JANUARY 25, 2013 8:30AM

Progress vs. The Pucker Factor

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Born in in the ’60’s, you know, it never occurred to me that I have to make the case for why diversity and access make an organization better and stronger than inflexible homogeneity.  When Mishima666 presented that question to me, I had no notion that it actually needed to be addressed.  I don’t know how old the man is, or what his personal experiences are.  It’s hard to tell from his discourse because he normally just tells me what I think, and creates straw men, then flees.  If you ask him his experience, he wont tell you.  He just takes shots at what he calls your philosophy.  


That is what conversation with the supremacy fantasy is like.  It tends not to know itself, and is based upon nothing.  When presented with facts, or history, it is gone like a fart in the wind.  


Born in the 60’s, I have grown up accustomed to women as police officers, fire fighters, doctors, lawyers, professors, and some very prominent athletes.  Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in September of 1973, just before I turned ten.  We all played tennis in my little town, and we all had rooting interests in the “Battle of the Sexes.”  The boys all rooted for Bobby Riggs.  The girls rooted for Billie Jean King.  It was political, of course, but at the age of ten, I did not understand the broader implications of inclusion and equality.  It took a bit of maturity to get to that point.  At that age, I just rooted for my side, as the immature are likely to do.  It was harmless, really.  You’re not a hardcore bigot at the age of ten.  It was kind of like rooting for the Browns.  The match turned out much like most Browns-Steelers games.  Billie Jean King was the Steelers in this match.  


It is interesting when you apply the diversity question to football.  The diversity I am referring to is not ethnic diversity but rather diversity of tactics and tools.  Paleo-football was more like a Rugby scrum.  The teams surged and clashed over the scrimmage line, and very little advance was ever made.  Football was a massive ego clash with little thought given to tactics.  The push and shove matches were tests of muscle, expenditures of sweat, and challenges to sinew and bone.  Not much ever happened though.  It was a bit like World War I.  


Back in the era of early football (1905,’06, ’07), as the forward pass was coming into practice, the use was extremely limited, by rule, or policy.  The first passes could not be thrown over the line of scrimmage, or more than 5 yards to the left or right of the center.  Even those who know little of football or sports know that the game has changed dramatically since then.  The game has changed.  The ball has changed.  The players have changed.  The coaches in the paleo-football era were reluctant to adopt the forward pass into their game because they considered it to be “sissified” football.  I don’t think anyone today would call football sissified due to the changed rules of the game, and the new participants.  I don’t know for certain about that.  I was born in the ’60’s.  The evidence of the superiority of the game seems unassailable, but so does the military since 1976 when the first women were admitted to the West Point.  In the 36 years since then, the U.S. military does not seem to have molted into some inclusive mediocrity.  It has become the single military power in the world with no peer.  But there must be another view.  If anyone sees Mishima666, ask him for me.  He has been dodging these facts for the past 13 hours or so.


Diversity of tools, and the added sophistication of approach is a way that systems can become more flexible, more resilient, more inventive, and draw from a larger pool of resources.  Women have been flying missions as astronauts since Sally Ride flew her first Shuttle mission in  June of 1983.  Admitting women to the space program did not cause it to be diminished, or fail.  It never occurred to me that it would.  I have a hard time understanding that notion that women being involved will make it necessary that standards be lowered.  It is part of my base assumption that that is not the case.  Why didn’t NASA fail, Mishima666?  I can’t see beyond my , what you call, “...liberal ideology, being "equal" is the most important thing, and anything that is not equal must be made equal. So eventually women will have to be included...”  Again, I was born in the ’60’s.  I did not think these things had to be explained.  I did not know that there was a credible alternative view given the evidence.  Would you make your case for homogeneity and rigid standards?  I don’t want to rely on the aberrational flukes of systems as diverse as sports, and science, and space travel.  


There was this dude who had a theory a little while ago about  many of the elements that are involved in this broader discussion.  He was something of an innovator because he sought to exploit a commonly held perception about natural law which held that the strong dominated the weak, and the quick dominated the slow.  This theory arose, and was explained about 2,500 years ago by a man named Sun Wu.  The theory was called “Bing-fa.”  The work, written 2,500 years ago, is literally “Master Sun’s Martial Arts.”  We know it is “Sun Tzu’s Art of War.”  Sun Tzu led the world’s first civilian army which defeated larger professional armies.  But, what does he know, right?


Born in the 60’s, I thought the lessons taught since ancient China were generally accepted.  Sun Tzu taught that size and strength were not power, but rather the illusion of power.  The powerful can be exploited through the belief in their own power.  That belief in one’s power is its own built in weakness.  As term papers go, I think conquering much of China is a pretty persuasive experiment, but what do I know?  My belief in “equality” will be the doom of all of our exclusive systems.  


How exactly does that work again, Mishima666?



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An analogy I've used is to imagine a hypothetical baseball team that refuses to hire lefties. So Griffey Jr., Koufax, Whitey Ford, Ricky Henderson & Ted Williams have to ply their trade elsewhere. And if everyone discriminates then they best seek another line of work. You're right though Bill; it's a question so basic that one doesn't have a ready answer.
Like I said, it never occurred to me that it had to be said. And it was Mishima666 who offered the sports analogy as proof as to why the inclusion of women will lower the standards by necessity, and make previous standards "sexist", and lead to the failure of the system. It is a crap argument based upon a false premise. I would not have used a sports analogy here, but again, I did not even know it needed to be said at all.
Well, Abra's analogy pretty much played out in baseball before it integrated. Guys like Babe Ruth never had to face the best pitcher in baseball at the time, Satchel Paige. Records set before integration might as well have an asterisk. Probably made more of a difference than steroids did.
I try to avoid the racial aspect of intergration. I could use the Third Reich as an example of a homogeneous military force, but I am trying to keep it limited to resources and tactics.

Also, many argue that Ruth was Black, not that it changes your point, but is worth a mention.
Great blog. Interesting positions. Well-structured arguments/comments.

