April 21, 2009

She was a soldier, not a doll

Memo to Michael Coren from a serving Canadian soldier:


I have just finished a 7 month tour with an Infantry Coy in Zhari, where I patrolled on foot on a regular basis alongside female medics and on a few occasion a female MP. They did the same job, carried the same kit and weapons, marched the same distances, took the same enemy fire and in all ran the same risks as the men. I never saw them flinch, display fear or weakness, and did their work with the same dedication and level of competence as the men present.

I witnessed, on the occasion of a recent deadly IED blast that took the lives of two Canadians, a female medic who was also caught in the explosion be the first to jump up from the ground and administer aid, organise triage and performe her duties in a superb manner despite her injuries from her close proximity to the blast, and knowing well the two deceased soldiers.

After having been in combat alongside Canadian female soldiers, I have determined for direct experience that the women of today make as good soldiers as men.

You, sir, obviously have no direct combat experience with women, and should keep your condescending, ignorant, archaic opinions that have no basis on facts or reality to yourself and resist the temptation to insult the efforts of Canadian women in uniform.

I'll add my own two cents: I don't give a rat's hindquarters what set of reproductive parts you were issued at birth - if you can hack the profession of arms, and if you want to be a soldier, you should be allowed to serve your country according to your qualifications, not your gender. Period.

Posted by Damian at April 21, 2009 7:24 PM

So where's all the screaming braided arm pit feminazis on this clear issue of gender discrimination ?

No protests in front of Coren's studio ? No letter writing campaigns to the editors ? Where's the NDP Minister in Waiting for Feminist Victims ?

The world wants to know.

Posted by: Fred at April 21, 2009 7:43 PM

Michael Coren is absolutely right.

Posted by: BillyHW at April 21, 2009 7:52 PM

I think that Coren is simply showing his bosses how many hits he can get from a single article in the hope that it spare's his job during the first round of lay offs. He gets paid good money to spout his opinion and he's obviously willing to type almost anything to keep that.

Posted by: Ronnie B at April 21, 2009 8:00 PM

Michael Coren is, and always has been an annoying blowhard.

Posted by: yomomma at April 21, 2009 8:00 PM

I got the inside scoop from a friend, the reason Blais got killed was because she couldn't handle the heat inside the APC, so they opened the gunners hatch for her so she could be more comfortable. When the IED hit the LAV III rolled over and crushed her.

I think this proves Michael Coren right

Posted by: Mark at April 21, 2009 8:02 PM

If she can carry the GPMG or my big wounded @ss she can be a soldier. Or a fireman. If not, not.

I've met maybe a handful of women who can do that. All of them weighed over 150lbs. Small women are not strong enough for combat. You wouldn't send a 100lb 14 year old boy into combat either.

Or a 52 year old guy like myself. I'm past it. I can't carry the GPMG any more like I did when I was 17. Even then I was no ball of fire.

Michael Coren is absolutely 100% right. Combat is an extreme environment, not everybody can do it.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 21, 2009 8:03 PM

Just as long as the females are not subject to different physical requirements, and as long as the requirements themselves have not been lowered to accommodate females. Then I agree. If there is any accommodation, whatsoever, to allow females to qualify as soldiers, then I disagree.

Depending on an ancedotal example to support one's theories on life should no more be accepeted here than in any other analysis about the differences between sexes or cultures, for that matter.

Sending women to fight our wars and making special consideration for their physical differences is nothing more than a politically correct travesty.

The day that women can compete against men in the Olympics is the day I will believe that they should be fighting our battles for us against big swarthy men. Until then, I will continue to understand that there are fundamaltal physical differences between the sexes and this female soldier thing will make me very uncomfortable indeed.

Posted by: INP at April 21, 2009 8:07 PM

I remember in basic a girl who every time she fired her FN A1C1 she would get repelled to the bottom of the hill. she would fire then climb back up to her shooting spot, then repeat. She always hit the target. Just cus she was tiny means she didnt have the right to serve her country? What BS.

Posted by: FREE at April 21, 2009 8:08 PM

Compete against men in the Olympics?

A few years back, the Canadian women's hockey team played an exhibition series in Alberta against a boy's midget all-star team.

One game ended up 13-4, in favour of the boys.

That's why putting women's hockey players in the Hockey Hall of Fame is a joke.

There are differences in physical capacity, just like there are differences in all human beings.

Ask any parent. No matter how many kids they have, they all have different abilities and capacities.

Posted by: set you free at April 21, 2009 8:15 PM

FREE, the FAL doesn't kick that hard, dude. Lots of women shot mine at the range over the years. Never saw anybody fall over from it.

Just because you can shoot doesn't mean you can hump the rifle 20 miles a day. If she was so small she got knocked off her perch from that, front line combat is not where she belonged.

They also serve who only stand and wait.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 21, 2009 8:16 PM

"you should be allowed to serve your country according to your qualifications, not your gender."

Few if any women meet the qualifications, you're smart enough to know that and you omitted it. They lowered the qualifications like they did for police and firefighters.

It's not about what you or I think, it's about national security. It's our asses on the line, we'll make the call. Very selfish to demand what you want without considering or caring about the consequences.

Have you read a history book? No women in world history have ever fought wars, and all of a sudden it's sexist to suggest they shouldn't?

What we're hearing out of the USA is that there are serious, serious issues with women in the military, women sleeping with their COs, demanding special treatment, lots of rape too.

You're wrong, and selfish, on this one. I just watched my city get run over by terrorists, the fact that the police force now includes five foot two ponytailed midgets has a lot to do with that. Selfish. You'll get us all killed.

"Canadian Soldier" better watch what comes out of his flanhole as long as I am paying his salary, government employees and soldiers do NOT address civilians with such insolence.

"condescending, ignorant, archaic opinions that have no basis on facts or reality" - yeah, whatever drama queen, you sound grounded, did your co-worker Richard W6rman teach you those words?

I have no experience driving across Canada using my feet, doesn't mean I don't know it's a stupid idea.

Posted by: Ottawan at April 21, 2009 8:19 PM

Yeah, I agree with Coren.

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at April 21, 2009 8:20 PM

My ancestors were Welsh and I understand that in the early days the single childless women served along side the men in battle. It however, makes my skin crawl to see female soldiers kissing their babys goodbye at an airport. What the hell are we fighting for anyway? I guess I may be a dottering old school Grandfather, but this PC horses*it will be the end of our culture yet.

Posted by: Gunney99 at April 21, 2009 8:22 PM

Coren is an idiot for saying that in today's environment.

It was the same garbage when Women were allowed to be Correctional Officers and RCMP officers/members.

Things turned out well there after a period of adjustment.

Posted by: The LS from SK at April 21, 2009 8:24 PM

The LS from SK said: "Coren is an idiot for saying that in today's environment."

To what "environment" are you referring?

This "environment": Political correctness?

The Origins of Political Correctness
Second, the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic .... The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish. ...

Posted by: maz2 at April 21, 2009 8:31 PM

I believe the rule in Israel is, "everyone over 18 gets to join up".
They haven't lost any arguments because of young girls seeing action... and of the photos I've seen of their army, the fatties seem to be in a minority, I guess training will do that sort of thing. and of course, knowing you're fighting an army of 50% women, and losing badly, must really mess with your idea of jihad ect...

I laugh at the liberals.

Posted by: marc in calgary at April 21, 2009 8:31 PM

Isn't this idea that females can be as good a soldier as men one of those "we are all equal" things? Isn't it the same as believing that all cultures are equal? Isn't it a sort of gender/cultural moral equivalication racket?

Since when did any rational person believe that our genders or ethnicities/cultures were equivalent? Since when was it wrong to see genders and ethnicities as distinct with different capabilities and genetic predispositions?

The day that the genders and ethnicities become equal in our minds will be the day that Orwell's most tragic predictions will have become true.

Posted by: INP at April 21, 2009 8:32 PM

Coren's absolutely wrong on this one. If the lady met the standards and signed up of her own free will, she had every right to be there God bless her and her family.

Was she a beautiful young lady? Absolutely. Beautiful because of the pride and the courage that shines through in her photograph, the expression of which Coren would have stifled.

Could she have been partying with friends at university instead of rolling through the dust of Afghanistan? Absolutely, as could any of the more than a hundred young men killed over there. But having seen the party crowd at university, I'm at a loss to imagine how their behavior could hold a candle to the bravery discipline and value of the efforts of the troops at the front.

