Michael's Dispatches

Women in Infantry: Dumbest. Thing. Ever.


image003Suicide Car bomb: Our men were burning alive -- only brute strength and courage could get them out. Every second counted.

Secretary of Defense and former Infantryman James Mattis is under attack for experience-based common sense.

This is far beyond normal idiocy. This is the Twilight Zone of stupid.

I served in the Army during peacetime, and then later spent more combat time with infantry troops than just about any war correspondent you ever have heard of. That top 1% of 1%, I was there. Just like Joe Galloway and very few others.

Been in more firefights bombings and just general mayhem than even I can remember. Looking back on my own photos and videos, made by my own hands, I have been in so many fights that even I do not remember until seeing my own work.

Yes. That much. It is a miracle to be alive.

There often were women in combat on the ground with infantry Soldiers. Not just in trucks or in the skies, but really on the ground. They were medics, intelligence, civil affairs, female engagement teams and sorts. They got into a lot of firefights. So many. And so many bombings.

How many photos from Iraq and Afghanistan have you seen of women in ground combat firing their weapons or carrying dead or wounded Soldiers IN COMBAT. (Not off the helicopter back on base, but in combat when bullets were flying.) I never saw women really fighting other than excellent pilots who are just as good as the men.

Courage is no problem. You've got to be extraordinarily courageous to keep seeing people blown to pieces or shot in the face to keep going into combat.

You know what men often scream for when they are dying after being burned or getting their legs blown off? They cry for their mothers. Not always, but enough.

Our women in Iraq and Afghanistan saw loads of combat up close. But they are not fit for infantry work. Not even close. They are no more fit for infantry work than for playing as linemen in the NFL.

This is amazingly stupid. And not due to fraternization. That is trivial when bullets or are flying, people are dying, and brute strength is paramount.

Another thing that even the most physically courageous and fit women typically lack is sheer homicidal will to impose death upon enemies even if they must stab them in the throat or strangle them to death.

Infantry is brutal. Evil. The worst job in the world. Effective infantry troops are killers. Total killers. They need killer instinct that is nurtured. They need to wake up in the morning and pray for a mission to go kill enemies.

Tragedy will follow. Women can match men in courage. They will die bravely.

Secretary Mattis under zombie attack:


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick · 2 years ago
    Michael, fabulous column. Oh how I miss the days when men were men, women were women and AIDS was a diet candy.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DanJ · 2 years ago
    Welcome to Freak Show, USA.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    WS Woods · 2 years ago
    "The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fornicating..." SecDef Mattis - reincarnation of General George Patton. Different war, different day, but the quote's still true. Thanks Michael, you're always right on target!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Douglas C Rapé · 2 years ago
    You are 100% correct. There is no other human activity like infantry combat. Women do not belong there.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Lacey · 2 years ago
    Its the same over here in the UK. There seems to be a PC-driven urge to get women into the Infantry, in what you guys refer to as !!B roles. Madness.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jason · 2 years ago
    While I am a *huge* fan of Mr. Yon & prize my copies of his books - especially the amazing " Iraq - Inside the Inferno", I would like to underscore the importance and value of the brave women in roles such as FETs, and especially CSTs. Regarding CSTs, I highly recommend the book "Ashley's War". In a country like Afghanistan where >50% of the population are effectively off-limits, my takeaways from the work of CSTs (primarily from "Ashley's War") are that CSTs were very effective at breaking down the wall prohibiting men from touching, questioning, and otherwise effectively interacting with the female population. Furthermore, they were able to de-escalate situations during late-night HVT raids - calming, controlling & ultimately working with Afghani women and children. Plus they were gather valuable intelligence from these same women & children in these situations, in addition to searching and detaining men trying to avoid detection by dressing as women, and generally made an undeniably valuable contribution by enhancing the ability of their Special Operations partners to successfully complete their missions. What's more they earned the hard-won respect of these same Special Operators. Perhaps my positive remarks about the CSTs could be viewed as off-topic, however the reason why I feel that my comment is appropriate to this "Dispatch" is that I believe that the CSTs provide a proven, tested, real-world, viable highly-effective alternative to the idea of women in infantry. Before dismissing me out of hand, please take a look a "Ashley's War". Thank you.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Larry · 2 years ago
      And Mr.Yon did not discount what they do and have done. Just that they, or the vast majority of women, are not cut out to be in an Infantry combat role, and for the reasons he so well expressed.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Dan · 2 years ago
      Regarding their support to special operations, they are exactly that -- support. Their mission is to collect information. They are not kicking down doors and clearing buildings like the infantry must do. Physical strength is highly valued on any squad. Adrenaline and a 200 pound guy will perform better than adrenaline and a 120 pound gal. Think mission tasks and what it involves performing those tasks.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    McIvor · 2 years ago
    You've clearly got issues with women, Michael. I hope you get help.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Joseph Ogershok · 2 years ago
      Did you even read what he wrote? I think not.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Randy · 2 years ago
      And you have no basis in reality, you're the one that needs help.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marti · 2 years ago
    In your opinion. I have to shake my head at this. At the least it's sexist and at most you are assuming something that has not been proven.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      JAL · 2 years ago
      I have a family member in a special ops role. The training is one of the most brutal in the branches. He is open to women -- on the basis that they perform exactly up to the standards that he and his team had and have to meet. I can tell you that that would be impossible even knowing and viewing only what is made public.

