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Debate: Okiecowboy vs. Druid42: Women in the Military, now combat ready?"

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posted on Feb, 9 2013 @ 04:39 PM
First let me say I am sorry for the delay getting this started, the flu has made it's rounds in my family..I want to thank Druid42 for another chance to debate him, and to the mods, judges, and readers of this great forum.

Women have been serving this great nation,in many ways in our armed forces, first in secret, then later in WAC or Women’s Army Corps, this went from WWII thru korea, and Vietnam..Then in 1977 things started to change, no longer were women sent to a Special unit, or special training.

In September 1977, men and women began training in the same basic training units at Fort McClellan and Fort Jackson and in October 1978 at Fort Dix and Fort Leonard Wood.
U.S. Army

Now the roles women have been able to take have changed and been debated and changed again, but always the issue of women in combat has come up..

now make no mistake, women are in combat now, as In "in harm's way", I myself have attended the funeral services of one such soldier.. but let's define combat a bit further for the topic of this debate..

“…engaging the enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force’s personnel

Now there are many support roles, that women have taken part in, women pilots, many other jobs..
but they have always limited the "front line" direct contact with enemy role..until now

Recently it was announced that the military would soon lift the ban on Women in combat!

"The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service,"

Now that the roles will change again...the Question is Can they Handle it? are they combat ready?

Without a doubt!

Women have been going to combat with men in the service of this country, and in this debatemy goal is to prove that women are more than able to go into combat.

Many of the people against, have claimed, things like..women are simply not strong enough, nor can they handle the horrors of war, or they will all wind up raped etc..

Since the birth of this Nation "The Weaker Sex" has been taking up arms to defend her.

In the beginning of the America we know there was a Revolution. And although the call to arms was for men, several women donned the uniform of a Revolutionary soldier and fought against the British

For three years she served in various duties and was wounded twice - the first time by a sword cut on the side of the head and four months later she was shot through the shoulder

Historical sources do confirm that at least two women fought in the Battle of Monmouth -- one was at an artillery position and the other was in the infantry line

Tell the Women that secretly joined the ranks in the Civil war that they can't handle the horrors of war!

Women are just as willing to fight and die as men are, We owe it to them to give them a chance.

over to you Druid42

edit on 11-2-2013 by Skyfloating because: title edit

posted on Feb, 9 2013 @ 09:56 PM
As my opponent has presented, women have been involved in the military for many years. Being involved does not mean being on the front lines, and there are many reasons why this is not a good idea.

The U.S. Department of Defense issued a Jan. 24 memo that will give more women an opportunity serve in combat roles and military jobs that had been reserved only for men.


Here's the first problem:

The Pentagon’s new policy of allowing women in combat jobs has raised new questions about an issue that the U.S. Supreme Court settled 22 years ago. Should young women be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System just as young men do?

Allowing women in combat positions gives them equality, but that equality comes with a price. All men, once they turn 18, are required to register with the Selective Service. Do we really want 18 year old girls needing to register as well? The current laws state the between the ages of 18 and 25, males are eligible for the draft, but honestly, is the same required for 18 to 25 year old females?

If the women are equal in a combat situation, then surely, they should also register for the selective service. Serving in combat means you are willing to give your life under fire, but I have serious problems with 18-25 year old females being "drafted", and required to join the military.

Further in this debate I'll be addressing the physical requirements for serving in the military, and show the disparity in physical requirements. I believe the tests should be standardized, with no allowance for gender, and those who "wash out", well, simply enough, aren't fit for the position. Perhaps it should be that the physical exam determines the level you can serve at, and not meeting the strict requirements, well, it disallows you a combat position. Overall, women do not currently have the same requirements as men.

Combat requires certain physical capabilities, and throughout this debate I'll present my argument that only men have the physical capability. I'm fine with women in "supporting" roles, but to allow them on the front lines jeopardizes the rest of the unit. When a member of your team is wounded, you are required to "fireman" carry them out of the line of fire. A female simply can't heft a 200 pound man over her shoulder. A male in the unit could, and have repeatedly throughout history.

For now, I'll rest, and offer the floor back to okie.

posted on Feb, 14 2013 @ 10:10 PM
First allow me to respond to something Druid has said.

As my opponent has presented, women have been involved in the military for many years. Being involved does not mean being on the front lines, and there are many reasons why this is not a good idea.

Since the first battles that have taken place on this soil, women have been on the front lines. However most just not openly, often hidden in the ranks as a man.
Allow me to show you one such case.