If captured by the Taliban, would she have been treated worse because of her gender? Possibly. But that may be exactly the reason she felt compelled to serve and risk the sacrifice she made so bravely. Did we deny Jews the right to serve in the fight against the National Socialists because of the way they treated Jews? No.

If anything, it's amazing that more women, "feminists" in particular, haven't signed up for this fight against the most blatant suppression of women's rights that exists in the world today. And to the women, I would add gays, who are the ones most threatened by the spread of the radical fundamentalist form of Islam practiced by the Taliban.

If there are gay or lesbian soldiers serving in Afghanistan, good on you. While I may not condone all of your behaviors (and there are many of my own behaviors I don't condone in myself), never the less I respect and appreciate the effort and the sacrifice that you are making.

Michael Coren should do the same. Let women like Karine take on the burdens and the pride in duty well met for which her suffragette foremothers fought so long and hard . He sleeps peacefully tonight because women like Karine stand ready to carry that burden on his behalf.

Posted by: DrD at April 21, 2009 8:39 PM

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Israel stop women from fighting along side men in battle? As I recall it was because they found that the natural instinct of men to protect women was causing them to take un-necessary chances and was in turn getting them killed.

Posted by: Western Canadian at April 21, 2009 8:42 PM

Maz2 - I think Marc from Calgary answered your question better than I could have.

Today's environment is, of course PC but these old myths have long been disputed, rejected and I thought forgoten.

Apparently not.

Posted by: The LS from SK at April 21, 2009 8:42 PM

My condolences to the Blais family.

Posted by: Brent Weston at April 21, 2009 8:43 PM

marc in calgary @ 8:31 makes a good point: The Israelis do it, and they're not messing around.

Maybe it's a little Monty Python - "Just because you can't have babies doesn't mean you don't have the RIGHT to have babies!" etc. - but not entirely. Evidently some women do serve in the front lines with distinction. A minority, no doubt, but so what? Michael Coren IS "disrespecting" the memory of Karine Blais, who died for her country.

If women aren't even allowed to try, then this equality thing is a fiction, and I haven't given up on it yet.

Posted by: Black Mamba at April 21, 2009 8:55 PM

The reason this brave young woman is dead is because she has been lead to believe that females can be equal to men when it comes to fighting and killing.

For some reason I have always thought that men should fight men. Given that we are fighting men and not women, it pains me to realize that we are sending our females to die at the hands of foreign men.

We send our women, they send their men. Our women die in battle at the hands of their men. And this is war? I'm supposed to feel some sort of pride at our progressiveness? Sorry, but all I feel is shame.

Posted by: INP at April 21, 2009 8:59 PM

Western Canadian, you are correct sir. Female soldiers do not fight up front with the boys in Israel. It makes the men act funny as you mention, and it is also bad for unit cohesion. The boys compete with each other for the girl's attention instead of forming a fighting unit. It bears mentioning that being around the men makes the women act funny too.

Human nature flatly refuses to alter itself to fit the Marxist ideal. Bummer.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 21, 2009 9:00 PM

This is a valid job description in today's department of war: "sit in an office for eight hours a day with a monitor and joystick to fly a drone airplane on the other side of the planet and thereby launch missles at the enemy".

Question: Should females be allowed to that job? And realize that, if the answer is not no, then everything else is a matter of degree, not of kind, in which case human dignity demands that the judgement be made on the merit of each individual, not their avolitional collective.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 21, 2009 9:13 PM

"Question: Should females be allowed to that job? "

You're still asking these questions at your age? We look to you for guidance at this point!

If you're looking for a debate partner, forget it, we're boycotting the libertarian community on account of gross stupidity, we don't have time to explain every consequence of your stupid ideas anymore. You know the drill: you propose the never ever tried anywhere in history idea, you're the one who has to sell it, in detail, using something more than a clumsily woven narrative. Don't be an ass and ask us to justify western civilization.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 9:33 PM

Ask ANY street cop if they want a female cop, for whom the standards have been lowered, covering their back when they wade in to break up a barroom brawl.
I have and the answers have been unanimous.

Posted by: Bocanut at April 21, 2009 9:36 PM

Vitruvius, sir, we rarely differ. However.

War is one of those things which has invariably been fought by men, except in cases of dire survival. Throughout the ages it has been so, since prehistoric times. As in, skeletal remains with battle wounds are almost always male. Females are found killed by weapons occasionally, but not with healed combat wounds. Amazons are rare. Three sigmas rare.

On balance, 200,000 years of history vs. 50 years of fashion, I'm comfortable going with the history. If having women fly drones and drive transport frees capable men to go fight, because we -need- those guys to replace casualties, then by all means. But that would be pretty frickin' serious, right? Stalingrad kind of serious.

If we are so hopelessly screwed all we have left is to send women to the front, then we are hopelessly screwed because they are going to fight valiantly and get BEAT.

Wars are fought by people who are trying to win as hard as they can. If having women in the ranks worked, somebody would have been doing it a hell of a long time before now.

Don't give me male chauvinism either. If chicks were up for a fight all male chauvinists would have been killed 100,000 years ago. They'd be bred out by now.

The other side of the argument, show me one culture in history who made this work for more than a couple years. Just one.

Besides, you left out part of the job description: "sit in an office for eight hours a day with a monitor and joystick to fly a drone airplane on the other side of the planet and thereby launch missles at the enemy"... and be able to fight and win when the enemy sneaks a special ops team into your rear area location to knock out your drones.

Because they do stuff like that. It war.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 21, 2009 9:38 PM

I’m not sure what the hell you said Vit but elbow to elbow no, off in the distance some where, why not. The key here is the elbow to elbow guys, they have to have full confidence in those behind them, man or woman.

Off to see Cohen.

Posted by: Western Canadian at April 21, 2009 9:43 PM

We certainly don't differ in this case, Phantom, since I don't have a position on this policy at this point, so, logically, we can't differ. I think that we agree in terms of the history of the matter. I think that over the next hundred years war technology is going to change the very nature of what we consider war to be (indeed, perhaps it already has). And so, on that basis, I wonder about the future, and consider the possibilites. Because as Voltaire said: "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers".

Today is always a cusp in the passage time; on any day, some
will look to the past, and some to the future. Both are valuable.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 21, 2009 9:48 PM

This may be at the moment an exercise in what if's, but if things steadily worsen in our battle for western civilization, we will need all hands on deck.

And that means our women.Simple as that.

As a nation of 30 million in a larger conflict, we will not have the luxury of leaving anyone behind.If it comes down to a fight against populations a hundred times our size and more, you had also better familiarize yourself with the word 'volkssturm' as well....

Posted by: Kursk at April 21, 2009 9:49 PM

Mr. Phantom:
Hunting has always been a male pursuit, yet we dig Sarah Palin (and Kate McMillan, come to that) no?

Posted by: Black Mamba at April 21, 2009 9:49 PM

"Hunting has always been a male pursuit, yet we dig Sarah Palin (and Kate McMillan, come to that) no?"

That's a question, and a historically inaccurate one btw, not a reason. Let's see some reasons geniuses. Come on, show us your inner Marxist.

Neanderthals went extinct because women participated in the hunt. I'm not kidding btw, they had less sexual dimophism, so the women hunted too.

"In 2006, anthropologists Steven L. Kuhn and Mary C. Stiner of the University of Arizona proposed a new explanation for the demise of the Neanderthals.[33] In an article titled "What's a Mother to Do? The Division of Labor among Neanderthals and Modern Humans in Eurasia",[34] they theorise that Neanderthals like Middle paleolithic Homo sapiens did not have a division of labor between the sexes. Both male and female Neanderthals participated in the single main occupation of hunting big game that flourished in Europe in the ice age like bison, deer, gazelles and wild horses. This contrasted with humans who were better able to use the resources of the environment because of a division of labor with the women going after small game and gathering plant foods. In addition because big game hunting was so dangerous this made humans, at least males, more resilient (see also Peter Frost's theory on the origins of European blond hair)."

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 9:58 PM

I believe the short form of what Vitruvius postulates is, if women are allowed to kill, all bets are off.

What he neglects is the male/female dynamic and how it may affect the ethos of a front line combat unit.

IMO, as far as women flying drones, fill your boots; front line combat, I'm not so sure.

Although I usually find Coren a decent enough read, I think this column is a bit asshatish, much like his nuke Iran column a couple of years ago.

