Kingsley Browne: More On Why Co-Ed Combat Will Mean More Dead Men
I reposted on this yesterday — a post from the single best source on it (and by best, I mean based in solid data and not emotion) — Wayne State law professor and evolutionary psychologist Kingsley Browne.
I’ve always had a pretty simplistic view on women in the military: If men have to die for our country, women should not be immune. Well, it seems that it’s not that simple, as Browne shows in his excellent book, Co-ed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars.
Browne has an op-ed on this today on USNews, “Putting Women in Combat Is a Disastrous Decision.” An excerpt:
Beyond individual sex differences are the equally important effects of adding women to male combat groups. Combat units are intensely cooperative and placing a scarce resource (women) within them creates a disruptive competition. Moreover, trust is the foundation of cohesion, and men are disinclined to trust women in dangerous situations, worried that they will lack either the will or the wherewithal to back them up. The rough camaraderie that men engage in to build cohesion will lead to sexual harassment charges by women, so women will be excluded from these important activities.
Women are now promoted as fast or faster than men. Although there are relatively few female admirals and generals, there are also relatively few female CEOs in the private sector. Sex differences in intense career commitment are more important than the combat exclusion. Men join the infantry to fight, whereas we hear now that women want to join the infantry for their careers. This decision will impose new pressure on the many career military women who do not want to serve in combat, likely discouraging many women from entering the military. Although women have been involved in combat skirmishes, ground-combat service requires sustained combat, sometimes over the course of days or weeks, often under loads substantially exceeding that of the soldier of World War II.
This is a disastrous decision made by people (a re-elected president and an outgoing secretary of defense) who will not have to bear its consequences. Instead theywill be suffered by the soldier on the ground, and in some cases they are likely to be fatal.
As Browne said yesterday on AirTalk on KPCC, in allowing women in combat, there’s going to be a tradeoff in military readiness for female careers.
The notion that the ACLU lady (another guest on AirTalk) put forward — that the “Band of Brother” will just have to deal (as if they can retool their psychology to not compete for the lone woman in the group) — is just silly. Real life doesn’t work that way.
The real life reason — that’s why women were taken out of the combat forces in 1948 — “Men overreact to the dangers to their female comrades … in order to protect them.”
You can legislate that women be thought of as men with boobs, but there’s really no way to insert a module into human psychology to get everybody to start thinking and behaving that way.