Military.com reports that:
“Women will eventually have to register for the draft if ‘true and pure equality’ is to be realized in the U.S. military, Army Secretary John McHugh said Monday.
‘If your objective is true and pure equality then you have to look at all aspects’ of the roles of women in the military, McHugh said, and registration for the draft ‘will be one of those things. That will have to be considered.’
McHugh said draft registration was not a subject to be decided by the services or the Department of Defense, and will ultimately have to be dealt with by Congress. He expected a ‘pretty emotional debate and discussion.’
However, as more military occupational specialties are opened to women, the debate on Selective Service System registration was inevitable, McHugh said.”
How this will be received when it finally gets pushed through Congress will be fascinating. Army Secretary McHugh is probably quite right that there will be a “pretty emotional debate”. No doubt, a lot of moms and dads won’t be quite so keen to see their daughters drafted into a war.
Plus, a number of young women who have been demanding both equality and “trigger warnings” may find themselves regretting their actions if we end up in another global, shooting war. And if you think that’s not possible, you clearly haven’t noticed a strong and consistent desire by mankind to obliterate itself.
To be fair, we know women have served bravely for some time now. We also know that they have been wounded and killed. Those women deserve our utmost admiration. Furthermore, we know that two women have now completed the Ranger program.
But even with all of that in mind, are we about to see the great experiment in equality clash with biology?
Over at Foreign Policy, Col. Keith Nightingale, U.S. Army (Ret.), has an article called “Women in Ranger School is Fine, but Women in Infantry Isn’t. Here’s Why.” The grist of the argument is captured in a few paragraphs that are well worth the read:
“Squads are composed of a mix of our society that never met before their assignment but never really leave each other. They live, endure, and control on the very cutting edge of our national military policy. They willingly give up the expected niceties of life in order to exist within their small entity and to perform at the highest level each can achieve as part of their whole. They fight, exist, and die for each other — nothing else. There is a special bonding that takes place within these elements that transcends all other motivations and human urgings. The allegiances endure for a lifetime and cannot be broken — often to the chagrin of family and friends. The members act as if nails on a magnet — they coalesce as a whole even though they are individual parts. Creating separate emotions and dividing the human glue to this element carries great peril for the membership.
The inclusion of a different sex within this delicate structure begs its destruction through no instrument other than human nature. Inevitably Jack and Jill will respond to what nature provided as a deep lodestone within us all. That response will be a cancer on the others and in a difficult perilous moment, Jack or Jill will lose the focus on the whole in favor of the part.
Concurrently, the remainder of the unit will silently note the new association and what composes the combat glue will partially dissolve and weaken the whole. Is inclusion worth this? Do we want to create a risk where we will bear no personal responsibility but take satisfaction in a good deed done from a distance?”
As a society we have been treated to many decades worth of cultural influencers that tell us that women and men are perfectly equal and that biology is a social construct. But is it? Consider all of the movies that feature women and men fighting together in future wars. We've been prepared psychologically for this change, but are we prepared biologically? The silver screen is not the same as reality, after all.
Deep down, most of us will recognize that the Colonel is right about human nature. He argues that the military’s experiences have already revealed the triumph of nature over social constructs:
“Wherever we have integrated genders in the Services, we have had concomitant problems associated with sex — normal, abnormal, and illegal. This is both unfortunate and perfectly predictable. It simply can’t be prevented by directive, training, or education. Why would this be nonexistent in a squad — the least supervised element in combat?”
In a strong defense of the two women who made it through Ranger School, Rudy Mac, "a Ranger-qualified, company-grade infantry officer serving on active duty in a light unit in the U.S. Army", writes about what he saw when they went through. Mac argues that there were no problems with gender. Yet, what he writes includes an acknowledgement that there could be potential problems by noting the steps necessary to partition the women from the men for latrines and showers:
“I quickly found, however, that the gender issue was a non-issue. The barracks at Camp Rogers are shaped like a ‘U’, with a latrine and shower facilities forming the center of the U, connecting two long bays of bunk beds and wall lockers, with doors at the end of the bays. The female students in our company slept towards one end of the bay, where an enclave of wall lockers formed an area for them to hurriedly change in when the need arose. In the latrines, during the absurdly short time hacks we were given to use the bathroom, the women simply walked past the men and used the stalls. After the first real smoke session of the week on day one, nobody cared much about using the same latrine. We were all just Ranger students.
During the few times we were able to take showers, the cadre dedicated the showers on one side of the bay to female students for one quarter of the shower period, and a Ranger instructor and female NCO stood in the center of the ‘U’ to avoid confusion.”
But that’s not the reality of a war, especially one in which a draft is required. This would be more of your reality, cuddled in the mud and the cold, hoping to God you don’t die:
As Col. Nightingale wrote above, “Inevitably Jack and Jill will respond to what nature provided as a deep lodestone within us all.”