Restrictive Rules of Engagement + Women in Combat = Disaster

NOTE: I wrote the following post in 2015 as America was heavily involved in its war with the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Obama administration was hell-bent on its social engineering campaign of the U.S. military—namely, the inexplicable determination by military brass to insert women into combat.

As you will see in this post, I talked about how Obama was putting our troops in harm’s way by imposing stifling and dangerous Rules of Engagement (ROE) on our combat forces. It was almost as if Obama was worried that American forces would kill too many Taliban. 

Today, after a disgraceful and chaotic withdrawal by Joe Biden, our feckless president, we no longer have a military presence in Afghanistan—now the world’s newest terrorist state. That’s one reason I believe the restrictive ROE our troops had to operate under during that long and largely futile war deserves to be discussed.

And so does the persistent drive today by some of our military leaders to put women in combat roles—as though doing that somehow levels the playing field between men and women by giving women the opportunity to be maimed or killed in combat. As I point out in my post, that reckoning has a twisted logic.

After the Hamas terrorist attack on innocent Israeli civilians in October, the world has seen photos and videos of Israeli women engaged alongside men in combat roles within the Israeli Defense Forces. Good for them. I applaud them. But I disagree with that strategy.

As the American Free News Network’s Mike Ford has pointed out in recent posts that deal with women in close combat units, there will always be some women who may be able to meet the minimum standards for just about any role they may be given in the military. The key phrase here is “minimum standards.”

The question I asked in my post and that Mike Ford asks in his more recent posts is this: Should the military allow itself to accept “minimum standards” when it ought to be demanding the highest standards of unit cohesion and operational/combat readiness of our soldiers?

Please read on and let me know what you think.

Restrictive Rules of Engagement + Women in Combat = Disaster

Let me say up front: I spent four years on active duty with the United States Army Security Agency and another four years in the reserves.

When I received my DD-214 (honorable discharge), I was a Sergeant E-5.

[ObjectName]=US-DEFENSE-SECRETARY-ASH-CARTER-SPEAKS-AT-GEORGE-WASHINGTON-UNIV [Urgency]=2 [Category]=POL [DateCreated]=000000+0000 [OriginalTransmissionReference]=Half Length [Byline]=AFP [BylineTitle]=STF [City]=Washington [CountryCode]=USA [CountryName]=UNITED STATES [HeadLine]=Defense Secretary Ash Carter Speaks At George Washington University [Credit]=AFP [Source]=GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA [Caption]=WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter addresses the faculty and students of George Washington University November 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. Carter discussed the "Force of the Future" initiative, which will consist of "multiple elements, each with creative and modern proposals designed to help recruit and retain the best men and women our nation has to offer." Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

    Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

In contrast, our current Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, has never worn a uniform, and neither have most of President Obama’s other civilian appointees who supervise our military.

Therefore, I believe that entitles me to sound off a modicum about what this president and his minions are doing to America’s military.

Let’s talk first about the restrictive rules of engagement (ROE) the Obama administration has imposed on our combat forces in places like Afghanistan.

For those who do not know what rules of engagement are, they define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which the use of force or provocative actions may be applied.

The ROE used in Afghanistan includes things like “requiring U.S. troops to confirm that a Taliban fighter is armed before they can fire.” Imagine what it must be like for a U.S. soldier fighting the Taliban. You aren’t allowed to shoot at the Taliban unless you confirm they are armed. What this means is that terrorists can shoot you while you are still trying to confirm they are armed and shooting at you.

In addition, aerial assaults are withheld even after it is confirmed insurgents are armed and even if they are 100 percent sure the target is the enemy. But Obama hasn’t stopped there. He has placed even more restrictions on our troops, which is putting their lives in jeopardy during combat. According to Obama’s new ROE, “U.S. forces shall not enter Afghan homes for the purposes of military operations, except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of U.S. nationals.”

This is an example of extreme political correctness dictating rules of engagement in a war zone. That has never happened before.

