Marine Corps opens combat school to women [Trigger warning]

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Marine Corps opens combat school to women [Trigger warning]

Postby ShortChelsea » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:26 pm UTC

http://militarytimes.com/news/2012/04/marine-corps-women-infantry-combat-dunford-amos-041812/

The Marine Corps school that produces infantry combat officers will enroll its first-ever female students this year, Marine Corps Times has learned.

As part of the service’s extensive research campaign to determine what additional jobs could be opened to women, an undetermined number of volunteers will attend the Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Va., said Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Corps’ assistant commandant. There, Marine officers are groomed to serve in direct combat roles and lead troops into battle.

“We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers,” Dunford said on Wednesday.

Soon, enlisted women also will have an opportunity to attend infantry training, Dunford said. Marine officials are developing plans to assign female Marines to the Corps’ Infantry Training Battalions, which fall under the Schools of the Infantry.

Officials don’t yet know how many women — officer or enlisted — will be put into the academic pipeline for the Corps’ “03” infantry occupational code, Dunford said. All will be volunteers — and it remains to be seen how many will answer the call, he said.

It’s not immediately clear either what the next steps will be for those women who successfully complete the Corps’ infantry training programs. Marine officials at Quantico, who have led the service’s effort to explore lifting restrictions on women in combat, said these details are finalized, but declined to discuss them pending an official unveiling in the coming days.

The Marine Corps’ top general, Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, traveled Wednesday to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where among other business he was expected to meet with Marines and explain the service’s plans for expanding women’s career opportunities, Dunford said. Amos was joined by his senior enlisted adviser, Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett.

“I think the important thing for us is to articulate the commandant’s intent, and to explain what he is doing and why he is doing it,” Dunford said. “The best way to do that is face-to-face, and he, with the sergeant major … is doing that right now.”

The Corps has been studying this issue for more than a year. In February, officials announced that company-grade officers and staff noncommissioned officers would be assigned for the first time to select jobs previously open only to men, though not in the infantry or any billets for which ground combat is a primary mission. Starting in May, women will be considered for about 400 positions within six types of battalions:

• Amphibious assault

• Artillery

• Combat assault

• Combat engineer

• Low-altitude air defense

• Tank.

Additionally, new functional fitness tests are being developed to help Marine Corps leaders determine how women and men perform in, and cope with, various combat tasks. The goal is to establish “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards. Details are scant, but the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command is looking to purchase a variety of new equipment specifically for these tests, suggesting the tasks associated with them will closely mimic combat-essential duties such as operating and moving heavy weaponry, and carrying casualties from the battlefield.

The Marine Corps defines gender-neutral physical standards as being identical for men and women, rather than weighted — or “gender-normed” — like those applied in the service’s annual Physical Fitness Test. During the PFT, women can earn a minimum or maximum score with fewer repetitions and a slower run times than their male counterparts.

This suggests that women wanting to serve in ground combat units will be given the shot to do so only if they can keep pace with their male counterparts. Standards would likely evaluate Marines not as women and men, but simply as infantrymen, tank crewmen or artillerymen, for example.

“There is a plan to … evaluate males and females against those standards and, potentially, a downstream plan to put women through other training that actually will be informed by our experience” with infantry training, Dunford said. “I think you will hear more from the commandant on that coming up.”

The data gleaned from all these efforts, Dunford said, will be used to inform a recommendation from the Marine Corps to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. That’s expected to be done by mid-November.

This past winter, the Defense Department published a report saying that nonlinear combat against a shadowy enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan has negated the notion of a frontline behind which women can be kept safe. Working in support roles, 144 women have been killed in action and 865 injured since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Defense Department data. As such, old prohibitions have become irrelevant, according to the report.



:)

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Gears » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:49 am UTC

Women in a grunt battalion...bad idea. Well I guess as long as they make male standards and aren't catered to for having a vagina they hcave the right to try.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:09 pm UTC

Nice to see the opportunity being made available for those that want it.

Gears wrote:Women in a grunt battalion...bad idea. Well I guess as long as they make male standards and aren't catered to for having a vagina they hcave the right to try.

Wow. Way to be condescending and sexist. I'm sure marines leadership decided to go ahead with this idea with the goal of creating substandard soldiers just so they could appear more open to gender equality, as you fear (apparently). Or, you know, maybe you could have finished reading the whole thing and realized they're holding the women to the same standards as men:
The article in the first post wrote:The Marine Corps defines gender-neutral physical standards as being identical for men and women, rather than weighted — or “gender-normed” — like those applied in the service’s annual Physical Fitness Test. [...]

