Amazingly, George Monbiot is correct here

At the ASI:

Our agreement here with Monbiot does not prevent us from being just a little sharp clawed, as with those cute kittens. For of course all Monbiot has done here is rediscover Edmund Burke’s “little platoons”. Something that the rest of us didn’t forget in the first place, not since he first pointed it out in 1790.

50 comments on “Amazingly, George Monbiot is correct here

  1. I’ll take your word for it that you read Reflections on The Revolution in France in 1790, but I fear that time may have dulled your recollection. Burke’s “little platoons” were not voluntary associations, they were social subdivisions. He was arguing for acceptance of one’s lot in life.

    Turbulent, discontented men of quality, in proportion as they are puffed up with personal pride and arrogance, generally despise their own order.One of the first symptoms they discover of a selfish and mischievous ambition is a profligate disregard of a dignity which they partake with others. To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed toward a love to our country and to mankind.

  2. Good Lord I hope his plans don’t come to light. You want food from the food bank? Show me your party membership card. Your son wants to play in the five-a-side little league? Sorry, it’s for Labour Party members only. So you want a job at the colliery? Why would we hire you when you’re not even one of the party faithful?

    Linking social services to democratic votes sounds rather risky to me.

  3. Social Justice Warrior – “Turbulent, discontented men of quality, in proportion as they are puffed up with personal pride and arrogance, generally despise their own order.One of the first symptoms they discover of a selfish and mischievous ambition is a profligate disregard of a dignity which they partake with others.”

    So that explains New Labour and the University of Sussex’s Sociology Department. I return to my plan to have all future sociologists, and New Labour apparatchiks, trained in Cuba.

  4. A successful progressive movement must now be Citizens Advice bureau, housing association, scout troop, trade union, credit union, bingo hall, food bank, careworker, football club and evangelical church, rolled into one. Focus groups and spin doctors no longer deliver.

    How precisely would the progressive party’s local branches pay for all this I wonder? Does George have any answers? After all, he does say:

    No progressive party can survive the corporate press, corrupt party funding systems and conservative fear machines by fighting these forces on their own terms.

    So he doesn’t like present funding systems. What alternative does he offer? The workers paying their own way?

    I have a suggestion to help George implement this scheme. We abolish the welfare state and sack all the bureaucrats that run it. We distribute the money to every local electorate. Which sets up a committee, appointed by the local member, to hand out the cash as needed. To the needy. You want to vote for the SNP? Fine. Ask your local member for your pension. He is not in the ruling coalition? Should have voted for the winning party.

    Can anyone see the slight flaw in this scheme?

  5. Bad luck George, but there simply isn’t enough of you to dominate these tens of thousands of small community organisations. It’s why you want to centralise – one organisation to capture, job done.

    Also I’m not sure what the reaction would be at the local football club to rabid ideologues taking over and using it as a vehicle for “social justice”. It might involve bloodshed.

  6. “A successful progressive movement must now be Citizens Advice bureau, housing association, scout troop, trade union, credit union, bingo hall, food bank, careworker, football club and evangelical church, rolled into one. Focus groups and spin doctors no longer deliver.”

    The trouble is that scout troops aren’t “progressive”. They’re run by people who are moderately conservative people who are doers, running on a shoestring, making do. They aren’t spending big money on doing up Guide huts or diversity workshops. And they’re interested in giving kids interesting and fun things to do, not indoctrinating them like the Young Pioneers (which only worked because of coercion).

  7. Rob – “Also I’m not sure what the reaction would be at the local football club to rabid ideologues taking over and using it as a vehicle for “social justice”. It might involve bloodshed.”

    The NFL in the US has all but been taken over as a vehicle for social justice. They can’t touch a ball these days without a lecture on breast cancer or wife beating or something first.

    British Association Football is not far behind. As seen by their campaigns against racism and homophobia. What other business is expected to lecture their customers about their regressive social attitudes?

    The March through the institutions continues and shows no signs of letting up.

  8. Tim Almond – “The trouble is that scout troops aren’t “progressive”. …. And they’re interested in giving kids interesting and fun things to do, not indoctrinating them like the Young Pioneers (which only worked because of coercion).”

