Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

flirting with disaster?...

warwar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a provision, to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act, that would require women to register with Selective Service, that is, the military draft. This is a grave mistake, but not a surprising one.

 

by Shaun Rieley

 

Requiring women to register with the Selective Service has long been avoided by lawmakers, even as they have gradually eliminated exclusions aimed at shielding women from exposure to direct combat, in part due to its abiding unpopularity. In 2016, however, the last of these restrictions was removed, opening combat arms specialties—infantry, artillery, cavalry, armor, combat engineers, and special operations—to women. Women would no longer be barred from taking up military roles whose primary mission is to engage in ground combat.

This move effectively eliminated the only remaining rationale for excluding women from a potential draft. A so-called men’s rights group quickly filed suit to force the issue, though the Supreme Court recently declined to hear the case, kicking the matter back to Congress.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Senate’s action is the large number of Republicans who supported the measure: Of the 13 Republicans on the committee, only five voted “No.”

Over at National Review, the editors expressed disbelief that even college-football-coach-turned-Senator Tommy Tuberville voted in favor of the measure. But perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising. Tuberville may pride himself on “bringing his self-described common sense to Washington” but he may also represent the latest trend on the Right: “Barstool conservatism.”

Earlier this year, TAC contributing editor Matthew Walther described the rise of what he termed the “Barstool Conservatives” in the post-Trump era. These are people—mostly men—who

with varying degrees of enthusiasm, accept pornography, homosexuality, drug use, legalized gambling, and whatever GamerGate was about. On economic questions their views are a curious and at times incoherent mixture of standard libertarian talking points and pseudo-populism, embracing lower taxes on the one hand and stimulus checks and stricter regulation of social media platforms on the other.

I might also add that, given their libertarian inclinations on most social issues, “Barstool conservatives” tend to have little of the sense of chivalry associated with traditional social conservatism. They instead prefer a kind of gender equality, though of a sort that enables women to be treated as peers (and hook-up targets), thereby relieving men of their traditional responsibilities to women.

This can be seen in the shifting attitudes of men on the issue. Despite ad campaigns which encourage men to register for Selective Service by appealing to their sense of masculine duty (“It’s what a man has to do”) or, more recently, manliness (“Be the man”), a 2016 Rasmussen poll found that 61 percent of men favored requiring women to register for the draft. Only 38 percent of women agreed.

Men no longer find compelling the idea that their social duties might differ from those of women, that they might bear responsibilities for the common defense that women do not. True, they might (rightly) object that women’s demands for equality should not come without the requisite duties. But rather than asking the premised question (namely, whether a society ought to put its women into combat in any but emergency situations) these men’s advocates simply sue to ensure that American women are as eligible to be drafted front-line duty as they.

In his 1998 book Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster, former infantry officer Brian Mitchell meticulously documents the decisions that led to widespread use of female forces. His research demonstrates that these decisions had virtually nothing to do with enhancing readiness or combat effectiveness, but were instead were driven by ideological considerations of “equality” above all other factors.

This is clear when the evidence is considered: While there is no data to suggest that combat units that incorporate women are more effective (a recent study by the Center for a New American Security on the status of female integration after five years found mostly ongoing problems), there is plenty of data to suggest that they are less so. In fact, some of the most compelling findings come from the military’s own 2015 study, which pitted all-male Marine combat units against mixed units. The study showed that mixed units were substantially less effective, and that women sustained more injuries that men when performing combat tasks.

But effectiveness is not the point. The point, rather, is the imposition of a version of equality, one largely supported by Barstool conservative types, that holds men and women as undifferentiated and interchangeable parts with few abiding duties to one another.

In 1997, the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, then editor of the journal First Things, proposed a “law” pertaining to the status of Christian orthodoxy in Christian institutions: “Where orthodoxy is optional,” he argued, “orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” But there is a corollary law that might be formulated thus: Whatever liberal egalitarianism promotes as optional will sooner or later be mandated.

While libertine Barstool-ism begins by freeing men from their traditional duties and freeing women to serve in traditionally masculine social roles, it ends by requiring mothers, sisters, and daughters to take up the duties abandoned by men who are full of bluster but are, ultimately, without chests.

 

Shaun Rieley is senior director for advancement & programs at The American Ideas Institute, which publishes The American Conservative. He has held positions at several nonprofit organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, focused on veterans policy, education policy, and philanthropy. He holds a Ph.D. in political theory from The Catholic University of America, and an M.A. from St. John’s College, Annapolis, where he studied philosophy, political theory, and literature. As an undergraduate he studied political science at the University of Delaware. Shaun served as an enlisted infantryman in the Army National Guard for nine years, which included overseas tours in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A native of Delaware, he lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with his wife and two daughters.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/drafting-our-daughters/

 

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Friday, July 23, 2021

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women in war...

 

On June 4, 2013, the city of Huntsville, Alabama was enjoying a gorgeous day. Blue skies, mild temperatures. Just what the forecasters had predicted.

 

But in the post-lunch hours, meteorologists started picking up what seemed to be a rogue thunderstorm on the weather radar. The “blob,” as they referred to it, mushroomed on the radar screen. By 4 PM, it covered the entire city of Huntsville. Strangely, however, the actual view out of peoples’ windows remained a calm azure.

 

The source of the blob turned out to be not a freak weather front, but rather a cloud of radar chaff, a military technology used by nations all across the globe today. Its source was the nearby Redstone Arsenal, which, it seems, had decided that a warm summer’s day would be perfect for a completely routine military test.

