THE DIVERSITY PLATOON
Editors Note: This post is the first (of what I hope to be many) posts from my father Major General J.D. Lynch Jr. USMC (Ret.)
The Current Situation
Forty years ago, the American military was held in great contempt by the public it served. The feeling was returned in roughly equal measure. We have since gone from mutual disdain to the point that the military polls as the nation’s most trusted institution. Those who first accomplished the turnaround were the very Vietnam (and often WWII or Korean War or both) veterans who had been lied about and spit upon. The vehicle that enabled them to make the change is erroneously called The All Volunteer Force (AVF). In reality, it’s the All Recruited Force.
Those who molded the AVF pursued the single minded goal of improved war fighting capabilities. Those who followed them continued that pursuituntil, most unfortunately, relatively recently. The war fighting goal and most trusted institution status are now in danger of being buried under dual avalanches of operational commitments and political correctness, including the loudly proclaimed virtue of diversity.
For example, we have Afghanistana 10 plus year war involving our unrelenting support of a corrupt government despised and ignored by the bulk of its population. Or, Iraq, where we only recentlyand extremely quietly began pointing out that neighboring Iran has had much to do with the killing of American soldiers and Marines. Adding to those two examples of how to not commit forces to war, we lurched into a third war and in the process, reach heretofore unexplored levels of the bizarrea war of days not weeks in Libya turned into a war of months not days as we led from the rear. We have corporals and lieutenants who are on their third or fourth combat tour; the gear is worn out; an anti – US mullah in Iraq periodically threatens to attack U.S. troops; the corrupt president of Afghanistan has much to say when American troops accidentally injure or kill Afghan civilians and nothing to say when the Taliban do it deliberately; and troops and officers preparing to deploy to combat are receiving intensive training regarding how to accept openly gay leaders and troops in their ranks.
That’s not all. We have the Military Leadership Diversity Commission. That august body, created by Congress in 2009, believes that, the diversity of our service members is the unique strength of our military. Not training, not equipment, not technology, not small unit leadership. No sir, diversity. According to the commission, we must broaden, our understanding of diversity. Adding insult to injury, there are senior military and naval officers who now march in the ranks of the Diversity Platoon.
In these days of Washington politically correct deception – speak where war is a kinetic military action, what does broadening our understanding of diversity really mean? Well, the commission points out that we must get women into real combat positions in order to level the career playing field for promotions. The commission then reaches further into the realm of the absurd by noting that our Armed Forces have too many white male officers.
Given the illogic of today’s Washingtonian logic, if diversity continues to be the rallying cry of commissions, politicians, and cooperative senior officers, it is but a matter of little more than a decade before we see the complaint that the percentage of heterosexual male officers of all races is too high, followed by demands that the playing field be leveled for gays, transsexuals and cross dressers.
The excessive number of white male officers complaint should be rejected out of hand. During the past three decades, the services have done more than any other institution to attract and reward qualified minority members. It should also be noted that the percentage of white male officers is only a few percentage points above the percentage of whites in the population. Any complaint in this area should be made on grounds that selection boards are discriminating against minorities, a whopper that would be tough to prove.
What cannot be rejected out of hand is the cry to put women in combat in order to enhance promotion opportunities. That is the Diversity Platoon’s current point of main effort and it is one giving no thought to enhanced combat readiness and efficiency. Instead of floundering around in a Flanders Field of political correctness, ensuring that we increase the numbers of killed and maimed females, let’s return to the days of yesteryear when combat readiness and improved war fighting capabilities were all the rage. We will find better ideas. First among them is the idea that we should think more about wars and their characteristics.
All wars are intended to be short wars. Most wars become long wars. Wars are easy to start and hard to stop. Wars fought by the United States are fought in different climes and places against different enemies. One size does not fit all.
War is not a game. No two wars are the same. None occur on playing fields. All occur on killing fields.
The U.S. Navy’s surface fleet has not fought a fleet engagement since WWII and it may never again. But there is now more than a little concern about China’s naval buildup. Chasing pirates or launching missiles at targets ashore is one thing. Fighting ships that fight back is quite another. Read Neptune’s Inferno, The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal. The carnage is unbelievable and the physical strength required to move casualties or take ship saving measures impressive. Today, women serve in combatant vessels, a practice that we could come to regret in the future. Why make it worse?
On the land warfare side, we can go back to Vietnam. The grunts of northern I Corps and other places need no reminder but for the initiated, it would be a good idea to read the novel, Matterhorn. One can carp about the portrayals of senior officers and others; however, the author got it dead right when it came to terrain, physical demands, fatigue, hunger, jungle rot, wounds and leeches. If you prefer non – fiction, there is always the late Eugene B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa. Peleliu and Okinawa were not games being played on level fields.
None of the above examples describe places where rational parents would want their sons, much less daughters. Yet a society must defend itself and the associated combat has always, for good reason, been the province of males. Regarding land warfare, what must be remembered is that it requires more than reconnaissance and infantry units to round out the anvil chorus of combatartillerymen, combat engineers, tankers, amphibious assault vehicle operators, and Fleet Marine Force Navy Corpsmen all serve in combat and each could provide examples of why their contribution to combat is a men only world.
There are innumerable examples of combat realities associated with other wars but these should be enough to inspire those seeking reality to do their own research. And no, we should not level the killing fields for women by keeping them out of the killing fields until they are senior enough to be in command positions in the rear. Why? Competence. Finding competent battlefield leadership has historically proven difficult. Why increase the difficulty by opening the killing field to even more potential incompetents?
