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Sex in the Military


© Ted Rall

I’m not entirely sure the point that Rall is trying to make, but this comic is hilarious nonetheless.

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13 Comments

  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    As far as Gays in the military, there have always been and will continue to be Gay Soldiers serving. They do an equal job to any straight Soldier and I don’t think any Soldier who has served for a longer period of time would disagree. I am glad they won’t have to hide anymore. As for women in combat it is more thatour politicians and citizens don’t want to see females coming back in coffins or with limbs missing. It’s still the old chivalristic notion. Can women make the grade, some absolutely yes while others may have diffficulty. Most of the females I worked with could stand side by side any male doing the same job and that includes dragging or carrying a 220 lb male Soldier out of harms way. When I train combat medics female Soldiers must do everyting a male Soldier is required to do and I have seen many a 110 lb 20yo female firemans carry a 200+lb man for 50 yds. They would have to work harder at conditioning and strength building, but if they want the job they’ll make the grade, no doubt. Audie Murphy, WWII’s most celebrated hero was a very slight man and initially kept out because he was too short and too underweight. Shows how much our recruiters and rule makers know about the character of a person.
    I say let them serve, but civilians must be prepared for the realities of war.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink
  2. starluna wrote:

    You are probably right about people not wanting to see women killed or injured in combat. But it rests on the premise that the positions that are open to women are somehow not “combat” positions or do not put them in harms way. The stupidity in this view is plain when you look up Tammy Duckworth’s story.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink
  3. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I’m with Patriot. I’ve always been 100% OK with women doing anything as long as standards are not reduced for them. If a male fireman is required to carry 250lbs for 50 yards, then the female needs to be able to do it too.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  4. Sammy wrote:

    I am going to have to agree with 1032 and Patriot. There are at least two women I see regularly at my gym who I’m pretty sure could kick my ass.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    I’m surprised that nobody (including PatriotSgt) mentioned the other issue about women in the military: rape. See http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968110,00.html

    In cases of rape, which is rampant and increasing in the military, the policy still seems to be “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Reporting a rape is more likely to cause problems for the victim than the perp.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    So far, I haven’t heard the argument that women should not be allowed into combat roles because they risk getting raped. I would imagine that such an argument would have to acknowledge that rape occurs in the military, which many military leaders and members of Congress are reluctant to admit.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  7. Don wrote:

    Two different issues related to rape: 1) rape within the ranks of the military and 2) rape of female soldiers if they are captured.

    Rape within the ranks of the military? I don’t know enough of the numbers to speak to that issue but the media seems to think there is more of it going on today than in the past.

    Rape of captured female soldiers? It’s a risk that every woman who places herself in a position where she might be captured by enemy forces must consider and accept the potential of it occurring just as all soldiers must evaluate risks and accept them in order to proceed in their duties. Oh, and male soldiers can be raped as well.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    The rape of females AND males within the military happens, but not to the degree seen in the civilian world. In the combat theater it happens, but even less then stateside and one big reason is alcohol is banned in combat zones. Now that doesn’t mean it does not get sneeked in, but it will get Soldiers in huge trouble so 99% don’t even try. Surprisingly, in Theater it is perpetrated by civilian contractors, US and local nationals, then other Soldiers. Both male and female are told to always travel with battle buddies and in combat theaters all Soldiers are armed and have ammunition at the ready.
    As to the rape of females as POW’s this presents another issue. It’s what led to the succesful rescue of PFC Lynch in the early stages of the Iraq offensive. Americans, politicians and yes Soldiers would not stand for it, so they risked their lives on her rescue. We would attempt to rescue any Soldier from the enemy, but may not always be able to. If a female choses to join a combat unit she should be aware of that possibility. POWs in the present wars are rare, so it would not be an issue, but in large scale global wars it will be inevitable.

    To answer IK’s question directly, rape as a deterrent to joining a combat unit would be well down on the list for a female when considering this option. For every 1 “bad” Soldier who could be a rapist, there are 1000’s who would deny them the opportunity. The biggest concern would be IMO making the grade physically and mentally. Our combat troops are tough, they are trained well and can do without alot of our stateside “necessities”. In theater it was not uncommon to have to go without a shower for days or being able to change clothes. Imagine then gearing up with 50-60+ lbs of uniform and armor and sitting in 125 degrees in the back of a C130, crammed like sardines, on a runway with no breeze for 40 mins waiting to take off. That can take its toll on your senses if you know what I mean.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Sorry IK, I responded before reading you article. My experience was not that depicted in the article. I’m not saying it was false, but in my last tour it never happened.

    My last tour was as a leader for a medical unit that ran 3 different health facilities in Iraq. I had 160 Soldiers and 60 of them were female. One of the clinics we ran was in an a small coalition base (1800 Soldiers) where US troops were the minority and it was 80% combat troops. The other was a large base of 15k Soldiers including 2 combat brigades.

    We conducted alot of training before arriving, because I knew it could be problematic. We conducted recurrent training and my NCO corps strictly enforced standards including never going out without your weapon and a battle buddy (for males and females). None of my Soldiers evr had a problem. According to that article 10 of my female should have been raped. On the 3 bases we occupied there was only 4 reported rapes the year I was there and 1 was a male. Of course no news people ever came to the bases we were stationed at, not 1. They all stayed in Baghdad (green zone)or some other cozy place.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    According to the Time magazine article: “When you look at the entire universe of female veterans, close to a third say they were victims of rape or assault while they were serving — twice the rate in the civilian population.”

    I can believe that your unit was atypical. But I also believe the Pentagon when it says that 80% to 90% of sexual assaults go unreported.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink
  11. Sammy wrote:

    @Patriot: (1) the article does state that 80-90% go unreported and that only 8% end in prosecution (less than a quarter than in civilian courts), and that 80% of those convicted of rape are honorably discharged.

    (2) I am inclined to believe your troops actually did not have a problem, as you stated, leading me to believe we could use more commanding officers like you.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
  12. starluna wrote:

    I still don’t think that the incidence of rape in the military should be used as an excuse for not allowing women into combat roles. Rape in the military is a long standing problem and I don’t see a logical reason why allowing women to serve in combat positions would change the risk in either direction.

    I’m not too comfortable with comparing the incidence of rape in the civilian population to that which occurs in the military. The qualitative differences in risk exposure are too vast to allow for easy comparison. With that said, I think it is possible that rape may be more effectively addressed within the military than within the civilian population. As PatriotSGT’s story illustrates, the NCOs and other officers are the key to ensuring that the conditions are created that discourage the development of problems like rape. Nothing similar exists in the civilian world.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
  13. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Sammy – I was the Sr. ranking NCO in the unit for my last 2 tours. My role as the Sr. enlisted advisor to the Commander allowed me to suggest courses of action that my experience has taught me would produce the outcome desired by the CO. I was also able to have the most influence on the NCO corps and Soldiers under me from that position. My Commanders knew and trusted my leadership to carry out their intent and backed me up 100%.

    I have been dissapointed several times when Sr Officers handed out “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” discharges to Soldiers IMO deserved different. I am asked for input, give my opinion, however in the end it is their decision.

    I actually believe that the incidence of rape for females could be lower if they were in a combat arms unit, ie. infantry. These Soldiers, NCO’s and Commanders must enforce a higher level of discipline to maintain order and accomplish their missions. It is often the traditioanl non-combat units that suffer more breakdowns in discipline as their focus is not as sharp as troops marching into battle. Currently, this is where all the female Soldiers work.

    Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

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