 

More surprising than the effect that radar chaff has on modern weather systems, though, is the fact that its inventor’s life’s work was obscured by the haze of a male-centric scientific community’s outdated traditions.

The inventor of radar chaff was a woman named Joan Curran.

Born Joan Strothers and raised in Swansea on the coast of Wales, she matriculated at the University of Cambridge’s Newnham College in 1934. Strothers studied physics on a full scholarship and enjoyed rowing in her spare time. Upon finishing her degree requirements in 1938, she went to the University’s preeminent Cavendish Laboratory to begin a doctorate in physics.

 

Read more:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/woman-whose-invention-helped-win-warand-still-baffles-weathermen-180970900/

 

See also: 

Improbable Warriors: Women Scientists and the U.S. Navy in World War II

 

 

Meanwhile:

 

In A Game of Birds and Wolves, journalist Simon Parkin reports on a long overlooked piece of World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic, focusing on a war game that helped the British counter Nazi U-boats threatening Britain’s vital sea lines.

The first part of the book will be familiar to war scholars and history buffs, offering an overview of German Admiral Karl Doenitz’s plan to use a fleet of U-boats to cut off commerce to the United Kingdom, which the island nation needed to stay in the war. Although a similar strategy had been tried unsuccessfully in World War I, Doenitz believed that improved communications would enable groups of U-boats to operate together, like a “wolfpack,” and allow them to coordinate and defeat escorted convoys.

Doenitz’s plan, devised in 1937, was not realized until June 1940, when Germany’s occupation of France gave it Atlantic bases. Nazis called this the “happy time” because their U-boats roamed the seas with impunity, sinking civilian vessels carrying cargo and, notably, the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was carrying 90 children fleeing the United Kingdom. (Parkin’s vivid description of the Benares’s fate is, at times, a distraction from the larger narrative.) According to Parkin, this success was largely due to bold tactics developed by German Captain Otto Kretschmer, who launched night attacks within the columns of a convoy, firing torpedoes at point-blank range, then submerging until the convoy dispersed.

In January 1942, Winston Churchill enlisted Captain Gilbert Roberts to lead a small organization—the Western Approaches Tactical Unit (WATU)—charged with identifying U-boat tactics, developing effective countermeasures, and teaching British sailors to use new countermaneuvers. Lacking competent men to staff WATU, Roberts turned to the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as the “Wrens”), which assigned women who had a “keen mind for numbers” to build and run a game modeling a two-sided tactical fight between British escorts and German U-boats.

During this game, the two sides maneuvered their respective vessels, dropped depth charges, and fired torpedoes on a linoleum floor, where each 10-inch square represented one nautical mile. The British team commanded their escorts from behind white sheets designed to limit their line of sight to replicate the view from a ship’s bridge. While British ships were outlined in conspicuous white chalk, the U-boats were marked in green, rendering them invisible. Throughout the game, the Wrens measured and marked the ships’ movements, provided intelligence, guided discussions, and played as the German team. Roberts presided over the game and the postgame discussion.

Parkin nicely highlights how this war game was used for multiple purposes at different times during the war. Roberts and the Wrens first used the game to uncover Kretschmer’s tactical innovation, for example. They then used it to develop and test countermeasures. Additionally, the game was used to teach skeptical audiences the superiority of WATU’s countermeasures when compared with existing tactics. By the war’s end, nearly 5000 sailors had taken WATU’s weeklong course covering four different battle scenarios.

The third and final section of A Game of Birds and Wolves details the apex of the war at sea, when British convoys used WATU-developed tactics and, bolstered by aircraft and naval support groups, fended off the largest wolfpack attacks of WWII. After 41 U-boats were sunk in May 1943, the Battle of the Atlantic turned decisively toward the Allies.

Parkin’s book is extensively researched, well written, and tells an engrossing story of a little-known topic. Still, war gamers and those interested in the role of women in war games are likely to be disappointed. The book’s actual discussion of war games is relegated to a relatively small section in the middle of the book, and Parkin’s protagonists are Doenitz and Roberts. A dearth of firsthand accounts from the Wrens hampered Parkin’s research, and the women are rendered in broad strokes as a supporting cast of characters.

Sadly, the Wrens were an anomaly, reflecting a brief moment when women were war gamers out of necessity, operating in a field that to this day is dominated by men. Yet gender diversity has been shown to yield better and more innovative solutions in such settings, and achieving it should be a priority.

 

Read more:

Science magazine 28 January 2020

 

 

 

fighting like une pucelle...

 

 

Indonesia's Army appears to be ending invasive "virginity testing" for female recruits, according to Human Rights Watch.

Key points:
  • Health tests for female cadets will now be in line with their male counterparts
  • Medical health checks will no longer be required for prospective brides and grooms of armed forces
  • The new policies have not been officially formalised

General Andika Perkasa, chief of staff of the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat (TNI AD), last month announced the health test requirements for female cadets would no longer be different to those of their male counterparts.

"Health checks on prospective soldiers of the Women's Army Corps must be the same as medical examination requirements for male TNI AD soldiers," he said in a video uploaded to the military's official YouTube channel.

"Health checks on matters that are not relevant to the purpose of recruitment will no longer be carried out."

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-05/indonesia-tni-army-armed-forces-end-virginity-testing/100349900

 

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