    You talk of Britain as it was. Not Britain as it is. The Social Justice Warriors are taking over these groups too. The Girls Guides on both sides of the Atlantic have gone a long way down this path. You can now earn a badge in Social Justice Warrior self esteem:

    To earn the badge, Girl Guides between 10 and 14 will have to complete two workshops in which they are taught to “value their bodies” and “celebrate diversity”, after which they will be expected to spread the word in their local community using t-shirts, posters and video.

    A junior version of the badge will be available for girls in the Brownies who will be taught that “princesses are negative body role models.”

    That is why the Guide and Scouts are so exercised about homosexuals, and now they have won that fight, transsexuals. You may have thought few eight year olds cared, but that is clearly proof you are a hater. Not that they want access to your children or anything. I think one of the reasons they are so committed to a genetic cause is so that you won’t get worried about recruitment.

  9. Rob – “Also I’m not sure what the reaction would be at the local football club to rabid ideologues taking over and using it as a vehicle for “social justice”. It might involve bloodshed.”

    Have you not been following the now-mandatory “anti-lad” sensitivity courses being forced on the mens sports associations at Oxford?

    You know if we could harness the energy self righteous SJW cunts spend on indoctrination, we’d never need another oil well…

  10. There’s three words in that article that sum up why GM is (as ever) utterly wrong, albeit actually closer to the truth than normal.

    And they are ‘rolled into one’.

    GM can see all those little platoons, doing their thing, and doing good, and likes what he sees. But he can’t then stop himself. His socialism just oozes out all over them, and wants to agglomerate all those individuals into one larger organisation, for all the usual collectivist reasons. He can’t see that all those individuals are doing the thing that they want to, completely free from the others. The football club doesn’t care if the citizens advice bureau closes, and the scout troop couldn’t give a monkeys for the local trade union. All these voluntary organisations are in fact very much market led, in that their funds and support come from voluntary donations and help. So if they don’t provide what the people want, they close down. And frequently do. GM in his usual socialist way sees a snap shot of a system to be controlled, when in reality its a very fluid turbulent system that responds poorly to attempts to control it.

    Face it, some people are beyond redemption, and GM is definitely one of them.

  11. Monbiots whining amounts to the idea that proggie scum don’t already have enough presence in our lives. When the so-called “Establishment” is composed of said proggie scum. As witnessed by Mr Dave “The Law means what we say it means” Camoron.

    A Daniel Thomas over on ASI says it best:
    “I think Monbiot is being disingenuous. We have seen what happens when the left take over charities and community organisations. They go from helping people to being a cover for political activism. All Monbiot is doing is recognising that the voters have rejected an obviously hateful party and is calling for a renewed long march through institutions as a cover.”

  12. “Linking social services to democratic votes sounds rather risky to me.”

    I seem to recall that the governing party of Singapore announced that those areas where it received most votes in the next election would get the lifts in their social housing done up first – anyone else remember this? So not without precedent, albeit a terrible one.

  13. Monbiot has yet to concede that he, his preferred political ideology, and all the little NGOs he supports, are in fact the “uncaring elite” he most despises and not some other bunch of Oxbridge educated morons.

    Just thinking that people need some kind of government appointed community organizer is the epitome of uncaring, that you believe the oppressed masses are incapable of caring for themselves and for each other, even though your article is littered with examples of just that.

    To claim Venezuela as any example of this is myopic in the extreme, this is a government who does not even care that it’s citizens can wipe their arse with the correct materials, not that Monbiot knows, he’s never seen his own arse for years since his head has been up it. The people of Venezuela even made an app for finding toilet paper, no assistance from government needed.

  14. I can’t be bothered to read him. Can I safely assume that he’s recommending setting up a Hitler Youth?

  15. I seem to recall that the governing party of Singapore announced that those areas where it received most votes in the next election would get the lifts in their social housing done up first
    It wasn’t just a promise, it was an explanation from Prime Minister Lee of how funds were being allocated “there has to be a distinction. Because the PAP wards supported the Government and the policies which delivered these good things.”

  16. SMFS,

    “The Girls Guides on both sides of the Atlantic have gone a long way down this path. You can now earn a badge in Social Justice Warrior self esteem:”

    The thing with the GGs is like the CofE. There are people at the top with a certain perspective, but at the grassroots, it’s different. And as long as the people at the top don’t interfere with sewing, crafts, outward bound and so forth, they aren’t going to do much about it.