Posted by: SDH at April 21, 2009 10:00 PM

Coren is not the idiot but his critcs certainly are.
I refute the notion that a 100 lb fire-fighter, of any gender, can carry my 200+ lb butt out of danger?
How far will a 100 lb soldier, of any gender, get with a 80-130lb pack?
How far will a 100 lb soldier, of any gender, get trying to be a loader in a tank turret?
Physical requirements are a realistic practice. Small males should serve in capacities commensorate with their size but they are rejected.
Women make excellant pilots, drivers, remote weopon system techies.

Posted by: sasquatch at April 21, 2009 10:04 PM

re. Mark at April 21, 2009 8:02 PM

There's plenty of gentlemen in the AFG theatre that have been laid low by the heat. You trying to make point other than it's hot over there?

Posted by: SDH at April 21, 2009 10:10 PM

Heh, I refute the notion that any of you candy-a$$ civilians and long-retired dinosaurs have any concept whatsoever of the reality in A'stan, or of today's combat arms. You sound just like the leftards. Sheesh. I'll put any of you against any of the women in my unit on the BFT and in the field and they'll have all of you puking your guts out after the first five klicks. There is one standard in the army, and tell you what, sunshines, plenty of men can't hack it, but all the women I've encountered in the combat arms can. Shake your heads people, you're firing so far out of your lanes it's hilarious.

Posted by: Tanker at April 21, 2009 10:16 PM

Michael Michael Michael, This is 2009,not 1955! You are a pigheaded old fart who believes that women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen! (Like your wife, mother of your four children) What your opinion really reflects is your poor self-esteem. You are attacking the gender of this soldier's death to somehow state that you are more superior. How small of you to attack a woman in such a disrespectful manner. You should be ashamed of yourself, as an individual, as a man, and as a Canadian.

Posted by: Lori at April 21, 2009 10:17 PM

No Broads Abroad @9:58 -
Rhetorical question.
Plus: Oh blah. Nobody knows why the Neanderthals died off. "Sexual Dimorphism", is it? So were there Neanderthal Amazons? And if there were, how would that argue against women soldiers homo sapiens sapiens, exactly?
Anyway, what's it got to do with anything? Hunting hasn't been primarily a male activity since the cliched dawn of history? (Rhetorical question.)

Posted by: Black Mamba at April 21, 2009 10:22 PM

"should keep your condescending, ignorant, archaic opinions that have no basis on facts or reality to yourself "

Canadian Soldier better watch his attitude when addressing civilians who pay his salary. Uppity bureaucrat. It is not the place of either a soldier or a bureaucrat to take that attitude with a Canadian citizen, especially when they wrong.

"You are a pigheaded old fart who believes that women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen! "

That was really unnecessary. Not offensive, but unnecessary. This is why women aren't allowed in the military, among other reasons, and why I despise women butting into adult conversations with childish outbursts designed to put men on the defensive. I want women in the kitchen more than ever when I hear women talk like Lori - you're creating a brand new generations of chauvinists, probably deliberately too, so the game will continue and you get your quotas.

You feminists are a cancer on western civilization, orders of magnitude more dangerous than Muslims, at least they aren't trying to sabotage the military from the inside.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 10:25 PM

No Broads abroad:
Calm yourself, dear.

Posted by: Black Mamba at April 21, 2009 10:28 PM

"Rhetorical question."

It's considered a gay/feminist technique to blurt out a never ending serious of questions and we het males don't recognize it as valid; you're no Socrates ma'am and we're having a grown up conversation - beat it.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 10:28 PM

Coren basically said that women are more important and valuable than men, so the editorial also was sexist against men.

Posted by: c at April 21, 2009 10:32 PM

Yes, well, technically, at least for a little while longer, women are more
important than men
. That may change sooner than many of you would like.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 21, 2009 10:37 PM

Shake your heads people, you're firing so far out of your lanes it's hilarious.

I agree with you, Tanker, right up to the "hilarious" part. It ticks me off too much to be funny.

You don't deploy with a Combat Arms unit unless you can hack it, male or female. The discussion about gender is inane: it's about performance, not reproductive parts.

Posted by: Damian at April 21, 2009 10:39 PM

I have to agree with Tanker, having gone through GMT, there is ONE standard.

What is freedom and liberty about if we start selecting by some eugenic standard whom is allowed to make the ultimate sacrifice for this great country.

My condolences to the Blais family.

Posted by: erl at April 21, 2009 10:43 PM

The problem has more to do with the lowering of requirements for females in order to meet the employment equity quota. This took place within the RCMP and CSC and has not been a success in spite of what the feminists and PC crowd want us to believe.

If a female can meet all the existing requirements the same as a qualified male and that is what she wants to do, then that is fine with me. Based on the Israeli experience I would however suggest all female units made up of truly qualified females rather than mixing the sexes.

Posted by: Alain at April 21, 2009 10:49 PM

"The discussion about gender is inane"

No, Marxist, you are insane. The reasons against women in the military are well documented and nontrivial.

A History Of Warfare, by John Keegan - you *will* read this book, sir, and you *will* like it, am I clear?

Watch your mouth, radical, when addressing the vast majority of people who oppose your Marxism. Don't get uppity, feminist freak, you are the tiny minority. Your idiocy is going to get us killed, fragger.

You're a Newfie, an Obama supporter, and a feminist, that's three strikes pal, maybe go find a Liberal blog to spew your hate.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 10:50 PM

Boy, this takes me back. When my combat arms unit received its first draft of female soldiers back in 1989-90 under the CREW (Combat Related Employment for Women) programme courtesy dear old Shirley Robinson, we heard exactly the same arguments. And now, 19 years later, we get the repeat performance. I swear, it's like Groundhog Day. Could we please change the record?

For what it's worth, here's how I came to deal with it during my career. I asked two questions:

(1) Do you want to do the job? and
(2) CAN you do the job?

If the answer to both questions is "yes", then guess what - you get to do the job regardless of what you've got in the way of wedding tackle.

Do I like it? No, I do not. Never have. I'm a Guyosaurus. But that is my problem, not anyone else's.

Women fill combat roles. That's the way it is. It's the 21st Century. Deal with it. Which means you'd also better be prepared to deal with dead female soldiers, too, because soldiering is hard, dangerous work.

News flash for NOW, Shirley Robinson, and the rest of the female empowerment crowd: that girl in a flag-draped coffin means you won. Congratulations.

What really annoys me about this whole discussion is that people keep dragging up the same tired old arguments about push-ups and Ralph Kramden bang-zoom chauvanism. Nobody's addressing what to my mind is the real issue, which is that this female soldier was killed providing stability to a country whose parliamentarians are using that stability, bought with our blood, to pass laws giving Afghan women a choice between submitting to marital rape and being starved by their husbands.

How delightful. Canada has now lost more soldiers in Afghanistan alone than we lost during 50 years of international PK and PSO between the end of the Second World War and 9/11 - and this is the result. Dandy.

Instead of asking whether female soldiers can carry a C-6, maybe we should be asking whether they're pointing it at the right folks over there.

Posted by: DN at April 21, 2009 10:51 PM

Considering women have pretty much decimated western populations through abortion, I say they should be spearheading front-line operations. You want your most prolific killers making first contact with the enemy right?

Posted by: Arty at April 21, 2009 10:58 PM

Resplendent in their assless chaps and pastel cashmere sweaters wrapped around their shoulders, a faaaabulously coiffed DN led his Pansy Division off to Ragnarok, a skip in their step and a twinkle in their eye.

You're going to get us killed, pansy, stick your Marxist doctrine up your ass.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 10:58 PM

Perfect, DN.

Posted by: Black Mamba at April 21, 2009 11:00 PM

Considering women have pretty much decimated western populations through abortion, I say they should be spearheading front-line operations. You want your most prolific killers making first contact with the enemy right?

Posted by: Arty at April 21, 2009 11:06 PM

"You want your most prolific killers making first contact with the enemy right? "

So what you're saying is we should dress our women like whores, which is to say like any one of my f*ck-me-boot wearing female co-workers, send them to Afghanistan, and get them to kill the enemy in their sleep? I hadn't considered that. Hmmm. How about we concentrate their shrieky voices in a super audio wave and zap them with nagging and incessant demands for more feminism? That could work too.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 11:15 PM

I've had girlfriends who were in much much better shape than me and girlfriends who were much much smarter than me. But when push came to shove they got behind me and I sorted out any violence that came our way. Women can learn self defense but they usually don't make good fighters. I'd rather have a guy who played defense in an industrial hockey league guarding my back than a women with a black belt in karate and all the weapons training the army can give her.

And that was a good line about the Olympics by the way.

