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Thread: Women in Military Service & Combat (not just USA)

  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Palestinian Women March Into Combat Zone

    Moderator's Note

    Ten SWJ Blog entries and two small threads have been merged in today, hence this non-USA thread from 2006 appearing first. There is a second parallel thread on 'Women in Conflict', which maybe worth checking:

    3 November Associated Press - Palestinian Women March Into Combat Zone by Yakub Ralwah.

    Hundreds of Palestinian women in robes and head scarves streamed into a Gaza combat zone Friday to help free gunmen besieged by Israeli troops at a mosque. Two women who came under fire were killed and at least 10 wounded, but some gunmen managed to escape.

    The women, many with ties to the Islamic militant group Hamas, left their homes after daybreak in response to appeals on the local Hamas radio station or telephone calls from friends and relatives. By nightfall, they were celebrated as heroes, an unusual role in a deeply conservative society that tends to keep women on the sidelines. Until Friday, battling Israeli troops had been men's business in Gaza...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-05-2016 at 01:07 PM. Reason: Add Mods Note

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    I think they should become aware that entering into a combat zone on the side of the enemy is a hostile act and should be treated accordingly. No different than playing dead on the battlefield is also a hostile act. Sorry if that sounds cruel but these people only understand strength. They are not Westerners and don't play by our own rules but take advantage of them, which is the fallacy of counterinsurgency tactics. They have their own version of handling things and that includes using human shields. I hate to be the one to state this but things are going to escalate in the Middle East until we start seeing massive casualties and suffering comparable only to the times during World War II. Germany and Japan kept up the "total war" strategy and determination until they had to be burned to the ground and started up again from the rubble. Ironically, they are basically our allies today.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I think this is just another example of how we need to start exploiting non-lethal weapons technologies.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I've wondered for years why the Palestinians have not done this sort of thing before. Hundreds of unarmed, determined women are a very powerful force in a world shaped by television. If I remember correctly, public demonstrations by women had a great effect in Chile years ago.

    I am not qualified to comment of the precise legality of this specific event. I do know if future IDF movements are confronted by streets blocked by masses of women, they will have a very big problem, military and PR.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Agree 100%

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I've wondered for years why the Palestinians have not done this sort of thing before. Hundreds of unarmed, determined women are a very powerful force in a world shaped by television. If I remember correctly, public demonstrations by women had a great effect in Chile years ago.

    I am not qualified to comment of the precise legality of this specific event. I do know if future IDF movements are confronted by streets blocked by masses of women, they will have a very big problem, military and PR.
    Moreover, add using children to the fray...

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Missed opportunity

    Missed opportunity. If they had used non-lethal weapons and captured them. They could have exploited the fact that the chickensh** men would not come out and fight, but sent their women to do it. Plus they could have used it as an opportunity to turn them to their side by" killing them with kindness."

    I say we need to exploit these types of situations as we are going to see more of them if we don't develop and effective counter measure.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Missed opportunity. If they had used non-lethal weapons and captured them. They could have exploited the fact that the chickensh** men would not come out and fight, but sent their women to do it. Plus they could have used it as an opportunity to turn them to their side by" killing them with kindness."

    I say we need to exploit these types of situations as we are going to see more of them if we don't develop and effective counter measure.
    I would totally agree. I think the trick would be to use not only non-lethal weaponry, but weapons that do not "look" bad on a TV screen. For example, tasers can be spun as "dangerous" - maybe tranquilizer dart guns would be better <wry grin>.

    On the PR exloitation, at truly "evil" way of exploiting this specific situation would have been to tranquilize the women, capture the men, and mount posters of the men with a caption reading something like "This man lets women fight for him", with poster of the women reading "The TRUE heros of Gaza".

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Marc, I would agree about the weapons and as much as I like tasers that would have been the wrong way to go. Tranquilizing gas would even be better (no gun at all) and don't call it gas, call it a pharmaceutical agent.

    Great idea about the posters and since the men were already in custody it could have been done easily. Break their will not their body.

    I don't know where the quote came from but I once heard that a great general can convert any enemy to a friend. That is the transformation we need in the military. A broad array of weapons to subdue not kill, we already have that base covered.

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    Council Member Ray Levesque's Avatar
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    Default Evolving tactics using western values as weakness

    This is but one example of a tactical evolution that uses what we in the west perceive as a moral strength, trying to avoid harming women and children, against us. Since the "enemy" cannot fight us on our terms, they develop other tactics to achieve their objectives. And they evolve these tactics within the context of "their" value system.

    It creates a lose-lose situation for the west; if women and children, civilians in general, or civilian-use buildings are used as shields for "fighters", who themselves are often in civilian clothes, we put our own soldiers at risk of death if they do not respond. On the other hand, if our soldiers open fire and civilians are killed, then the enemy can exploit the situation to achieve their political goals via our open press and society.