  17. I’m not convinced self-esteem is a bad thing for the Guides. What is the point of all that learning how to put up a tent and survive in the wilderness and build rope bridges and tie knots and stuff? The Scouts and the Guides don’t exist in case modern society really does collapse and we need our kids to survive by milking beetles. The whole point of the entire exercise is to instil confidence in yourself. No-one has a problem with the Scouts opposing bullying, do they? (Or do they? Some people round here are probably quite keen on bullying. Because it’s traditional or something.) But teaching girls that they’re not supposed to despise themselves is simply an anti-bullying thing. Boys pick on boys who are a bit camp or who are shit at sport or who are too clever. Girls pick on girls who wear the wrong shoes and were once witnessed eating something. If opposing bullying really is a left-wing thing, it’s part of their agenda I can sign up to.

  18. SQ2: Socialism is fucking bullying and violence follows when the threats aren’t working. Anything the left touch they turn to shite and will use for indoctrination.

    Genuine courses and programs exist that give kids training in standing up for themselves and stopping bullying –inc physical self defence if all else fails. The F A.S.T people are an example of a non-political training courses for kids.

    http://www.fastdefence.com/childrens-self-defence-courses/

  19. US soldiers being forced to parade around in high heels
    or rather, if you bother to read your own link, 15 out of 120 university cadets chose to participate in a student “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event”.

    Sorry to trouble you with the facts. Nasty socialist things.

  20. ‘Socialist’ and ‘facts’ are rarely seen in the wild, but yep, that was a bad link.

    Well done. But if your point was this doesn’t happen in the actual US Army you’re just ignorant – it’s an annual event in many units including line infantry. Try this one on for size.

    http://www.army.mil/mobile/article/?p=66649

    Also, you do know that ‘volunteering’ in the Army (on both sides of the Atlantic) is not like volunteering in civilian life?

    Certainly where this kind of shit is concerned, the CO tells the OC that he (or she) wants volunteers for some bollocks so s/he can put it on his competency review and the Major tells the sgt major that he needs volunteers, and the sgt major tells a bunch of squaddies they are ‘volunteering’, if they don’t want the entire company out doing a ten miler at 5am.

  21. @SJW: actually if you do read that link all the way through you will see that the cadet groups in question had been ‘directed to participate’ in the events by their higher command. Which means that those who participated were probably not that willing volunteers, more pressed men to make sure the cadet force was not seen to be disobeying orders. Thus I suspect its less of a Sgt Wilson ‘Would you mind awfully?’ type situation, and more of a Windsor Davies ‘You horrible little man, one step forward, you is volunteering to march in high heels, about turn, quick march, left right left right!’ one.

  22. Paul – I just followed your link and browsed you generally. I am very sorry to hear of your personal tragedy and I shall endeavour not to be quite so snotty to you in future (though I shall still think you’re wrong about most things).

    Best wishes to you and your children.

  23. US soldiers being forced to parade around in high heels?

    So how does morally blackmailing squaddies into being publicly humiliated (let’s face it – that’s the object of the exercise) help victims of sexual assault? Another nasty exercise in rubbing noses into it and especially delicious for the sadistic SJW mindset if it involves emasculating men.

  24. Bullying is essential for survival into adulthood without being a bit of a twat. The rough as nuts northern comprehensive that I went to would not have produced such a gormless specimen as Ed Miliband without someone regularly flushing his head down the bogs in case he got ideas above his station.

    Bullying, it sort of works!

  25. Tim Almond – “The thing with the GGs is like the CofE.”

    How is that working out for the CoE?

  26. Squander Two – “I’m not convinced self-esteem is a bad thing for the Guides.”

    Self-esteem is a bad thing all around. Criminals are notorious for their high levels of self esteem. They deserve your stuff and you do not. What you mean is self respect. Something that is earned, not inherent. But what is the link between self esteem and celebrating diversity (ie hating everything to do with normal middle class English people)? It is not a badge in self esteem. It is a badge in Social Justice Warrior self esteem.

    “The whole point of the entire exercise is to instil confidence in yourself.”

    Through achievement. Celebrating diversity is the exact opposite. We should respect people because they can achieve nothing.