Personally, I'm a fan of M666 -- he seems extremely reasonable in this whacky OS environment. I don't know which blog/comment is the catalyst for this post (is the search function in OS still disabled?), so I'll make an observation which may be offbase, but what the hell.

The counter-points in this post and blog tend to highlight the upper echelon of sports. I don't think the military, as a whole, should be compared to elite circumstances/athletes/teams in sports. I think maybe the better analogy would be what has happened to Little League in today's "watered-down" game.

In Little League, there's near-equal playing requirements, regardless of skill level. Sometimes there's no scores kept ("It's a tie, everyone!") and there's limits to the number of pitches.

If M666's point was that military commanders (like Little League coaches) will now have to "adjust" to having lesser-skilled players on the field (for today's type of game**), then that seems like a valid observation.

As a product of the 60s also, I can say with 100% certainty that the "average" player on an "average" team in today's Little League has no-where-near the skill level as an average player in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Conversely, the elite of today's Little League are much better than the best players of past.

Personally, I think women-in-combat is a great advancement, because, as Bill points out, newer technology will minimize pure brute-strength advantages for soldiers. Also, I believe there's scientific studies that show "on average" women are better suited for tasks that require more precision and dexterity because of superior skills utilizing small-muscle groups; so positions such as "sniper", robotic controllers on missile systems, gunners, pilots, etc. might be better-manned (no pun intended) by females.

Bottomline is that the women-in-combat directive is a good thing, but I think M666's points should not be easily-dismissed.

Carry on.
Of possible interest - a link I posted on Zuma's comment thread too:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/world/americas/armed-forces-in-canada-resolved-issue-long-ago.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130125

On a tangent, "That belief in one’s power is its own built in weakness" could apply to the American armed forces and America itself, integrated or not.
Mishima666's points are so easily and utterly dismissed that I argue that they are not points at all. He faslely states my position and says it is wrong. Speed and strength don't really have modern battlefield puposes. Endurance, decisiveness, and adpatability to quickly changing circumstances are far more useful. The argument is not a point because it takes women as a block and makes them nearly uniformly unfit for the purpose as it presumes men are almost uniformly fit for it. Both are false. That which determines the fitness of the individual is training and a selection process. One must pass in any circumstance. The training and the selection has no part which require placing genitals on a scale, or a dicussion of reproductive capacity. It is a complete non point imagined from a supremacy fantasy.

Furthermore, who you are a "fan" of has no weight whatsoever. You defined subjectivity. That is meaningless in a question of effectiveness on a battlefield. It doesn't work like American Idol.
Myriad, not only could it apply, it does apply. All systems which are systems have built in weaknesses as a result of their being systems. Systems are structured. Any system has a way to be unzipped. The best way to reduce vulnerability of a system is to have a redundant function which operates on a different format. Diversity of approach, and resource is the best defense against a built in weakness.
Wow, the "fan" thing is what got under your skin?

How 'bout this asinine statement from another comment thread "Notice Mishima666 hasn't said squat."

Can you envision circumstances (work, away from online activities, living real life, travel, etc.) where a person isn't glued to a computer screen and reacts to everything in a near-instantaneous fashion? If so, then perhaps your counterpoints haven't "silenced" M666.

Conversely, perhaps you did make some compelling statements. Who knows.

Carry on.
Joisey, Mishima666's thesis was unequivocal. He said, "So there are two options: either you redesign ground combat units to allow the rare super-strong woman in, or you lower the standards. And in keeping with the liberal cult of equality, the standards will have to be lowered."

Given the nature of the statement, it can't be partially right. It is either right, or it is wrong. On the broad scale, the argument about weaking the military is wrong because we have been doing this for decades. The military is not weaker. It continues to improve. Diversity does not weaken it, but rather it strengthens it. And finally, since the time of Sun Tzu it has been logically argued and successfully demonstrated that power and speed are not necessarily advantageous. They can be used against the powerful. The premise of power being absolute is not kinda wrong, a little wrong, half wrong, it is all wrong. It is a misperception of how the battle thing works.

From that, his broader point that "liberalism...".blah, blah...leads to weakness, is complete crap.
Joisey, this is the last time I will address your interest in Mishima666. This is to correct your misconception. If I intended to say that the argument "silenced" him, then that is what I would have said. What I did say was that he wastes my time. By that I mean, he drops nonsense, and then flees. I said that in a variety of ways several times. Now, I presented points which I think make the case. But I did not say, or intend to say, "silenced." I said that he has not said "squat." That is absolutely true to this point. He likes to waste my time, as do you.
Good point that M666 was incorrect to state that there were only two options. He incorrectly assumes that all other variables (weapon systems, battle tactics, etc.) remain constant and aren't evolving.

I guess the complicating issue is what defines "combat position". Maybe M666 is thinking of foot soldiers with a traditional front fighting a single-position enemy using small arms. How frequent is that scenario nowadays? I'd guess not-a-lot.
I prefer not to speculate about what anyone thinks, and they should not speculate as to what I think. It does not belong here.
I am not sure of his demographics either but I had a similar experience on the issue of women's healthcare coverage with 666. He tried to invalidate what I know after 20yrs of working in healthcare by dismissing anything I had to impart, making a true discussion impossible.
Bingo! Without ever actually taking a position.

A commenter's demographics supercedes the quality/structure of their arguments?

I guess SafeBetAmy is correct that any of us non-lesbians aren't allowed to criticize her blogs/comments when the subject matter is LGBT.
And Rita has a short memory. M666 had outstanding recommendations to OS's spam/poor performance issues that was universally praised.

Yet no one asked him for his qualifications/background (demographics) when making those suggestions.

I missed something somewhere.

I didn't play tennis and I did cheer for Billie Jean King, and saw Satchel Paige pitch for the Portland Beavers. Cheered for him too.
Joisey, Mishimas666's thesis was that "liberalism" and "diversity" weaken systems by necessity. I said, I dont know who or what he is, and made no attempt to make his argument based upon what he was. Rita agreed.