    Even if the killings of civilians are justified in a given situation, ambiguity is created in the minds of the public, at best, or the images and the event, interpreted in isolation, provides fodder for critics and an enemy's supporters.

    In the end the development of non-leathal weapons appears to be the best way ahead. This would allow our own forces to protect themselves and perhaps still be able to capture the civilian-clad fighter without the "hot" medium of television galvanizing public perceptions with an image-of-the-moment that shows violence without context.
    Ray

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Missed opportunity. If they had used non-lethal weapons and captured them. They could have exploited the fact that the chickensh** men would not come out and fight, but sent their women to do it. Plus they could have used it as an opportunity to turn them to their side by" killing them with kindness."

    I say we need to exploit these types of situations as we are going to see more of them if we don't develop and effective counter measure.
    Sounds like a good idea. But you have to use these types of tactics over and over again. The result of which would be constant bad press. Classifying them has hostile combatants and acting accordingly would only give one good incident of bad press and the enemy would have to decide if they are determined enough to keep it up. Is there anything in the Geneva Convention that states these women were anything other than providing support and protection for the enemy on the battlefield. Next, they are going to be wearing Red Crescent arm bands? There is no "powder-puff" solution. These women were hostile and endangering the Israeli troops. You cannot and will not win against combatants by respecting "their" values. The Israelis waited too long to act accordingly and the result was some of these morons in the mosque escaped. We constantly try to over evaluate these extremists and put them and their tactics up on a pedestal. In reality, they're morons and we come up with all sorts of ideas to protect them. That doesn't make any sense. The more martyrs we create the more water-downed the meaning of a martyr becomes for them. How's that for a tactic? It would be like awarding everyone KIA the Medal of Honor.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Culpepper, I am not any kind of cultural expert on the middle east by any means, but I think the female population is vulnerable to being converted to a fifth column so to speak because of how Islam treats the female population in general. Using non-lethal weapons was not meant to protect them just to be "nice" but to allow access to a population group in order to influence them and cause a general disruption to the family unit. Problems at home can cause big problems with armed forces, it would give them a constant internal problem (burden) to deal with.

    All through history women have been the ultimate "net-workers" and if you get them spreading an idea that the west treats their women(and children) far better then Islam you stand a chance of collapsing or changing the whole movement. I believe in the use of non lethal weapons for this purpose should at least be tried. What do we have to loose?

    As for your tactic, it has been done before and has been successful for certain regimes! I don't think the US would support that. At least not until we have another disaster(9-11,nuke,chemical attack,etc.)

    anyway time for some more coffee, later.

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    No problem. I happen to be drinking some coffee as I read. This whole thing reminds me of what Col. David Perkins told reporters after the first "Thunder Run" recon by fire into Baghdad when asked about Iraqi soldiers taking off their uniforms and changing into civilian clothes and fighting alongside Saddam Fadayeen, and foreign fighters, all of which were intermingling with civilians along Highway 8.

    They [the combatants] are putting their populace at risk by not having a clear delineation between civilians and military. In effect, Saddam has made his civilian populace combatants. If I put my family in a Humvee and drove them into Baghdad, I would be to blame if they got blown away.
    As for other "regimes" with success? I don't need to remind you that we burned Germany and Japan cities to the ground for good reason. We used artillery and aerial bombardment to soften targets before we sent our troops on the offensive knowing our enemies were commingling with civilians in all types of areas. WE hold the record. What was the outcome of such outrage? We won our engagements with the enemy and Japan and Germany are our allies today. Italy was the only Axis partner that didn't suffer such a fate because they didn't dare put their civilians in the line of fire as a point of "total war" strategy.

    I'm not stating you have a bad idea. It's a good idea. But it is a micromanagement short term solution to an age old problem of bad guys using their women and children as shields and the only thing that has ever worked with success was being forced to the conclusion that the mission is more important than enemy tactics such as these.

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    Default The options so far

    No one is admitting check mate, so far we have the following the options:

    1. Culpeper's parallel of Lenin's kill one it’s a tragedy, kill 10,000 it’s a statistic.
    2. Slapout’s call for beltway bandits to make more non-lethal weapons.
    3. Marct’s call for spanking them with non-lethal weapons, but making it look good, no tasers, no gas, or S. Korean police in riot gear.

    Option 4. Come on, we’re dealing with women. We simply need to distract them with a 50% off sale in the vicinity. Their husbands would soon realize that their wives are spending the money they need to sustain the fight and go home with their tail between their legs.

