Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Men and women are different - another view 

I posted earlier about an online article I read examining the difference between men and women in combat. The site has posted a reply by former Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner. It is a good read and represents the other side of the debate.

However, in her zeal to counter the earlier arguments of Kingsley Browne, Capt. Mariner twists some of his more important points (in my opinion).

One commenter on the site posts:

The number of women who can meet the standard is going to be a lot closer to 2.5% than 25%. Few people understand that women are vastly weaker in upper body strength. Running ability is closer but the difference are non-trivial.

In any case, if the standards for men make sense, and a vanishingly small number of women can meet them, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend the extra money (recruiting, female specific facilities/equipment, etc.) to allow a tiny number of women into the Armed forces even if they could do the job.

If we took Capt. Mariner's advice as policy, the number of women serving in the military (especially combat related units) would plummet. If the US military set physical standards for each job, the percentage of women who would qualify to serve would be trivial.

No one that has credibility is declaring all women to be weaker than all men. Nor is it a strong argument to claim that most men can out-perform most women. But it is a scientifically valid fact that men have more upper body strength and after training have much more so. A group of highly trained, conditioned males will out-perform a group of highly trained, condition females in combat related tasks. The cost to the military in accommodating the very few females who would qualify to serve in combat related branches is prohibitive.

Quick bottom line - Women play a valuable role in the US military. They have contributed greatly to the freedom we all have. I have no doubt that those statements are true. I also believe the system currently in place will most likely stand until military funding is no longer a political football.

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