You need to leave now because you are not comprehending it.
Our final ethnicity is addiction. The elephant sitting in the room of diversity are mood altering, addictive substances that respect no race, age, economic status or occupation.

That ethnic group generates an economy that far exceeds ours, contributes no taxes and generates the massive costs that we pay.
What's instructive is to defer on diversity to the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist- they will accept nothing else. The evidence of the vast superiority of the diverse team has NO opposing view in the halls that it matters: those of the VC, Investment Banks and Angel Investor communities, villified as they may have been by the crash and recession, will NOT back anything else, it's out of the question. Once again, follow the money, look to the banker or the Irish Bookie who has actual skin in the game, and therein lies actionable fact.
You get it. I get it. What I am surprised to find out is that some just dont get it. They act like the last 50 years in this country never happened.
I recently read an article about someone I used to know in business who went through a sex change operation. She's a runner, as she was before her operation. She's slower now, even though she's training very heavily, because the operation resulted in some structural changes due to hormonal differences. So, all things being equal, if she was looking to maximize her running speed above all else, she'd have been better off staying male. (This statement is fundamentally silly but I'm making a point about gender.)

However, all things aren't equal. The question is never Would this woman be better at certain athletic skills if she were a man? The question is Does this woman perform up to previously set physical standards? That's a yes or no question. Quite simple.
I have to say that I had no idea that my opinions carry so much weight with Bill that he has to devote an entire post to them.

I will try to be as brief as possible.

1) In a previous post Bill appeared to approved of women serving in front-line combat positions. I have three main concerns about that. First, I have doubts that very many women would have the physical characteristics necessary for service in front-line combat. Second, when it comes to ground combat, the primary consideration should be combat effectiveness, not "equality" or "inclusiveness." Third, when a policy is announced in a bureaucracy, I am concerned that there will be pressure to "game the system" so as to ensure the "success" of the policy.

Of particular concern to me, are the January 24 press conference comments made by General Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn't make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?"

One the one hand we are hearing that there will be no changes to the standards. On the other hand we're hearing "maybe there will be changes."

Concerning my comment that the most important consideration should be combat effectiveness, Bill said that "You are right that my view is not about improving the effectiveness of combat. I had not given that much thought." So he writes an entire post about women in combat, but hadn't thought about combat effectiveness. . . . To me, that's like someone who write a post about zoos, but hadn't thought about animals.

Shortly after admitting that he hadn't though about combat effectiveness, he denounced my "ignorance." I leave it to the reader to decide who is or is not ignorant.

Bill: "It’s hard to tell from his discourse because he normally just tells me what I think, and creates straw men, then flees."

Dude, I have spent HOURS responding to you, long after the other participants in the discussion have gone home and turned out the lights. And again, if my comments are so utterly worthless, why do you spend so much time responding to them?

Bill: "And it was Mishima666 who offered the sports analogy as proof . . . "

I didn't offer it as "proof." I offered it as an example. As a matter of fact we have gender-segregated sports because the vast majority of females cannot compete with men in those sports. By contrast, we don't have gender-segregated chess matches, bridge tournaments, scrabble games, and so on.

Joisey writes: "Personally, I think women-in-combat is a great advancement, because, as Bill points out, newer technology will minimize pure brute-strength advantages for soldiers."

Technology may do that to some extent. But the problem is that technology doesn't always work, and you have to have people who can operate in combat when it doesn't. For example, even with GPS units troops still need to know how to use a map and compass. The GPS can break, have bad reception, bad batteries, and so on. So you use the GPS, but you can't exclusively rely on it. And yes, there are combat positions in which women can serve, such a helicopter pilot. But there is a big difference between flying a helicopter and ground combat.

Bill: "Mishima666's points are so easily and utterly dismissed that I argue that they are not points at all."

My points are so easily and utterly dismissed that you devote thousands of words to dismissing them. . . . . .

Joisey: "Can you envision circumstances (work, away from online activities, living real life, travel, etc.) where a person isn't glued to a computer screen and reacts to everything in a near-instantaneous fashion? If so, then perhaps your counterpoints haven't "silenced" M666."

Exactly. I also do other things like eat, sleep, walk the dogs, spend time with my wife, and so on. And if Bill thinks that my comments are so worthless, why does he care if I respond?

Bill: "Diversity does not weaken it, but rather it strengthens it."

Diversity is neither a magic charm nor an automatic curse. Whether it is good or bad depends on all sorts of other factors. If you owned a professional football team, would you insists that 50 percent of the players be female, in the name of diversity?

Bill: "What I did say was that he wastes my time. By that I mean, he drops nonsense, and then flees."

Look at some of your recent posts. Has anyone left more comments than I? It's interesting that you wrote this post about me, and then didn't even tell me about it. I had to find out about it from someone else.

Joisey: "Maybe M666 is thinking of foot soldiers with a traditional front fighting a single-position enemy using small arms. How frequent is that scenario nowadays? I'd guess not-a-lot."

Yes, I'm talking about front-line combat. And yes, most positions in the military are support. It takes a lot of people in the background to keep one soldier or marine in the field. But for the combat positions you need people who are physically capable of operating in the many scenarios that may arise.

Rita writes: "I am not sure of his demographics either but I had a similar experience on the issue of women's healthcare coverage with 666. He tried to invalidate what I know after 20yrs of working in healthcare by dismissing anything I had to impart, making a true discussion impossible."

I don't recall the exact discussion. Did it have to do with insurance coverage and contraceptives? If so, I remember doing some fairly extensive research on what was actually covered in the Georgetown University student health policy, and mentioning a number of medical conditions requiring contraceptives that were in fact covered by the Georgetown insurance. I may also have mentioned that I have over twenty years of experience as a medical data analyst in a university teaching hospital. If you found my part of the discussion lacking, I apologize. But I did spend over two decades working in the field.

