Bob Maginnis is the Senior Fellow for National Security at Family Research Council and author of “Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat.” Maginnis explains how requiring women to participate in the same ground combat as men will lead to a very dangerous compromise of the physical requirements for combat. He also discusses why he thinks America’s young women will be subjected to the draft.
Visit the Family Research Council at www.frc.org.
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Start of Interview with Bob Maginnis
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Bob Maginnis to the show. He is a senior fellow for national security at Family Research Council and the author of Deadly Consequences: How Cowards are Pushing Women into Combat. Bob, welcome. How are you?
Bob Maginnis: I’m doing well. Thanks for having me.
Jason Hartman: Well it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Where are you located, out of curiosity?
Bob Maginnis: I live in Northern Virginia, and actually in the day time I’m in the Pentagon.
Jason Hartman: Okay, fantastic. Well, tell us a little bit about the book and what prompted you to write Deadly Consequences.
Bob Maginnis: Back on the 24th of January, when Secretary Leon Penetta, the secretary of defense and General Martin Dempsey decided to remove all exemptions for women in any type of combat, especially ground combat. I said well wait a second, that’s going way too far. You see, the polar sides on this particular argument, one side argues that it’s about equality and that women are prohibited from ground combat with condemns them to a second class citizenship. And as a result, they are willing to see some reduction in our overall fighting ability in order to get to that particular policy goal.
My side, the opposite side, argues that women are really not capable of the physical and psychological demands of sustained ground combat. The evidence, I argued, throughout deadly consequences is really overwhelming. And any compromise of the tip of the spear fight is something that should be unacceptable to the American people.
Now, those are the two polar sides. What I argue in the book is that, I asked the question: what kind of society sends its women into ground combat? And I defined ground combat as those who are at the tip of the spear, that are smashing heads, they’re shooting the enemy at close range and they’re wrestling the enemy to the ground in a death struggle. And this can go on for days or weeks or years.
Jason Hartman: And to me a lot of the stuff you just mentioned sounds like it requires some significant upper body strength, which is always the area in which men and women really differ.
Bob Maginnis: And the physiology and the psychology I go into because the steroid testosterone is so key in making men much larger and more aggressive. And women are not little men, as some people would have us believe. And then I also ask the question, do we want to be the type of society that sends it’s young women into this type of fight? And I think fundamentally that it’s immoral and un-American to do that.
And yet, I see that we have a lot of bobble heads that are on the capitol hill and certainly in the Pentagon that are saying no, go ahead and do it. Well, having served in four infantry divisions, I’ve trained thousands of young combatants, people that I just described; I just know based upon my own experience and the science that we reference in deadly consequences that this is a very, very bad decision. It certainly jeopardizes our readiness, it jeopardizes a lot of lives and it hurts women.
Jason Hartman: So, just as an outsider and a non-military person myself, number one: I have the utmost respect for the brave people that fight wars. Personally, I wouldn’t want to do it. It just must take an incredible amount of courage to put yourself in harm’s way like that. So getting that out of the way, I don’t understand why women would want to do this. When you looked at the draft during Vietnam for example, people were running across the border to Canada to avoid going to war. Now, granted some of that was out of the sort of hippie mentality, peace, hippie-John Lennon type crowd. But some was just general fear. I just never understood it. I understand equal rights and equality, I get it. But why would someone want to put themselves in a horrendous position? No one disagrees that war is hell.
Bob Maginnis: Yeah, well very few women have the pertinacity to want to do this. It’s only the radical feminists outside that see this as a glass ceiling for women reaching the high ranks. They say, well that needs to be removed without giving any consideration to what ground combat is, much less that one of the questions that ought to be asked; it really goes beyond the question, can you carry a 50 pound pack? Ground combat, the tip of the spear, of which only 5% of the military are engaged in, which is where they want to send them, this is the rangers, the seals, the infantry where I’ve served. They just have no comprehension, but they don’t really care. Because this is a policy goal, and they believe that it’s going to enhance the number of women being promoted.
Now, based upon research out of the RAND corporation that looked at women’s promotion rates, women are promoted at the same rate as men. No matter where they’re serving in the armed forces. They are not competing with infantry men, they’re competing with one another wherever they happen to be assigned. So there’s not a propensity either to come into the military and in fact women cost us financially twice as much to recruit because they aren’t interested in smashing heads for the most part. There are a few perhaps, but very, very few. And then they don’t tend to stay around very long. They trend at a faster rate once they do come in.