Posted by: gord at April 21, 2009 11:16 PM

Um, actually, DN, "A choice between submitting to marital rape and being starved by their husbands" is not a correct summary of what was/is happening in that instance: the situation was/is more complex than that. Needless to say, our darling big-shot media blew the reporting on that one too. Other than that, I pretty much agree with you.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 21, 2009 11:18 PM

Interesting discussion, here is my 2 cents worth.

I was in the Army reserves for 16 years, did one tour in Croatia. Nothing too exciting, definitely not combat. I trained in both mixed gender sub units and all male sub units. Was an instructor for mixed and non mixed on various courses. Percentage-wise I would say that there were as many male as female troops who were useless as individual soldiers. Unfortunately your in my view it is not only a question of an individual's skills or ability that matters: Of equal, or even greater importance is cohesion. Mixing genders almost always has a negative effect on cohesion, or at least complicates it and unfortunately it is not really something you can measure, so why take that risk?

I don't think it is a question of individual rights. The army is the exception that proves the rule about collectivism. In this case the group is more important than the individual.

Posted by: Andy at April 21, 2009 11:36 PM

I haven't read every post, so maybe someone has covered this.

There have been cases where women combatants have been raped and impregnated, and given birth so that the babies can be threatened so the mothers are coerced to give information to avoid harm coming to the babies. Then the babies were killed brutally anyway, and the women sexually abused to cause degredation and demoralization.

The questions about women in combat go far beyond the arguments that have been reduced to whether or not a woman can physically perform the tasks of soldiering. Occasionally, one here and there can, but that is hardly the chief issue for a culture that wishes to hang on to the vestiges of civilization.

It is true that men will instinctively try to protect the females in their units. Naturally, this jeopardizes the lives of everyone connected. However, in addition to that, do we really want men to be de-conditioned from the notion that they should try to protect the female? Is that part of the values and virtues that an army seeks to secure for its nation?

As a VietNam vet, I have had occasion to talk to high-ranking female officers, and I do understand that in the world of political correctness in the military there is the attempt to mold women's service around the cultural ideas that social engineers try to engender.

However, I am absolutely against women in combat roles (sometimes the gals have not even been able to take the G-forces in high-performance jets when they bank).

There is a huge number of military supporting roles women can perform, and I know that today women want to cash in on the fact that combat billets help to provide upward mobility in rank. But combat is not the corporate structure, and I believe the arguments for women in combat are specious, backward, and the promotion of an immoral, devolutionary concept of mankind.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas at April 21, 2009 11:42 PM

I think we know why no broads abroad wants an all-male army, hmmm?

Posted by: bleet at April 21, 2009 11:42 PM

I just wanted to add that I'm actually pretty conflicted by the whole subject. I recognize that there are a lot of women doing the job over there (although I'm not sure how many in the infantry) and if the guys on the ground say they can do it then I'm not going to tell them they are wrong. But in my experience it is pretty hard for the people at the coal face to have an objective opinion on the matter. Leaders are very protective of their troops as they should be, but it has been my experience that they are even more protective of their females without always recognizing it.

Posted by: Andy at April 21, 2009 11:43 PM

I'm with Kate on this one.

Discrimination on the basis physical attributes is entirely appropriate, but discrimination on the basis of sex isn't legitimate.

I have spoken!

Posted by: texan at April 21, 2009 11:43 PM

I agree with Coren - and Phantom. Women can certainly operate the highly technological operations of a war, but in the gritty front lines of physical contact - no.

No, for all the reasons that have already been articulated - the basic unspoken, chemical interactions between male and female; the physiological differences in weight and muscle, and so on. Men and women are not the same; they may be equal in terms of intellect and political capacity but they are hardly, I hope, physiologically similar.

As for the neanderthal hunter-gatherer suggestion, I feel it is more fiction than fact. Women don't hunt in any hunter economy; the main reason for that is because hunting with the bow, or spear requires not simply stealth but silence. And a women who is pregnant can't 'stealth along' and a woman with a child can't 'be silent'. You do not bring children along when hunting big and dangerous game. Elders, children and women remain in the camp or engage in gathering - and that has to include neanderthal economies.

Posted by: ET at April 21, 2009 11:46 PM

Andy, I'm closing on 30 years reg and reserve, and I've lived all the army changes over the last three decades. Biggest adjustment of my life was the first time I had female combat arms troops under my command. I evaluated the situation and for cohesion's sake, treated them like any other troop and that's how it worked. The cohesion issues you raise are, in my experience, almost always the fault of the leadership failing to treat the women as troops, not because there are women in the outfit.

The current generation of junior ranks have known nothing else and see mixed gender combat units as perfectly normal. If there are complications, they are almost invariably caused by guys of my generation who failed to adapt and evolve. Nowadays, anyone male or female who makes it through training and pulls their weight at the unit is a member of the team and gender differences are of little real concern. Considering the wash-out rates in St-Jean and Gagetown/Shilo, the young guys nowadays really only care that the troop beside them made it through like a pro and is able to do the job. I'm always amazed at how fast attitudes have changed over the last 10-15 years in the new intakes. By the time my generation is retired and the kids we've trained in the last 10 years reach the higher levels, they'll look back at all this nonsense and wonder what kind of backward idiots we were. Crips I feel old now. 'Scuse me while I swallow some arthritis meds

Posted by: Tanker at April 21, 2009 11:49 PM

Sorry, ET, as lucid and compelling as you are on other issues, this is way out of your area of competence - you are, as I've said, a candy-a$$ civilian. By what measure of experience do you have any sort of clue about whether or not women can operate as trained soldiers in the gritty front lines? You sound like any leftard ivory-tower academic with no real-life experience in this instance and it does you disservice. Anyone who has not experienced soldiering first hand cannot, in any way, comprehend the reality and no theorizing will change that. I'm quite dissapointed in you.

Posted by: Tanker at April 21, 2009 11:56 PM

Yes, ET, but watch a female hunt down a weasel that is threatening her child.
Apparently, in modern warfare, all tactics are now considered to be fair game.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 21, 2009 11:57 PM

"'Scuse me while I swallow some arthritis meds"

Wash it down with cyanide, baby boomer, and do the world a favour. Marxists, the lot of you. First generation in history where the elders are Marxists and the youth are conservative, I hope you get cancer and AIDS.

Posted by: No Broads Abroad at April 21, 2009 11:58 PM

I think weknow why no broads abroad wants an all-male army, hmmm.

Posted by: bleet at April 22, 2009 12:01 AM

I must say that, watching you know who, and you know who, try to troll up a storm, with more or less nobody taking up the bait, does entertain me to some degree ;-)

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 22, 2009 12:06 AM

trolls you say? what trolls? I see no trolls here. ;)

Posted by: ChrisinMB at April 22, 2009 12:09 AM

Tanker, I respectfully disagree with you. I am not a candy-ass civilian, and have spent my time in the hot zones.

At least down here the whole issue of women in combat roles was elaborated essentially because combat is one of the vehicles for upward mobility in rank for military members. That is, equality, women's liberation, etc.

Now as it happens, I do understand and am sympathetic with the fact that sometimes women can in fact as good military combatants.

However, just as we discuss gay marriage, politics driven by racial, social agendas and other contemporary issues, it is often despite what is socially and morally preferable.

As you know, in the US (at the moment) gay members of our services are not legally supposed to announce their orientation. And of course as we know, it is possible for gays to marry in 5 of our states. However, many of us disagree that this re-definition of marriage serves our country, the Western world, or future generations.

Utility is not the same thing as the truth. And simply because from the point of view of utilization the women's movement can empower an acceptance of women in combat so that equal promotion can be pointed out to members of Congress, it does not make it any more desirable.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas at April 22, 2009 12:10 AM

Jeez dude.... look under the friggin' Bailey Bridge :)

Posted by: Tanker at April 22, 2009 12:10 AM

I am concerned from some of the comments that Canadians do not understand our mission in Afghanistan. Short of going to total war a la WW2, we will NEVER defeat the Taliban and create a sterling model of a Western pluralistic democracy.
What we can do is buy time for the Afghan government to become an effective government which can control or defeat insurgents within their borders. Will it be a government under which I would want to live? Probably not but as I don't plan on living there, I do not care.
What I do care is that Afghanistan does not become a staging ground for further attacks on Canada or any of our NATO allies (although I'm not so sure about France) and insurgencies or the Afghan government itself does not endanger its neighbours.

Baathist Iraq treated its own people like crap but it was not until it started to venture past its borders and threaten its neighbours did it become a threat which required action. Aside from sending some advisors and trainers in the 1970's Cuba has learned to stay within its borders and so no one is willing to spend troops or treasury to eliminate the current regime.