Joisey: "M666 had outstanding recommendations to OS's spam/poor performance issues that was universally praised."

Thank you. Unfortunately, my first post on spam management -- somehow -- God knows how -- drew the ire of another OS member, who denounced me at length in one of her posts. The lesson learned is that on the Internet people will get upset over anything.

Bill: "Mishimas666's thesis was that "liberalism" and "diversity" weaken systems by necessity."

Not at all what I said. What I said was that an ideological commitment to equality and inclusiveness should not override considerations of combat effectiveness.
There seems to be a point missing from this whole question. Both sides seem to assume opposite things about this point. Not having followed previous discussions, I can't speak to their validity, so I do not feel qualified to take sides in the personal aspects of this argument. I tend to agree on issues more with Bill than I do with Mishima and also to be closer to him personally but my overall experience with Mishima doesn't lead me to the conclusion that he generally lacks intellectual integrity, so I am not currently willing to add my support to that contention.

Here's the point: Not only do we not know if the current physical standards are literally critical for combat operations, we don't know if the extent to which they matter outweighs the military advantages of adding the female talent pool to direct combat operations. Let me reiterate the point that I'm asking about Military advantages, not Political or Social advantages.

Without addressing that point, the argument is unresolvable.
Kosher writes: "Not only do we not know if the current physical standards are literally critical for combat operations, we don't know if the extent to which they matter outweighs the military advantages of adding the female talent pool to direct combat operations."

There are some studies out there, but they can be hard to find. This is from a 2002 study by the British Ministry of Defense:
"The overwhelming majority of females applying to the Army or currently serving in the Army would be physically incapable of performing many of the tasks required by the Infantry and RAC [Royal Armoured Corps]. Among the remainder who might achieve the required standards, the risk of injury will be higher than among their male counterparts, as these individuals will be working at a higher percentage of their maximum capability, and their reserve capacity will be less.

"However, there remains a tiny minority of women estimated at 0.1 percent of recruits and 1 percent of trained soldiers who could probably achieve the required standards and perform the job effectively without sustaining higher rates of injury." [Report by the Employment of Women in the Armed Forces Steering Group, p. B-5.]
A 1980 U.S. Navy study came to a similar conclusion:
"Examining sex differences in ability to perform damage-control tasks at sea–some of the most physically demanding, yet critical tasks, that shipboard personnel are called upon to perform–the study found that 'while clear majorities of women (more than 90 percent in some cases) failed to meet the physical standards for eight critical shipboard tasks, virtually all the men passed (in most cases 100 percent).' One percent of women but 96 percent of men, for example, could carry water pumps to the scene of a fire or flooded compartment." [quoted in the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (1992). Women in Combat: Report to the President. McLean, VA: Brassey’s (US). p. 74]
No doubt Bill will be able to "easily and utterly dismiss" the above, as he does with most everything I write. I leave it to the reader to determine whether it is worth considering.
Mishima666, it is easy to dismiss what you say for several reasons. And yes, I wish you would limit your responses. And as for spending so much time responding, I was alseep. I ask you not to hog a blog but you do for your reasons, not because I want you to. But anyway, as you your obviously false reasons.

1) First, you have a procatice of stating what I think. That's bullshit. You can ask or you can quote. Building a straw man is a lie.

2) As I stated, I am not making the policy. Neither are you. You ask the question about whether I have seen "data." That is an absurdity. Hell no, I have not seen data, other than personal experience. The notion that a non policy maker needs data to validate something as large as this is ridiculous. It simultaneously assumes that no one tasked with making this decision has seen data, or it assumes that it disregards data and makes the decision for other reasons. The average day is full of examples of that.

3) Women have served in these billets for years. I think a person who has never seen a military unit up close has no notion of what it takes, and what it does not. Such a person comes up with absurd analogies like sports competition which is not only completely inappropriate, as a means of comparison, it is also being used falsely as a reference point. Your NON data reference point is an assumption that is incorrect and inapplicable. Men and women generally do not compete head to head because of body differences. War has not used bodies as primary weapons for maybe a thousand years. Weapons are equalizers when it comes to applying force.

When theorists far past our experience have stated this, and demonstrated it in the real world, it goes beyond the point of debate. It is reductio ad absurdum to say that my liberalism leads to mediocrity and calling the standard "sexist" for several reasons. The primary reason is that I dont make policy. What I call it means nothing. Second, it's false. Standards are not being reduced in any meaninful way. If they are, resulting from the press conference transcript that referenced a HYPOTHETICAL, then the standard is deemed meaningless. When I was on active duty, leather shining was a big fucking deal. We wore shiny leather black boots. You know what? They dont do that anymore. You know why? Because they are fighting in the desert. That particular standard would be meaningless. Things change and standards are adjusted. That does not mean that the overall service is dropping. There are professionals with whom this responsibility is set. They know what they are doing. To say that their recommendations are anything but the good of their services is crap. There is no evidence of that.
Bill writes: "You ask the question about whether I have seen "data." That is an absurdity. Hell no, I have not seen data, other than personal experience."

It is not an absurdity. People have been considering the role of women in the military for years, and studies have been done on that very issue. I just got done citing two studies, one from Britain and one from the U.S. Navy. So flex your Google muscles and do some research. The information is out there, but it takes some effort to get it.

Bill: "Your NON data reference point is an assumption that is incorrect and inapplicable."

Ok, so read the data that I did cite.

Bill: "War has not used bodies as primary weapons for maybe a thousand years. Weapons are equalizers when it comes to applying force."

Irrelevant. Equipment has to be transported, structures built, etc., and much of that happens manually. In the Marine Corps Gazette USMC Captain Katie Petronio published "Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal," an article about the physical demands of combat on female health. I urge you do a Google search and read the entire article. Petronio, who began with an extremely high level of physical fitness, describes how her experience "participating in and leading various combat operation" as a combat engineer took a toll on her body. She ended up with neuropathy in her legs from spinal compression, muscle atrophy in her legs that led to a loss of coordination, serious weight loss, and female problems brought about by changes in body chemistry.

