The moral imperative of a masculine infantry
“…exposure to danger is not combat. Combat is a lot more than that, it’s a lot more than getting shot at or even getting killed by being shot at. Combat is finding and closing with and killing or capturing the enemy if you’re down in the ground combat scheme of things. It’s killing.”
-Gen Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee, June 1991
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George Orwell wrote, “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” We do not pretend to be particularly smarter than our peers, albeit we are admittedly less tactful. Since the inception of the U.S. military, service in combat arms has been the rightful duty and sole responsibility of the men of our society, as well it should be. However, women are now also poised to satisfy this critical requirement.
Men and women are different. This is an axiom of our existence as human beings on planet earth. As men, we feel inept trying to articulate this truth because the tools to do so have been intellectually banned in our society, labeled as “chauvinism.” Even the ways in which the discussion is framed pits the legacy of many despicable social institutions – slavery, exclusive suffrage, segregation – against those advocating an all-male combat arms. The truth remains that warfare is the contest of two opposing wills, the zweikampf in which these wills employ their militaries as fists in an ultimate struggle in which human beings maim and brutally kill one another. Ladies, as infantry officers, we do not wish to limit or control women, but we do want to fight for you. We want to endure hardship and suffering. We want to be miserable and filthy. We want to offer our lives so that yours might be spared. We want to fight for you. To do less is masculine cowardice and abdicating our societal role, ordained or evolved.