    “No-one has a problem with the Scouts opposing bullying, do they? (Or do they? Some people round here are probably quite keen on bullying. Because it’s traditional or something.)”

    I don’t oppose opposing bullying. But that is not what they are doing. Just as “anti-Racism” courses have nothing to do with racism. They are pushing a particular political agenda. That’s all.

    “But teaching girls that they’re not supposed to despise themselves is simply an anti-bullying thing.”

    What makes you think girls who can start a fire and put up a tent do despise themselves?

    “Boys pick on boys who are a bit camp or who are shit at sport or who are too clever.”

    So they do. Boys are kind of nasty. But I doubt that bit about picking on those who are a bit camp. We keep getting told that violence against Gays comes from boys who are insecure in their sexuality. You know, it is a pink on pink crime. So I expect that most bullying of Gays comes from other Gays. The question is what to do about it. Either you think that we need a complete restructuring of society to abolish people like you and me. Or you don’t.

  27. Dr Cromarty – “So how does morally blackmailing squaddies into being publicly humiliated (let’s face it – that’s the object of the exercise) help victims of sexual assault?”

    A good question. Obama is carrying out a purge of the US military. Dozens of higher ranking officers have been fired. A lot more field officer level guys have left. One of the reasons is that soldiers now have to do compulsory courses which teach them the Bible and the Constitution are documents rife with sexism.

    Which is odd because I find myself in agreement with the SJWs. They are. Racism too no doubt. So frickin’ what?

  28. I’m looking forward to the women being ‘volunteered’ to wear a 50lb pack, march 30 miles, dig a foxhole and then spend the night under attack, so they can experience what army life can be like.

    Fair’s fair.

  29. Rob, to be fair a significant number of women have done exactly that in Afghanistan – or more accurately they have done precisely what the blokes have done. Ok they didn’t march 30 miles, because it took 10 hours to move 5km thanks to IEDs, but then to be honest nobody marched 30 miles in any of our recent wars, and the only time they did in the less recent past (Falklands) it was a total fuck up caused by politicians. These days we have helicopters, Warrior, Viking, Mastiff etc.

    Not that I disagree with the point I think you’re making, entirely.

  30. SMFS – most mid to high ranking U.S. officers have left for the same reasons they always leave in the UK – they’ve done their years and there are diminishing opportunities (there’s only one CDS) the higher you get, and you eventually have to accept its not going to be you (plus there’s a nice spot at Control Risks waiting for you and frankly bring a Colonel is very dull.)

  31. Interested – “to be fair a significant number of women have done exactly that in Afghanistan – or more accurately they have done precisely what the blokes have done.”

    No they haven’t. At least as far as I can tell. Certainly they did not in the Gulf. Women are simply not up to the task. So they got the boys to dig their fox holes for them – and even throw the grenades for them too.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/infantry-combat-not-for-women-says-battle-tested-female-marine-captain

    Interested – “most mid to high ranking U.S. officers have left for the same reasons they always leave in the UK – they’ve done their years and there are diminishing opportunities”

    Perhaps. But it is not what the officers themselves are reporting.

  32. @ Interested
    “Ok they didn’t march 30 miles,”
    The blokes did – you have just reminded me of my embarrassment when, during the first time I ran the Nottingham “Robin Hood” marathon (my sister-in-law lived in Nottingham at the time), I was overtaken by a soldier apparently (and probably really) carrying full kit and running at 10 mph. A bit over a decade later, in my fifties, I was still able to *walk* a marathon in 5 hours or 30+ miles in 6 hours, so the squaddie wasn’t overtaking a totally arthritic snail.

  33. @ SMFS
    “all generalisations are wrong”
    My wife can find counter-examples to almost anything you say (and does find counter-examples for almost anything I say except on chess, mathematis and science – because I am more aware than her of outstanding females in these sectors) on gender differentials.
    You say women soldiers get men to dig their foxholes – that just shows that some male soldiers are mugs – i thought that we knew that!

  34. john77 – ““all generalisations are wrong” My wife can find counter-examples to almost anything you say …. on gender differentials.”

    Poor you. Again I will say that the year Marion Jones won the Olympic Gold medal in the 100 metres and 200 metres, she would have come fourth if she had clocked those times in the New Jersey High School boy’s competition. And she was doped to the gills as well.