This suggests that women wanting to serve in ground combat units will be given the shot to do so only if they can keep pace with their male counterparts. Standards would likely evaluate Marines not as women and men, but simply as infantrymen, tank crewmen or artillerymen, for example.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Gears » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

Now if only all females ran the same PFT as I do. As for the comment about it being a "bad idea" I'm sure you've never been in a grunt battalion.

I did also say that if they meet the same standards as males do they should get the same opportunity.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:24 pm UTC

Gears wrote:Now if only all females ran the same PFT as I do.

The article (and the exact section I quoted for you) notes that the new fitness tests will not give them a different standards like the PFT does.

Gears wrote:As for the comment about it being a "bad idea" I'm sure you've never been in a grunt battalion.

Irrelevant (also probably an appeal to authority). I'm sure you've never been in a grunt battalion with women in it.

Gears wrote:I did also say that if they meet the same standards as males do they should get the same opportunity.

And your implied assumption that they wouldn't be held to those same standards was what I was disagreeing with, especially since it is an assumption that is dispelled simply by reading the quoted article.

Edited out a reading error of my own (embarrassing).
Last edited by Ghostbear on Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Hawknc » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

Gears wrote:Women in a grunt battalion...bad idea.

Could you elaborate?
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Drumheller769 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:31 pm UTC

I think Gears is talking about how it will actually end up working out versus how the article says it will work out.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Gear » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:31 pm UTC

Gears wrote:Now if only all females ran the same PFT as I do. As for the comment about it being a "bad idea" I'm sure you've never been in a grunt battalion.

I did also say that if they meet the same standards as males do they should get the same opportunity.


. . . and it was explicitly stated in the article that they would be held to the same standards. Either it's a flatout bad idea to have women in a combat battalion or it's fine if they have the same standards. I don't understand why you keep bringing up saying that it's a bad idea to have a women in a grunt battalion when you additionally keep saying that it's fine to have them there if they're held to the same standards.
Last edited by Gear on Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:35 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:32 pm UTC

Gears, correct if I am wrong: i was under the impression that direct performance itself is only part of the rationale behind military fitness tests, and sometimes not the dominating part. That the tests are also set up to test things like perserverence, dealing with exhaustion, your willingness to push yourself further during training, to accept orders that will be physically painful, etc.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Gears » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

The standard WILL lower to avoid washouts. It's inevitable. Look at the US Army's new PT test. Its gender neutral and easy as fuck.

As for grunt battalions: EO, rape, and sexual harrassment claims are already happening at an astounding rate, and it deteriorates morale, costs money and time, and provides a distraction in terms of training and mission focus. A combat arms unit is by nature psychopathic. Laughing at dead bodies, terrible jokes, and quite of bit of mysogeny. Add to that the fact that many of the men are already quite comfortable with killing people, and throw some women in the pot and you have a recipe for trouble, and once again there is no need for it. We do not have a large standing army at our gates, and 20 million dead men on the front. We can't keep Marines from raping females in POG units, and we can't keep hazing out of the grunt units. Angry grunt/experience killer who doesn't give a fuck + females at his disposal = trouble.
I think Gears is talking about how it will actually end up working out versus how the article says it will work out.
Bingo.

And I can agree with giving them a shot at the same time think it's a bad idea.

My point about them not running the same PFT is that ALL Marines should run the same PFT and be held to the same standards, not just the ones in the infantry.
Zamfir wrote:Gears, correct if I am wrong: i was under the impression that direct performance itself is only part of the rationale behind military fitness tests, and sometimes not the dominating part. That the tests are also set up to test things like perserverence, dealing with exhaustion, your willingness to push yourself further during training, to accept orders that will be physically painful, etc.
PT tests are simply one metric of fitness. While those things you listed are true, actual physical fitness plays a huge role in whether or not you can hack combat. Combat can't be classified as "sexist." The enemy isn't going to go easy on you because you're female. (FWIW, weak males that can't meet standards shouldn't be there for the same reasons)
Last edited by Gears on Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby DavidH » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:44 pm UTC

What happens if a woman is captured? Seems like she might have a harder time of it than her male counterpart :(

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Hawknc » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:50 pm UTC

Gears wrote:Angry grunt/experience killer who doesn't give a fuck + females at his disposal = trouble.

