Copchicks and Raven 42

Jeff Cooper used to talk with veiled disdain about ‘copchicks’. And over at Volokh, Wayne State law prof Kingsley Browne riffs off his new book ‘Co-Ed Combat’ – following on his old book ‘Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality’ to talk at length about why it is bad to have women in the military.I actually agree that there are certainly physical and probably cognitive differences between men and women; but you know what, when the chips are down, I’ll happily stand next to (in back of, crouching, actually) any of several tough-ass women I know (hi, TK!!).

And in case you’ve forgotten this story, go read the whole thing:

What follows next is a classically executed counterattack. The two senior NCOs, one a woman, take the fight directly to the insurgents in their trenches:


The Squad leader dismounted with his M4 carbine, and 2 hand grenades, grabbed the section leader out of the first vehicle who had rendered radio reports of their first contact. The two of them, squad leader Staff Sergeant and team leader Sergeant with her M4 and M203 grenade launcher, rush the nearest ditch about 20 meters away to start clearing the natural trenchline. The enemy has gone into the ditches and is hiding behind several small trees in the back of the lot. The .50 cal and SAW (squad automatic weapon – corrected) flanking fire tears apart the ten enemy in the lead trenchline.

I’ll mount a more serious response in a bit, but for now…over to you, Prof. Browne…

5 thoughts on “Copchicks and Raven 42”

  1. Back in my USAF days (peaceful ones, overall), the subject came up in my unit. We worked flightline ops, and as ECM troops, we knew we’d be well up the list to get shot at (back in Vietnam, the other side learned what parts of the plane were devoted to what systems, and ECM troops were targeted because there weren’t that many of them and were hard to replace).

    The “who would you want to stand guard over you with a rifle” question always had one person as the top answer: “Donna.”

    Nuff said…

  2. If war was just shooting a weapon as accurately and fast as possible, you would be right, hands down. However, I suggest you take a look just at the regular “combat load” of the standard infantryman in Iraq. Forget about whether a small framed woman could even cross her arms in front of her dressed like that, just imagine her RUNNING with that. Now imagine her grabbing onto your webbing as you’re laying unconscious and bleeding out in the middle of the street and trying to drag a 250 lb body (gear included of course) across the street. There are some GUYS who can’t do that. I can’t believe you would want them for a battle-buddy either.

    As a combat crew flight instructor for the USAF for 15 years plus, women in combat are a fact of life. Aerial combat. I’ve taught both men and women how to fly and fight and technically, they’re both pretty much the same, with the guys coming out a bit more aggressive, as a general rule. However, even in flying, the lack of upper body strength can kill your buddy. You just can’t get around that. It’s not a plumbing issue. I’ve met some women who could carry my unconscious body at a trot far enough from 270,000 lbs of JP-8 (no, I didn’t make a mistake with the zeros) about to be engulfed in flames to save us both. But, they were the exception, not the rule. It’s not a gender issue. Unless, of course, we’ve put a woman into such a position for political reasons where a catastrophic failure can occur. How would you explain that to a bereaved family?

  3. Barney, in a lot of ways you are quite right – women who can do that sort of stuff are few and far between. But why should that preclude the few who can from serving in the military?

    There is a similar issue in the UK regarding firefighters. Fitness and strength standards have been reduced in order to get more women into that job, which is just as likely to require high levels of strength and stamina. And what should have happened is the same – let them in, if and only if they can manage what’s required for the job.

    As for aggressiveness in fighter pilots – well, of course it’s required. There is such a thing as being too aggressive, however – and women aren’t prone to testosterone poisoning affecting their judgement.

  4. The evidence from other forces is clear: the normal distribution of female battle performance is inadequate for combat duty.

    Israel is a good example. If any nation needed extra manpower (pardon the pun), it’s Israel. Their experience with mixed and all-female combat units was uniformly unsatisfactory.

    Very few women can perform combat duty. The advantages of their added combat power simply do not outweigh the disadvantages in morale and psychology.

    For those who dismiss talk of morale, consider that war is as much a psychological as a material phenomena.

    It’s an on-balance question. And on balance, female combat troops is a bad idea.

  5. I think it’ll be interesting to see what excuses people come up with when exoskeletons – shown off by, for example, Sarcos – begin to make questions of personal strength a moot point. Probably the aforementioned morale issues will come to the fore. Until women are far more regular a part of the force complement, it seems unlikely that the notion of female combatants will see regular service.

    And for Barney specifically: is your suggestion that we should disallow men below certain physical dimensions in combat roles as well?

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