    I am sure that there is some fraction of a percentage of women who could carry a pack as long and as far as an average man. Not many of them want to serve I expect. However if we had the physical standards that were normal in the 1960s before the feminists insisted the Army take women, there would be no women in the Armed Forces.

    “You say women soldiers get men to dig their foxholes – that just shows that some male soldiers are mugs – i thought that we knew that!”

    They are indeed. They are also mugs more likely to die if the soldiers next to them cannot do their job properly. You cannot expect half a squad to do the work of one and a half men while the other half does virtually nothing. When female soldiers cannot throw grenades far enough to get out of the blast zone, soldiers are going to die because the feminists prefer ideology to reality.

  35. I repeat, no British soldiers have marched thirty miles in any conflict since the Falklands. They only did so in the Falklands because all our helicopter eggs bar one were in one basket and it was sheer luck that the remaining egg was airborne when the ship went down. Modern armies use helicopters or armoured personnel carriers to ‘carry’ their ‘personnel’ and women can sit in a helicopter or Warrior the same as men.

    It’s true that if you have to debus into contact with bayonets fixed then you want fit, aggressive young men doing that job but there are other jobs that women can do and have done to distinction – combat medic is one obvious one, and combat medics carry personal weapons and do engage the enemy if necessary.

    British soldiers no longer dig foxholes either – at least, not in our recent conflicts, when the absolute last thing you want to be is static and when the ground is anyway undiggable. They do need to fill sandbags and Hesco walls on occasion and women have done that.

    I am not saying you want an army full of women or emasculated men – you don’t – I was simply saying that in Afghanistan they did the same amount of marching thirty miles and digging foxholes as the blokes.

    I shouldn’t have used the phrase ‘exactly’ because you’re right in the narrow sense that there were not women manning GPMGs or lobbing grenades, but then the vast majority of the Army didn’t/doesn’t do any of that stuff either.

    To put an infantry battalion on the ground you need roughly six men (or sometimes women) to support every frontline squaddie.

    Lots of those roles can be filled by women and individual women can be better than any man, or as good as. Sarah Bryant was blown up in the back of a Land Rover (with three members of 23 SAS who are not 22 but are no mugs and were glad to have her with them) and the Allied forces lost a very good and well respected intelligence analyst in the process.

    John – sure, some soldiers can run marathons – they’re young, keen on phys and they do a lot of running about in camp and training. But increasingly they don’t run about much in combat, certainly not that sort of distance. Those days are probably gone forever, except for certain people in certain units. physical fitness is important and even a store man or cook should keep himself (or herself) fit but many aren’t that fit and it probably doesn’t matter all that much except from the point of self respect.

    Re senior officers and what they say… Really? You do surprise me!

  36. @SJW it was heartfelt. I know it’s in one sense largely irrelevant what anonymous keyboard warriors say to each other on blogs, and you’re a tough character I think, but I hate to think I may have been mean to you at such a terrible time. I hope you come to terms with what happened.

  37. @SMFS we’re probably less far apart on this than you think but I will just note the irony of you calling in aid a female US Army captain who happens to agree with you re combat (I assume, I haven’t followed the link) while (I’m sure) you would reject the contrary opinions of other female soldiers.

  38. Also re these points:

    “However if we had the physical standards that were normal in the 1960s before the feminists insisted the Army take women, there would be no women in the Armed Forces.”

    Not true – there were women in the armed forces in the 1960s, for a start. But you’re missing the point a bit – the British Army does different things now to then and infanteering and hand to hand combat is a tiny part of it.

    “They are also mugs more likely to die if the soldiers next to them cannot do their job properly. You cannot expect half a squad to do the work of one and a half men while the other half does virtually nothing. When female soldiers cannot throw grenades far enough to get out of the blast zone, soldiers are going to die because the feminists prefer ideology to reality.”

    You’ve basically watched films were the blokes dig in in the pouring rain and bitch about their bosses I suspect.

    Ok but it’s not really like that anymore very often.

    Let’s assume for a moment that you are digging in somewhere in Afghanistan.

    Why are you digging in where you’re digging in? Obviously you pick the best tactical spot but in terms of the area you’re there because you need to watch a certain village or track.

    How do you know which tracks and villages are worth watching? Intelligence.

