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Jewish World Review / Oct. 8, 1998 /18 Tishrei, 5759

Walter Williams

Race and sex in the military

THE OCT. 2 WASHINGTON TIMES carried a story by Rowan Scarborough about a Marine Corps internal memorandum dictating that, by 2003, its officer corps shall be 12 percent black, 12 percent Hispanic and 5 percent other ethnic origins.

In the wake of the memo's controversy, Marine Commandant Gen. Charles C. Kurlak did the Clintonist double talk, saying that "12-12-5" stemmed from guidelines he approved earlier but, "The fact of the matter is I confessed to signing something I was not really attuned to." Krulak feigns offense at the idea marines would have standards-lowering racial quotas. But that's the same military rope-a-dope about not lowering standards to accommodate women. Let's look at it.

The "USMA report on the Integration and Performance of Women at West Point," cited by Mackubin Thomas Owens in the July issue of Proceedings reveals sex-norming schemes whereby women receive A grades for the same performance that earns a man a D. Navy women pass physical readiness tests by performing 11 percent fewer sit-ups and 53 percent fewer push-ups, and running 1.5 miles 27 percent slower than men.

The Marine Corps discovered that only 45 percent of female Marines could toss a hand grenade beyond its burst radius; one Army study reported only 12 percent could. Navy studies show that only 12 percent of women can accomplish the two-person stretcher carry, a requirement critical to ship security. Women may be able to drive a 5-ton truck but need a man's help if they must change a tire. Women can fire field artillery pieces but often can't handle the ammunition.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, says, "Every time a woman is excluded from a position (in the military), she is devalued." That's the kind of stupid thinking that ignores important physical and psychological sex differences and has compromised our military readiness. A partial listing of those differences include: the average female soldier is five inches shorter than her male counterpart, has half the upper-body strength, has significantly lower aerobic capacity (at her physical peak, ages 20 to 30, the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male) and has 37 percent less muscle mass. Women have a much lighter skeleton, which means, among other things, she can't pull G forces as well as men and is at greater risk of skeletal injuries.

Women soldiers are four times more likely to report ill. The percentage of women being medically non-available at any time is twice that of male soldiers. Then there's pregnancy. Each year, between 10 percent and 17 percent of servicewomen become pregnant. In certain posts, the rate is higher. In 1988, James Webb, secretary of the Navy, said 51 percent of single Air Force and 48 percent of single Navy women stationed in Iceland were pregnant. During troop deployment in Bosnia, between December 1995 and July 1996, a woman had to be evacuated due to pregnancy every three days. These and other factors mean that women suffer a higher rate of attrition than men, and because of the turnover they are not as profitable training investments.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of military social engineering is official cover-up of failure. Officers who criticize double standards or expose official lies and deception risk their careers. If Krulak's quota plan goes forward, you can bet there will be just as much lying and deception about race.

Blacks are 11 percent of Army officers and 6 percent of the officers in the other branches. Hispanics are roughly 4 percent of the officers in each branch. Black and Hispanic officers should be at the forefront of the protest against Krulak's quota program, or risk having their achievements seen as handouts. More importantly, Krulak should be fired.

Up

9/29/98: Can Clinton run the economy?
9/25/98: Liberals and the constitution
9/17/98: Clinton and future presidents
9/11/98: Donate or sell organs
9/03/98: Common Sense vs. Experts
8/26/98: Mother Nature's unfairness
8/24/98: The pretense of superiority
8/13/98: Yours or mine?
8/05/98: I do my job well, so that means I can....
7/29/98: Education production

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.