By Jonah Bennett
Retired British Army officer Col. Richard Kemp argued in a Tuesday editorial for the Telegraph that opening combat roles to women is a mistake that will result in blood and lowered standards for the military.
The British Ministry of Defence is conducting a full-scale review of the physical fitness standards to determine whether or not women will be allowed to join infantry and the SAS, the British take on special forces.
It is expected that the Ministry will decide in favor of allowing women on the front lines.
For Kemp, such a decision is due to politicians desperately trying to signal as good progressives, as well as feminists pushing for more power, regardless of the fact that they themselves would never enlist for combat.
The consequences of destroying barriers to women is that physical standards will inevitably be lowered, Kemp argued.
“This is an extremely dangerous move,” Kemp wrote for The Telegraph. “Physical fitness is the single most important building block for an infantry soldier. Everything else depends on it. The only people who fully understand the demands of infantry close combat are infantrymen themselves.”
“I have not heard a single serving or retired infantryman say that admitting women is the right thing to do – unless their wives or senior officers are listening,” Kamp added, hinting that a lot of pressure for compliance is coming from military leadership.
But unlike other administrative roles, the demands of combat have not budged an inch in over 100 years. Endless marching in soaring temperatures and the sheer weight of the equipment make the task arduous for even the most ready recruit, and once all that’s said and done, the recruit must be ready to pick up his rifle after a march and engage in combat with a merciless enemy.
Women are simply not cut out for this position. Kemp noted that the British Army’s research has shown women have a musculo-skeletal injury rate double than that of men during the training stage.
What this means is women in combat are more likely to be a liability than an asset.
“Through no fault of their own, women will often become the weak link in an infantry team,” Kemp said. “The men will have to take up the slack and this will engender resentment and reduce the cohesion that is so vital for effective infantry combat.”
The debate in Britain on women in combat has already been concluded in the United States. In December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced all combat roles would open up to women without exception, despite a request from the Marine Corps to keep some positions male-only.
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