Until the Afghan national government via the police and Afghan army can contain the Taliban, we (NATO) must stay the course and buy it breathing room.

Posted by: Norm Matthew at April 22, 2009 12:10 AM

No, no, of course not ChrisinMB, I meant: as a concept ;-)

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 22, 2009 12:11 AM

Greg, I thought long and hard about how I was going to reply to your post, and dangnabbit, I've served alongside too many good American troops to want to get into that kind of discussion. I used to think as you did. I changed my mind over the years as I picked up experience (they say only an idiot never changes his mind, and I was trying to prove some mates wrong :) didn't work). We come from different military and social cultures and will have to agree to disagree about some things. These days, I don't care what plumbing a troop has, or who he or she dates... all I care about is that they have the right military ethos, are part of the team and can fight. Considering the state of society nowadays, getting kids with that kind of committment is a good thing.

Posted by: Tanker at April 22, 2009 12:23 AM


Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it. I honestly and truly hope you are right and I'm willing to admit I don't know. The cohesion problems I saw were more often than not related to competition for sex, attention, esteem... Sometimes it was conscious, sometimes subconscious. There were males to blame as well as females, leaders and subordinates, up and down the chain of command. Salty old dogs and young teenagers in love. Reg. and Reserve, it didn't seem to matter. Kinda seems like human nature to me. Maybe the war has changed things but I got out last year and it hadn't changed much in any of the reserve units I was in, it was just more acceptable.

Anyway, I don't know, like I said, I'm out, have never been in combat and can only judge based on my completely biased experience.

Posted by: Andy at April 22, 2009 12:40 AM

Well, bring on the Canadian burkas! Let's keep our beautiful women at home in Canada where can be kept by a nice Canadian man who wants to protect them, as long as they do the laundry, be available for sex, make supper and most importantly take care of men like Michael Coran who don't get it.

Posted by: Free at April 22, 2009 1:42 AM

Tanker, clearly your experience in the area outweighs mine.

I'll just say that just because you can -make- something work doesn't make it a good idea. We don't have women in combat roles because they awesomely improve a unit's combat power, right? We have them because its PC to have them.

The best you can hope for is they'll be the same as the other guys. Wouldn't if be a hell of a lot less trouble to replace them all with men? If you did that would your unit function better or worse?

I could be wrong, eh? But am I?

Posted by: The Phantom at April 22, 2009 2:11 AM

ET, Phantom et al you may be right about the physical limitations of a female combatant in the theatre of war. However, you are completely wrong regarding the abitities of a female combatant that is faced with live or die. It's you or me baby and me is not an option.
nuff said

Posted by: kelly at April 22, 2009 2:44 AM

I totally agree with Damian on this one.

I've been a lifelong fan of combat sports -- boxing, (non-professional) wresting, the mixed martial arts, etc. The first time I saw women fighting, I felt squeeby, and I have never completely overcame that reaction. I still don't like it, it still bothers me at some intractable level to see women hitting each other, and yet it is inarguably the case to anyone who has actually watched that these self-selected women are, in terms of will and resolve, and refusal to quit, fully as tough as the men.

In Afghanistan we've been helping women who have been subject to horrifying and unfair proscriptions. I can't help but think that an Afghan woman struggling against brutally misogynistic men would be stirred and inspired by the sight of some upright, foreign Canadian gal in uniform helping to enforce order. If you're told that you're not allowed to read a book, or hold a book, or appear in public without an appointed man walking in front of you, how could it not be inspiring to see an armed, upright and stubborn woman telling said men to get on the ground and assume the position?

Women As Warrior is more a part of our culture -- the best part of our culture -- than most people realize. The third verse of the Norwegian national anthem, written in the 1800s, includes this stanza:

Farmers their axes sharpened
wherever an army advanced
Todenskiold along the coastline thundered
so that we could see it back home.
Even women stood up and fought
as if they were men;
others could only cry,
but that soon would end!

Verily. Women are part of the West's bench strength. Anyone who thinks woman aren't as strong as men -- I'm not talking bench-press strength -- should not only view CBC's GTA-centric metrosexual footage for counterevidence, but also view this rare archival footage of Kate McMillan tossing around, and generally doing this and that to, a guy named Warhen Counseula:

Watch the slo-mo at 2:08. Hear the applause. Learn it. Live it.

Posted by: EBD at April 22, 2009 3:59 AM

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I would think that most soldiers would be more demoralized by seeing a woman killed in combat than seeing a man. And as a woman, I would choose to have the protection of a man rather than of another woman.
I think Mother Nature made it that way and no government can change it.

Posted by: violet at April 22, 2009 8:45 AM

Political correctness isn't worth a cut finger let alone a persons life.
Coren's right.

Posted by: richfisher at April 22, 2009 9:45 AM

From an private correspondence from an old bud:

"As someone in the ramp-up to go over I did the BFT and watched women carry the same kit and shovel the same gravel as I did, not to mention the fact that it was probably 40%+ of their body weight. Maybe little Mikey should give it a whirl himself? I'll loan him some gear if he wants!!"

The soldiers aren't the ones who have a problem with this. And it's their skin on the line. That should tell you something.

Posted by: Damian at April 22, 2009 9:58 AM

"I'll just say that just because you can -make- something work doesn't make it a good idea. We don't have women in combat roles because they awesomely improve a unit's combat power, right? We have them because its PC to have them."

You could (would?) have said the same thing about black soldiers, a few generations ago. Putting blacks into regular combat units didn't improve the combat power of those units, so we should never have done it, right?

Yes, the integration of women into the combat arms was "PC". Yes, the integration of blacks into normal units was "PC". So what? I'm not quite sure why, but you seem to be under the silly impression that political correctness is automatically wrong, 100% of the time.

Granting women the same opportunities and freedoms as men is not some grand scheme to ruin the morals of our society, nor is it an attempt to subvert conservative/western/christian values (take your pick, I've heard people argue all three). Those of you who are arguing for the restriction of rights and opportunities based on nothing more than types of genitals ... you really need to give your heads a shake. You're making the exact same arguments that I hear coming out of the mouths of Islamic fundamentalists - the only difference is the degree to which you wish to control the female populace.

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 9:59 AM

I still maintain that women don't belong on the ground in the front lines. In other military operations, in the air, on land or sea - of course - yes. But not on the ground front lines, where what is required is not merely brains but physical stamina.

The difference between men and women is not merely 'genitals', as Alex suggested, - and the suggestion that their differences are akin to skin colour is trivial. The differences are physiological - muscle mass, body mass and proportion, endurance etc. Of course, some women can slog and carry better than some men, but the focus has to be on the average, not on 'some'.

As the eloquent Christie Blatchford said, and I paraphrase, when asked about female fire fighters, her response was that she would feel more comfortable with a 200 lb hulk of a man coming in to the blazing house to rescue her than a 100 lb woman.

I'm also suggesting that the 'chemical interactions' between male and female - which are chemical and not rational - may be overcome in the hierarchy between commander and troops, but between two equal rank individuals on the ground, this is less easy and shouldn't be added on to the already existent stress of combat.

Posted by: ET at April 22, 2009 10:35 AM

I've been in the military for 10 years, and let me tell you... it is a joke. They have ruined good order and discipline amongst the men. They have an official double standard in PT standards, and the unofficial one spills out from there, to everywhere. They whine. They complain. They say "Pleeeease???" They hook up with their bosses (who are guiltier than they are). In short, they have ruined the military discipline which makes our volunteer army work (see Major General John M. Schofield's West Point address).

As far as them being able to do just as much physically, that is the dumbest, most irrational thing I've ever heard. Would you surmise a 100 lb man could do as much as a 200 lb man? Of course not, but here's the catch, the 100 lb man can do much more than the fit 150 lb woman. In my experience, there has been two, yes TWO women whom I remember off of the top of my head that I would accept (not even in my top 100 draft picks) to be with me on the ground. I'm sorry if my experience hurts any feelings, but I'd be sorrier if I ate it for the price of political correctness. This isn't Israel, we have enough men volunteering to make it so we don't need women in combat roles.

The I'm ok, you're ok, you go girl culture has got to stop, lest we all go down in ruin.

It's time to go run my truck for two hours, happy earth day!!!

Posted by: Ryan at April 22, 2009 10:57 AM

Jesus I can't get over the sexism posted in here, either intentionally from the trolls or unintentionally from the neanderthals. Damian is right, Coren is dead wrong, and the rest of you Victorian types upset over your fear of the 'weaker' sex coming to harm need to grow up and join this century.

