• Here’s Why This Marine Grunt Believes Women Should Be Excluded From Combat Roles

    One former Marine thinks that the discussion about integrating women into all combat roles is missing one crucial element: the distinction between being in a combat zone and actually engaging in combat.

    Chad Russell, a former Marine infantryman, served with the 3rd Battalion 1st Marines and deployed for three tours in Iraq, engaging the enemy in combat for each tour. He’s also a veteran of the storied Battle of Fallujah. Russell recently gave an interview with Boston’s NPR News Station and argued that while women bring equal value to the military, being in a convoy that might have to deal with an improvised explosive device is completely different from “sustained, direct action against the enemy up close and personal.”

    For Russell, there’s just no comparison.

    “There’s a big difference between being exposed to an IED, right, going out and being an attachment versus being in a sustained combat role day, after day, after day in these high stress environments,” he said. “It really boils down to that bottom line of – we have a saying in the Marine Corps ‘complacency kills.’”

    Former Marine Commandant Robert Barrow made the same point back in 1991, when he argued that combat is not identical with exposure to danger.

    “Combat is a lot more than that,” Barrow told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s a lot more than being shot at. It’s killing. That’s what it is, and it’s done in an environment that’s as difficult as you can possibly imagine. Extremes of climate, brutality, death, dying. It’s uncivilized, and women can’t do it.” (RELATED: FLASHBACK, 1991: Former Marine Commandant Robert Barrow, Spitting Hot Fire About Women In Combat [WATCH])

    Russell added that whether women could technically perform in combat is not the right question to ask. Instead, the right question is whether including women is an absolute necessity, as opposed to a fulfillment of political desire and pressure.

    This political pressure has been brought to bear by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who Russell said had already made up his mind even before the summary results of an exhaustive gender integration study conducted by the Marine Corps were released.

    Russell isn’t by any means the only person to criticize Mabus. GOP Sen. John McCain has wondered aloud whether the study had any point whatsoever, given that Mabus has chosen to ignore the results. (RELATED: McCain To Mabus: Why Bother Having A Study On Combat Gender Integration If You’re Going To Ignore The Results?)

    Additionally, women present a major sexual distraction in an environment full of young males ready for combat.

    “We have a strong sexual drive and we are noticing them and going out of our way to notice them,” Russell said. “So it does create a distraction. I can’t imagine going through Fallujah and, you know, having a bunch of females in the platoons. I just can’t imagine it.”

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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