Demilitarising the Military – 1

While Britain’s armed forces are widely respected among the working and retired sections of the population, left-wing egalitarian group-think loses no opportunity to undermine this respect.

One of the tactics used is making the false argument for the need of female participation in activities which they are either not naturally suitable for, or not inclined to pursue in numbers deemed sufficient according to egalitarian ideology. The latest politician to surrender to this pressure is the British politician, Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence no less. Hammond, unlike most of his Cabinet colleagues, has actually spent a few years in an operational role in business. Moreover he is credited with getting the Ministry of Defence’s equipment procurement programme under financial control.

However like many before him, he cannot resist the constant pressure to put female egalitarianism ahead of all other considerations (except “anti-racism”) in the carrying out of his responsibilities for the military defence of the United Kingdom’s interests.

Current rules prevent women from serving in the infantry and armoured units of the British army (tanks). These are the formations which are designed to kill enemy combatants at close quarters including bayonetting, automatic rifle and machine gun fire, and aimed tank rounds, all the while under fire from enemy tanks, machine guns and artillery. Only fearsome, adrenalin-fuelled physical energy and ferocious determination to overcome the enemy will carry a solder and his comrades through. It is the supreme physical test of young manhood, which cannot be simulated off the battlefield[1]. Nonetheless Hammond has decided to put what he calls the “image” of our armed forces ahead of the above operational realities.

Here is a quote from his speech on 8th May (Victory in Europe Day, no less):

“We have frankly a problem. There is a big gap between what our society looks like and what our armed forces look like. The image of the military, I think is still (sic) a macho image, the last bastion of male chauvinism”.

The idea that our military forces should reflect contemporary society, with its namby-pamby attachment to health and safety rules and aversion to any physical or mental discomfort, will fill the public with dread. It will also adversely affect recruitment, turning off most men who would otherwise be attracted to the armed forces. Few will want to join a branch of the social services, however worthy these may be in civilian life. Nonetheless Hammond wants to send a “signal that all branches of the military are open regardless of gender”. In this he is apparently supported by the present Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, (Head of the British Army in effect), though not his three immediate predecessors all of whom, unlike Wall, served in and commanded infantry or armoured units.

This writer believes that regardless of tests the Army may devise, admitting women to close combat units will hugely compromise the Army’s esprit de corps and degrade its ability to carry out its foremost obligation which the public have a right to expect from it, namely to safeguard the nation’s interest by the exercise of military force. Compared with this obligation, abstract notions of gender equality should have no place.


[1] Boxing is possibly the nearest civilian analogue of (speed plus force) ferocity.

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One Response to “Demilitarising the Military – 1”

  1. Ageing Albion says:

    We need people to speak the blunt truth in public life, not offer platitudes to politically correct ideals. Close Quarter Battle (CQB) requires not just adrenaline and determination, as Horatio observes, but also a willingness to set aside society’s ultimate taboo, in carrying out an action that would in other circumstances be murder. Very few people can do this without serious conditioning first (hence the harshness of most infantry training). Even those who have qualified as basic infantry sometimes fail this test to begin with.

    Hammond should read Mark Bowden’s excellent book Black Hawk Down (not the Hollywood film that followed) which presented the journalist’s findings after extensive research on the US’ ill-fated Somali intervention in 1993. When the mission went off the rails after the helicopters were shot down, only the extreme ferocity of the Delta Force (SAS equivalent) prevented total disaster. Even the well-trained Ranger unit wilted at various points – earning contempt from their Delta colleagues.

    Does Hammond really think that units like that would be able to comprise 50% females and be the same thing they are now? Delta saved the lives of their colleagues that day because they never hesitated to kill the enemy by whatever means was required. Not many females, one ventures to suggest, might manage that degree of brutality.

    Hammond seems to be listening to those who complained on the BBC Question Time after Bin Laden was killed about how the US Seals did something improper by shooting him rather than trying to capture him alive. No-one in the air conditioned studio in the United Kingdom seemed to realise that it was only the ruthless professionalism of the Seals that made the mission possible in the first place, and sustained it after the helicopter crash.

    This has little to do with a ‘macho image’ and everything to do with training people to be merciless killing machines. Unless, that is, he would rather our armed forces followed the lead of the Italian soldiers who kept the peace in Afghanistan by bribing the locals in their area not to shoot them.

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