The day that former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the ban on women in combat units was to be lifted, I made a prediction. I reiterated that prediction on air on the Dana Loesch Radio Show that same week, in a discussion that also featured fellow veteran (Air Force) Stacy Washington.
What was that prediction?
If they open the door to allow women in combat units, it is only a matter of time before they lower the standards to ensure that women can pass.
A few months ago, I revisited this prediction. At the time, the discussion involved the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course. Since women had been permitted to attend, none of the 29 who had attempted it had passed the course. In fact, only four had made it past the first day.
Upon hearing of this travesty, Army General Martin Dempsey suggested that perhaps the standards should be revisited.
If we decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?
He then instructed the Marine Corps to evaluate whether or not they believe that women would ever be able to pass that course and report back to him. The time for reporting draws nigh, and as yet not one woman has managed to pass the course.
The General is forgetting, as many men who are long removed from field duty are wont to do, that the military has standards for a reason. The standards are not arbitrary, nor are they there to oppress anyone. Rather, they exist in order to make sure that when soldiers enter battle, they have not only the training but also the physical ability to complete their mission.
The General argued that the lower standards could be justified due to the changing nature of war. And in reality, many military missions require far less physicality than they used to. After all, we are now awarding combat medals to drone pilots (who “pilot” via computer, miles away from any physical risk).
But this Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course is specifically for infantry officers, and at the end of the day, a living, thinking, body with a gun cannot be replaced by any measure of technology. That body also has to be able to outrun the enemy, drag a wounded comrade out of the line of fire, carry all necessary equipment for miles on end, or carry the body of a friend to safety. The United States Marine Corps has a long history of turning out soldiers who have those abilities and more, and for that reason they should be allowed to continue setting their own standards free from the heavy hand of bureaucracy. Forcing them to lower the standards in the name of “equality” is not only a ridiculous premise, but it puts the effectiveness of the Marine Corps – and the United States Military - as a whole in jeopardy.
The Marine Corps has one last stand to make: General Dempsey informed them that, if they are determined to keep their current standards, they must justify the need for keeping them as they are.
Former Army Officer Ronald Maginnis had this to say:
The pressure is on the services from the White House’s politically correct crowd vis-à-vis Obama’s Pentagon appointees, who will force the services to accept degraded standards.
Further, according to retired Marine Officer Dakota Wood (now an analyst at The Heritage Foundation),
The Corps must be prepared for a bureaucratic battle. There will be people in the administration, both in the executive and appointees in the DOD, who will pressure the Corps, seeking the opening of all occupational fields to women. My hope is that Marine Corps leadership are able to rationally justify current standards and hold them. If the standards are arbitrary, they won’t hold up to scrutiny. But I believe the Corps has decades of experience on which to base requirements.