Petronio notes that "I can say with 100 percent assurance that despite my accomplishments, there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement. I understand that everyone is affected differently; however, I am confident that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females."

Petronio asks "what are we trying to accomplish by attempting to fully integrate women into the infantry? For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force."

The issue of physical capability goes far beyond whether someone can meet a standard at a point in time, though that is important too. It also has to do with how long someone can endure the physical demands of serving in combat, even if the person is not in the infantry. And as Petronio notes, putting women in positions where they will become disabled does no one any good.

But don't take my word for it. Read Petronio's article. Read and consider the studies I've cited. And when you're done with that, I have even more data I can provide you -- if you are interested in having an opinion based on data. A wonderful thing about democracy is that we don't have to only rely on what the higher-ups decree. We can do our own research and come to our own conclusions.
Mishima666, it is happening. Feel free to assail me and all of liberalism, and lowered standards. I can google the data, or I can not google the data, and there will be no change in what will happen.

I don't seek to persuade you about liberalism. I don't seek you at all. I made a post about an announcement that I saw on the NY Times page that said that the ban on women in combat was being lifted. From my point of view, it is overdue, and welcome.

Maybe penicillin never should have been invented. I don't have the expertise to create an alternative history which can construct a scenario where the world with polio would have been better for all. With the only data that I have, history since its invention, I can only guess that it has benefitted us. I'll concede here that it is a guess based upon faith in progess.

Maybe Legal Realism never should have been invented. Maybe Classical legal thought was a superior prism through which to oberve and construct society. I do not have the legal bona fides to know. But given the brutal nature of society under systems constructed from classical legal thought, and the less brutal conditions derived from Legal realism, and the views which it gave rise to, I can only guess that is has benefitted us. I concede here that it is a guess based upon faith in progress.

Maybe The wheel never should have been invented. I am no mechanical engineer. I do not have the engineering knowledge to construct an alternate history which removes machines, and leaves only what would have been without them. The farther one goes backward, the more difficult it is for me to deconstruct that which is, and see that which might have been. I accept the wheel, locomotion, machines as having benefitted us. I concede here that it is a guess based on faith in progess.

I was born into modernity. I am biased by it. Antiquity may have been better. I can't say absolutely that it was not. However, I am not persuaded that it was superior. I favor innovation over tradition. The argument over waiting for data on questions which the naked eye can see and evaluate, to me, is a pointless argument. I choose to stay in the stream of modernity. I trust it. If this process bothers you, I am sorry for that. But be clear. I did not create modernity, liberalism, or a trend toward inclusiveness. I just happened to be here while it was happening.
That's an interesting dance (aka side-step), Bill.

I think you are making points on a macro or abstract level and M666 is discussing specific instances when the average male's physicality is not only desired, it's required.

If I may, let's try to funnel this into areas of agreement.

I agree with the blanket statement that women should be allowed into combat roles (in fact, Bill has pointed-out that this has occurred in the past regardless of military policy). However, it only makes sense that specific tasks' standards be kept at acceptable levels, regardless of the percentage of females who can attain the standards. I think this is M666's point.

For example, if the requirements of an advance/scout team is that one must do a crab-crawl for a quarter mile in x-number of minutes or a 100-yard dash in under x-seconds or be able to carry the heaviest weapon in the event that a comrade is injured/killed, then that should remain the standard for all individuals, regardless of gender.

Likewise, if front-line support unit personnel must be able to hand-carry x-pounds of equipment in the field or be able to lift & carry a wounded soldier back to medical attention, then that should remain the standard.

Any agreement here?

Stepping away from sports analogies, I might make the comparison of this issue with the required retirement age of commercial airline pilots. Some might argue that new plane technology allows for slower reflexes & poorer eyesight on typically-senior pilots, but I think most of us passengers and fellow crew would be less-than-comfortable seeing grandpa at the controls.

Oh, and good morning all.
Joisey, my position is not a sidestep in any way whatsoever. It has not changed one bit.

Furthermore, your restating of Mishima666's position is not valid. "A man's strength" is not a measured quantity. It varies.

Strength in and of itself is not a determinant for usefulness in combat. This has been demonstrated in numerous ways, too numerous to rerererererererestate now. Some of which have been already stated.

Even if strength were uniform among men, and even if it were uniformly less among women, people in combat are not employed like bricks in a wall. It is not a stangnant, inanimate thing which count on some sort of uniform construction to bear loads. People are employed in a dynamic environment, with varying abilities, in nearly infinite ways. If commanders say that there is value to be added by a broader array of resources, then there is no one here to impeach that expertise.

If those with the expertise are making this case based upon something other than need and utility, that is an entirely different discussion. I think we must stipulate in THIS discussion that the experts are doing what they are doing with genuine intent, and not dubious intent. Again, if that is not stipulated on all sides, we have left this discussion and entered another one.
Bill writes "Strength in and of itself is not a determinant for usefulness in combat. This has been demonstrated in numerous ways, too numerous to rerererererererestate now. Some of which have been already stated."

Sorry, maybe I'm getting old and my reading comprehension/memory is poor but the only specific citations (not platitudes or generalities) are actually M666's counter-points where
strength was absolutely shown to be a requirement.

Also, interesting in now you've steered the discussion towards "usefulness in combat". Isn't that just another way of restating M666's point that "combat effectiveness" should be the driving factor here, not fairness or diversity?

See we can come together in agreement.
No. That is not a change. I presume usefulness from the beginning. I have said that there are standards which aspirants must meet in order to gain admittance. Those standards and that process are the means by which usefullness is determined. That is my base assumtion and has been from the beginning. From he beginning. From the beginning.

