Would I support our daughters enlisting in the military...

Several days ago under the post of the Majority Report of the PCA's Ad Interim Study Committee on Women in the Military (AISCOWIM), I'd been asked whether I would support our daughters enlisting in a non-combatant position in our U.S. Armed Forces, today? Here are the questions, along with my response. (TB)

Question from Sue: Tim, Could you answer a question about women in the military that I don't think is addressed in your/your committee's report? What is your position about women serving in military in non-combat roles...

Today, this can be a tricky question because "combat-support" roles get very close to the front lines. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I assume that you would oppose women serving in these roles. But what about women serving in roles where they will never see combat, such as a health care professional on a hospital on a military base (stateside, or say in the UK or Germany), repairing electrical modules for combat planes in Alaska or North Carolina, or as a newly minted 2nd Lt. working as a computer programmer in the UK and several stateside military bases, making the military her career and retiring as a Lt. Colonel? I used these examples because I know each of these women personally. All three were single when they joined the service; the last two met their husbands during their military service.

Question from Jessica: I am also curious about your stance on the questions that Sue has asked above. My daughters are far from 18, but I suppose it is not to early to start thinking about the directions in which we would steer them.

Dear Sue (and Jessica),

I'm sorry I've been so long in responding. I spent the past few days in bed, sick, and am clawing my way out from under the pile.

Our committee had former servicemen and officers, some active chaplains, an Air Force General, and a couple of us pastors. We discussed whether or not the distinction between combatants and non-combatants was still observed in our Armed Forces at that time.

Several of the military men who opposed the PCA speaking against woman combatants made light of the distinction, saying it was no longer valid because of the nature of modern warfare. But after their ideological blurring of distinctions had run its course, the general opposed them by stating that this distinction was still valid and officially observed in the military. That while it was at times difficult to observe, conscientious men made the effort. One man said that he would not even assign targeting to women.

At the heart of postmodernism is a hatred for distinctions, and the bad men on our AISCOWIM study committee ("bad" in the sense of unfaithful to Scripture's teaching concerning sex) opposed every distinction other than their precious distinction between what the Church should and shouldn't say to the lost. The string they harped on endlessly was that the church should gag itself about everything but the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

So, assuming the military under Presidents Bush (the younger) and Obama has not obliterated the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, in principle I would not think that Christian women should reject non-combatant military service out of hand. Certainly it's good to have nurses who are women and certainly it's good for Christian nurses who are women to serve our soldiers whether those soldiers are men or women.

But that begs the question whether today's Armed Forces are a place any man, let alone a Christian man, wants his daughters to serve, and I say "no." I don't want my own son serving in the military, let alone my daughter. We have a bunch of men in our congregation who are in the military and one officer in the Navy from our congregation who is a woman. We tried to discourage most of these men (and certainly the woman) from enlisting, but they chose to proceed and we're proud of them and support their work, praying for them when they are deployed and loving them when they get home.

Why then to did we oppose their enlistment?

Because of many factors, including the gross immorality that permeates the military bases, the purposes Washington's pols make of our Armed Forces which often are not only unconstitutional, but contrary to historic Christian just war criteria (NB Vern Poythress' footnoted comment in our report); because of the continuing degradation of the distinction between soldiers and civilians in modern warfare; and on it goes.
The majority of our men serve in the Marines, and if I had to acquiesce to one of my sons going into the military (which I don't ever want to do), I would hope it's the Marines since they're the branch of the military least corrupted by sexual perversions and the loss of military discipline that is its inevitable result.

There's much more to be said, but I'm off and running, dear sisters. The long and short of it is that I don't' want my sons to go into the military because historic just war criteria have been trampled by our Armed Forces this past century, and one criteria still hanging on is almost dead: namely, that men should bear arms in defense of their mothers because those mothers shed blood to give birth to their children.

 

Comments

Sorry, I didn't see you'd started a new post on this, I should have put it here.

>>Several of the military men who opposed the PCA speaking against woman combatants made light of the distinction, saying it was no longer valid because of the nature of modern warfare.

I think things have changed, at least in our more recent operations. A good example would be transportation. In Iraq that meant convoys (remember Jessica Lynch?). Which meant combat. It wasn't a combat MOS but when somebody starts shooting at you it doesn't really matter. And lots of non-combat positions got involved in escort and convoy duty. Of course the irony is that if you accept this it should make you less likely to support women in military service in general, not, as apparently was the case for liberals on your committee, placing women willfully into combat specialties. If all/most positions are potential combat positions then all/most positions should not be filled with women.

>>the purposes Washington's pols make of our Armed Forces which often are not only unconstitutional, but contrary to historic Christian just war criteria (NB Vern Poythress' footnoted comment in our report)

As to just war doctrine there are a couple of levels. As to whether to go to war that's a judgement call and I didn't agree with every decision made while I was in service (I had particular problems with the Serbia campaign). At an operational level most aspects of just war doctrine are pretty scrupulously observed in my experience.

>because of the continuing degradation of the distinction between soldiers and civilians in modern warfare

When you fight people who are essentially pirates and war criminals this is going to be a problem as they do not identify themselves as combatants and hide behind civilians. The only way to avoid this is if you conclude we don't need to fight such people.

A couple other items for consideration is the whole understanding of the creation order of the sexes. The military is the most traditionally hierarchical institution in this country in terms of authority and position. I would not be eager to place my daughter under the authority of someone who isn't her husband and may well be a pagan.