And for those that are staying up to 3 or 4 years, they leave for the logical reasons. A lot of them will get married, a lot of them will have children that they really don’t see the military life and small children are compatible so they leave. Btu still, in spite of those reasons for attrition, they still are promoted at the same rate. So it’s a ludicrous notion that they really want this. When we pulled women inside, and the military stopped doing this a number of years ago, but when we polled and conducted surveys, the women said no we don’t want to do this. We know how tough that is.
Jason Hartman: I would think that that would be completely accurate. Is part of your thesis that this is really just a step toward the day when maybe we have a draft again, as an excuse to draft women as well as men?
Bob Maginnis: Well, certainly. That is one of the consequences of this dumb headed sort of thinking. There are some that actually believe that we’re moving toward an androgynous society where men and women are interchangeable.
Jason Hartman: That’s absurd. That is just absurd on so many levels.
Bob Maginnis: It is absurd, but in the thinking of those that are so PC, they kind of say, nope that’s where we’re going. But yes, I do believe that when you look at the record, the record is this: that we have selective service act of 1971. That act is an all-male conscription act, because at the time we had two laws in place and we had a policy in the pentagon that women were exempted from ground combat. As a direct result of that exemption you find that up until 1981 when there was a court challenge, that challenge specifically said that because of those laws and that exemption policy, women will not be eligible for selective service. Well, that’s all been wiped away. The laws were repealed, the exemption policy was removed this January, and now the playing ground, the battlefield per say, is level.
There will be a case – there’s already been one that was dismissed on a technicality. There will be a case. The ACLU will bring it, and it will say that men and women are equally vulnerable to selective service. The law will be declared unconstitutional. We won’t completely throw away the law, so we will have selective service for all 18 and above in the future. Now, having said that, it’s important to understand that the other two legs of this three legged stool, are one: what does it look like in the future in terms of threats? Well, Al Qaeda is not dead, it’s franchised all over the world, we have a tender box if you look across North Africa and the Middle East.
Jason Hartman: Look at Egypt today.
Bob Maginnis: Well, absolutely. There is Syria or Libya supposedly, which it was a great victory which is coming apart across that entire region. Look at China. China just announced the ICBs that they’re building. They have a 5th generation fighter, they have an air craft carrier, they have a military, a standing military that’s very, very modern and it’s been increasing over decades in its sophistication.
Jason Hartman: Hey, I’ve got to ask you a question about China for a moment. Is it true that China makes the boots our troops wear? If that is true, I’ve heard it said. It’s just so ironic. How would we ever fight a war?
Bob Maginnis: That is not unusual. A lot of textiles are made in Asia, Vietnam, Philippians, India. So it is quite possible. It depends upon the contract and there are a lot of different contracts. But I would not be surprised at all if that were true.
Jason Hartman: Well it is. China is a significant threat, and it’s growing all the time in spite of some people that would like not to acknowledge that. Russia [00:11:59] Putin is a major threat as it’s reemerging. And there are threats elsewhere across the globe. The globe is not getting safer. Now, that’s the second leg. The third leg of this stool is the fact, what are we doing to our military today? We are taking a butcher knife to it and we’re beginning to slice away at the world’s best military in major, major ways. We are taking a furlough, in terms of technology, we’re cutting back a lot of the stuff we’re buying. We’re taking probably close to 200 thousand troops, we’re going to wipe them away. We are radically changing the fighting forces proven to be so effective.
Now, there are plenty efficiencies that we ought to be fighting. But the way in which this is being done is probably and ultimately going to ruin the all-volunteer force. The all-volunteer force is a very special force. It’s been around since ’73, and it is expensive because of the benefits and so forth. Those are going to change. Everybody on Capitol Hill, certainly in the military departments and the administration. So if they are not careful, they are going to hollow out a very professional force. You’ve got that, the threats are increasing, and all of the sudden we have boys and girls are just equally disposed to be cannon fodder in the future. When you have all three of those, something’s going to give in the future. That all-volunteer force is going to fade and not be able to fulfill its obligations. The threats are going to be larger than what remaining force we have, and then of course we’re going to draft.
I think congress will not want to, but it will have to because people just aren’t going to want to be available to want to do this hard stuff. And they’re going to reach down and pull up daughters just like they are sons, and they’re going to put them, based on supreme court decision, where they want to put them and it can be in the infantry or anywhere else.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so talk to me for a moment. I want to make sure we cover the dynamic issue. Just talk to us for a moment, Bob if you would, about the size of the military now and they recruiting. Are people coming in, is it hard to get people? Just in general, I’m talking about the mostly male force obviously. Where do we stand there? Do you really, I don’t think many people believe that there would be a draft in the future.
