Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Changing the military for what purpose?

Three years ago, the Gillard Government announced that women would be able to serve as combat troops in the Australian military. So how many of the 3100 women in the armed services have taken up that offer?

So far not a single woman has joined the infantry in the regular army; and just two women have signed up for the infantry in the Army Reserve. The numbers are slightly higher for the artillery and engineering: 15 have signed up for these roles in the regular army.

That's despite a lot of advertising promoting women in the armed services.

The changes to the army are not being made because many thousands of women are having their dreams shattered by not being able to charge out of foxholes. It's clear that at the moment there is hardly any female interest at all in combat roles.

One of the consequences for the average woman in all this is that if it becomes accepted that women are suitable for combat roles, then the next time there is conscription it will be difficult to avoid the call for women to be conscripted alongside men.

I read an opinion piece discussing this issue recently. The author, a feminist woman named Sara Erkel, believes that women should be able to choose to sign up for combat roles but should not be drafted.

She has the following arguments:
  • women are less physically strong than men so that a country not drafting women would have a battlefield advantage over the country that did
  • women prisoners of war would risk sexual assault
  • women are needed to have babies
  • women don't earn as much as men and therefore shouldn't be required to make the same sacrifices for their country
The problem with the first three arguments is that they not only apply to women drafted into combat roles, but also to women who volunteer for them. A woman who volunteers and is taken prisoner is just as much at risk of sexual assault as a woman who is drafted. A country loses the fertility of the women who volunteer and are killed just as much as the women who are drafted. And it is likely that there will be a reduction in physical strength requirements for women who volunteer, so the unequal playing field argument partly holds there as well.

As for the last argument, if military service is tied to income and job status, that would mean that feminist professors ought to be drafted well ahead of male janitors.

Anyway, once the idea takes hold that there are no principled reasons why women should not serve in combat, then it's likely that none of the specific arguments made by Sara Erkel will hold ground.


  1. The whole draft question is a non-issue. No one seriously believes that advanced nations are going to be involved in full-blown wars anymore. Nuclear weapons make such wars non-starters.

    The reasons not to have women in combat, or any military roles, is that 99% of them (at least) can't pass the physical tests and they require separate facilities. We all know that they get in due to lower standards (we aren't supposed to talk about that, though).

    Of the 1% who could pass the tests, some will be professional athletes or entertainers.

    1. There does seem to be an assumption that there won't be large scale wars anymore, or else that wars will be won with technology. I'm not sure though that Australia can really assume that it won't ever come under military threat. I agree with you that the physical tests are an issue, but in my opinion the deeper issue is how the masculine and feminine are understood. Men have as part of their masculine nature an instinct to physically protect the women and children of their community; men ought not to want women to be exposed to the dangers of battle and the risk as well is that if military units are integrated that men will no longer have as strong a sense of a masculine duty to defend women from harm. Similarly, the feminine is tied closely to giving and nurturing of life; the idea of training women to kill is unfeminine. The idea that they are breaking with feminine identity probably explains, in part, the current zero interest shown by women in joining the infantry. To integrate women into such combat roles means breaking with an aspect of feminine identity - the question is whether a society really wants to make this break.

    2. Among Western/Anglo nations, Australia is probably the one most likely to face future existential threats from an external aggressor such as China or Indonesia at the top end; less likely future threats include Russia, currently-peaceful Japan, and in the long term even a future USA or other large power of the Americas. In our life times only China and Indonesia are likely, but that's quite enough to be going on with.

    3. Well, technically anything is possible, look at how Russia annexed Crimea simply because there was a majority of russians that wanted to be Russian again.

  2. Re conscription...Australia cannot conscript women, particularly for military service, without breaching our obligations under the International Labour Organisation's treaties on forced labour.

    C029 - Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)

    From Article 11...

    "Only adult able-bodied males who are of an apparent age of not less than 18 and not more than 45 years may be called upon for forced or compulsory labour."

    Notice how it refers to "apparent".

    "women prisoners of war would risk sexual assault"

    Anybody who thinks male POWs have NOT been subjected to sexual torture throughout all of history is living in cloud cuckoo land. Even so-called enlightened nations such as the United States have recently been been caught out in this regard.

    1. Yes, but people simply don't care about men being sexually assaulted, to anything like the same extent. Look at American attitudes to prison rape.

