Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Under the sea

I had no idea women were banned from submarine operations.

What were the reservations of the Navy when they instituted the ban?

I suppose practical considerations like privacy and accommodation are valid. Besides, sub ops often isolate people for months on end, and in such cramped conditions emotional attachments and rivalries could easily arise and thereafter compromise the morale and operational readiness of the crew. Also the social and political fallout of having women killed in battle could reduce national will to pursue an aggressive course of action against an enemy over the long term.

These were the notions of sailors in ages past, when bringing a woman on board ship was once regarded as ominous to the voyage.

Today, the US Navy has relinquished such archaic thinking. The nature of modern battles places women on the frontlines regardless of the capacity they are serving in. In war, any target that moves is fair game, conscience and regret be damned. At least give the lady a rifle and she might be able to shoot back,increasing her chances of survival on the battlefield.

In combat, women strategize in ways that often blindside men (if you don't know this, you haven't fought one before), so male dependent enemy forces could be at quite a disadvatage when the US military machine employs its latest now not-so-secret weapon to its fullest and deadliest capacity.

But the biggest reservation against assigning women to the undersea corps has to be the negation of a very old joke. To the question, "what is long and hard and full of seamen?" the answer can no longer be "a submarine."

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