The military has changed a lot over the past few years. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was repealed in 2011, and in 2013, the ban on women in combat roles was lifted. Advocates for the removal of these bans felt that members of the LGBT community and women were being unfairly denied the ability to serve their country. In the case of women specifically, advocates have said that women are capable of performing as well as men can if given the opportunity.
The subject is a definite can of worms. Now that the 1994 ban on women in combat roles has been lifted, the military has until 2016 to open all combat roles to women or explain why they shouldn’t have to. While for some this is a good move that will permit women to serve equally, to others it’s a move motivated by political correctness and liberal ideas.
Former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie, a guest on Fox News on Sunday, argued that adding women to elite military units would disrupt cohesiveness, and that it “would be adding another variable.”
“We’re successful as an all-male force. Nothing against women, but I think they don’t have a place. And I’m glad, Amber, you brought up standards because across the military, the standards are different for men and women in all fields. And it’s only a matter of time before they push that into the SEAL community.”
Higbie was talking to Iraq veteran Amber Smith, who hinted that if a unit was weakened by the presence of women, it wasn’t the women’s fault.
“But it doesn’t mean that it won’t work. And I’m sorry, but I don’t think the excuse of disturbing the good ol’ boys club is a valid reason to try and assess for these units if they can meet the exact same standards that men do. I think it really comes down to the maturity and the professionalism of the unit.”
Some, like Higbie, have expressed fears that the military would eventually start the lower the physical requirements necessary to join the military or a specific unit. This has not happened, though some have pointed to the fact that the military doesn’t always enforce gender-neutral standards.
Others have pointed out that lowering standards is not an example of inclusiveness, but that job-specific tests would be a good way to be thorough and still be fair to people of different sexes. Physical differences do exist, but that’s not the only factor that needs to matter.
Of course, in some cases the desire to keep women out can come off sounding as though some people just don’t want to see things change. Higbie explained that even if women were capable of meeting the requirements, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should try.
“And the fact of the matter here is I don’t think that just because some women somewhere probably could doesn’t mean they should.”
Without a doubt, it’s a change that will need a lot of trial and error, as well as a willingness to try drastically new things. But this hardly means the end of the military’s effectiveness.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]