Saturday, March 06, 2010

Merrill McPeak (Blind Pig) Finds an Acorn

And Max Boot then Glenn Reynolds take issue with it.

Even a University of Tennessee Law Professor finds Gen Merrill McPeak 'unpersuasive'. (Even though the General for once in his political-military career is on the right side of the argument)

I would also ask Max Boot how those in today's military could gauge the 'corrosiveness' of women on the battlefield? Since none serving (active duty anyway) can remember what it was like before modern times - back when women were relatively scarce in the military?

I'm reading Thomas Sowell's Intellectuals and Society at the moment, and there's a lot in the book relevant to most major modern societal issues. I would commend it to Max Boot and Professor Reynold's: especially as it concerns the observation that societal norms are not the product of ignorance and inattention, but the product of systemic processes.
Systemic processes can bring into play more knowledge for decision-making purposes, through the interactions and mutual accommodations of many individuals, than any one of those individuals [participants] possesses. (p.16)
Max Boot, in his Commentary Contentions article trots out the old 'other militaries are doing it' argument [Did Moms stop using the Socratic "if everybody else jumped off a bridge would you do it?" stopper after my generation?]. He then goes off the deep end:
One would think that the presence of women would do even more than the presence of gays to undermine “male bonding.” Yet women have been granted admittance into almost all military occupations, in roles including flying fighter jets as McPeak once did. They are present on all major and most minor bases even in war zones. They frequently and regularly circulate on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. What evidence is there that their presence has undermined combat effectiveness? And if it hasn’t, why would the presence of un-closeted gays be more corrosive than that of women?
'Evidence'? Hmmm. I'll answer his first question, which will dispense with the second.

First it must be recognized that such 'problems' are real and ongoing:
Some shore commands in the Norfolk, Va., area report that up to 34 percent of their billets are filled by pregnant sailors, and commanders are complaining about a “lack of proper manning to conduct their mission,” according to a Naval Inspector General report.
Second, it must be recognized that there is evidence that, I assume for politically correct reasons, such information is routinely suppressed or played down, it has been going on for years, and is a current problem.

I'm not picking on the Navy here: it is just a more obvious problem when you are structured to live, deploy and fight in geographically discrete units (aka 'ships'). The problem is one that affects all the services to varying degrees.

I enjoy the writings of both Max Boot and Professor Reynolds: they both have pretty good instincts, but they are both wrong on on repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell". I am guessing both Professor Reynolds and Max Boot view this as some sort of 'equal rights' issue instead of a military effectiveness issue. It would help both of them to recognize the military as a unique sub-culture in America, with unique limitations on civil rights, freely acknowledged by its members in taking an oath and accepted for the duration of our service.

I would only add that I find Max Boot's attitude somewhat irritating, but only because he suffers from the same shortcomings found in so many of those analysts and historians that are involved with the military, but are not of the military: not a part of the continuum of "systemic processes" that "can bring into play more knowledge for decision-making purposes, through the interactions and mutual accommodations of many individuals", over two centuries of the American military experience.

This is not a case of 'special pleading'. I assume ALL subcultures within the greater American civilization have systemic processes that have evolved and are unique to their groups (why would they not?). I claim no insight of any to which I do not also belong. I merely insist others do not claim relevant knowledge of mine in return.

Almost forgot: 'Heh'.

P.S. Recommended reading on Women in the Military: Coed Combat

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