Posted by: Mark at April 22, 2009 11:02 AM

Boy, the collectivist approach on this issue shown by people here, especially ET, is hilarious. ET... do me a favour and join the real world.

On any other issue, you all would be the first to tear into anyone not treating people as individuals. It's simple so let me put it in words of as few syllables as I can: those who can, do; those who can't should get out of the way (instead of pontificating theory grounded in a collectivist worldview). There is one standard in the Army, male or female. Anyone who doesn't meet it washes out. While the military is not a democracy, we treat everyone as individuals: they either can do the job to a common standard or they can't.

If anyone gets preferential treatment or is allowed to wheedle their way around difficulties, that is a leadership failure, pure and simple, and the leaders need to be taken to account.

Ryan, women have been in the combat arms longer than you have been in the military; so son, you're shooting waaay out of your lane here. You have no concept of what the Army used to be. In fact, physical standards in the Army were slacker 10 years ago than they are today. Now it's BFT for all. If stuff like you describe goes on in your unit, your CO needs to be relieved of command.

Anyways, I'm done with this thread. I'll just keep quietly training men and women (to a common standard) to serve in the combat arms and let the rest of you wallow in your ignorance.

Posted by: Tanker at April 22, 2009 11:14 AM

The reason to exclude women from front-line combat duty has nothing at all to do with the abilities of women.

The reason is the propaganda damage caused by an enemy snuff video of terrorists torturing and violating a woman which would be displayed every 15 seconds by a media which no longer has any scruples or restraint.

We, as a society, no longer have the stomach to see grad pictures of fallen soldiers so what are we going to do when all the soccer-moms see live video of suffering Canadian women?

Any man who has seen his wife go through labour has no illusions of the toughness of woman and their ability to do the job. What they don't have the ability to do (statistically speaking,) is look at the suffering of other women.

The potential PR damage isn't worth the extra [wo]manpower.

Posted by: Warwick at April 22, 2009 11:19 AM

Of course, some women can slog and carry better than some men, but the focus has to be on the average, not on 'some'.

Nope. The focus has to be on what an INDIVIDUAL can do. Hell, the 'average' man can't hack a combat arms trade. That the 'average' woman can't isn't news. To be a soldier requires you to be well beyond average - man or woman. You don't eliminate the talents of half of the population based upon an average.

No, you eliminate individuals one by one as they prove they can't hack the job. And if they prove that they can, you let them do it.

There will always be more men than women in combat arms trades - it's tougher for women to meet the physical standards. But those exceptional women who can should be allowed to serve!

Oh, and I'm interested to see you've brought Blatch into this, ET. Why don't you e-mail her and ask her what she thinks of my post at The Torch? I already know, since we chatted privately about it last night, but you go ahead. I'll wait here with a cold beer for you to wash down that crow when you're done.

Here's another good idea: try reading the chapter of Fifteen Days that talks about Capt Nic Goddard. Or the one that talks about Gunner Janie Duguay.

Performance. It's the only criterion that matters, folks.

Posted by: Damian at April 22, 2009 11:34 AM

Oh, and Tanker? Bold and Swift!

Posted by: Damian at April 22, 2009 11:41 AM

"The reason is the propaganda damage caused by an enemy snuff video of terrorists torturing and violating a woman which would be displayed every 15 seconds by a media which no longer has any scruples or restraint."

That's weak. By the same logic, since propaganda videos of male soldiers being killed have been aired by the media, we should stop letting men into the military.

Your logic has another glaring flaw - "front line" troops aren't very likely to be kidnapped. A soldier in battle is armed to the teeth, surrounded by other soldiers, and supported by the best weaponry that modern science can produce. You'd have better luck kidnapping a soldier off the streets of a Canadian city than you would from the "front line" in Kandahar. Therefore, the only way your argument would be internally consistent is if you requested that women be prevented from serving in ANY branch or trade of the CF.

Now, if you want to hang on to your outdated prejudices, feel free. Just don't try to pretend that there's a rational basis for them. The day we allow concern about enemy propaganda to influence military decisions is the day we cease to be soldiers, and become weak-kneed politicians.

"The potential PR damage isn't worth the extra [wo]manpower."

Maybe so, but real freedom is worth the (potential) PR damage.

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 11:59 AM

damian - that's your opinion on women in the front lines. I have mine. Nothing you have said makes me change that view. I don't agree with your 'average man can't be a soldier' view. More 'average men' can be front line military than 'average women'.

The fact is, men and women are physiologically different and I don't agree with women in the ground front lines. I do agree with them in the air (pilots), and other non-physical actions. You do.

I brought Blatchford into it for her comment on firefighters. You can inform me what she said; I'm not going to move into a 'he said', she said' middleman role.

This has nothing to do with something as dumb as 'sexism' (Mark) because to claim that unless everyone is allowed to do the same thing, then such a society is 'sexist' is irrational.

Equally, the perspective of 'collectivism', i.e., an analysis based on the 'average' is correct. Either we allow all 'average' women to enlist as well as all 'average' men or not. And we have to acknowledge that the average physical definition is different for each gender.

To insist that only exceptional men and exceptional women are allowed to enlist sets up different standards of performance, for it is far more unusual for a woman to meet that same physical requirement than for a man.

So, you, Damian, can continue to believe in your view, and I'll continue to believe in mine.

Posted by: ET at April 22, 2009 12:13 PM

""Canadian Soldier" better watch what comes out of his flanhole as long as I am paying his salary, government employees and soldiers do NOT address civilians with such insolence."

Says who? This serving Canadian servicemember will address you with not only insolence, but contempt, whenever I bloody well please. When I signed on the line, I did not waive my rights to expressing an opinion. Don't like it? Tough.

Posted by: CdnAirForce at April 22, 2009 12:28 PM

Warwick @11:19 - I think you're right. But there is also the "propaganda damage" caused to our enemies, particularly in the Muslem world, when they see that West respects women and is willing to trust them in the front lines.

Posted by: Black Mamba at April 22, 2009 12:31 PM


Remember at the beginning of the Iraq war, when that female support soldier and her fellow soldiers strayed into the wrong place and was attacked, how that story was covered?

The male dead didn't matter. The one woman did. It was sensational coverage, 24/7.

There was no video that time. Although there was talk of rape, there was no organized propaganda made out of it by the enemy.

Think of the situation where she was filmed by the wrong people.

As for not getting taken, you do know that happens from time to time in wars, right? That's where the concept of a POW camp originated (not to mention my real-world example above.)

Think of what would have happened it the Japanese had captured female soldiers. Then fast-forward to today's media culture combined with the cheap video camera.

This isn't about women, it's about the media and society. Women can do the job just fine (as I said earlier.) The prejudice is all of ours and to deny that the damage done by a potential female captive being paraded on the evening news isn't far and beyond that posed by a male is to deny reality. It's almost impossible for a western democracy to win any conflict as it is.

You can live with your head up your back-side tut-tutting those who point out the glaringly obvious all you want. The facts don't correspond with your way of thinking.

Posted by: Warwick at April 22, 2009 12:39 PM

You all can spout all the PC horse s**t you want, but sending a Mom of 3 toddlers into combat is inhuman enslavement to a Marxist doctrine(If it is not necessary to do so). When we have no other choice, there is no doubt the women will serve valiantly. Isn't killing off the Fathers bad enough?

Posted by: g at April 22, 2009 12:50 PM

Ok, I'm coming in late, but I've gotta weigh in, just a little.

I'd like to bring up a secondary issue that this raises. Its been touched on a little already.

The fitness standards in the CF are a joke. The much talked up BFT everyone is talking about is a joke. For some reason a lot of people attach a weird stigma too it, and make it out as some great feat of a strength. What it boils down to is a 2 hour stroll. Granted it is tougher for smaller folk, but if our fitness standards were higher, everyone would shrug off the BFT as no big deal. On this matter we need to take a page out of the Marine Corps book. The visual difference between theirs and ours is really striking. That is an organization that takes fitness seriously.

Part of the problem as I see it is the fitness requirements and guidence laid out from higher. And part of it is a failure of low level leadership. Granted the combat arms do fitness better, but I think if we want to tote around the "sodlier first" moto, than it should carry over to everyone.