    What sex are half the adults in Afghanistan, who may be able to help you with intelligence about Taliban movements? Female.

    Will Afghan females talk to hairy arsed jock corporals? No.

    The fact is, modern warfare – all warfare ever – is more about intelligence than anything. If you’re lobbing grenades (defensively) you’ve already lost and it may be happening because Mrs Khan in the village who knew about the Talib company dotted around the place would only talk to a woman, and Major General Sir Somuch For-Subtlety OBE adamantly refuses to recruit female intelligence operators.

  39. Interested: What you say is largely correct. But “modern” war–ie relatively well off states trying to bash economically poorer ones cannot be guaranteed to be the only kind of war to be fought from now on.

    The top 8% of female soldiers is only as strong etc as the weakest 8% of men. That doesn’t matter too much when everybody is riding around in APCs with air support handy. What happens when the APC is down and 50 miles of marching in the sun is needed? The women will fall behind and be vulnerable to attack, capture etc. And of course torture (sexual and otherwise)–which you can’t object to on moral grounds because you already said it is ok if we do it.

    Intelligence is important–but you have to have both the wit and the power to do something with it. There is no one better at snooping than the CIA but they have been consistently surprised by event because of poor analysis. And while the battle can go very wrong without intell it is also a lost cause without muscle. Techno-superiority alone won’t –and hasn’t–cut it.

    Women have been un/secret agents since the dawn of time. And very good at it. Combat soldiers is something else.

    To show the point–

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOcAwFLC4Bc

    This woman deserves the highest praise for the tremendous work she must have put in to attain her skills. Wonderful.

    However if this lot :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUzlmWWdjEQ

    were going to call on me –I wouldn’t hire her to help me out–regardless of her skills.

  40. @Mr Ecks – generals are always fighting the wars of their youth and yes it is possible to envisage scenarios where people are a bit stuck. But as I believe Yvonne Boyd asked Alan Partridge ‘What if your arm bursts?’

    The sensible thing is to train and equip and man your Army for the most likely scenarios, while building in some resilience and the ability to react to unforeseen contingencies.

    I could well be wrong but I can’t envisage any war in which British soldiers have to walk 50 miles. There’s never just one APC there’s a column of them, and they’re never (in recent conflicts or any realistic future one) more than a few km from the nearest patrol base or FOB or other support.

    Units like the SAS, Special Forces Support Group, Pathfinders, people doing reconnaissance jobs, yes, they are out in a limb – but they still don’t walk. It was going into the desert in GW1 *without vehicles* that caused the SAS all that trouble and led to the romantic Bravo 2 Zero and The One Who Ran Away fictionalisations that some people think are actually truthful.

  41. Interested – “we’re probably less far apart on this than you think but I will just note the irony of you calling in aid a female US Army captain who happens to agree with you re combat (I assume, I haven’t followed the link) while (I’m sure) you would reject the contrary opinions of other female soldiers.”

    Is it ironic? It is more powerful precisely because she served. If she had been a man or had stayed at home, people would dismiss her argument. The push for women in the Armed Forces, ironically, rarely comes from women in the Armed Forces. It comes from feminists who have no intention to serve.

    Interested – “Not true – there were women in the armed forces in the 1960s, for a start. But you’re missing the point a bit – the British Army does different things now to then and infanteering and hand to hand combat is a tiny part of it.”

    Sure. We would have some nurses. The British Army has given up on fighting altogether. So we lost in Basra and the US Army had to come and do it instead. But at some point we will decide that we need an army and an army needs to fight. Infanteering and hand to hand combat is exactly what armies need to do. The rest is a distraction.

    “What sex are half the adults in Afghanistan, who may be able to help you with intelligence about Taliban movements? Female. Will Afghan females talk to hairy arsed jock corporals? No.”

    As if they are going to talk to lesbians either. This is a theoretical issue but it is possible if we keep sending the Army to do some policing it might be nice to have some female police officers. No argument from me.

    Interested – “The sensible thing is to train and equip and man your Army for the most likely scenarios, while building in some resilience and the ability to react to unforeseen contingencies.”

    I totally agree. And people have been saying that soldiers don’t need to be young and fit because they can ride since WW2 at least. Maybe longer. It never turns out that way. War always put the maximum demands on the human body. Whatever soldiers can do, they will end up having to do. Which means they need to be at peak physical fitness.