Now, you may agree. You may disagree. Or, you may be undecided. The last several times you made referecne, you said that you agree. As I stated previously, I prefer to let each speak for him or herself. It is a little ridiculous for you to take one position, then argue from the other. Like I said, I see no point in trying to persuade him. Like I said from the start, I favor modernity. If we are not trying to persuade one another, why would you?
(Similar to M666 falsely setting-up that only 2 scenarios were possible) Now you are making a false statement that there's no use in trying to persuade another.

(Smart/reasonable) people can change their minds if a compelling counter-argument is offered. I don't claim to know-it-all -- do you? I don't claim to never learn anything from another person -- do you?

M666 did some work and found specific citations supporting his case. I learned something.

Like M666, I am a data analyst in real life, so research is important to me.

Finally, have you ever been the 3rd-party seeing two people arguing about something where they're both correct, but the specifics are vague, and that's where the problem is?

I absolutely see your point about modernization and diversity resulting in "advancement" almost universally throughout time, but I also accept M666's real concerns that specific combat duties that may be compromised if standards were lowered.

My original comment in this thread was "Great blog. Interesting positions. Well-structured arguments/comments." I stand by that, picking both sides.
I get accused of trying to "force" my opinion on people all the time. Just look for SBA frequent complaints. You have probably said it yourself a time or two. I can't recall. I should have said it differently. Persuasion is useful in the general sense. In this specific case, this is something that is going to happen no matter what he or I think about it. (again...already stated) To state it more clearly, I have no interest in persuading him. You are already persuaded. I stated my case to welcome the announced change.

It had its roots in SBA saying that the President is a misogynist. I said in here thread at the moment that I noticed it that the ban was being lifted the next day. The time of the announcement in the Times was 3:37. I included that in the comment. The point was, such a step is not taken by a misogynist. I went on to add that Maddow refers to herself as "gay." That is the comment that SBA deleted and referred to as bullying.

So, since the dialogue can not be held with her, I made my own. And frankly, the real case of the policy change is more interesting than the looney notion that the President is a misogynist, it is to me anyway.

SBA claimed that this is some sort of proof that this particular interest is not a valid one, and only an effort to do something to her. Not sure of bully applies here, or one of her other accusations. I lost track there. She is welcome to that view. I explored this because I found it interesting to me. I see that it is reflected in the news generally. Lots of stories about the policy change. I see nothing about the misogyny thing. Whatever. Different strokes.

666 joined the thread on the previous post, I see them as linked in context, to assail liberalism in general. I oppose that view. I used "pointless" and my concept of "not interested" interchangably. I should not have. I am not interested in arguing the value of the wheel. I am not interested in arguing the value of penicillin. I am not interested in arguing the value of Legal Realism. TO me their values to civilization are self evident. It is also not much of a contest generally. I don't worry about slipping backward into antiquity. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll just have to be surprised it it happens. But as for now, being able to persuade him, or any other single person about the value that inclusiveness has contributed to civilization is not an interesting use of my time.
one the problems is the use of the general term'in combat'....duties in a combat zone range from cook to sniper....adjustments and compromises will be made to make it work....but never to the extent of troop safety.....certain duties demand a body type,you don't see 250 lb 'tunnel rats'......unfortunately for women,they would fit this role well....
excellent points on both sides....interesting debate...
(last comment)
SBA is batshit crazy.

She's supposedly an accountant and here it is at the start of uber-busy tax season and she's trolling on OS and Oursalon non-stop. Yeah, I question many of her IRL claims.

I apologize for bring SBA into this comment thread, but I've honored her instruction/request that I not comment on her blogs (a favor she does NOT return to bloggers such as Arthur Louis who requested she cease-and-desist from commenting on his posts), so here is one of the only places that I can state that her Prez=misogynist-or-stupid post is completely idiotic.

Also, her latest flame-Bill post is nutty-to-the-max as well. Who the f--- are the ten rates there besides crazy-libby?

I will say that greenheron actually gave me pause when she asked commenters in Frank's blog to consider (obvious) mental-instability and not to pile-on. Interesting.

I once commented to Ryan Hall (Placebo Studsman -- now deceased) that his position made no sense because of such-and-such inconsistencies. He said that I was probably correct and that his brain had mental hiccups because of his disability(s). Wow, very self-aware.

Ahhh, I'm ramblin'. See you at the next OS meeting-and-bashing-of-minds.
While I basically disagree with GreenHeron, I respect her a great deal. If she asked me to slow down and consider, I will every time. I agree with you that The wings off of flies thing was a bit over the top, and like Kosh said, we can't presume someone to be crazy. That is too disrespectful. But I get her. And frankly, I am not drawn to her posts. I mean, what else can you say. Obama is the devil. What's next? The Devil squared? It is played out. You can start at one of those long posts and go....(scroll)....Obama sucks. Yep, knew it.

SBA is funny. She deletes you (me) and says...."harassment", "bully", and some other stuff. Garbage. Mostly I dont even go to her posts. Doesn't stop her from showing up on mine, calling me all the same names, then starting all over again. Her last one is funny. Frank indulged her with kid gloves. She uses all kind of names for him, me, and some others, never once acknowledging that she is doing it. She only blames others for it. It is like performance art.
I never invalidated 666's work here at OS. That was a good thing. And 666 you summarily dismissed me. How did you know I didn't do just as much research on that subject and have just as much experience. Your condescending air is what is a huge turn off. That's all I can say. I guess it's personal. But giving room for others to have an opinion can be a good thing. Open up, breathe, stop spouting back what I say and LISTEN.... could be mind blowing..
oh OS cut off the rest of my comment.
Could be mind blowing to not always be so smug as to think you are the smartest guy in the room. Sometimes other people actually have things to offer you that you could learn. Even woman.
In the over four years I have been here have never felt the need to say this but since we are comparing credentials 666, please feel free to email me and I will site the published research that I have been part of, the abstracts and lectures I have presented on a national and international level and the textbooks I have written chapters in, if that makes any difference to what my opinions might be or whether you dismiss me or not.
Joisey, I thank you for participating, Some of it was interesting. I'll state for the last time what I wont accept. I wont accept you arguing another person's position and just making this process longer for no reason. If they have stated it, it is there. I dont want you adding to the process by interpreting something about which you may be wrong.