      As far as not being proven -- how has the Marine Corps' / Army Ranger experiment worked out? The one or 2 women who have made it were given special accommodations if you go track down their stories. (At points where a guy would ring the bell, they were allowed do-overs.) It is a waste of time and resources.

      It is not sexist to recognize that a fit woman is still not capable of doing the kinds of things our fit men do as far as infantry and special ops. It is REALITY. There is nothing wrong with that.

      Women on the ground close up doing other tasks as Michael mentioned is not what he is talking about.

      Even in the normal world -- how are you at tossing bales of hay Marti? Wanna come over and do it a couple hours? How are you at walking alone at night through a rough part of town?

      Just saying. This "sexist" talk is junk speech. And I am a woman.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Timothy Underwood · 2 years ago
    Just watch the scene from Saving Private Ryan where Mellish is in hand to hand combat with the enemy soldier while his fire team mate is strangling on his own blood next to him and ask yourself, can a woman fight like that?

    • This commment is unpublished.
      staghounds · 2 years ago
      I know a woman who beat a man to death with an iron skillet, in real life not a movie. So yes, there are women who can kill up close.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joseph Spooner · 2 years ago
    Agree completely Michael. Although the NVA and VC utilized women in their forces (they are sized nearly the same as the men) I never heard nor saw them in actual combat against American or other forces in VN. In PSYOPS we interviewed Chieu Hoi defectors--all men--and never heard of women who had come into SVN to fight. Women would never have even survived our combat loudspeaker teams that accompanied the grunts, Marine or Army in the field, much less carrying mortar tubes etc. In the villages where we also went, women would have been fine if the village had become "secure" thanks to the men who came before. I suspect that the those who disagree, like McIvor, are the typical leftists who never served in combat...in fact, got 4F classifications through their connections. There is a reason the UFC separates men from women fighters--if the enemy only fielded women then Mcivor might have a point...haha....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nathan · 2 years ago
    Being a woman is so miserable that even they don't want to be women anymore. Have you noticed that freedom and power for a woman is to act like a man? Going to work, being a boss, joining the army, getting assertive. The result of 100 years of feminism is a slow realisation among women that the ideal world is one where they don't have to be women anymore. I totally understand this. Being a woman would be miserable. But why do men have to enter into this fantasy land of female self-hatred too? It just gets good people killed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JM · 2 years ago
    I don't think you can decide by gender. There are small weaker men and large stronger women. So this is incorrect. I think we've had this conversation before, Michael. My son is in for the long haul and was in Iraq with the Red Bulls when you visited some at Fallujah.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Joseph Spooner · 2 years ago
      First of all, “Gender” refers to masculine vs feminine NOT “Sex” ie XX vs XY (female vs male) Chromosomes. This discussion is about sexes in combat, testosterone vs estrogen, XY vs XX. That said, ceteris paribus XY is stronger, tougher, more capable of violence and killing than XXs. More civilian female killers than male? Hardly. UFC females able to defeat UFC males in the Octagon? Hardly. Small tough males were the “tunnel rats” in Vietnam. Small tough men were their NVA or VC enemies; small, tough females with RARE RARE exceptions. Women have had a great role in American wars—they need not attempt to prove themselves as “riflepersons.” to be politically correct!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    OKIquit · 2 years ago
    Women can match men in all the intangibles -- even ferocity given the right training. They just don't have the upper body muscle. My team in Vietnam carried crushing loads of ammo, water and gear over terrain so insanely difficult that it might take all day to cover a couple of miles. 90-pound loads were common. Once in awhile there was a man who couldn't or wouldn't "hump his gear." If the officers were slow to notice and get rid of a non-hacker ... we hounded him out of the unit. There was no room for weakness. In my opinion, maybe 2% to % of women would be physically CAPABLE of serving in the infantry. Would those same 2% to % also be among the WILLING?