    If we want to say the Army will never again do anything but glorified social work, well, fine, employ all the women you like. But the Army is not there for glorified social work and when the day comes we need an Army that can fight, we will miss not having one a lot.

  42. Interested – “I repeat, no British soldiers have marched thirty miles in any conflict since the Falklands. They only did so in the Falklands because all our helicopter eggs bar one were in one basket and it was sheer luck that the remaining egg was airborne when the ship went down.”

    Britain has not been in a serious conflict since the Falklands. And the government is incapable of providing or managing helicopters properly so it is foolish to count on them. It is trivial to find soldiers in Afghanistan who have had to carry artillery pieces up mountain sides without the help of either helicopters or vehicles in Afghanistan. Again the demands don’t go away. War demands everything that it possibly can.

    “It’s true that if you have to debus into contact with bayonets fixed then you want fit, aggressive young men doing that job”

    Which remains the core function of the Army. It is not going away because the Army likes to pretend it does everything but that.

    “but there are other jobs that women can do and have done to distinction – combat medic is one obvious one, and combat medics carry personal weapons and do engage the enemy if necessary.”

    Can they? One task a half decent combat medic should be able to perform is to carry or drag a wound man out of the line of fire to somewhere safe. How many 55 kg women are able to do that?

    “British soldiers no longer dig foxholes either – at least, not in our recent conflicts, when the absolute last thing you want to be is static and when the ground is anyway undiggable. They do need to fill sandbags and Hesco walls on occasion and women have done that.”

    Actually soldiers are static most of the time and if the enemy has artillery, they need to be dug in.

    “I am not saying you want an army full of women or emasculated men – you don’t – I was simply saying that in Afghanistan they did the same amount of marching thirty miles and digging foxholes as the blokes.”

    No, I don’t think they did. What we have is an Army full of women and while I don’t think the men are emasculated, that is the tendency. I am sure the soldiers would have loved to fight in Basra. But the brass did not let them. The sailors taken prisoner by the Iranians did cry like girls.

    “To put an infantry battalion on the ground you need roughly six men (or sometimes women) to support every frontline squaddie. Lots of those roles can be filled by women and individual women can be better than any man, or as good as.”

    Which ones? Artillery shells are not light. A 155 mm shell can be 40 to 50 kgs. How many girls can physically pick up and move four of those per minute? Or are we going the Naval route and simply employing more women to do a man’s job? The rockets that replace them are heavier still.

    There are no roles that can be fill by a woman as well as much less better than a man. None. Strength matters. A man can do anything a weaker woman can and in those situations where more is needed, he can give more as well. Not to mention the well known tendency of women simply not to fight. They curl into a ball and wait for the winner to claim them. Jessica Lynch did not fire a single round. Nor did Lori Piestewa or Shoshana Johnson. There were just three women in that unit. All of them were captured. Along with four men. Eight men were killed (and one of the captured women died of her wounds). Five more men were wounded. Five men escaped – including the commander for which I would have fired him.

    If you serve with women, you cannot rely on them to do the basic requirements of the job.

  43. SMFS – I find your arguments interesting at times and often well written. I don’t think I’ve ever known you concede a point. It is a weakness of yours.

  44. The Russians used lots of women in combat roles in WWII.

    Tank and aircraft crews, artillery and anti-aircraft gun crews.

    I don’t think women were used as assault infantry but apparently they made very good snipers.

  45. Andrew – “The Russians used lots of women in combat roles in WWII.”

    They used some. But then they were really scrapping the bottom of the barrel for manpower. However most of that was propaganda. Women did not serve to any significant scale. Their main role was comfort women.

  46. Social Justice Warrior – “According to the account I read, Piestewa was driving a Humvee which crashed when it was hit by an RPG. She suffered a fatal head wound in the crash.”

    She suffered a head wound from which she died later in hospital. I wouldn’t expect her to have fired her gun with head wounds. But Lynch and Johnson were also in that vehicle. Along with three men who were killed by the RPG – all the men, none of the women were killed immediately. They did not fire their weapons either.

    Three of the four men who were killed, were killed right away in that RPG attack.

    “You disgust me.”

    Good. I am doing something right.

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