Wednesday, June 01, 2005


If you are not familiar with the antics of the Red Guard during the heyday of Mao Zedong’s misrule of China, do not fret. The Red Guard is alive and well and writes a column for the St. Petersburg Times each Sunday under the by-line of Robin ‘Red Guard’ Blumner. The purpose of the column appears to be to cause as much hate, hell and confusion as possible (and if we can stamp out the use of logic at the same time, so much the better.

In the latest installment, Robin Red Guard describes the evil and injustice in the “khaki ceiling”. The original ceiling complained of by women was made of glass and referred to the fact that organizations placed a limit upon the upward advancement of women. The problem with that ceiling was that it precluded women from attaining the ‘better’ jobs (higher wages, more authority, etc.). In Robyn’s khaki ceiling, women are prevented from participating in something called the combat infantry. Now, I am sure that the Army has changed considerably since I spent three years in the airborne infantry, but I am equally sure that the changes are not of such a magnitude as to make the combat infantry as desirable as, let’s say, the executive washroom at IBM.

So, why is Robyn bitching. The Marxian rationale of, “from each according to her ability” comes to mind. but that is too easy. Let’s take a look at her explanation and see if we can discern a pattern.

First, RRG (Robyn Red Guard) scoffs at the idea that the difference between the average physicality of a man and a woman as a factor worth considering. Here, she is clearly on the wrong side of history. The women’s professional golf ass’n would love to have their members invited to play in the men’s tournaments, but they will fight to the death to prevent man from playing in theirs. Tennis is dominated by 6 foot, 180 pound, testosterone laden gals, but they still forbid men and play best 2 out of 3 matches while men play 3 out of 5. Professional basketball has women playing shorter games than men. If women athletes recognize a difference, why must the army ignore it?

RRG also snickers at the subject of unit cohesion and proffers that the whole issue is based on fear of sexual competition. Let’s consider a more rational thought. Whether you believe in evolution or creationism, you have been taught that man has been not only the hunter-gatherer in providing for the family, he is also the protector. This may embarrass some feminists, but it is a fact of life and has been since the beginning of time. Congress may pass a law creating a technical state of equality between men and women in the military, but they cannot wish away eons of, “Look out for your sister”.

The day-to-day life of an infantryman is not only less than glamorous: it is dehumanizing. You will eat slop, not waste water washing when you may need it to drink, relieve yourself any time you can unzip your fly or drop your pants, etc. Accommodating the sensibilities of the ladies that we all want our sisters daughters to be is a luxury that we cannot afford to worry about. But we will worry about it because we were raised that way and it is the right thing to do. While these matters may seem insignificant, the effect on cohesion is not. Cohesion refers to togetherness and the men who find themselves in the combat infantry have enough to do trying to stay alive. They should not be required to take care of little sister at the same time.

Combat is a stupid thing for adults to tolerate let alone aspire to. To consider it an honor to be in charge of it is the height of twittiness.



Blogger Meg said...


I hear ya brother!

I am woman...leave me home.


9:26 AM  

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