The country has accumulated vast amounts of debt. In fact, the country is facing bankruptcy and the Department of Defense is rapidly becoming a major budget reduction target. Yet the Navy has decided to spend millions modifying submarines to accommodate women crew members. Why? Would women crew members enhance combat capabilities? Is the Navy unable to find enough males to serve in submarines? Have not enough social and leadership problems been generated in the surface fleet to warrant caution when dealing with submarines? Before too much money is spent, the Navy should be required to justify submarine modification expenses on combat efficiency grounds, not level killing fields.
Women now serve in aviation combat units. However, the type of combat in which the nation has been involved lately has not resulted in major losses of aircraft. What happens when there is a Tehran Hilton or some other Hanoi Hilton counterpart? What would happen to women POW’s and what would be the public’s reaction? What would happen if we find another war where hot helicopter or Osprey landing zones are commonplace? Will female crew be able to pull the injured out of the wreckage? Maybe so. If not, who explains the losses?
In today’s wars, women are playing a significant and essential combat support role. The wars involve interaction with Muslim civilian populations and their stringent rules regarding females. Women must be involved, a fact putting them in harm’s way. An active duty male Marine captain participating in one of the internet discussions regarding women in combat was effusive in his praise of Women Marines detailed to serve as sentries on entry control points (ECP’s) at infamous Fallujah of Iraqi War fame. One morning, the convoy taking the sentries (male and female) to the ECP’s was attacked by a vehicle borne suicide bomber. There were numerous KIA and WIA. The bomb attack was followed by sniper fire. A female Lance Corporal, led a charge forward to a firing position and began yelling out sectors of fire to the Marines providing security as casualties continued to be pulled from the burning wreckage. She is to be admired. So, too, are those who foresaw the possible problem and gave her the necessary training. The captain went on to express admiration for the willingness of women to volunteer for the dangerous duty because the presence of women was necessary.
In Afghanistan, Marine commands have established and deployed, Female Engagement Teams (FET’s) comprised of two to four females each. The FET’s are deployed to austere locations (rifle company positions), to search and interact with Afghan women, something that male Marines cannot do. To preclude inevitable problems, Marine commanders adopted the policy of restricting the deployments to 30 days followed by a return to a major operating base before deploying to another austere location. The FET’s provide necessary support to combat operations. That and nothing more.
The Marine Corps Times report regarding FET’s includes interviews of male and female Marines. The consensus can be summarized by stating that, in addition to the inevitable distracting social problems, females do not normally have the physical strength required to perform as infantrymenand I would argue also combat engineers, corpsmen, artillerymen, tankers and others who operate with them. Other than in exceptional and highly irregular, unavoidable situations, they do not belong in ground combat units.
The consensus included male and female Marines. Why are the opinions of those experienced Marines who have to live with the decisions ignored? Because in today’s America, Washington progressives and their supportive media know best. In reality, the one thing Washington knows best is bankrupting the country while obfuscating the deed with a top cover of lies. The nation is allowing political correctness to overtake commonsense and millennia of experience. Why don’t we do the sensible thing? Rather than risk losing combat efficiency by forcing the nation’s daughters into combat situations in the name of leveled killing fields, why not improve the lot of those males and females who are committed to combat or combat support roles? Examining wars from Korea onward, one finds egregious errors. Some of them more than once. The most obvious should be the subject of brief mention.
For starters, the nation should enter wars to winand winning should be defined in clearly understood military terms before the first bomb drops. We should never again allow an enemy safe havens from which to operate as we did in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan; if you can’t isolate the war, don’t get involved. Never again support a government that its citizens consider corrupt and irrelevant. Finally, nation building as it has been attempted in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan is a farce, wasteful of both lives and money, because there apparently is no joint Defense Department – State Department doctrine upon which to base the combination of military and reconstruction operations. If there is such a doctrine, it should be either read or revised.
The All Recruited Force
We have come full circle to the All Recruited Force, the force honed to a state of excellence unmatched in the world and the force currently under assault from within America by the civilian – military Diversity Platoon. The All Volunteer or All Recruited Force is the result of hard work by dedicated recruiters and their commanders. Theirs is a crucial, extremely difficult assignment. One of the great aids available to, and employed by, recruiters is a class of people called, influencers. Those who influence young men and women to join. Among the influencers is a valuable and effective category.relatives and friends who have served and who encourage youth to do likewise. The percentage of those now serving who were influenced by that category is high. Very high. It may be high enough to become the difference between success and failure of the recruiting effort, especially during time of war. Needless to say, those serving today will themselves become influencers if so inclined.
It would be a great idea if those promoting the causes of political correctness and diversity were to consider that fact when working so hard to shove bright ideas down the throats of those serving the nation in its Armed Forces. The Diversity Platoon is running amok, largely unchallenged. In an era wherein disdain for and mistrust of official Washington is a dominant public attitude. The most trusted U.S. institution is now in danger of becoming nothing more than an integral part of the nation’s Washington – inspired march to mediocrity.
The mindless babbling of The Diversity Platoon ignores the lessons of the past as it panders to the gods of political correctness in its quest for diversity … a quest bound to eventually destroy that which has been built at such cost. It would be a great idea if those promoting the causes of political correctness and diversity were to consider that fact when working so hard to shove bright ideas down the throats of those serving the nation in its Armed Forces.
It has to stop. For the national good, it must stop. And the only way that’s going to happenmaybeis if the Americans who pay for the manufacture and distribution of Washington’s effluent bombard the jackasses on Capitol Hill with emails and letters of protest.