Meet Jennie Hodgers

on August 6, 1862, Hodgers, a resident of Belvidere, Illinois, enlisted in the 95th Illinois Infantry under the name Albert Cashier. Although she was the shortest soldier in the regiment, and kept mostly to herself, Hodgers was accepted as “one of the boys” and considered to be a good soldier

Hodgers’ regiment was part of the Army of the Tennessee and fought in over 40 engagements, including the siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Nashville, the Red River Campaign, and the battles at Kennesaw Mountain and Jonesborough, Georgia. There is an account of Hodgers being captured and escaping by overpowering a prison guard, but no further details of this event exist

Civil Waris

This may be a dated example, so how about something more recent.

From Desert Storm:

"I was a female paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I want to make you aware of the fact that the females in the 82nd were among the ground troops that pushed into Iraq during the ground war...and we most definitely could shoot back."


This shows that women have been on the front line in combat, and performed well.

Selective Service

Druid42 has pointed out that He has a problem with women being drafted into the military.

I have serious problems with 18-25 year old females being "drafted", and required to join the military

His feelings are just that "feelings" , Is that a valid reason to exclude women from selective service?

The Selective Service Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 76) was passed by the 65th United States Congress on May 18, 1917 creating the Selective Service System

When the selective service was started, women were also not police officers, nor firefighters. Times have changed, women are no longer prevented from those jobs either. Women should be required to register, just as males.

The Weaker Sex

There are many that view women as the weaker sex, that they do not have the same physical capabilities as males and that may be true.
Granted the military training standards have some catching up to do, but the top commander of U.S. special operations says this.

A Navy SEAL himself, Admiral Eric T. Olson said at the opening session of the 2011 Aspen Security Forum that he would like to see female SEALs in combat roles.

"As soon as policy permits it, we'll be ready to go down that road," said Olson.

ABC news

If the Admiral can see female SEALs in combat roles, that is good enough for me.

When a member of your team is wounded, you are required to "fireman" carry them out of the line of fire. A female simply can't heft a 200 pound man over her shoulder

Druid42 may be correct about this, for some women, but a woman that is in good shape, and has completed basic training, she should be able to do this.

I await druid42's response

posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 07:53 PM
Let's get directly into the meat of this debate:

Military Physical Enlistment Tests:

Each branch of the service has different PFTs (Physical Fitness Tests), but let's focus closer on the disparity between men and women.

Those enlisting in the Navy or Air Force must pass an annual fitness test that includes a 1.5-mile run; the Navy requires a time under 12:51 for males under age 30 and under 15:26 for women under 30.

The Navy PFT requires men under age 30 to complete 29 push-ups and 38 sit-ups, while women the same age must complete 23 push-ups and 32 sit-ups.

The Navy PFT requires men under age 30 to swim 500 yards in 12 minutes, while women under age 30 must swim 400 yards in 12 minutes.

There are also physical requirements as well.

Females in the Army must be at least 4' 10" (58 inches). The upper height limit imposed by the Army is 6' 8" (80 inches).

Female soldiers must adhere to weight standards. AR 40-501 includes a height vs. weight ratio table. If a female soldier exceeds her maximum permitted weight, her body fat will be calculated. Female soldiers exceeding weight and body fat will be put on the Army Weight Control Program in accordance with AR 600-9; those who continue to exceed their maximum weight and body fat will be discharged from military service.

How about pregnancy in the military?

Female recruits are prohibited from sexual activity during basic training and advanced individual training; pregnancy during this time frame can result in punitive action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Once initial entry training is complete, female soldiers may become pregnant if they are not in a combat zone. Pregnant females are required to conduct routine physical training with other pregnant females and must return to normal physical activity within two months of delivery.

The problem is, 10% of the women in the military are pregnant at any given time. To further the issue, they are not adhering to the military's weight requirements. You can't have fat soldiers, and you have two months to drop all that "baby fat". It's not happening. But is it discrimination, or just bad policy?

Will combat standards be different?

According to this source:

All of the service branches are supposed to come up with plans by May 15 for integrating women into combat positions and for requesting exemptions, Pentagon officials said.

For example, to work in a tank, women will have to demonstrate the ability to repeatedly load 55-pound tank shells, just as men are required to do.

This could make it difficult for women to qualify in roles that specifically require upper-body strength.

So we have exemptions for specific duties relating to combat, ok. Does this indicate that women are combat ready, overall? Is a woman an equal replacement for a man in every combat position? I think not.

