Politics & Policy

Obama’s Military Ignores the Facts in Its Eagerness to Put Women in Combat

Marines train aboard USS San Diego. (Photo: Gunnery Sergeant Rome M. Lazarus)

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the military is dedicated to integrating women into combat units — regardless of facts, reason, or logic. Evidence is emerging that the Army may be corrupting its own processes to score crowd-pleasing “firsts” for female soldiers, as President Obama races to place women in combat units before he leaves office. For the sake of his legacy, the president would impose a liberal ratchet on one more critical American institution.

The intellectual corruption is painful to see. This weekend, Navy secretary Ray Mabus penned a Washington Post op-ed responding to a comprehensive Marine Corps study that concluded what should have been obvious all along: Mixed-gender combat units are less physically capable than all-male ones. According to the Marines, mixed-gender units suffered higher injury rates, were less accurate with their weapons, were less capable of evacuating casualties, and scored lower on the vast majority of basic infantry tasks.

Mabus has little use for these facts, though. In response to the Marines’ study, he said this:

As soon as I received the study, I reviewed the Marine Corps data in detail and saw that it pointed to the importance of establishing individual standards. The Marines deconstructed each job in a unit to specifically detail its requirements so that individual members could function better as a team. During the study, however, the Marine Corps did not rely on the data for, or evaluate the performance of, individual female Marines; instead, it used only averages. Averages have no relevance to the abilities and performance of individual Marines.

Calling this “nonsense” is charitable. It’s idiotic. Infantry training isn’t a talent-scouting process, where sharp-eyed trainers look for G.I. Jane. Even in the era of a shrinking military, it’s about taking tens of thousands of individuals and melding them into the world’s most lethal ground-combat teams. When dealing with matters of scale, averages are incredibly relevant. Is it rational to create teams with the full knowledge that key members are between two and six times more likely to be injured? Is Mabus also Nostradamus, capable of discerning which women can thrive not only in training but also in the infinitely more demanding and enduring crucible of combat?

RELATED: Women in Combat Endanger Their Fellow Soldiers’ Lives

The military makes determinations based on “averages” all the time, pre-screening people who’ve suffered from various physical ailments, committed criminal acts, or failed basic academic tasks. Why? Not because every American who fails these various background checks would make a poor soldier, but because enough would so as to hinder our fighting efficiency. Averages matter, as the secretary of the Navy must know.

But Mabus may not be the only member of the brass putting his thumb on the scales. On Friday, People magazine did the investigative journalism that the rest of the mainstream media wouldn’t. It appears that the Army may have fixed its Ranger school to guarantee that at least some women would succeed. Reporter Susan Keating spoke to a number of sources who recalled a general declaring, “A woman will graduate Ranger school.” This bald admission allegedly “shocked” his subordinates and created a “ripple effect” that led to women receiving multiple forms of assistance not available to men.

RELATED: Putting Women in Combat Is an Even Worse Idea Than You’d Think

Keating’s sources claim that women were sent to a special, two-week training course to prepare them for Ranger school; that they spent months in a “special platoon” getting nutritional counseling and “full-time training” from a Ranger; that they received a preview of the school’s land-navigation course; that they were allowed to repeat key parts of the course; and that a two-star general showed up to personally cheer them on. One Ranger instructor said that there was “huge pressure to comply” and the process was “very much politicized.”

#share#The Army is vigorously denying the allegations in Keating’s story, but she spoke to sources who claim they actually participated in the disputed special training. On Twitter, she stood by her story and noted that the Army has refused her requests for on-the-record access to instructors and other key personnel:

Throughout the Obama administration, certain elements of the military have steadily recast themselves as the roughest, toughest PC police in America, believing they can order fundamental social change and that troops can simply salute away human nature. But the facts of biology and psychology are stubborn things. The Obama administration’s senior commanders are setting their subordinates up for misery, injury, death, and defeat. Soldiers are willing to sacrifice for their country, but they are much less willing to sacrifice for the sake of social justice.

Who wants to be the first person to bleed to death for feminism?

— David French is an attorney, a staff writer at National Review, and a veteran of the Iraq War.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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