Servicewomen and female veterans are ready for combat on a new battlefield — online.
On Jan. 3, Heather Mac Donald, a political commentator and attorney, wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal about why women don’t belong in combat units — and servicewomen are not having it.
“The Obama-era policy of integrating women into ground combat units is a misguided social experiment that threatens military readiness and wastes resources in the service of a political agenda,” Mac Donald wrote. “The next defense secretary should end it.”
Mac Donald, the author of The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, wrote that the physical standards for military recruits have been updated with lower physical and endurance requirements because women couldn’t meet previous standards.
Another issue, Mac Donald argues, is the problematic sexual tension that “guarantees sexual liaisons, rivalries, and breakups, all of which undermine the bonding essential to a unified fighting force.” She also talked to a Marine commander who served in Afghanistan about how the dynamics shifted with the arrival of an all-female task force. According to this unnamed commander, the atmosphere of his post shifted from a “stern, businesslike place to that of an eighth-grade dance” as men put on a show supposedly to impress their new female companions.
All in all, the attorney declared that the movement to integrate more women in the armed forces “entails a denial of biological reality” and “risks reducing the American military’s lethality.”
In response, servicewomen put up a united front, pointing out the holes in Mac Donald’s argument.
Michele Poole, a Navy veteran who is now a Georgetown law student, called the information “fake news” and posted an article originally written for Military.com that says that Marine fitness tests have actually become more difficult this year in an effort “to up the standards for all Marines.”
I guess this is just fake news: https://t.co/TuCS8kORGH
— Michele Poole (@michelepoole95) January 14, 2019
Meanwhile, other servicewomen were critical of the Wall Street Journal for not asking a female veteran with combat experience their opinion instead. “Has the author ever served? No?” questioned one enraged female army veteran. “Then don’t write an opinion piece on something you know nothing about. Ask actual women vets to write them.”
Women have been involved in American combat missions for years, though their contributions have often gone unrecognized. It wasn’t until 2012, when veteran MJ Hegar won her suit against the U.S. secretary of defense to take down the combat exclusion policy, that women finally got the opportunity to serve on the frontline.
“The fact that I had been a proven combat warrior, somebody who can keep their calm while the bullets are flying, someone who is a competent person, who pulls their weight, I should be afforded the opportunity to use those skills and to fight and defend and protect the things that I believe in,” Hegar told MAKERS.
See the best reactions from U.S. servicewomen and female veterans who fired back:
Oh please just shut the hell up WSJ. 1. Has the author ever served? No? Then don't write an opinion piece on something you know nothing about. Ask actual women vets to write them. 2. Stop using degrading pictures to define what women in combat/women in the military look like.
— Arti for Oak Park (@ajpeddakotla) January 14, 2019
@HMDatMI this is the most inaccurate piece of trash writing on the subject to date. Congrats on being another white woman trying to profit off of tearing down other women. Leave the expertise on this subject to real scholars and those of us who actually served.
— Kiersten (@Biking_USA) January 14, 2019
I served as an army combat engineer when my unit was first opened to enlisted women. The women excelled. This article is full of bizarre anecdotes (the handstand, really?) and that proven false marine study from four years ago. I'd suggest you look at what is actually happening.
— Bridget (@baltenburg) January 14, 2019
Curious, did you serve? Because I did. For 9 years. Deployed and all. So maybe you have a seat & recognize that those of us who did are the “best and toughest” 🙄
— Kimberly Wooster (@KimWooster11) January 14, 2019
So we had "McNamara's Morons" to address falling recruitment for Vietnam. That went well. What shall we call the newly qualified women who will swell the military ranks for the current wars? And will there be safe spaces? Will equality of outcome be assured? Puzzled…
— Sharon Hawkins (@frascatti58) January 14, 2019
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