Putting aside for the moment the fact that these women are Marines and hardly at anyone's "disposal", it sounds like the problem here is the men in the infantry battalions, not the women.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Red Hal » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:55 pm UTC

Agreed. The onus is not on the women to "stay out of trouble"; the onus is on the men to not rape their fellow infantrymen treat their fellow infantrymen like the equals they are.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Plasma Man » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

Standards would likely evaluate Marines not as women and men, but simply as infantrymen, tank crewmen or artillerymen specialists, for example.
Fixed that for them.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Angua » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:03 pm UTC

Not to mention that most of other stuff - eg laughing at dead bodies and terrible jokes (and even, sadly, misogyny) aren't confined exclusively to men.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:11 pm UTC

I'm going to agree with Hawknc and Red Hal here. If the way the men will treat women serving alongside is a problem, then the problem is the men, and needs to be solved through them.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Gears » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:22 pm UTC

Which is something everyone will agree with. Rape is always the rapists fault.

But a culture centered on violence is necessary for fighting a war. I just believe it's an unneccessary risk that will be detrimental to the morale of a unit, when we're busy fighting a war. The lives of soldiers shouldn't be thrown to the wayside just so we can have a Basically Decent fighting force.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Drumheller769 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:23 pm UTC

I'm not even sure the problem is the men. I think its more the attitude that wearing a dead person's head as a hat and laughing about it is okay(exaggeration). I understand that yes, if someone is going to defend me, they need to be a badass, but this can be achieved without the fuck-all cavalier attitude.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Enokh » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:28 pm UTC

I don't imagine Gears is saying that it's the women's fault for bad things happening to them (at least, I hope not), but rather pointing out what he feels is the logical/inevitable conclusion to what's about to happen. And I can't necessarily disagree with the "This would be nice, but it decreases effectiveness, so no" stance. As much as we love to romanticize the armed forces, it isn't there so people can hold hands whilst saluting the Flag, nor is it there to give us emotional youtube compilations of people returning from deployment. The military is there to kill our enemies, and so long as we follow the Geneva Conventions (and any other treaties we have), I'm 100% fine with everything and anything that gives us an advantage in that regard. Of course, I'm also a believer in the idea that we shouldn't just up and go to war unless we are prepared to fully commit to it.

That said, hopefully the Marines maintain their high physical standards, no one gets hurt by immoral assholes that are supposed to be comrades, and a gender-neutral military flourishes. That would be excellent.

EDIT: Got ninja'd a bit.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Gears » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:40 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:I don't imagine Gears is saying that it's the women's fault for bad things happening to them (at least, I hope not), but rather pointing out what he feels is the logical/inevitable conclusion to what's about to happen. And I can't necessarily disagree with the "This would be nice, but it decreases effectiveness, so no" stance. As much as we love to romanticize the armed forces, it isn't there so people can hold hands whilst saluting the Flag, nor is it there to give us emotional youtube compilations of people returning from deployment. The military is there to kill our enemies, and so long as we follow the Geneva Conventions (and any other treaties we have), I'm 100% fine with everything and anything that gives us an advantage in that regard. Of course, I'm also a believer in the idea that we shouldn't just up and go to war unless we are prepared to fully commit to it.

That said, hopefully the Marines maintain their high physical standards, no one gets hurt by immoral assholes that are supposed to be comrades, and a gender-neutral military flourishes. That would be excellent.

EDIT: Got ninja'd a bit.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby omgryebread » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:43 pm UTC

Gears wrote:Which is something everyone will agree with. Rape is always the rapists fault.

But a culture centered on violence is necessary for fighting a war. I just believe it's an unneccessary risk that will be detrimental to the morale of a unit, when we're busy fighting a war. The lives of soldiers shouldn't be thrown to the wayside just so we can have a Basically Decent fighting force.
Huh, where have I heard this before? Oh, maybe DADT and blacks in the military?

Same tired argument. No reason it's different this time.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:51 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:I don't imagine Gears is saying that it's the women's fault for bad things happening to them (at least, I hope not), but rather pointing out what he feels is the logical/inevitable conclusion to what's about to happen. And I can't necessarily disagree with the "This would be nice, but it decreases effectiveness, so no" stance.