Bob Maginnis: Well most people one, don’t know; they don’t understand the military and what’s going on. And I don’t think any of us, even those of us who have served in an all-volunteer force, we don’t want to see a draft. But given that only 25% of the current population of 18-26 year olds even qualify for the military because of weight, moral backgrounds, in other words crime, drugs and the like, certainly medical issues. There are 34 pages in the army regulations on what you can’t have in order to serve in the military. So you have a small pool of people from which we pull anyway and it’s generally the same pool that everybody wants to pull from.
Today’s military has 1.37 million active forces. An army of 540 thousand, marines are 195 and so forth. Now, those are radically going down. The army, probably in the neighborhood of 400 thousand, maybe below that. It depends upon the congress and the money. The marines are probably going down to about 150. We’re going to shrink probably well below a million active duty forces. 8% of that force, actually 15% of that force right now are women. 8% happen to be general and flag officers, all women. Military right now because of its promised downsizing and because of the economy is not having the difficult time recruiting people.
When you’re letting people go, you don’t have to attract that many and we really are beginning to let a lot of people go. The question is long term. Are we going to get the skillsets and the people that are physically fit and mentally ready for the type of tough work that we want? And the polling suggests that we may not be. And especially if we do away with a lot of the benefits that we currently have with the all-volunteer force. So you’re competing in the market place. And at the market place, we all want the economy to improve and if it does, and it’s going to be much more difficult in a downsizing military facing all these threats and all these technologies that are being thrown into the hands of our enemies, and of course while we’re hollowing out our military, to be able to do what may be required in the future.
Tough to call this, I’m not a prophet, but all the ingredients suggest that we have problems ahead and even the congress which is very, very concerned about the direction of the country and certainly preserving of the armed forces, they may not have a choice.
Jason Hartman: Okay. So, another question would be though, do we need the people power in the military that we use to due to technology? I have huge objections to the use of drones, especially in American airspace, but even in foreign territories, can the war be fought in a more sterile manner nowadays? Do we really need the ground troops like we used to?
Bob Maginnis: Yeah, people really would like to believe that, but keep in mind what’s happening in the world. The world is becoming more urbanized. When you become more urbanized, how useful are these sophisticated weapons? They’re basically useless. And so if you’re going to say go into a large city, a metro area of about 10-20 million people, how do you fight? Well you fight both above and below ground, door to door. The technology is of very little utility.
We saw that in Fallujah, we saw that in Najaf, and Iraq and those battles. Those were literally inside ten feet, most of the killing was taking place. That’s where your combatants, your more aggressive people, your stronger people, people who have great stamina really made a difference. So no technology if you’re flying if you’re flying at 30 thousand feet is great, if you’re on the seas, but I’m talking about the ground combatant. I’m talking about the people at the tip of the spear that do the killing. The killing’s going to take place not at long distance, it’s going to take place right in front of your nose. Because you don’t want to sacrifice innocence that are in there, and the only way to do it is to go in there with people. And yes, we are going to have to have a standing force that can do that and they better be well trained.
Jason Hartman: Talk to us about the battlefield dynamic. That’s one thing that I think becomes a significant issue worth real thought and discussion, whether it be females on the battlefield or even gays on the battlefield. So what happens in the dynamic there? There must be studies on this kind of stuff.
Bob Maginnis: Well, there are plenty of studies. Are you talking about relationships between small groups that are in the fight, or what?
Jason Hartman: Yeah. What happens when you’ve got a bunch of guys in the fox hole and they’re doing their typical kind of male thing, the testosterone is pumping, you’re on the battlefield, and then you insert a female in that environment. What happens? Could there also be like a sort of a chivalry problem, if you will, meaning that troops put themselves in harm’s way to be chivalrous? A lot of people like to say chivalry is dead, but…
Bob Maginnis: Most men are hard wired to defend women, and when we find that in intense places where there’s a lot of risk that there is a proclivity to do that. And oh, by the way, [0:20:09.6] is not easily contained. You can give orders all day, but as we found and I record in Deadly Consequences in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, [00:20:21] is alive and well. I don’t care how many threats you issued, it was going on all over.
Even, I had one person that talked to me about the combat sects. And what happened in some pretty bizarre locations and continuously happened. It really erodes trust and confidence when you have these forced integrated, sect integrated organizations that are under intense types of pressure. Now keep in mind, our military if you’ve been reading the papers, has some terrible problems with sexual assault, unwanted sexual contact.