Now, if you happen to be a sock puppet for the other person, just say so. That is a kind of disingenuousness all its own. That aside, and I presume this to be aside from that possibility, let a person speak for him or herself. You overuse your diplomatic interpreter card in my view. Robert Crook limits a person to three posts of reasonable length. I dont limit the number, but you should not try to make a comment thread the Joisey show. If it is that interesting, make a post.
Rita writes: " . . . since we are comparing credentials 666 . . . if that makes any difference to what my opinions might be or whether you dismiss me or not."

Rita, I don't want to have a Battle of the Credentials, nor do I want to reopen an old discussion on someone else's blog. I only mentioned my background in case it might be helpful for you to know that. That said, my arguments stand or fall on their own merits or lack thereof, whether I am a data analyst or ditch digger. Again, if you felt that I did not give your arguments the consideration they deserved, I apologize.
Is it your contention that the military has made it's decision based on social rather than military considerations and that this decision was driven primarily by liberal politics?
The following statement by 666 asserts that unequivocally.

"So there are two options: either you redesign ground combat units to allow the rare super-strong woman in, or you lower the standards. And in keeping with the liberal cult of equality, the standards will have to be lowered."
This quote from Mishima666 on the previous post indicate the same thing, a bit more completely.

But more to the point, the issue is this: what is the purpose of the U.S. military? Is it to prevail in combat, or to provide equal-opportunity career paths?

"Interestingly, Bill's post contains not one word on how having women in infantry positions would help the military accomplish its mission. For him, this is all about being "equal" and "fair" and "inclusive," not about prevailing in combat."

My presumption and my experience is that the military is fundamentally pragmatic. The disciplines that are at the foundation as engineering and logistics. The argument against diversity in his comments presume a departure from pragmatism. I disagree.
Apropos of nothing, I decided to preserve these comments by Jan Sand becasue they are so strikingly absurd and unreasonable.

"I have had encounters with both Beck and Frank.
Beck deleted me when I presented material openly demonstrating he was totally wrong in an assertion so I never deal with him directly anymore.
Frank tries to give the appearance of civility but he never faces facts nor seems to possess a very perceptive mind. I have had long sessions with him and found my efforts are a total waste of time. No sense in bothering with him either. I suspect he has some sort of agenda but I cannot make out what it might be."---Jan Sand Jan 27, 2013

Most of this is about Frank, but Jan finds space to make an unsupported accusation, and follows it with another juicy morsel.

"Incidentally, all Libby's submissions are very etailed and totally factual. When she accuses Obama of totalitarian agendas it is not a mere assertion, it is based on stated factual material. Both Frank and Beck are Obama's spaniels. I suspect it is a racial thing with Beck and Frank is merely loony, as far as I can tell."---Jan Sand Jan 27, 2013

Two things strike me as interesting about this comment. First. "spaniels." I am familiar with the reference to various breeds of dog. I get the notion (inferred) that it means some sort of lap dog. Kind of an unthinking, obediant follower of Obama, so to speak. I had to look it up to see if it had some deeper meaning than that. I could not find one.

The racial reference and the reference to a dog, as much as I like dogs, seems to be something of a slight. Now, I know Jan Sand says that he is deleted because of his wonderful refutations. I'd love to have evidence of that, but if the charge is true, the evidence was destroyed by me, so giving him the benefit of doubt, he is approaching a point. But consider further that Jan Sand is not above equating Frank and me to dogs, and asserting that my only motivation for support of President Obama is because I share race with him. (Interestingly, Frank and I share this canine quality even though we do not share race.) The interesting point regarding this logic is that it is entirely lacking.

Where do Sand and I disagree in our liberalism? If I remember correctly, Sand is rather more pacifistic. I am a former member of the USMC, not pacifistic. Without taking one side or another, is it inconsistent to support a President who is not as much of a pacifist as some would like, but sufficiently willing to use the military as I would deem necessary? Is that a racial thing? Nope.

Consider the ACA (Obamacare), and my views regarding nationalized health care. My views are to the left of the President. I would have preferred a single payer system, but I am willing to accept the mandate philosophy as a compromise solution, just as I have written about compromise solutions with regard to budget. Is that, are those racial issues? Nope.

Consider the fact that I have voted for white Presidents for the past 30 years. I did not vote for Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes, or of course herman Cain. Did I choose race over policy ever? Nope. Not once. Obama was not even my first choice during the 2008 primary season. Sadly, I supported John Edwards for his "Two Americas" philosophy and allowed the primary to play out before making a choice. Was that choosing for race? Nope.

My choice of President has been carefully considered. Black people can choose a Black candidate for reasons that do not include race.

Jan Sand will publicly claim in the space of a few sentences that he is deleted because he offers refutations that cant be faced, and that a Black man chooses a Black candidate because they are both Black...in spite of exculpatory evidence. I would submit that those comments, if they were remotely like these, we deleted because they were odious, inflammatory, and not remotely logical.
This sort of comment by Jan Sand is the point where I am typically referred to as a racist. When I have said in the past, Black people can make choices for reasons other than race, and that this presumption is racist, I am called a racist for such a defense.

A minute or two after adding these comments above, I remembered that most Black Americans are religious. Black Americans are a rather religious group generally speaking. The President himself is a religious person. That is yet another area of disagreement between myself and the President. Sadly, in this day and age, the American politician who is not religious, and for themost part Christian, is not viable as a politician. When religion includes the discussion of Islam, it tends to border on acceptable or criminal. I have repeatedly asserted that it is not illegal to be Muslim. I am openly suspicious of religiosity because I think it erodes reason. I openly differ with most Black Americans in this fundamental aspect of American life in ways that affect a much wider array of activities than merely the selection of one's choice for President. We have a secret ballot in America, while most are not secretive about their religion. Religious congregations exist for the purpose of communing with like minded religious practice, while such formal activities politically are relatively few and infrequent.

