Saturday, February 8, 2020

Call me cranky

Prof. Rachel VanLandingham
Call me cranky, but I have little tolerance for the idiotic arguments mounted to deny equal protection of the laws when it comes to women serving in the military. Any military. The Indian Army claims that men won't take orders from women in command.  Hence women shouldn't be in command.

Here's a wake-up call:  the military is an orders-driven society. Court-martial one man for insubordination to his female commander and voilà, any claimed issue of men not being prepared to take orders from women will (not so magically) disappear. And how about actually engage in training and help your military prepare for such gender integration?

Weeding out bias and hate amongst the ranks is hard. Militaries reflect the civilian society they are drawn from, and no society is free from humanity's darker tendencies. But militaries are uniquely poised to bring out the best in those in uniform if they wisely choose to do so. Militaries necessarily strive to achieve maximum effectiveness on the battlefield, which in today's world is a 360-degree environment ranging from outer-space, to cyberspace, to the depths of the Atlantic, to the wind-swept deserts, to street-fighting in urban terrain.

Successful militaries build cohesive teams that utilize the unique talents of all its members in synergistic ways. Allowing tired claims that have long been used to deny various groups advancement in the world's militaries (the same argument above was used against African Americans in the US military until President Harry S Truman forced integration by executive fiat in 1948) to deny women advancement in the Indian Army signals that body's commitment to remaining a 19th Century military, instead of joining the ranks of the globe's most effective modern armed forces.

And the Indian Army's equally stale argument for categorical exclusion of women from permanent commission status because of different physical abilities?  Excuse me while I go run a 10k and do 15 pull-ups in a row. While the Indian Army stagnates, the US Army (incredibly late, but better late than never) just graduated its first enlisted female guard members from its elite Ranger course.  Progress long in coming, but progress. A bit late for some of us, but a celebratory moment all the same. Militaries around the world, take heed.

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