Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
Despite 225 years of witnessing the horror of wars fought by male American soldiers, there are still a number of idiots – mostly feminists who themselves will never have to face an armed enemy soldier – pushing lawmakers to drop a ban against allowing women in combat.
Israel – a nation of about 6.2 million people constantly at war with its neighbors – allowed women in combat, the idiots shriek. Why, then, must the American military, as regards ground combat roles, remain so androcentric, so “male-centered”?
It’s time to debunk the myth, once and for all, that Israel’s experience with allowing women in combat was successful and, therefore, should be duplicated by the Pentagon. It wasn’t successful. It was a disaster by Israel’s own admission.
“History shows that the presence of women has had a devastating impact on the effectiveness of men in battle,” wrote John Luddy in July 27, 1994, for the Heritage Foundation backgrounder.
“For example, it is a common misperception that Israel allows women in combat units. In fact, women have been barred from combat in Israel since 1950, when a review of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War showed how harmful their presence could be. The study revealed that men tried to protect and assist women rather than continue their attack. As a result, they not only put their own lives in greater danger, but also jeopardized the survival of the entire unit. The study further revealed that unit morale was damaged when men saw women killed and maimed on the battlefield,” Luddy said.
Writes Edward Norton, a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces: “Women have always played an important role in the Israeli military, but they rarely see combat; if they do, it is usually by accident. No one in Israel, including feminists, has any objection to this situation. The fact that the Persian Gulf War has produced calls to allow women on the front lines proves only how atypical that war was and how little Americans really understand combat.”
“Few serious armies use women in combat roles. Israel, which drafts most of its young women and uses them in all kinds of military work, has learned from experience to take them out of combat zones. Tests show that few women have the upper-body strength required for combat tasks. Keeping combat forces all male would not be discriminatory, as were earlier racial segregation schemes in the military, because men and women are different both physically and psychologically,” said the Feb. 5, 1990, National Review.
Furthermore, Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld has written extensively about the failure of the IDF to successfully integrate and use women in combat.
Finally, even Israeli citizens don’t relish the thought of allowing their women into combat roles. In 1998, a survey conducted by the Jerusalem Post newspaper found that 56 percent of Israelis don’t want women in combat.
There are now and always will be idiots who say the Pentagon should put women in any combat unit they wish to serve. Most of these people will speak with the ignorance of never having had to experience the horror of combat, as well as the luxury of never having to worry about engaging in armed conflict themselves.
But to use the “Israeli experience” as an allegedly successful model for the U.S. to follow is not only absurd, it’s disingenuous. It is a lie propagated by radical feminists like ex-Democratic Rep. Patricia Schroeder who have falsely claimed that such a goal is merely an extension of “the will of the people.”
Perhaps if more lawmakers – and Americans in general – were exposed to military service, the idiots who seem to be dominating this debate wouldn’t have many sympathetic ears.