Jan Sand's logic is that I oppose the common, frequent, and huge congregation, to mindlessly follow the small, infrequent, and optionally secret congregation...minldessly like a "spaniel." Is this logic? Is this reason? Is this the fruit of a mind which can not be refuted? Or is this just racist invective, assembled from lies and disguised as analysis?
Why are comments by Jan even here?

Though I didn't get involved early enough and because I took Obama for far more of a liberal than he turned out to be, my original favorite was also John Edwards for the same reason. Being as I'm a confirmed income polarization nut, I appreciated someone who took my concern seriously. It turned out that Obama didn't.
Sand's comments are here because I saw them on SBA's post, and I wanted to save them. If this had been a post about sugar cookies I would have saved them there. It just marks them in time for me, obviously not context.

As for Edwards v. Obama, we agree again. It goes to refute Sand's racist presumption. And as for Obama specifically, I think only so much liberalism or conservatism will allow a candidate to be viable. Can't be overdone either way. In discussing compromise previously I have cited Ben Franklin's quote that politics is the art of the possible. Makes sense to me.

Furthermore, as to what Obama "is", judgements are always premature. Is he who he was in 2009, 2010, 2012? Is he who he was in Jan 2013? Who would you say he is in 2014, or 2016 if there is a immigration policy, gun control agreement, avoidance of war with Iran, or whatever? My statement would be, will be, all of the above. And I am also confident in saying, a far sight better than John Edwards.
Kosher asks: "Is it your contention that the military has made it's decision based on social rather than military considerations and that this decision was driven primarily by liberal politics?"

I see that Bill has already answered the question for me, but what he cited is not really how I would answer the question.

My particular concern is not so much what is happening now, but what may happen in the future. In his first post on the topic Bill had written "As I understand it, some restrictions will remain. Actual infantry positions will remain closed, but that is only a matter of time." As of now those positions are not open to women. But from his comment it appeared to me that Bill supported the idea of women in infantry, and that's what I took issue with.

My belief is that having women in infantry would be a bad idea, and that a decision to open the infantry to them would be a decision that was based on factors such as "equality" and "inclusiveness," and not on combat effectiveness. I'm only talking about infantry, not other positions (e.g., helicopter pilot), though there may also be non-combat positions that due to their physical requirements would not be appropriate for women.

Were such a decision made, it would likely go one of two ways: the current standards would remain, and only a few women who met the standards would be allowed in the infantry, or, more likely, the standards would be lowered. Why would such a decision be made? I can only speculate, but my guess is that it would be because of political pressure.

Interestingly, General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, talked about lowering the standards on the very day the new policy was announced. At a press conference with Secretary Panetta, Dempsey said "Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn't make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?"

Of course meeting or changing the standards is only one issue. Another issue, that USMC Capt. Katie Petronio eloquently described, is females suffering disabling and potentially even career-ending injuries at a much higher rate than men in some of these physically demanding military occupations. I have cited her article in a prior comment above, and if you have time I would urge you to read her entire article.

Are there are other concerns that so far have not been raised. These include the effect of pregnancy on combat effectiveness and readiness, and the potential for dating and sexual relationships within gender-integrated units between members of the opposite sex who are at the peak of their reproductive lives. Pregnancy alone is a serious issue and is responsible for a significant number of female service members who are unable to deploy or lost to deployment. Two days ago the NY Daily News reported that "More women in the military are winding up pregnant despite access to free birth control, research shows. Eleven percent of servicewomen reported an unplanned pregnancy in 2008, the most recent year data is available. That’s twice the average among the general, non-military public, and also significantly higher than previous years."
Have you ever been in the military, Mishima666?
Mishima666, you give a 600 word comment about stuff that I could not care less about. But you can't or won't answer a 8 word question with a 1 word answer, one way or the other. One of the words in the question is your name. Good grief.

Tell you what, Mish, spare me. if you can't answer a 8 word direct question...spare me the rest.
No, I have not been in the military. But I can read.

In general I don't discuss my background on Open Salon, first, because it's no one's goddamned business, and second, because it just leads to ad hominem attacks. Sometimes I do talk about my background, if I think there's a reason for it and I feel like doing it. In this case there wasn't a good reason for it, but since it was so important to you I made an exception.

The 600 word comment that you couldn't care less about was in response to a question by someone else. It wasn't in response to you.
The reason I asked about your background was because you seemed to have a rather firm, unchanging opinion, and not easily influenced by those with deep experience. The deep experience I refer to is the Joint Chiefs. That is a lot of collective experience. These men deal with issues in many levels of commands over decades. They live and work and lead through many, many eras of evolution on a variety of issues. It is incredibly difficult to make it to that level, one of 5, above all in all branches.

Things like pregancy are not new, nor are they a significant issue, least of all in combat. There really are no such things as "fox holes" anymore. Technically, they are still taught. They are called "fighting holes", but modern battlefields dont really have them, and wont have them. Like the President mentioned bayonnettes and horses, while we still have them, they are mostly an anachronism. Such is the case with "fighting holes." And even if that were to occur, thoughts dont turn to romance in battle. Stuff like that is why I asked.

Fox holes, or fighting holes were part of the old military that would use large land forces and hold territory. Sometime back in the 1970's the Army started trying to replicate the USMC model of light infantry. This does not use the advance and hold strategy from previous eras. They use smaller units with lighter bits of equipment to move more quickly to their objectives, execute their plans, and move out. BY now it has evelved further into remotely controlled devices, langage skills for immersion, special ops, and a variety of other things. The modern battlefield is not like what many imagine. Stuff like that.