It appears that Glenn Reynolds is in favor of allowing women into front line combat positions, but I wonder whether or not he believes that their presence actually degrades the performance of the military? I suspect that he thinks it does not, and yet there seems to be quite a bit of evidence that this is indeed the case. I've written on the topic before (post 1, post 2, post 3) and I believe there are very compelling reasons for us as a society to prevent women from taking part in front line combat.

The issue of violence against women was crystallized when former prisoners of war appeared before the Commission, including one of the two women captured during Operation Desert Storm. Testimony about the indecent assault on one of the women drew further attention to POW training programs already in place that "desensitize" male POWs to the brutalization of women with whom they may be held captive. An interview with trainers at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training center at Fairchild Air Force Base uncovered a logical but disturbing consequence of assigning women to combat:

"If a policy change is made, and women are allowed into combat positions, there must be a concerted effort to educate the American public on the increased likelihood that women will be raped, will come home in bodybags, and will be exploited. The consequence of not undertaking such a program would be large-scale disillusionment with the military should the United States get in a protracted military engagement."

Maybe I'm a just a male chauvinist pig, but I don't particularly want to see that type of thing. Regardless of training, male soldiers will not see the women they serve with as "just one of the guys", and will inevitably take extra precautions to try and prevent their death or capture. This may lead to circumstances where a commander does not surrender when he otherwise would, for instance, or vice versa. Women may not understand this fact or like it (and some men may argue against it for PC reasons) but it's biological and not merely cultural.

There is no need for women to fight in front-line positions, and the peripheral issues that would come into play even if the women could meet the same physical requirements as the men would do more harm than good.



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