Anyone know about the fat camp they run at St. Jean nowdays? They cut the fitness test out of the recruitment process. So now when you ship off to boot camp, if you can't hack the PT, which is rarely that extreme, you get 3 weeks of specialized fitness training. Sweet eh? Government paid fat camp. I can't help but see this as a symptom of our proggressive society, and our over-weight society for that matter.

During WWII when they consripted every man between 18-40 they put them through some seriously demanding training. There was no touchy feely army back then, they just whipped those boys into doing extreme things. And they did it, because they had too. Not sure if you could pull that off in modern day Canada. In fact I'm sure you couldn't.

As for the women issue. As a strict matter of physical capabilities, we all know that the great majority of women are at a disadvantage. Someone already said it best; if they want the job, and can do the job, give it too them. The fact is most cannot. This isn't about equality and women's rights and post-modern sensabilities. This is warfighting, the most extreme endevour that human's have managed to come up with. If you want to win you pursue only the practical and hedge your bets on what works. Thats it, thats all.

Posted by: Junker at April 22, 2009 12:50 PM

"Remember at the beginning of the Iraq war, when that female support [emphasis added] soldier and her fellow soldiers strayed into the wrong place and was attacked, how that story was covered?"

So let me get this straight - you're rephrasing your original statement, and are now arguing that women shouldn't be allowed in ANY military trades?

Well, I can't pretend to be surprised. I just hope you realize that it makes you look like even more of a cave-man. Women have been serving in the military for at least 60 years now - if you expect us to turn back the clock that far, you're in for a disappointment.

"Think of what would have happened it the Japanese had captured female soldiers."

They did. 5 US Navy nurses were captured by the Japanese in Guam. 11 more were captured in the Philippines. The fact that you are ignorant of these events ... well, it pretty much tells us everything we need to know about the validity of your comment. You're trying to set up some nightmare scenario where Japanese soldiers rape and torture poor defenseless American women, and a whole nation loses it's will to fight. In reality, the capture of these women had so little effect on the war that very few people are even aware of it.

"The prejudice is all of ours and to deny that the damage done by a potential female captive being paraded on the evening news isn't far and beyond that posed by a male is to deny reality."

That would be why I didn't deny it - I'm quite aware that people such as yourself would react in that fashion. I just don't think that the irrational emotions of bigots are a good excuse to discriminate against women. That's the kind of thing we're fighting AGAINST.

"You can live with your head up your back-side tut-tutting those who point out the glaringly obvious all you want. The facts don't correspond with your way of thinking."

The fact's don't correspond with your straw-man, that much is certain.

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 1:11 PM

"You all can spout all the PC horse s**t you want, but sending a Mom of 3 toddlers into combat is inhuman enslavement to a Marxist doctrine"

1. If you could define Marxism without looking it up in a dictionary, I would die of shock.

2. We're not "sending" them anywhere. They are not chattel. They are not our property, to do with as we please. They are individuals - free human beings - who have the right to live their lives as they see fit. If you cannot get that concept through your thick skull, you should probably convert to Islam and move to the middle east. You'll find a lot more like-minded people that way.

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 1:18 PM

"So let me get this straight - you're rephrasing your original statement, and are now arguing that women shouldn't be allowed in ANY military trades?"

No, I'm not and didn't say so. I used that illustration to make a statement on MEDIA COVERAGE, not the odds of capture. I was saying that not only is it possible that a female soldier COULD be taken but that it has happened.

You said: ""front line" troops aren't very likely to be kidnapped." I could have used the example where 4 Israeli soldiers were ambushed, 3 killed and 1 taken hostage. Is Israel's soldiers less prepared, less armed, less worthy that Canadian soldiers? I guess living in such peace and harmony with thier friendly neighbours, they've gone all rusty and soft... Is Hezbollah so behind the Taliban? Do you really believe it's that hard to take a soldier hostage? Your assertion that it's unlikely to happen is wrong. Further, they don't have to be kidnapped, they can be taken in any number of ways. Canadian soldiers have surrendered in the past.

"You're trying to set up some nightmare scenario where Japanese soldiers rape and torture poor defenseless American women, and a whole nation loses it's will to fight."

No. The scenario is where the event is FILMED and excerpts of it end up on the F'ing news - or didn't you read what I said? The point is how it would be different in today's culture both in our media and our public's lack of balance in world events. In fact, I would bet if WWII were held today, we'd lose.

"In reality, the capture of these women had so little effect on the war that very few people are even aware of it."

First, if so few people are aware of it, it kind of detracts from your line: "The fact that you are ignorant of these events ... well, it pretty much tells us everything we need to know about the validity of your comment." But, feel free to exclude "internal consistency" from YOUR argument.

Second, that so few are aware of the even is because it wasn't put on the front of the NYT every day for a month or more, there was no TV and the media would have been lined up and shot if they tried. THAT was the point I was making. Did you not READ what I wrote? Maybe go back and take another look.

Posted by: Warwick at April 22, 2009 1:34 PM

"2. We're not "sending" them anywhere. They are not chattel. They are not our property, to do with as we please. They are individuals - free human beings - who have the right to live their lives as they see fit.'

Oh, right. Soldiers are free to do as they please whenever they chose...

Listen moron, soldiers lose most of their freedoms when they sign on. They ARE in effect, chattel.

You do know you're a fricken idiot, right? Leftards are beyond hope.

Posted by: Warwick at April 22, 2009 1:41 PM

"I used that illustration to make a statement on MEDIA COVERAGE"

And I already granted your point on media coverage, and dismissed it. I did that in my very first response to you. It's not any more valid now that you've repeated it multiple times.

"Do you really believe it's that hard to take a soldier hostage?"

We were in Bosnia/Croatia for over a decade, without having soldiers kidnapped. We've been in Afghanistan for 8 years, without having a soldier kidnapped. We've been to Kosovo, Somalia, Darfur, Cyprus, Rwanda, the Congo, and Haiti, all without having any soldiers captured. Even in Korea, as far as I'm aware, we didn't have a single man captured. The US has had 130,000+ soldiers in Iraq for 6 years, and has had less than 10 soldiers abducted. So yes, is is "that hard" to take a soldier hostage.

I started to reply to the rest of your "points", but, really ... there's no point. You're still trying to argue that negative media coverage somehow justifies keeping women out of the military, so debating the finer points of your silly argument gets us nowhere - we're just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.

I've already admitted that irrational people will focus more on the death or capture of a female than that of a male. That's obvious, and I'm not sure why you're so focused on trying to "prove" something which everyone knows. I've already explained to you why this is not a valid reason for keeping women out of the military. Feel free to continue venting, if you like, but don't expect a response from me unless you can come up with a better argument, or unless you can find some way to invalidate my critique of your present argument.

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 2:05 PM

Last night the eminently respectable Tanker explained that I had nothing to say about all this because I'm not a Canadian.

So let me say something about the broader subject of women in front line positions in our respective militaries.

I hope you all realize that if politicians manage to manipulate circumstances so that it is ordinary for women to be in front line positions, guess what?

If we get into some huge conflict like war with China and our countries have to re-install a draft, our daughters are going to be pushed into combat whether we like it or not.

One minute she's trying to think about what dresses make he look the most beautiful, and the next minute she's instructed to kill somebody.

And remember, what we're talking about here is not women being denied some high honor.

We're talking about your little girl coming home chopped up beyond recognition. In a body bag. Waking up at night for the next 30 years with heart palpitations, in a cold sweat.

I mentioned I'm a VietNam vet, and it is tragic that men have to, out of the necessity of things endemic to the human condition, go kill or be killed. For women to suffer the same fate is just compounding tragedy upon tragedy.

We're talking about war here, not some Outward Bound experience that causes one to come home richer for the experience. I know a lot of vets who carry a dark stain on their heart when they begin to reflect in their mature years on what it was necessary for them to do.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas at April 22, 2009 2:08 PM

"Oh, right. Soldiers are free to do as they please whenever they chose..."


Are you really so stupid that you don't realize I was referring to women?

"Listen moron, soldiers lose most of their freedoms when they sign on. They ARE in effect, chattel."

Hah. Thank you, it's always so GREAT having civilians tell me what my rights are! It's almost as much fun as when some lay-z-boy general tries to lecture me on tactics.

"You do know you're a fricken idiot, right? Leftards are beyond hope."

Ah, yes. I voted for Harper, and would love to shake hands with Bush, but what can I say ... you've found me out! All that clever camouflage ... the decade of rallying against Chretien ... years of supporting the Conservatives ... the lifetime dedicated to serving my nation ... you've seen through it all, down to my true commie-pinko nature! You are much too clever for me. Well done, sir! You'd have made McCarthy proud!