You're only looking at it from the short term. In the short term, sure, there will probably be issues with getting the system to force people to treat their fellow service members as human beings, but in the long run we gain the skills and abilities of the new group of people we've allowed to serve. The argument of "it decreases effectiveness" is the same one they made against ending DADT, and I'd be willing to bet it was made against the integration of non-white soldiers as well. Not going through with it because of that short-term loss is handicapping ourselves in the long run. It's a really poor argument overall. Hiccups in short term effectiveness are not worth institutionalized discrimination nor the loss in long term effectiveness.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Arrian » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:21 pm UTC

Drumheller769 wrote:I'm not even sure the problem is the men. I think its more the attitude that wearing a dead person's head as a hat and laughing about it is okay(exaggeration). I understand that yes, if someone is going to defend me, they need to be a badass, but this can be achieved without the fuck-all cavalier attitude.


Keep in mind that the fuck-it-all cavalier attitude is a self defense mechanism to stay functional (not necessarily sane) when you're stuck in a supremely fucked up situation for days, weeks and months on end where you can realistically "[wear] a dead person's head as a hat."

omgryebread wrote:Huh, where have I heard this before? Oh, maybe DADT and blacks in the military?

Same tired argument. No reason it's different this time.

Aside from the fact that racism and homphobia are socially conditioned responses while the differences between men and women are physiologically and psychologically very real and very powerful? You're forecasting out of sample, and there isn't particularly strong reason to believe it will be the same this time. I don't have anything more than a vague recollection of something I think I read saying that historically, women in mixed gender combat units suffered disproportionally higher casualty rates, but I don't have a cite. Doesn't Israel use women in combat units, does anyone know of stats from them? Or from mixed gender partisan units, like the Viet Cong?

On the other hand, the only way to find out is to try, and I do think it is worth trying. <edit> Even though that means people will die in the process of learning the answer.</edit> Maybe the truly dominant difference really is cultural rather than physiological, maybe the physiological and psychological reactions can be overcome? I certainly don't know, and I don't think anyone else knows for sure.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Drumheller769 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:37 pm UTC

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that instead of following orders there would be a chance of the men wanting to 'save' the women instead, thus jeopardizing the mission.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Shivahn » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:Aside from the fact that racism and homphobia are socially conditioned responses while the differences between men and women are physiologically and psychologically very real and very powerful?

...Socially conditioned responses aren't psychologically real?

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Sero » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

Drumheller769 wrote:I vaguely remember reading somewhere that instead of following orders there would be a chance of the men wanting to 'save' the women instead, thus jeopardizing the mission.


I remember seeing this somewhere too. However, if that happens, what is the problem? By which I mean, the problem in that situation would be 'men disobeying orders'. I suspect that argument is fallacious in any case, perhaps the original argument dealt with some specific and plausible situation, but the idea that, categorically, men will default to 'protect females' mode over 'follow the chain of command', strikes me as absurd.

These arguments all invariably seem to boil down to, well, cooties, or something. Soldiers and marines are all and only men, including women would spoil things, because it's men-only. It's...circular or something. Making combat units mixed-sex would cause problems because combat units are not mixed-sex.

The only argument I've seen that seems to me, to be relevant to women in combat roles, as opposed to men's reactions to women in combat roles, is the question of their physical fitness for combat roles. That's a valid concern. It's also one that is adequately addressed by requiring equality in physical fitness standards.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:58 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:Aside from the fact that racism and homphobia are socially conditioned responses while the differences between men and women are physiologically and psychologically very real and very powerful?

Sure, there's a difference between the bell curve of all women and the bell curve of all men as far as, say, upper-body strength goes. So, the women who have the prerequisite physical strength pass the test and get in, those who don't don't. It might mean that the armed forces are, say, 70% men and 30% women given perfectly objective recruiting standards because of that shift in the bell curve; that doesn't mean all women are automatically unqualified because the means are different.

(That's without even getting into issues of, say, endurance, where women may have the advantage - I'm just saying even if it can be assumed that women are, on average, physically less fit than men, that doesn't say anything about a particular women being fit to serve, so the "women should be categorically excluded because there's physiological differences between men and women" argument is bullshit. Unless you're going for the "but what if a woman soldier was on Shark Week lol", which I don't think you were and really hope you weren't.)
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:45 pm UTC

I'mkind of surprised this hadn't happened already. West Point and even the notoriously conservative and privately run Virginia Military Academy were opened to women some time ago.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Griffin » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:04 pm UTC

The real question shouldn't be "would adding women add risk", it should be "is any potential added risk large enough to counteract the effect of increasing the pool from which we can pull our soldiers".

The answer is generally "fuck no, larger pool is worth slightly increased risk, because it can be counteracted by us having enough people to get rid of those on the more risky end of the pool"

Generally.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Arrian » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:18 pm UTC

Shivahn wrote:
Arrian wrote:Aside from the fact that racism and homphobia are socially conditioned responses while the differences between men and women are physiologically and psychologically very real and very powerful?

