Women in Combat

I’m about to be politically incorrect.

It won’t be the first time, nor will it be the last I’m sure.

But before I go politically incorrect here is the obligatory disclaimer, although I think it’s a good one.

My mother-in-law who passed away in 2006 was an Army veteran of WW2. She was a WAC (Women’s Army Corp) and was trained at Fort Oglethorpe, GA. She served as a nursing assistant in Seattle, WA where she worked at a hospital that treated wounded soldiers from the Pacific War. She met my father-in-law in Seattle where he too served as an Army medic after being stationed in New Guinea.

Different does not mean lesser.

I have nothing but admiration for my mother-in-law and the thousands of women who served in the armed forces during WW2 in non-combat roles and for ever woman since who has served in the military. Their contribution to the war effort should not be underestimated nor taken for granted. Thank you!

I have absolutely nothing against women in the military in non-combat roles. Nothing.

What bothers me is the increasing trend among western nations to allow women in the combat arms. I remember some time ago reading an article from a preacher I respect who said that “a nation that willingly encourages its women to be in combat roles is no longer worth defending.”  Strong words, but I think good words, words we ignore in our quest for total egalitarianism.

I realize that things are not as clear as they were in WW2 where there was a defined front and clear areas of a combat zone. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan argue for each soldier, male or female to be prepared to fight given the nature of those conflicts. But that is different from intentionally integrating combat units with women. I’m also not against training women for combat given the nature of our conflicts but that again is very different from an intentional combat role.

This article discusses the trend. So far, the US bans women from the Infantry, Armor and Artillery but are easing the rules to include women in battalions that would be very close to combat.

Here is a debate article that argues for the practice. The argument is based on “equal rights.”

I’d like to further point out that my objection has nothing to do with ability, especially in our modern age that is vastly different from standing in a battle line with sword, spear and shield and hammering away at similarly equipped enemy. I can only imagine the response of a Roman Legion that was forced to use women in a combat role with the stronger and taller Germans or Celts. I’m not sure of the Latin, but it would probably be along the lines of “equal rights to fight barbarians who are taller and stronger than our own legionaries, you’ve got to be kidding.”

Reenactment of a Roman legion attack.

Reenactment of a Roman legion attack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roman Infantry Edit

Roman Infantry Edit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Never-the-less, the stronger and taller argument is obviously less of an issue with light-weight automatic weapons, driving a tank,or flying a gunship.

Certainly the technology of war has “helped us” move to a more egalitarian view of everything.

And just to illustrate the US is  not the only nation to consider an ever-expanding combat role for women. Here’s an article from the UK.

And one from the Bundeswehr (German Army).

And one from the IDF (Israeli Defense Force).

I realize that this is an argument I’ve already lost. The trend is irreversible as the west drifts further and further into egalitarianism and a political correctness that does not seem to recognize that “different” does not mean “lesser” and that God (a God the west does not really believe in) has designed women and men to be different and to complement one another in their respective roles. And this of course is why political correctness often triumphs in blind attempt to make everything “equal.”

The Field Training Week in Southern Israel, pa...

The Field Training Week in Southern Israel, part of the IDF Infantry Instructors course, includes individual and group drills, navigation practice, sleeping in the field and camouflage training. At the end of the course the female soldiers will be placed in different positions, instructing IDF Ground Forces. Featured as Photo of the Day on August 28, 2011. Official Facebook page of the Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces blog Follow us on our Official Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But having lost the argument I want to point out what made me think about this issue recently.

Toward the end of WW2 the Red Army stormed across Poland and Germany and finally took Berlin in May, 1945. Historians estimate that as many as 2,000,000 German women were raped (as well as many Polish women who were supposed to be Russian allies), most of them repeatedly by the Red Army soldiers. In Berlin alone,  some 10,000 women committed suicide after these mass rapes.

The point here is one of scale. In modern times, nothing like this has occurred although rape is not uncommon coming from any victorious army. The Red Army example however illustrates a couple of principles.

1) Historically, men will either do their best to protect women or they will exploit them.

2) The exploitation comes from depraved human nature (Eph, 2:1-3).

3) The protection comes from God’s law written on every heart whether they know it or not (Rom. 2:14-15)

The Red Army  raped as a right of conquest when the German males could no longer defend them a pretty clear illustration of points 1-3.

(Link to the story of an 80-year-old woman who breaks the silence regarding what happened.)

Records show that after the German males returned from the POW camps they were greatly shamed by their failure to defend their women. Personally, I think that while many did not realize it, their shame was a God-given reaction that told them “this just was not right.”

The Red Army exploited women because it could (the depravity issue) and arming the women would not have changed a thing except to drive up  the casualty rate. Even in the modern era men are still stronger and usually taller and female prisoners of war are vulnerable. That will always be a fact and no amount of egalitarianism will change it.

In fact, I would argue that using women in combat roles is actually further male exploitation of females and an abdication of male responsibility but perhaps that’s a blog for another occasion.

We ignore the legitimate God-given differences between the sexes at our own peril. We ignore them, because we ignore God. Our enlightened age is not all that enlightened.

For more on the topic click here.

(I just had to throw in the Campaign Against Political Correctness from Great Britain.)

The Campaign Against Political Correctness logo

The Campaign Against Political Correctness logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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