Robert Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and West Point graduate, fears that won’t happen. He spells out what he sees as the dangers of opening combat billets to women in his new book, Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat. His key concern is that, under political pressure, the military will ease its standards, resulting in a less-capable force. Battleland recently conducted this email chat with him. …
What do you see as the three biggest risks to letting women serve in the combat arms?
There are a multitude of risks—far more than most people realize, especially those without military experience. Among the many risks I discuss in “Deadly Consequences” are these three:
– First, standards will be lowered. As a practical matter, there has to be a certain minimum number of women in combat units for the policy to succeed. That can be accomplished only by “gender norming” the standards for combat service. Lower standards will inevitably degrade combat effectiveness, and the nation will be less secure. There is also good evidence that the policy will harm military recruitment and retention.
– Second, women who serve as ground combatants, whether by choice or under compulsion, will suffer disproportionate physical and psychological harm.
– Third, the already serious problem of sexual assault in the military will get worse. Notwithstanding the Administration’s wishful thinking, this prediction is borne out by the statistics.
There is nothing to gain from this. There is much to lose.
On the battlefield, there is no agency to appeal to for gender bias. The enemy, the weather, the conditions, the misery do not care that things aren’t fair.
Torsion bars don’t care if you’re too weak to change them. Track doesn’t care if you’re too weak to break it and rebuild it.
You can yell at artillery shells all you want that they’re sexist for weighing too much, but they will not care.
90 pounds of gear on your back does not care… and the inability to do any combat job gets passed on to someone more competent, who then has to carry two loads instead of one.
Your buddy who needs your help does not get lighter just because you’re a girl (or a weak man who only meets a girls’ standard).
Men who do these jobs have to be physically strong athletes. Those who can’t meet the standard are a continuing drag on their unit and/or are mustered out.
The few individual women who could meet the standard (and could probably get waivers and be welcomed into units that might find utility for them) are not who is being looked at here. This is a push for cocktail party circuit politicians to say “look at the good social justice thing I did for women” that will put girls into positions that break many men, and will break women much faster and much worse.