Jason Hartman: Well, that’s the next thing I was going to ask you about: the sexual harassment issue.
Bob Maginnis: Yeah, and Martin Dempsey, Chairman, suggest when we put a critical mass of women in tip of the spear type of units, we’re going to reduce that. Well, where in the world does that come from? There’s no evidence. There’s not a shred of evidence to demonstrate that that would happen, and in fact it will probably reduce the overall effectiveness of the unit and of course our enemies will take advantage of that. We need to have some common sense when we look at this. The science, which I documented in Deadly Consequences, whether it’s the technologies or the differences physiologically, psychologically, and how the sexual dynamics in small units really erodes trust and confidence and the overall ability of organizations to function in the fight.
Jason Hartman: Very interesting. So, tell us what else you cover in the book. What is another major component of this that should be considered?
Bob Maginnis: I go through a series of myths about women combat and then I go through 8 different major risks, in other words how they’re going to compromise standards in order to put women in there, and that’s inevitable. Marty Dempsey argued that he wants the service chiefs to come in and say why is it that you can’t put women in these units, and the chiefs are going to say, well up to now combat has demonstrated what the standard is and he’s going to say you need to change that because we need a certain number of women in there.
Jason Hartman: Just like affirmative action.
Bob Maginnis: It is affirmative action.
Jason Hartman: But this affirmative action is actually deadly though.
Bob Maginnis: It will result in a lot of young women getting killed and a lot of young men because they’re going to watch out for the young women. We talk about physical suffering; I think the women will suffer disproportionately. And I document that in Deadly Consequences. I think it will really undermine the warrior’s spirit, and that’s really the glue that keeps our fighters going and fighting effectively together.
I do believe sexual assaults will actually increase, not decrease if we push this, I do believe as I’ve indicated that the quality of the force will go down, and I do believe sincerely that the draft is going to be a very unpleasant thing in the future, that a lot of law makers will hold their nose but they may be forced into that. And then of course, I ask a tough question: what kind of society would in fact send it’s young daughters and it’s mothers and it’s sisters into a fight like this ahead of its young men? I think we don’t want to be that type of society, and yet this administration is advocating that by what they’ve done.
Jason Hartman: So this is more of a democrat thing than a republican thing? Say the administration were republican now, or say that in 2016 we have a republican administration, if the republicans could ever put up a really good candidate, that would amaze me, but it hasn’t happened in quite a while. Is this more of a democrat thing? Because of the sort of equality and the egalitarian concept?
Bob Maginnis: I think it’s certainly naïve egalitarianism. We as a people do want everybody to have an equal opportunity, but in this situation, women just don’t have an equal opportunity to survive and it hurts the overall mission. It’s like football. If one college decides that because they want to be politically correct that they’re going to have three women in the lineup…
Jason Hartman: It’s going to weaken the whole team, of course.
Bob Maginnis: It’s going to weaken and they’ll never win. And do we want to do that to our military and condemn them to never win a battle in the future? I hope not.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, well America seems to do that in a lot of ways to itself. It almost seems like it’s this self-loathing kind of thing where we apologize for success too much.
Bob Maginnis: Well, that success is built on a lot of sacrifice over many, many years. People that make these tough decisions unfortunately none of the chiefs of the services have any experience as direct ground combatants like I’ve described. They just don’t have that background, yet they’re willing to send their daughters. And of course, only a quarter of the members of the congress have any military experience. And of that quarter, less than a literal handful have any direct ground combat experience. So we’re talking about an environment that is alien to all of these people that are making this tough decision.
Jason Hartman: It’s ivory tower mentality. They live in a womb and they legislate and they have no idea how it works in real life. The same is true of business with congress and the administration, too. It’s unfortunate. Your website is frc.org, is that correct?
Bob Maginnis: Yes, that’s correct. Or you can go on the book, Amazon.com and look up Deadly Consequences with my name, or certainly Barnes & Noble sells the book. And you can get a free chapter by going to deadlyconsequencesbook.com and that will link someone if they want to find the book. Deadly Consequences: How Cowards are Pushing Women into Combat.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. And Bob, when did you release the book?
Bob Maginnis: Within the last two weeks.
Jason Hartman: Oh, fantastic. Well, congratulations and I hope it does very well and I hope you really get the word out about this very important issue. Bob, Maginnis thank you so much for joining us today.
Bob Maginnis: Thanks for having me.
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Transcribed by Ralph
Guest: Bob Maginnis
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