...Socially conditioned responses aren't psychologically real?


Socially conditioned responses are presumably easier to condition people out of. And the military is VERY good at conditioning. Responses like, say, certain hormone levels changing differently when the friend who is screaming in agony and bleeding to death next to you is a woman instead of a man, causing a change in the nature of the fight/flight response, those would potentially be much more difficult to condition around.

re DaBigCheez: I'm thinking about the reactions that men (and women) would have to being in combat in mixed units, not physical capability. See above. The article implies that they would only accept women who met the current physical fitness criteria into the infantry. Gears' personal experience with the military leads him to think that won't be how this ends up being implemented in the long run. I really don't know.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby najradanti » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:23 pm UTC

ah, wait, so your answer is that racism and homophobia are socially conditioned but sexism is ingrained. gotcha.

really, though, why do you presuppose that the urge for men to treat women differently is any less socially conditioned? it seems kind of presumptuous to assume that men just can't help themselves because it is in their blood to treat women like they are defenseless and in need of saving, or what have you.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby alexh123456789 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:04 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:Socially conditioned responses are presumably easier to condition people out of. And the military is VERY good at conditioning. Responses like, say, certain hormone levels changing differently when the friend who is screaming in agony and bleeding to death next to you is a woman instead of a man, causing a change in the nature of the fight/flight response, those would potentially be much more difficult to condition around.


Is there good reason to believe this? A lot of people view the military as a band of brothers, and if they can condition you to fight through the suffering of someone who's like a brother to you, why not a sister? What makes you believe there's a change in the nature of the fight/flight response?

By stopping women from joining you're simultaneously restricting their right to serve their country and forcing males to take a huge majority of the casualties, although they're volunteers and that's more of a factor when there's a draft.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:02 am UTC

If Gears is right and there is likely to be a very high incidence of rape and misogyny, then that's a legitimate argument against integrated women in grunt units. Is he right? What do the data say about areas in which women are already integrated with men in the armed forces?
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:07 am UTC

Even if he's right, it's not an insurmountable problem. The military has adapted before and can adapt again. Misogyny an rape are not inherent in people.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:30 am UTC

I don't know enough to agree or disagree with that statement. Do you or Gears have data to back up either one? Or examples or something?
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:40 am UTC

I was thinking of hazing at West Point and segregated military units in particular.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:37 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I don't know enough to agree or disagree with that statement. Do you or Gears have data to back up either one? Or examples or something?

We have the examples of integration and acceptance of blacks and gays in the military. Both were delayed because of fears of moral issues caused by the already accepted soldiers. Both were able to be completed successfully, and both have resulted in us having a stronger military with a larger pool to draw talent from. The military was to deal with the racism and homophobia brought about by that integration. It's successfully handled two forms of bigotry -- why should we presume that it can't do so with a third?

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:23 am UTC

It's been suggested that sexism and rape are biologically ingrained and harder to permanently shake off. Of course, I have no idea if this is true. And, although there may have been discrimination against blacks and gays, it didn't, to my knowledge, involve raping them.
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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:23 pm UTC

Just because it is a different expression of bigotry does not change that the type of issue (soldiers not properly respecting their fellow service members), nor even the approximate severity of that issue, has not already been encountered in military integration. It was able to be solved then. The biological argument is not a convincing one for me, because it's still not particularly dissimilar to the arguments against previous integration efforts (e.g. "Blacks shouldn't serve because they're innately inferior!").

Initial moral issues due to prejudices (for which "we must protect the women first" would count as one) have been dealt with in military integration before. Militaries (mostly Russian) have successfully used women for combat roles in the past. The Australian military had difficulty at first with integration, but managed to iron them out. Sweden allows women to serve in any role -- including combat roles -- with no restrictions. I don't think we can say that the issue of military sexism is biological at all -- if there is an issue, it's with American culture. If so, then we sure as fuck aren't going to fix it by treating them as second class citizens for the purposes of military service.

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Re: Marine Corps opens combat school in Quantico, Va. to wom

Postby Hawknc » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:The Australian military had difficulty at first with integration, but managed to iron them out.

The ADF only announced last year that it will allow women in infantry and other "grunt" positions and won't have the plan fully phased in for at least another few years, so we're probably not the best comparison. That said, it means we've just had this exact debate here recently, and the government made the right choice.
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