Let's look at the MOMRP (gotta love military acronyms, it stands for the Military Operational Medicine Research Program):

Studies showed that women lacked the required strength to lower landing gear and activate ejection seats, were slowed by ladder rung spacing while performing emergency damage control tasks onboard ships, and had impaired optimal performance due to personal equipment design.

Combat equipment is built for men.

Servicewomen in initial entry training have twice the rate of musculoskeletal injuries. Presently, stress fracture incidence rates for the US Army range from 3.4 – 21.0% for women compared to 0.9 – 5.2% for men in recruit training.

Women are more fragile.

Half of pregnant Soldiers failed to return to their prepregnancy fitness levels 6-9 months postpartum, at least one third were overfat, and postpartum Soldiers were four times more likely to fail the APFT at their first postpartum fitness test compared to nonpregnant female Soldiers

As stated above, combat and pregnancy do not mix.

Military equipment and material design considerations need to address female anthropometrics and physiology.

Combat necessary equipment isn't fashionable, and not designed to fit a women's body contours. Bullet proof vests aren't designed for breasts, and women have smaller necklines, so helmets don't fit properly.

Most active duty debilitating headaches such as migraine occur in women.

Reading between the lines, women suffer from PMS, but cramps and migraines aren't so good to deal with while in combat.

There are many issues to address before we can say that women are TRULY combat ready.

Back over to you, okie, my friend.

posted on Feb, 18 2013 @ 09:09 PM
Allow me to sum up my points as simply as I can.

Each branch of the service has different PFTs (Physical Fitness Tests), but let's focus closer on the disparity between men and women.

Druid is 100% correct on this, but also allow me to point out the disparity between men and men.
If you would look here, you will see standards for males aged 17-21 are not the same as males aged 35-40.
There is no set standard, even within males, older men can not be held to the same scale as younger men, nor can all women be held to the scale of men.

How about pregnancy in the military?

Yes women in the military get pregnant, that is a fact.

However, studies have shown that pregnant military women lose no more work time than military men (U. S. Navy Work Loss Studies-NPRDC), who lose more time due to sports injuries and disciplinary reasons


The United States is not doing anything new or unheard of regarding women in combat roles, in fact we may be considered behind the times.

Five NATO nations have no combat exclusion laws or policies: Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, and Portugal. In addition, Greece, The Netherlands, and Turkey have no statutory restrictions, although they do have selected policies

Australia lifts restrictions for women in combat roles


And in Isreal, women can not only serve in combat, but are required to serve for 2 years.

In closing, the bias against women serving in combat is just that, a bias.
We are 13 years behind Canada allowing women into combat roles, there have been no reports of females giving birth on the battlefield, or having a PMS moment and shooting everyone.

We have grown up thinking of women as mothers, sisters, and daughters and not a lean, mean fighting soldier, but the fact is women can be just that.

No one wants to see females killed in combat, but for that matter, no one wants to see males killed either, but if women are willing to take the oath, and step into combat, I say more power to them.

I would like to thank Druid42 for a great debate, and thanks also, to the mod's, judges, and readers that make this forum what it is.
And also to Druid42, I would like to say I am sorry for the time it took to finish this debate, life does not always go as planned.

posted on Feb, 19 2013 @ 09:44 PM
As this debate comes to a conclusion, it's important to remember the topic at hand. It's not whether or not women are capable of surpassing their physical limitations, and it's not whether or not women are capable fighters. In most respects, women can do the same job in combat as their male counterparts. The topic at hand is whether or not women are combat ready.

I've gone over points that military machinery and aircraft have been designed with only men in mind. I've addressed the issue of female anthropometrics and physiology, and the lack of military uniforms, body armor, and weaponry designed specifically for females. (The standard BDU? It needs revised to MBDU, and FBDU. Male and female anatomy is not the same, so why does the military have only one standard Battle Dress Uniform?) There's no reason to not accommodate them, yet so far females have suffered in the military by overcoming hardships due to wearing clothing, armor, and operating equipment designed for men. Women are every bit as capable as men in fighting in combat, but these are just a couple of considerations that need addressed before women are truly combat ready.

There is one other aspect I'd like to touch upon, rather grim when talking about a mixed gender military, and as such, the topic of sexual assault during service. I've already talked about Pregnancy in the military, but this is one issue that needs resolved before the equality barrier is finally erased.

Marti Ribeiro was born into a military family.

in March 2003, she was deployed to Iraq.

from the time she arrived she was routinely harassed and called Air Force Barbie.

