From: Brian D Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jan 17 2002 - 12:31:00 MST
>From: "Tom Cowper" <email@example.com>
>First let me say that I am a firm advocate of equality and
>integration for women and gays and everyone else that have been
>traditionally excluded from various white-male-only jobs or
>professions, including the military. My concerns are for frontline
>infantry and combat arms units like tanks and artillery. Yes, in
>our everyday peacetime lives we all learn to deal effectively
>(success levels vary of course) with inevitable sexual tension.
>The reason the frontline military is different is that foxholes,
>trenches, jungles, and deserts, in a war, are completely different
>from any other human arena. Frontline combat is a life and death
>struggle. Emotions are high, continuously, days and weeks on end.
>Life is extremely difficult, both emotionally and physically. The
>specter of death is all around, always in your face. Thoughts of
>death constantly present. Add to that a preponderance of very
>young adults at the pinnacle of their physical sexuality and the
>base of their emotional maturity and sexual experience.
>Winning on the battlefield is a function of mind as much as
>physical power or strength. Keeping those young minds focused,
>motivated, inspired, and under control is a very very difficult
>leadership challenge. Breakdowns in mental and emotional
>discipline hinder combat effectiveness. Historically, the army
>that does the best job of keeping its personnel focused on winning
>is usually the army that wins. As I said before, the issue is not
>can women endure or fight just as well as men. The issue is how
>much combat effectiveness are we willing to sacrifice to include
>women in frontline combat units, interjecting a very significant
>mental and emotional detractor into an arena where life and death
>are the prize for winning and losing?
I think these are very fair and honest questions and to be sure the
jury has not even been formed to seriously consider the matter.
The point that I am trying to make is that if we want equality, and
I mean real equality not the PC garbage we've been getting and
pretending is equality, then certain things would need to change.
>> The military has it's own double standards about sex (male
>>officers may date female enlisteds but not vice versa) and is
>>highly resistant to change.
>That's not my exactly my experience Brian, though I agree that
>double standards exist all over the place, right along with
>good-ol-boy networks and glass ceilings. In most places that I
>served fraternization either way was taboo. But certainly abuses
>and double standards still exist.
I had some personnal experience with this. I would guess we could
agree that double standards are wrong.
>First, "service" does not necessarily have to include integrated
>frontline combat units. Second, as noted above frontline combat
>is a completely different world from anyplace else, including law
>enforcement, including the YMCA...at least I hope so. :) You
>don't get to go home at night. There is no place to go for
>privacy. No time to set up separate bathrooms or sleeping
>arrangements. No beds, no time outs, no showers, little sleep.
>Physical relationships and emotional bonds extremely close. Throw
>sex into that mix, and ok, no doubt some can handle it well.
>Others, a significant number of people both male and female will
>not, and the resulting turmoil will seriously impact combat
>effectiveness. IMO. Lastly, I was a Marine from 1978-1983 (Went
>through OCS at Quantico in 1975). 2ndMarDiv Camp Lejeune, 1st
>Battalion 8th Marines. Where were you stationed?
I agree with the difficulties of front line units, and I know that
despite the fact that in theory you should be able to stand a
Marine at attention in the middle of a cheerleaders shower room
without his eyes moving from "front and center", realistically
things are going to happen.
I think if this is instilled from the start then things can change.
Most guys don't have sex with their sisters, and with proper
training I'd think most wouldn't indulge in sex with their
Come to think of it isn't "proper" sex just a matter of the correct
time and place. Isn't the difference just a matter of
This is brainstorming by the way.
I spent mid '76 to mid 78 with VMA(AW)533 at Cherry Point N.C and
mid '78 to mid 79 with VMA(AW)224 in Iwakuni Japan. (MOS 6637)
>> The only fair solution I've seen was a fully integrated unit as
>> portrayed in "Starship Troopers." "Starship Troopers" was the
>> book that convinced me to join the USMC and I was delighted to
>> learn it's now on the boot camp recommended reading list.
>Yup, read it twice. However, it's been quite a while since my
>last reading, before the movie came out. My recollection
>(admittedly flawed on occasion) is the book didn't deal with
>sexual integration at all. No shower scenes that I can remember.
>Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the fully integrated showers was a
>Paul Verhoeven creation.
Yeah the original still had the sexes rigorously separated aboard
ship, maybe Heinlein was smarter than us, but I thought the movie
version with it's integrated units was very thought provoking. (And
a great shower scene ;) )
Nothing like seeing something actually being done (even by
hollywood) to give it some thought.
>As far as fair is concerned, there may be ways to achieve combat
>equality without putting males and females together in frontline
Okay, lets play with the concept.
We segregate men and women in the military now to avoid the
consequences of potentially complicating sexual encounters.
Now if we are to be fair and permit gays and lesbians to serve,
where are you going to put them?
It isn't fair to put the Gays with the "straights", or the Lesbians
with the "Straights" and you can't put Gays with Gays, and Lesbians
with Lesbians for the same reasons!
Ball in your court...
>> Change can be difficult, and so is progress, but essential.
>Agreed. Completely. But human evolutionary biology doesn't
>change overnight. Adapting to technology is one thing. Changing
>attitudes about race and sexual orientation, a matter of education
>and tolerance. Sex is biology. The emotions associated with it
>very hard to change in the short run. No doubt that over time,
>given the significant changes we will see in the human species in
>the coming decades, the sex part will change as well. And I will
>grant you that we COULD integrate tomorrow. My caution is that
>undoubtedly our combat effectiveness will suffer from doing it.
>And in a world still filled with Osamas and Sadamms we may pay a
>very dear price for that particular approach to equality.
I agree that readiness is first and foremost and must be maintained
at any cost.
What do you think of the idea of creating some integrated units as
an experiment? You'd get plenty of volunteers I bet!
Extropy Institute, www.extropy.org
National Rifle Association, www.nra.org, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W
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