The Mistake of Women in Combat, From Those Who Know


There is a litany of reasons why it was fundamentally wrong for President Obama, with zero military or combat experience, to force his political agenda on the service branches by ordering them to open frontline combat units to women.

While it’s true that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the actual announcement, make no mistake: This was Obama’s decision, and it was a calculated one.

I have never succumbed to the argument that Obama, deep down, hates the country he serves. I have always thought that we simply have a difference of opinion, politically, on the great issues of the day.

Having ghost-written a book on his political ascension prior to his first term, I knew he was well-schooled in Marxist ideology by his mentor, Saul Alinski. Nevertheless, I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that a sitting American president would so hate the country that elected him he would be willing to pursue an agenda to weaken and destroy it.

Until now.

No man – nay, no American – who loves this country, its heritage and its traditions, would ever condemn its mothers and daughters to so vile an environment as a battlefield. Moreover, the fact that he did so for purely political reasons is, to coin a phrase, cynically diabolical.

But don’t take my word for it.

In an interview with Crusade magazine in August, retired Marine Col. Gordon Batcheller, Vietnam combat vet, recipient of the Navy Cross and Purple Heart, and National War College graduate had this to say about a nation whose politically motivated leaders lacked the moral conscience to absolve women from fighting our wars:

Crusade: Should we want our women to fight? Why not?

Colonel Batcheller: The values of our major religions, Western Civilization, and our culture say “no.” The values that sustain our military say “no.” Our idea of manhood says it would be shameful. The thought of sending wives, mothers, and daughters to fight our wars while their men drive the children to soccer practice is contemptible. It is not that women cannot fight and kill and help us repel an attack or invasion in a “last stand.” But our culture objects to enlisting them in a “first call” case, and operational effectiveness resists their involvement in any case. Ideally, the military would be a male operation. In our world the challenge is to find a sensible, cost-effective use of women in the military while keeping them where they would not have to fight, or be able to distract or disrupt those fighting.

In further dissecting and discussing the general subject of women in combat, Batcheller noted:

For the last forty years we have deliberately increased the involvement of women in combat. … As their presence increased, so did substantial evidence of the difficulties the mix created. No one has sought more women to better the combat force or claimed that our current mixed force is more effective than an all-male force would be; and no historian has held that a coed force would have fought any of our wars more effectively than they were fought. If women improved the force’s combat effectiveness, you would expect the military to pressure its civilian master to give it more women without restrictions. The pressure today is in the other direction; civilians are trying to impose a less effective force on the military.

As to what the nation should expect, when female soldiers and Marines fall into enemy hands at some point in the future:

History has answered this question. Human nature hasn’t changed. Our enemies seldom start with our basic values, and combat is corrosive and de-humanizing. But, if we’re comfortable ordering our women and girls into the explosive violence of the battlefield, why should we be upset if they are violated?

In 1992, in testimony before the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, Marine Col. John R. Ripley, who experienced combat on several occasions in Vietnam and elsewhere while serving with both U.S. and British forces, had this to say about the issue:

I feel I have a basis upon which to comment, and I would like to read this statement: First of all, this subject should not be argued from the standpoint of gender differences. It should not be argued from the standpoint of female rights or even desires. As important as these issues are, I think they pale in the light of the protection of femininity, motherhood, and what we have come to appreciate in Western culture as the graceful conduct of women. We simply do not want our women to fight. We simply do not want them to be subjected to the indescribable, unless you have been there, the horrors of the battlefield.


Now, I won’t tell you that women do not have courage. Every single mother has courage. I will not tell you that women do not have strength. Women have strength beyond description, and certainly strength of character. I will tell you, however, that this combination of strength, courage, and the suppression of emotion that is required on a daily, perhaps hourly, basis on the battlefield is rare indeed, rare in the species, and is not normally found in the female. Now, does that offend you? I’m sorry. This is simply an observation. Can women fight? Yes, they can. Can they fight in the conditions of the battlefield of which I am familiar, and the cohesiveness of the unit, and can they add to that cohesiveness? I don’t think so. Should they do this? Hell, no! Never. What is the purpose of it? Why should they?

For the self aggrandizement of a few? Less than one-half of one percent who want to climb this ladder of promotion, is that a good reason, good enough to send our daughters, our sisters, our mothers off to the stinking filth of ground combat? And if you think so—and when I say “you,” I refer to the American public—if you think so, then you’re different from me. God knows, you’re different from me.

If you think women have a so-to-speak right to grovel in this filth, to live in it just because someone above them, senior to them, wants to be promoted, then, my God, what has happened to the American character and the classical idea, Western idea, of womanhood?

And some would say, “Well, we’ll try this. We’ll try to do this. We’ll see if it works. We’ll experiment.” Well, if you do that, then a part of your experiment—no small part—will be the guaranteed, absolutely certain deaths of men and women in mixed-gender units simply because they are there. Thus, the men and women as units in which they are intermixed become completely ineffective on the battlefield, and in fact invite attack and destruction by the enemy, knowing that these are mixed-gender units.

And finally, this:

Is it any surprise, as we knew would happen—all of us knew this—that a captured female in the Gulf War was raped, sodomized and violated by her captors? Does that come as a surprise to anyone? Those that permitted this to happen, who sent her on that mission, should be themselves admonished, if not court-martialed, because that is the way the enemy sees women in combat; all of our enemies. And that is why they will treat—that is the way they will treat female captives or the female wounded left on the battlefield. That is precisely what will happen to them. We know that.

The vast majority of Americans applauding Obama’s “visionary” and “progressive” decision on this issue cannot fathom its ramifications, because, lacking the experience themselves, they have no point of reference. But with their support they have nonetheless become enablers to a president who obviously seeks to diminish his own country, and it pains me to my soul to say that.

Self-Educated American Contributing Editor Jon E. Dougherty is a former news editor and columnist for,, & contributor at He has served as a policy analyst for Citizens United & Freedom Alliance, & is the author of the books, Election 2000: How the Military Vote Was Suppressed & Illegals. Jon has a bachelors of arts in political science.

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Self-Educated American recommends Jon E. Dougherty’s Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border.