better fighters because they are bigger and stronger and can endure far more physical punishment before they break down.
… The average female soldier is “about five inches shorter than the male soldier, has half the upper body strength, lower aerobic capacity and 37 per cent less muscle mass,” Stephanie Gutmann, author of The Kinder, Gentler Military, wrote in the New Republic.
What do America’s ground combat leaders think? They probably don’t want to get into trouble with their political bosses at the Pentagon, but a few have spoken out.
The head of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, went on record declaring he is skeptical about how women will perform in infantry units. He added some combat positions may end up being closed again if not enough females meet the rigorous, physically demanding standards.
Some GIs are worried that in order to incorporate women into combat zones, training standards may have to be downgraded. That would make American infantry forces weaker and put the lives of those who fight on the front lines in greater jeopardy.
At least the feminists are not worried.
“There’s no denying that this decision is a victory for women’s rights, another landmark in women’s hard-fought battle for equality,” gushed the Journal Tribune. “… Full equality has been the goal since the women’s movement began to see success with suffrage in 1920, followed by wider respect with their work on the homefront during World War II, a full-steam approach in the 1960s with birth control and sexual liberation, and a move into the workforce in the 1970s and ’80s.”
While feminists might see it as a step in the right direction, I doubt that the men serving beside smaller and weaker soldiers in foxholes and on the front line will be as thrilled.
I began by mentioning Band of Brothers. I am going to leave you with a line from the blockbuster 1992 movie A Few Good Men, spoken at the end by Col. Nathan R. Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson): “You… people… you have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today… That’s all you did. You put people’s lives in danger.”
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report