Unnecessary Loss of Life

by | Sep 29, 2015 | Military

In our latest wars, many of the casualties suffered by American troops are a direct result of their having to obey rules of engagement created by politicians who have never set foot on -- or even seen -- a battlefield

War is nasty, brutal and costly. In our latest wars, many of the casualties suffered by American troops are a direct result of their having to obey rules of engagement created by politicians who have never set foot on — or even seen — a battlefield. Today’s battlefield commanders must be alert to the media and do-gooders who are all too ready to demonize troops involved in a battle that produces noncombatant deaths, so-called collateral damage.

According to a Western Journalism article by Leigh H Bravo, “Insanity: The Rules of Engagement” (http://tinyurl.com/p59nlqs), our troops fighting in Afghanistan cannot do night or surprise searches. Also, villagers must be warned prior to searches. Troops may not fire at the enemy unless fired upon. U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present. And only women can search women. Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said: “We handcuffed our troops in combat needlessly. This was very harmful to our men and has never been done in U.S combat operations that I know of.” Collateral damage and the unintentional killing of civilians are a consequence of war. But the question we should ask is: Are our troops’ lives less important than the inevitable collateral damage?

The unnecessary loss of life and casualties that result from politically correct rules of engagement are about to be magnified in future conflicts by mindless efforts to put women in combat units. In 2013, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially lifted the ban on women serving in ground combat roles. On Jan. 1, 2016, all branches of the military must either open all positions to women or request exceptions. That boils down to having women serve in combat roles, because any commander requesting exceptions would risk having his career terminated in the wake of the screeching and accusations of sexism that would surely ensue.

The U.S. Army has announced that for the first time, two female officers graduated from the exceptionally tough three-phase Ranger course. Their “success” will serve as grist for the mills of those who argue for women in combat. Unlike most of their fellow soldiers, these two women had to recycle because they had failed certain phases of the course.

A recent Marine Corps force integration study concluded that combat teams were less effective when they included women. Overall, the report says, all-male teams and crews outperformed mixed-gender ones on 93 out of 134 tasks evaluated. All-male teams were universally faster “in each tactical movement.” The report also says that female Marines had higher rates of injury throughout the experiment.

Should anyone be surprised by the findings of male combat superiority? Young men are overloaded with testosterone, which produces hostility, aggression and competitiveness. Such a physical characteristic produces sometimes-poor behavior in civilian society, occasionally leading to imprisonment, but the same characteristics are ideal for ground combat situations.

You may bet the rent money that the current effort to integrate combat jobs will not end with simply a few extraordinary women. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told the Navy Times that once women start attending SEAL training, it would make sense to examine the standards. He said, “First we’re going to make sure there are standards” and “they’re gender-neutral.” Only after that will the Navy make sure the standards “have something to do with the job.” We’ve heard that before in matters of race. It’s called disparate impact. That is, if the Navy SEALs cannot prove that staying up for 18 hours with no rest or sleep, sitting and shivering in the cold Pacific Ocean, running with a huge log on your shoulder, and being spoken to like a dog are necessary, then those parts of SEAL training will be eliminated so that women can pass.

The most disgusting, perhaps traitorous, aspect of all this is the overall timidity of military commanders, most of whom, despite knowing better, will only publicly criticize the idea of putting women in combat after they retire from service.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. In 1980, he joined the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and is currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics. He is also the author of Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? and Up from the Projects: An Autobiography. Williams participates in many debates and conferences, is a frequent public speaker and often gives testimony before both houses of Congress. This editorial was made available through Creator's Syndicate.


  1. Easy way to avoid unnecessary loss of life, bring them home and stop going to war.

    “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
    John Quincy Adams

  2. An even better way is using nuclear weapons and killing all our enemies.

  3. Williams says “The most disgusting, perhaps traitorous, aspect of all this is the overall timidity of military commanders,..” Why are such harsh terms as disgusting and traitorous used on the responsible and victims, rather than on the irresponsible/crooks? Does he expect them as he earlier says to “risk having his career terminated in the wake of the screeching and accusations..” People should not be a slave or do a kamikaze for justice, Rather it should be a trading relationship. It’s those who come up with these rules of engagement, and ‘gender equality’ in the military who are disgusting and traitors.

  4. Monsters come after you, you do not have to search for them, eg the Nazis. John lived in denial.

  5. You do understand the difference between being attacked and looking for someone to attack? Besides the Nazis had no intention of attacking the US, hell Hitler wanted to be allies with the English against Russia.

  6. And everyone else. A better idea is to not make enemies. How do we do that? Capitalism.

  7. Look at the recent revelations coming out now about the child rapes in Afghanistan and the repercussions our solders suffered for attempting to stop them.

  8. So now you are against fighting both Iraq and the Nazis?-you are a REAL American.

  9. Yes, because REAL Americans don’t start wars, we finish them. Japan and Germany declared war against us first.

  10. So what exactly are you trying to say about Germany?, you don’t make sense.

  11. Germany declared war on the U.S. but had no intention of attacking the U.S.? Begging your pardon, but how many American ships were sunk by U-boats waaaaay before the first offensive U.S. troop landed on British shores?

    And Hitler wanted to be allies with the British, so he deliberately kept expanding his military conquests, knowing that it would eventually force the British into war with him?

    Ay, chihuahua…

    Those who don’t know history are doomed to be stupid.

  12. Prior to the French and English declaring war on Germany after its invasion of Poland Hitler had no intention of fighting them or the US.

    BTW, not knowing history is ignorance not stupidity you moron.

  13. ignorant people are stupid, and stupid people are ignorant.

  14. That’s not true at all. Everyone is ignorant about something but not everyone is stupid.

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