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 2:16 PM

"Are you really so stupid that you don't realize I was referring to women?"

I'm perfectly aware you were talking about women. BUT, you were doing so in the context of their rights to serve in the front lines - as SOLDIERS. So, it's funny you spouting off about rights.

So, tell me, if a soldier has no rights (relatively,) and a woman has lot of rights, what does a woman soldier have? lol.

Seriously. The idea that you can do whatever you want in life is laughable.

Posted by: Warwick at April 22, 2009 3:01 PM

Aaaaand, that brings this "discussion" to an end. Goodnight!

Posted by: Alex at April 22, 2009 3:10 PM

junker and greg in dallas - thanks for your comments. I think you've summed it up, each in your own way. The issue isn't about equality or women's rights or any other PC and postmodern vapid and inane rhetoric.

It's about a pragmatic reality - and this reality requires not only extreme physical endurance and fitness but also, I'd add, in my view - no diversions. And most women don't have that physiological fitness requirement and their presence is, over the long run, a diversion in the dirty and vicious business of real war.

Plus, looking at it strictly from a societal perspective, a society requires continuity - and that requires reproduction of its members. Lose a significant proportion of your child-bearing population, or physically disable them, or traumatize them so that they cannot constructively raise the next generation - and that society is in trouble.

Nothing to do with equal rights and other such, if I may opine, nonsense.

Posted by: ET at April 22, 2009 3:18 PM

Two short observations: There once was a country that "couldn't even build a Chevrolet", that fielded an army made up mostly of young, bowlegged, poorly nourished farm labourers and fishermen. Most of them wouldn't have tipped a scale set at 100 pounds. When the country that could build a Chevrolet got involved combatwise in a scrap with them, the unexpected ferocity and aggression the "weaklings" was a nightmare for all those trying to defeat them. It took years and rivers of blood to achieve victory over Japan.

Michael Coren is entitled to his opinion, and he seem to view frontline military combat as the preserve of the huge, strong male soldier. This is more of an American military PR, even Hollywood construct. In the past huge, strong, soldiers were most often first selected as artillerymen for obvious reasons. Other missions have other needs in personnel. Persons of small stature who look like they wouldn't say boo! to a goose but can have you well on your way to being dead in a few seconds of silent action are not uncommon in the elite forces of some countries.

Posted by: Sgt Lejaune at April 22, 2009 4:00 PM

ET, you're still full of academic cr*p. Give it a rest. No one with brains and certainly no serving soldier takes your views seriously because you're wrong, wrong, and wrong. You are totally disconnected from reality. Put your guts where your loud and uninformed mouth is and serve your country instead of pontificating from your ivory tower, and if you don't have the decency to even try, shut up. We are tired of your uninformed, prejudiced garbage. You're as stubborn, narrow-minded and ill-informed as all those leftards you like to disparage. How the heck do you live with yourself rendering judgement from your rarefied Mount Olympus without any sort of real life experience? Go see the thread on a$$hole Coren's comments on for the opinions of the only people who matter in this discussion: the soldiers who serve. Your uninformed opinion, ET, has been noted and filed where it deserves. Now butt out and let those who can fight this war. We are fully cognizant that those who can't, like you, enjoy undermining the war effort, but do try to shut up once in a while

Posted by: A Soldier at April 22, 2009 10:04 PM

Posted by: Arty at April 21, 2009 10:58 PM


Without trying to mindread, I think part of Coren's position is questioning why do we need to send mothers and nurturers overseas to kill, irrespective of their actual abilities to "hack" the soldiering regimen. And I don't think that justifies the vitriol heaped upon the man in this thread, either.

Questions, questions.

Why, for thousands of years, have militaries not relied upon women in frontline combat roles? Were generations of generals simply bigoted, over the centuries, and ignorant of the benefits of a more "inclusive" fighting force? Despite the anecdotal examples, how many women have the upper body strength to hump bergens or any of the other physical toils on par with men, without an adjustment of the physical standards? The firefighter example would seem accurate, if highly unpopular. Tanker: while I'd be sanguine about serving with a 180 lb bruising female who could bench press more than me (and hence drag my sorry injured butt off the battlefield), how many of your diminutive 100lb females could do the same? I ask earnestly, without sarcasm: I see this as a real concern. How do you plan strategies around soldiers who are less capable? Of course, I also include any 100lb men who couldn't render assistance in my example, too.

What about the natural effect of the sexes in the battlefield? There are reasons why women have not served aboard warships, and I believe they still do not serve aboard US submarines. Biology, emotions, implied relationships and the effect on front-line soldiers... what additional hindrances do these pose to interfere with tactical operations?

Contrary to some of the posters above, I don't believe we have a military to serve as some form of sexually liberating encounter group. We need the toughest soldiers to serve and protect this country, and if standards are lowered (as we've seen in the police/fire services) to make us more inclusive and "tolerant", we are doing our country - and those individuals getting a boosted ride - a potentially lethal disservice. And please, no equating the admitting of black men to the front lines to that of women; that's a straw man too easy to light.

Final comment on "rights" of those serving in the military. As long as we've no conscription, then everyone has the right to either join or not join the Forces. However, once joined up, how many of you have the luxury of telling your CO where you'd prefer to serve? I'd be interested where the sign-up sheet for Afghanistan was, so that only those who were gung-ho could travel east, as opposed to the command officers making that decision.

I'm not certain of the Canadian standards, but if you serve in the US military, you do lose many of your constitutional rights in favor of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, that sets different rules for criminal laws and procedures for serving US military personnel, as I'm sure Greg in Dallas could attest.

One thing is certain, however: a female finger pulling a trigger is equally as deadly as a male finger, regardless of how heavy the rifle. Therefore, regardless of current physical capabilities, our serving front line women are regarded just as much a threat by our enemies, who have no hesitation in killing them. And everyone on this thread who's bully over the idea of allowing women to serve on the front lines should wring their hands not one whit more when a woman dies in combat than a man. That sounds harsh, but it's what the enlightened and the feminists are seeking, yes?

at gmail dot calm

Posted by: mhb at April 22, 2009 10:59 PM

"Of course, I also include any 100lb men who couldn't render assistance in my example, too, but somehow I suspect there are fewer of them weighing in at the 7 stone category than their female counterparts". There, fixed that.


Posted by: mhb at April 23, 2009 9:04 AM

sarge here sarge got a nice uplifting story about them women troopers sarge thinks goes perfect with kates love of torture guess we sent the wrong girl for the job;

"Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native, served with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a "non-hostile weapons discharge."

A "non-hostile weapons discharge" leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials "said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson's own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging, or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian." And that might have ended it right there.

But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston, not satisfied with the public story, decided to probe deeper in 2005, "just on a hunch," he told me in late 2006 (there's a chapter about it in my book on Iraq and the media, "So Wrong for So Long"). He made "hundreds of phone calls" to the military and couldn't get anywhere, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Here's what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston then worked, reported:

"Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed."

According to the official report on her death released the following year, she had earlier been "reprimanded" for showing "empathy" for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of that report is: "She said that she did not know how to be two people; she ... could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire."

Peterson was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. "But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle," the documents disclose.

A notebook she had been writing was found next to her body. Its contents were redacted in the official report.

The Army talked to some of Peterson's colleagues. Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told me: "The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were."

Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, which suggested that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide. He filed another FOIA request for a copy of the actual note.

Peterson, a devout Mormon, had graduated from Flagstaff High School and earned a psychology degree from Northern Arizona University on a military scholarship. She was trained in interrogation techniques at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, and was sent to the Middle East in 2003.

A report in The Arizona Daily Sun of Flagstaff -- three years after Alyssa's death -- revealed that Spc. Peterson's mother, Bobbi Peterson, reached at her home in northern Arizona, said that neither she nor her husband Richard had received any official documents that contained information outlined in Elston's report.

Posted by: sarge at April 24, 2009 3:22 AM

sarge here old thread sarge knows but sarge would point out them female troops of yugoslavia partisans in ww2 killed one helluva lot of germans sarge says 100,000 of em under arms over 2000 of em officers probably 30% killed in action same ratio as the men female russian snipers in ww2 female bosinian snipers sandanistas girl troopers ect ect 20% of them troops in the greek civil war of the 1940s was women might want to look at all them hot israeli chicktrs in the IDF naw the problem with women troops is its harder to get em to commit atrocities hard to get em all ra ra to take someones oil away easy to get em into fights for national defense though

Posted by: sarge at April 24, 2009 3:42 AM