Women In War

Refreshed by a well earned break Little Nicky is back and ready (well more or less) for the rough and tumble.
The issue dominating the news over the weekend has been the story of Faye Turney, the Roal Navy survival specialist taken prisoner and held in Iran and the way she was treated by the Iranians.
This should not raise any issues regarding the attitude of Iran to human rights, after all we all knew what the score was there. But it does raise questions around decisions made by western government, on grounds of political correctness, to put women in front line situations during conflicts abroad.
In an earlier incarnation Little Nicky once made himself very unpopular by suggesting that in forty years, all feminism had achieved was to get women back in coal mines and boxing rings.
“Sexist pig, are you suggesting that women are not as able as men in those situations?” came the comments. Pretty much as anticipated, they missed the point.
Coal mining and boxing are professions that in the past have been known to brutalise people who earn a living from them. What Little Nicky was asking was “is it appropriate to be fighting battles for the right of women to do these things when we should be fighting battles for everybody not to.
Boxing is not necessary to the advancement of human civilisation and coal mining, though necessary, could have been mechanised a lot sooner, freeing miners from backbreaking labour in truly awful conditions.
Women traditionally work for lower pay than men and so the restoration of the right of women to work in mines was a gift to exploitative mine owners.
The decision to put women in the military services into the front line again showed that political correctness induces myopia. This blog would not dream of suggesting that Faye Turney is any less capable at her specialist role than a male officer would be, not that any of the British, American, Canadian or Australian soldiers, sailors and aircrew involved in the current conflicts are not capable of doing their job.
When equality in the military services was granted though, what was overlooked was that in somewhat more than half the world women are still regarded as something less than fully human.
People like Faye Turney and Jessica Lynch are not going to be help by people who will respect them as equals and soldiers but will dismiss them as disobedient and immodest women who refuse to stay at home and obey their husbands or fathers. This would apply not just in the Islamic world but in China too, (and India – though India is not likely to ever be an enemy of the West.) Once women are held captive in a culture in which such attitudes prevail we cannot demand they be treated with due respect. They will simply not be regarded as the equals of their male colleagues.
No matter how wrong this is, it is sadly the reality of the world. And Machiavelli was always a realist.
What it does show however is the absolute folly of our wars and those who got us into them. How can any force be expected to fight an enemy their leaders have not tried to understand?

One thought on “Women In War

  1. A difficult one this. My daughter did the Faye T role last year. She knows full well what she is getting into. She is pleased with the equal pay. She loves the job. But if she should ever be in that awful situation I have no doubt that she would be used in this way. The whole episode (as mum of a female sailor) has stressed me right out -not that I have told her this.
    I am proud of her, she does her best alongside her colleagues and she is genuinely popular amongast her peers.
    I still feel that this is one war where we should not be present – what the f**k is it to do with us? That is the problem I have. Why aren’t we fighting Mugabe’s regime – that I could understand.


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