    Force women into the infantry and I estimate it will take a squad of men to take up the slack for each one. People will die. But maybe it will take deaths and disasters to put this mistake to rest?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bridget D · 2 years ago
    Really! We have babies coming out of our bodies. Pain is it the issue, and quit protecting us
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    Muffy · 2 years ago
    People in infantry. Dumbest.Thing. Ever.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    staghounds · 2 years ago
    People always talk about the dying, but killing is what soldiers are there for.
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    Joseph Ogershok · 2 years ago
    Keep it up. Sanity needs to prevail.
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    Judith · 2 years ago
    Oha. And I thought the dumbest thing ever was to let homosexual and blacks enlist. But what do I know. I'm just a woman after all. Will go now an make a beersandwich for my white hetero male master.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Name here · 2 years ago
      Oh my, stop being racist it's not 1920s anymore where women couldn't think for them selves and the white privileged people degraded black people racism and sexism is still a thing but it's not ok
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Judith · 1 years ago
        Yeah, you are right. Feels more like 1895. Look at the headline first: "Dumbest thing ever." If you have a problen with women in combat o.k. But can't you give it a more serious manner ?
        And if you didn't get it: It was sarkasm. I want to see all this man who make their comments here in a combat zone and proof they can carry a 200lbs wounded comrade to safety with bullets flying all around. The most of you don't go even outside when it's raining I guess. And if you don't know it: Women live in Somalia. In Afhganistan. They LIVE there, they are locals. So don't tell me "women don't belong to places like Somalia, it's too dangerous".
        Who of you wants to live in Somalia, specially as a women ?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rjb · 1 years ago
    Okay, no. I understand where your coming from, but I don't think pulling women out of infantry is the answer you are looking for bud. I think we should instead, train them to accommodate for their different structure and strength so they don't drag anyone else down.

    Also, those women are laying down their lives for their country and they deserve more respect than your offering.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Brian · 1 years ago
      No one's pulling the women out of anything, they've never been in the infantry. Why should we be forced to accommodate their different structure and strength? I don't see why we need to go through all the hassle when we're doing just fine without them and for what? So we don't offend them? Fuck that, the world does not revolve around them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian · 1 years ago
    This was brilliant! I'm often the odd one out in this conversation when I talk to my friends, I often have to argue my point and they'll retort with some inane argument. After being berated by everyone I talk to about this topic and told that I am a "fragile man" I have begun to question myself, but articles like these keep me feeling sane.

    This reminds me of the George Orwell quote from 1984 in which the character Winston says "Sanity is not statistical".

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