Since I've retired there is the whole issue of the forced normalization of sexual perversion. Anyone who thinks it isn't going to change things is kidding themselves. If it is permitted there will very likely wind up being mandatory training for personnel indicating that nobody should have any real scruples over these perversions. That's the single biggest reason my wife and I would be unlikely to encourage our sons to serve, provided things do not improve by the time it becomes an issue.

Amen. Will I train my sons (now 4 years and two weeks old, respectively) to shoot and fight if need be? You bet. Will I encourage them to join the Marines? Not unless some big things change.

Tim, here is another question for maybe another post: would you support a daughter "enlisting" to work outside the home as a seminary wife? What if her desire is really to be a homemaker and mother? Does the temporary duration (as in "it's only three years") make it acceptable?

It's worth mentioning that there is a lot of discussion in the Marine Corps about allowing women to serve in the infantry. "Every Marine is a rifleman", after all, so it makes sense that this would be the natural progression. The discussion often revolves around a womans ability physically to handle it(In Afghanistan now, think multiple patrols a day often carrying 60-100 lbs gear.. And depending on where you are, less then 4 hours of sleep a day etc) The mental side seems to be altogether ignored(as is the spiritual, obviously). People choose to ignore the weight of what we see and do completely. I had a Marine in my platoon injure himself purposely on my deployment because of something we briefly saw earlier that day so that he could go home. It isn't WWII or Vietnam, but even in a fairly calm area in Helmand Province I had 3 friends become casualties.

99.9% of all grunts I know and serve with could list about 1,000 reasons why women in combat is a terrible, awful, and disgusting idea without even giving a thought to anything spiritual. Today though, everyone hates any kind of distinction as mentioned in this blog post.... The thought that there are roles that only men should(and realistically, could) serve in is absolutely incomprehensible and offensive to some.

Sorry to ramble and I could go on for hours but I'll spare all of you.

So all that to say..

If the decision is made to allow women to serve in direct combat roles in the military, not only will the Biblical reasons against it be ignored.. But the physical, mental, and emotional reasons will be too. It will be a decision made to eliminate yet another distinction. So that women can have "equality", and so that they can fight and die for their country too.. Essentially, so that women can be men too.

Dear John,

Thank you so very much for your service to all of us, brother. And thank you for speaking up about this. I'm afraid that you are absolutely correct. Looking forward to having you home.

This is a very interesting discussion, and I appreciate you, Pastor Tim, for responding even though you have been sick (we will pray for your quick healing). Also thank you to everyone who has given first-hand remarks, either past or present.

My mother-in-law is retired from the military. When she enlisted, about 3 or 4 decades ago, a neighbor had recommended the Air Force to her because they were the "gentler division." She was in a non-combatant role as a Russian linguist and I have only heard her speak good things about her experience. However, I have never asked her how she would feel about either granddaughter enlisting into the Air Force today. An interesting thing to note is that she was required to take MAX Factor classes as part of basic training and never once held a gun. Without knowing a lot of details, it sounds like things have changed dramatically since this time and unless things change dramatically into another direction in the next two decades, we would not encourage our daughters in this direction.

The other thing this conversation has made me think more about is my husband's desire, as a brass player, to audition for a military band position...but, this is a conversation I need to have with my husband before I have with a blog. :)

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): John Alberson is right. The primary purpose of all members of the U.S. Armed Forces is to close with and engage the enemy in close combat (see caveat at the bottom).

I am not going to waste time with the physical aspect of things. That is better left to Dr. Spaetti and John (who already has).

There is a reason that Soldiers (Army), Marines, Sailors (Navy), and Airmen (Air Force) all attend some sort of Initial Entry Training (Boot Camp, Basic Training, etc - they all fall under the category of IET) before moving on to their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) specific training. The primary purpose of all Servicemen (Servicepersyns), regardless of their MOS, is to close with and engage the enemy in close combat. The only thing that differs from one MOS to another is the means by which they close with then enemy and the method with which they engage him.

In mine and John's line of work, we close with the enemy by way of LPCs (Leather Personnel Carriers) and engage him in close combat with "small arms" (5.56mm, 7.62mm, .50cal, 40mm grenade) and our mortarmen (mortarpersyns), who engage with 60mm, 81mm, or 120mm indirect fires.

Others close with and engage with rotary- or fixed-wing aircraft, tanks, fighting vehicles, trucks, cannons, Long Range Missile Systems, rockets, whatever.

Even the so-called "non-combat arms" branches are first trained as soldiers or Marines before they learn to "cook", drive trucks, do laundry, file paperwork (yes, even 42 series has to go through IET), march in the band, refuel vehicles, etc. The list goes on and on, but the point is the same: the primary purpose of any member of the U.S. Armed Forces is to close with and engage the enemy in close combat.

CAVEAT: The above does not apply to Medical Service personnel and Chaplains - they are non-combatants. That being said, Chaplains do have the Chaplain's Assistant, whose job it is to protect the Chaplain (and he carries a weapon), and Medical Personnel are always very well guarded....

Pop quiz: What is the primary purpose of Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors?

:)

>> What is the primary purpose of Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors?

Protect the women and children?

I think the classic answer is "kill people and break things."

My husband's understanding has been that the "premier" military band members would also be considered non-combatant. Two of the bands, The "President's Own" (Marine Corps Band) and the Coast Guard Band do not even require basic training. However, those in "enlisted" bands have been deployed overseas for 6-15 months based on what military base they have been serving.

I cheated, I think: "The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise."?

??

The pop quiz was a joke at the expense of my preceding comment, after review. I repeated myself quite a bit, so I was poking fun at myself... somewhat.

-Jim

Wow, leave it to me to not catch the sarcasm (typical).

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