Sexual Harassment in the Military and Women in Combat

Sorry- but it’s the nature of males to be attracted to females, and it seems to be the nature of females to perfume themselves, sometimes undergo breast enhancement and apply makeup to attract males. That is not abstract theory – that is fact.

Unfortunately, as in all nature, some of the males who are attracted are not what the female wants and she rebuffs them, but most males have been rebuffed before and keep trying. So what then???

In civilian life the woman turns her back and finds another male more suited to her tastes, or sometimes she confronts the aggressive male and tell him that she is not interested and to quit bothering her. It is only in egregious cases that she has to notify the authorities – and this is rare – and such notification almost never results in punitive or career damaging action.

But let this male/female interplay happen in the military and we have an all new scenario. It is different because the male/female ratio is disproportionately great, and frequently the bases/ships are isolated making male desires more paramount. I don’t see why so few in leadership, or for that matter the general public, fail to understand this. Proximity to the opposite sex increases desire, especially in young, virile males.

Surely the people who fought for the integration of women into the armed forces understood this, (Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, D-CO was one of them) but the cry for equality and female “career opportunity” rose to fever pitch and the decision was made.

Trouble is, war is not a game for women, no matter how well a few women perform. It is a gritty, messy occupation with the added inconvenience that you may be killed, wounded or have to kill someone else. And you may have to live like a slob, often eat crappy food, urinate and defecate where there are no facilities and no privacy, and undergo other bodily functions. Some women can handle this, most cannot, (some men, and I am one of them, would be embarrassed as well) but politicians blithely disregard this incongruity and do what they have to do to get votes.

Generally women have been called to serve when there are not enough men, or men are needed for the tough combat roles. During WWII we had army, navy, marine and coast guard women’s auxiliaries. I remember one slogan. It was on a woman marine recruiting poster and it read, “Be a marine and free a marine to fight” That makes sense, but that did not include or intend putting women into physical combat roles.

Now let’s examine what happens when women become physical combatants. Individual combat units have quotas. They get just so many people to be able to do a specific job and continue to operate, even after combat casualties reduce the compliment. During military combat operations wounded and dead have to be moved, ammunition and rations have to be brought up, fighting often has to continue for hours, and sometimes becomes hand-to-hand. Stamina HAS to be important. No matter how motivated, women will not be able to measure up to these requirements on a sustained basis – and that is not even considering the emotional drain that serious combat exacts.

I remember during the Gulf War when a newspaper reporter and cameraman visited an air force base in Iraq and interviewed three lady airmen. They were complaining because the often had to work MORE THAN eight hours a day – and they were on a base BEHIND the lines, not living in muck or going hungry.

AND NOW – in early October 2013, Lt. Jennifer Moreno, has been killed in action by a land mine that blew off her legs and killed at least three male companions. Is this lady’s life worth having a “career opportunity”? (As of 21 October 2013 the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper reports that “at least” 159 women died in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

And I would mention one other thing. Men instinctively want to protect women and would almost surely be distracted if a woman comrade was in danger. It is not in the male psyche to ignore feminine peril. I believe this has actually happened along the DMV in Korea when the North has created one of their “incidents” when actual bullets have flown. I have heard that the guys have gone out of their way to protect the women rather than getting in line to fight.

Now, I know we have had some successful women combat aviators. Colonel Martha McSally is one of them. She is retired now, but when on duty, became the commanding officer of an Air Force fighter squadron and flew in combat. But Colonel McSally wasn’t living in a tent between flights. She was flying out of Air Force bases where there was proper living conditions, nutritious food and a good deal of physical safety. Hardly similar to Jennifer Moreno, who was out in the field with “grunts.” But also note that during the Iraq war one of the lady pilots (I think she flew helicopters) was shot down and then raped by three or four Iraq soldiers. Interestingly, she survived, but commented that in her physical condition, after the crash, the Iraqis must have been very “hard up!”

No, there is no basis or justification to penalize military men when they act like men. And I don’t feel that the cost of extra special female facilities and the risk of “sexual harassment opportunities” can be or should be justified. Keep the ladies on the big bases in non-physical combat roles, and everything will be much less risky, simpler and far less expensive.

For the record, I am an avid supporter of Col. McSally who is now preparing to run for Congress in Tucson, Arizona.