    O.K., I’ll get serious again. I think this tactic currently puts Israel in check mate (until options 1-3 are refined into something feasible), but Israel has been known to respond in stupid ways before that only makes the problem worse. I do like the ideas on the counter psyop where we exploit that cowering jihadis call for their wives and sisters to bail them out.

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    No one is admitting check mate, so far we have the following the options:

    1. Culpeper's parallel of Lenin's kill one it’s a tragedy, kill 10,000 it’s a statistic.
    2. Slapout’s call for beltway bandits to make more non-lethal weapons.
    3. Marct’s call for spanking them with non-lethal weapons, but making it look good, no tasers, no gas, or S. Korean police in riot gear.

    Option 4. Come on, we’re dealing with women. We simply need to distract them with a 50% off sale in the vicinity. Their husbands would soon realize that their wives are spending the money they need to sustain the fight and go home with their tail between their legs.

    O.K., I’ll get serious again. I think this tactic currently puts Israel in check mate (until options 1-3 are refined into something feasible), but Israel has been known to respond in stupid ways before that only makes the problem worse. I do like the ideas on the counter psyop where we exploit that cowering jihadis call for their wives and sisters to bail them out.


    I would prefer my parallel being compared to Curtis Lemay, thank you very much.

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    Default LeMay it is

    O.K., stratch Lenin and replace with good ole Curtis LeMay.

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    Default News alert – very off topic.

    Note this high profile article, the lead story in the NY Times Sunday Magazine insert. As you know, the NYT is the lead ship in the US media convoy. It sets the agenda for the major newsmagazines and network news, so we can expect to see many more follow-up stories in the next few months. This could be another Tailhook.

    The Women's War
    New York Times
    March 18, 2007
    Prints out at 28 pages.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/ma...ne&oref=slogin


    Here is the article which I beleive ignited this discussion.

    The private war of women soldiers
    By Helen Benedict
    Salon
    March 7, 2007

    “Many female soldiers say they are sexually assaulted by their male comrades and can't trust the military to protect them. "The knife wasn't for the Iraqis," says one woman. "It was for the guys on my own side."”

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/20...tml?source=rss

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    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabius Maximus View Post
    Note this high profile article, the lead story in the NY Times Sunday Magazine insert. As you know, the NYT is the lead ship in the US media convoy. It sets the agenda for the major newsmagazines and network news, so we can expect to see many more follow-up stories in the next few months. This could be another Tailhook.

    The Women's War
    New York Times
    March 18, 2007
    Prints out at 28 pages.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/ma...ne&oref=slogin


    Here is the article which I beleive ignited this discussion.

    The private war of women soldiers
    By Helen Benedict
    Salon
    March 7, 2007

    “Many female soldiers say they are sexually assaulted by their male comrades and can't trust the military to protect them. "The knife wasn't for the Iraqis," says one woman. "It was for the guys on my own side."”

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/20...tml?source=rss
    So far off topic, in fact, that it probably needs it's own thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK
    So far off topic, in fact, that it probably needs it's own thread.
    Agreed. And here it is.

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    Default Is it a Small Wars topic?

    This is definitely an important topic for our nation, because any mishavior in the ranks will have an effect on the nation's will.

    I support equal rights and opportunity, but I also accept the fact that women are women and men are men, and the differences are considerable (far beyond mating mechanics). This creates the friction in values, because most of us support it, but then again we know there are differences, so how do you support it in practice, and not just in principle?

    Based on observation of reality (not the way we want it to be) I think placing a woman by herself in a squad or platoon of men is simply asking for trouble unless you have outstanding leadership at that level. It may make a good photo opportunity for those inclined to show how well the system works, most of us know there are serious underlying troubles. Will time solve this like it did for racial integration? I education over time will have some positive effect, but it won't erase the male/female attraction aspect and the subsequent eroding effect this will have on good order and discipline in the ranks.

    We have or had problems with sexual harrassment in our military academies, which are generally composed of average intelligence with decent moral values (it is a value focused institution), so what do we expect to have in our enlisted ranks when we are now recruiting more category four soldiers and soldiers with criminal records, who obviously have interest in values? Most of us try to live a good life, and feel bad when we make a mistake (our darker nature prevails at certain times), but a criminal simply doesn't care, and if you put him in a war zone where he thinks he can get away with anything because there are limited safety mechanisms in place what do you expect? There has also been an increase on male on male rape, so what does that indicate?

    Part of the problem is the historical biological conflict between the sexes, but the other part is that we're slowly lowering the quality of our recruits and we're begining to feel the effect.

    Women bring a lot to the fight in select career fields (to include military policing), but it will always be a tough fit with numerous rough edges. I wonder if the European Armies have done a better job at integration than we have, or if they have the same challenges?

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Kind of makes me glad I chose infantry.

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