In 2006 she was in Afghanistan.

"You're supposed to carry your weapon at all times in a combat zone," she said.
"But I put my weapon down and walked away to smoke a cigarette and that was when I was attacked."
She was then dragged behind some power generators and raped.

She went to the authorities but they told her that if she filed a claim, she would be charged with dereliction of duty for leaving her weapon unattended in a combat zone - an offence for which you can be court-martialled. So she kept quiet and the man who attacked her went unpunished.

Equally worryingly, the Department of Defense estimated in its 2009 annual report on sexual assault, that around 90% of rapes in the military are never reported.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who sits on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, successfully lobbied last year for the development of a Sexual Assault Database to encourage accountability within the Armed Forces.
"There are plenty of phone calls that come into my office of alleged assault of women by our military men," she says.
"They are heartbreaking. Some women don't want to go public with it, some have gone public with it and they've been drilled out of the military.

She says that not enough prosecutions are happening and that while the Pentagon is taking it more seriously, big changes still need to be made.

Rather grim, Indeed. Not only do women have to overcome the training, the ill-fitting equipment, but after they have persevered, they are subject to unwilling sexual activities.

Fortunately, steps are being taken. SAPR (acronym: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response), gives our military women a fighting chance, as SAPR has been instituted by the DOD, which encompasses all branches of the military.

In the business world, strict laws are in place regarding sexual harassment, but the military is lagging behind. It's hard to say that women are combat ready when the military itself allows rape of their female members, let alone enemy troops.

The military may be a man's world, but we need to face facts. Women are capable of serving in combat, but it's not an easy task for them. There are many issues that need addressed before I can comfortably say that women, while serving, will be properly protected from sexual assault during their service in the military, will be outfitted with re-designed clothing and body armor, and will be considered with equal respect. I've no doubt the field will be leveled, someday, as females make up 20% of all the enlisted. When?

In closing I'd like to thank okiecowboy for another revealing debate, as well as the staff, readers, and judges for their time.

Most of all, I'd like to thank the female members of our military worldwide:

posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 06:14 PM
The judges rulings are in and are as follows....... ( drum roll please - or just imagine that guy from all of the boxing, MMA, and wrestling shows saying "Let's get ready for jjjjjjjuuuuuuuuddddddddddggggggggiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnggggggg!)

Judge one said:

( It was necessary to remove the first two sentences - as they contained identifying information which could have undermined the sanctity of the anonymous judge concept. )

So with that being said, Both fighters did an excellent job of showing examples of both the pro's and con's of having women in combat situations, although I found it somewhat odd, that it took Cowboy until their third post to mention the IDF, and the fact that all women in Israel had to enlist and serve at least 2 years. That I would have thought would be the prime example of a nation that has an integrated force, also Lybia prior to Mummar Kaddafi's fall had an integrated military.

Druid relied a little too much on emotional arguments for my taste one such quote stands out in my mind:

Reading between the lines, women suffer from PMS, but cramps and migraines aren't so good to deal with while in combat.

This unfortunately cinched my decision. To bring up such a cliche, ruined whatever argument Druid had.. The old joke of staying away from a woman who has PMS ran through my head.

So Although both did a wonderful job, I have to award this debate to okiecowboy...

Judge two said:

okiecowboy began by showing Women have been on the front lines of combat in the past but the examples were from the civil war where it was American against American and everyone took up arms most without a full regiment of training and the regulations were much less stringent to qualify making the argument of today null and void.

Druid42 began to show the differences in physical ability in regards to qualifications stating that they were not capable of a "Firemans" carry yet Women are firefighters and thus have passed the "Firemens Carry" test and are capable of doing it nullifying the statement.

As the title of this debate is "Women in the Military, now combat ready?" and Druid42 states
As this debate comes to a conclusion, it's important to remember the topic at hand. It's not whether or not women are capable of surpassing their physical limitations, and it's not whether or not women are capable fighters. In most respects, women can do the same job in combat as their male counterparts. The topic at hand is whether or not women are combat ready.
Driuid42 has conceded that Women ARE ready for combat and therefore conceded the debate as the topic is not whether or not the Military is ready for Women in combat in equipment regulation or procedure.

Debate goes to okiecowboy.

This has been one of the most interesting and entertaining debates that I have read recently and must have been a tough one to judge. Bearing that in mind, thanks to both participants and to both judges!

The winner, by unanimous decision... OKIECOWBOY!

Congratulations on a great debate to both fighters!

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