  3. On conscription - my view is there should only be conscription if the country is threatened with invasion, and never for overseas colonial/imperial wars such as currently in Afghanistan. There was a case for France, West Germany etc to have conscription during the cold war, but there is no case for conscription in the Anglo nations currently.
    If a nation is threatened with invasion, then it's an all hands on deck situation, in my view that's a legitimate situation to conscript women - but into roles where they will be useful, not combat infantry (the occasional woman can be an effective combat infantry soldier, but for regular forces the cost/benefit analysis is against putting women in that role).

  4. Changing the military for purpose of destroying one of the last institution that gives men a since of identity and a source of strength, honor, and pride. All for what... gender theory and individual autonomy.... those are more important to liberals than national security or growing young boys into young men and eventuality into fathers and leaders for the nation.

    1. Well, that sums up very well my own attitude to all this.

  5. The modern Western-style multiculturalist state doesn't seem to perceive important external enemies that might initiate major wars. But it does perceive an existential internal enemy, that is the opposite of "diversity".

    Judging by America, diversity is more important than the lives of soldiers. That is what General Casey said.

    It makes sense that the aggressively multiculturalist state must have diverse armed forces. If that would result in increased casualties, that is less important.

  6. Russia has had women in the millitary since WW1. In WW2 they sent 2000 female snipers to the front line only 500 survived the war.

  7. "As for the last argument, if military service is tied to income and job status, that would mean that feminist professors ought to be drafted well ahead of male janitors."

    Hilarious... a Gold Star for that!

  8. We've had similar results here in "Freedom Land" where they allowed women in the military decades ago saying "No, no, we won't let them in combat zones considering they have lower bone density, lower pain threshold, roughly 70-80% lung capacity, less muscle mass etc. etc." But now, with the "Facts not real, only feels" crowd they feel that there is 0 differences between men and women, reality be damned.

    Remember, these are the same people who think 1. Dressing up like the opposite sex 2. Calling yourself the opposite sex. 3. portraying gender stereotypes extremely equals you actually BEING that opposite sex. Personally, I dread the day a "transgender" queer woman (DNA says MALE) joins the marines as a woman and blows the competition out of the water, the idiotic liberals will hoot and holler about how there's no difference between the sexes just like they did when the "Pregnant man" came along.

  9. I've personally had a concern that the main driving force behind getting women into work in equal numbers to men in most positions was secretly about enabling our country to send more of its men to war.
    It used to be that ably bodied men between 18-45 could not be sent if their job was considered too important to the nation's war effort for him to be sent off to war. If we have a woman for every man in companies at all levels then our primary infrastructure won't crumble if we're able to send over ALL men (except electricians and plumbers, because women don't want to do those jobs).
    I look around my office and often think that should the draft come out again, I, along with so many other men who would have been otherwise safe due to the necessity of our positions, would be deemed optional and thus sent to war.
    It may give us a slight advantage in a war where the numbers were roughly balanced, but a war against China would be a losing battle for any country dumb enough to try.
    As for Japan, they're no longer a threat since their demographics suggest they're on their way out due to demographics (see herbivore men).
    Most western countries are experiencing a sharp downturn in birthrate. Europe tries to cover theirs up by immigration (and the higher birth rates that immigrants provide) where Australia does the same, but also provides taxpayer funded IVF and sperm donation for single women and lesbian couples, thanks to ex-PM Gillard and her feminist crusade.
    Russia is overcoming their low birth rate by a combination of immigration from former USSR countries (they offer them apartments, jobs to move to Russia) and prizes for Russian citizens who conceive babies during certain months of the year.
    Anyone who thinks that there won't be another World War where millions of men will lose their lives forget that, to the people in charge, the lives of a few million ordinary men means nothing. If anything, it'll be used as population control.
    Sending millions of men into battle in the current age will be pushed as a big plus because "better we send in a million men than risk firing missiles and prompt a possible nuclear retaliation". People will see the deaths of millions of men as a small price to pay to avoid nuclear fallout from a full nuclear conflict.
    Wouldn't want to be one of those men though...
    Just remember, for every man who dies on the battlefield there is a woman who may be left behind single and childless.
    That is unless the country is China, in which case they've got 30 million more men than women to spare for war efforts. Pretty scary when you consider that's more than the entire population of Australia!

  10. Women make great soldiers. Just ask Colonel Gadaffi who had his own all female praetorian guard. Wonder why that idea hasnt caught on?