The United States Marine Corps says in its ads that it is “looking for a few good men.”
They are not, apparently, interested in any women — at least not in combat.
This decision by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the jarhead who is taking over the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in a bit of a bind with the other military services that now welcome the so-called “fairer” sex into its combat units.
Even the Special Operation Command, which heads the military special forces operations, is expected to approve the once considered “insane concept” to allow women admitted to training as Navy SEALs, considered the toughest fighting force in the American military.
The debate is causing at least one member of Congress to demand Navy Secretary Ray Mabus resign because he has the gall to question the Marine decision. Marines are a division of the Navy and the Mabus is their boss, although many Marines have never accepted the idea that anyone is their boss.
Two women recently graduated from the togch Army Ranger school. Women fly combat jets, serve on tank battle crews and other fighting units.
The Israeli military, considered one of the best fighting units in the world, has used women in battle for a long time and many are honored in their country as war heroes.
In a visit to Israel in 1995, a commander there told me that his female recruits are among his best soldiers and reminded me that Golda Meir was the country’s prime minister. She was, he said, “one tough broad” and good leader.
Other nations expect women to fight alongside their male counterparts in the militaries there.
But America has been slow to adapt. This is, after all, the nation where women could not vote, hold office or even go to institutions of higher learning in its early days.
America is also where a misogynist like Donald Trump leads the polls for the GOP nomination for President and where a woman who heads up a billion dollar company is considered an “exception” and not a rule.
Navy Secretary Mabus is not accepting the gender bias of the Marines:
I’m not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines, and it’s not going to make them any less fighting effective. I think they will be a stronger force because a more diverse force is a stronger force. And it will not make them any less lethal.
He adds that the SEALs will not ask for any waivers. Women are free to compete for roles in that special unit.
This does not sit well with Rep. Duncan Hunter, a jarhead who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He demands Mabus resign as Navy Secretary because he “openly disrespected the Marine Corps as an institution and he insulted the competency of Marines by disregarding their profession judgement, their combat experience and their quality of leadership.”
Women make up only eight percent of the current Marine force but a recent report from a yearlong study on “gender integration” says “female Marines have performed superbly in the combat environments of Iran and Afghanistan and are fully part of the fabric of a combat-hardened Marine Corps after the longest continuance combat operations in the Corps’ history.”
So why is the Marine brass trying to keep women out of combat?
Maybe it is just old fashioned, and traditional, gender bias of men — nothing more — and, if so, then the Marines aren’t anything close to the “few good men” they claim to be.
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