Ryan Zinke, who commanded an assault team within SEAL Team 6, said this about the rules of engagement and the security agreement in Afghanistan: “The first people who are going to look at it and review it are our enemies. It will be a document that will be used effectively against us. This is where we either fight or go home. What’s happening is we’re losing our ability to fight overseas.”


In fact, military commanders have said that if current rules of engagement had been applied during WW II, it’s quite likely we might not have won the war. For example, our troops are currently mandated to avoid attacking when civilians are likely to be present.

If that were the case during WW II, then American generals like Patton, Bradley, MacArthur, etc., would no doubt be viewed by the Obama administration as war criminals. Patton’s armored division chased elite German S.S. army units across France and into Germany, killing them at every opportunity. Do you think he let them off the hook because they took shelter where there were civilians?

Recently, a story in quoted an officer this way: “Our best and brightest come home in body bags as politicians and lawyers dine over white linen tablecloths; writing, modifying, and re-modifying these lethal rules…rules that favor the enemy rather than the American soldier. Rules so absurd they’re difficult to believe until you hear the same stories repeatedly from those returning from battle.”r-MOHAMMAD-SOUTH-PARK-large570

The story went on to point out that in the first seven-plus years of the war in Afghanistan (October 2001 – December 2008), American forces lost 630 soldiers. In early 2009, this administration authorized the implementation of the new rules of engagement and the so-called counterintelligence strategy. During the next five years, the US death toll skyrocketed to 2,292.

That means 73 percent of all US deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009. In the first seven-plus years of war in Afghanistan, 2,638 US soldiers were wounded in action. In the next forty-five months (2009 – 2012), 15,036 suffered the same fate.

This a gut-wrenching pattern–a pattern ignored by the White House and, seemingly, the Department of Defense because both are being driven by political correctness rather than an objective to defeat our enemies, wherever they may be.

And that brings me to the next subject of my post—putting women into front-line combat units.

Our military is not the place to be brute-forcing Obama’s mania for social re-engineering.

Using Obama’s twisted logic, women should be permitted to join combat units if they can meet the minimum standard required of a combat soldier. Forget that gender-integrated units have repeatedly underperformed when matched against male-only combat units.


That was demonstrated by a U.S. Marine Corps experimental task force that included both gender-integrated and male-only units. The performance of these units was measured over several years against a series of simulated combat tasks.

The results were, as you might expect, not even close. The all-male units outperformed the units containing women on 93 of 134 battlefield tasks. Gender-integrated units outperformed all-male units on just two tasks. To top it all off, women soldiers were injured at twice the rate as their male counterparts.

Naturally, based on such empirical evidence, the Marine Corps told Carter that its infantry and reconnaissance units be off-limits to women.

And what did Carter do? He denied that request.

Carter and the left-wing Obama administration required the military to ease back on its once demanding physical requirements, calling the standards once used by the Army and Marines “unnecessarily high.” They say women underperform on physical evaluations, not because of their inherent and naturally weaker physical composition but because of “social and cultural conditioning.”

What codswallop! What twaddle!

Only people who have never worn a uniform carried a rifle and a 60-pound pack on a forced five or 10-mile march could spew such drivel. Can a 125-pound female member of a rifle squad (the most basic infantry unit) carry a 200-pound wounded soldier to safety or engage an equally large Afghani Taliban fighter in hand-to-hand combat?

The Marines know the answer to that question. The Obama administration does not.

Now, of course, we are faced with the issue of having ALL women between 18 and 25 register for Selective Service, more commonly known as the Draft. Will that happen? I can’t see how it cannot. Equality is equality, after all.

When the Selective Service was reinstated in 1980, women were exempted from registration because of their inability to participate in combat. Now that the Pentagon has lifted its ban on women in combat units, some are asking if women will be required to register with the draft.

The White House has announced it is “studying such a shift in selective service registration.”


Currently, the Selective Service System’s mission statement says it is “To furnish manpower to the Defense Department during a national emergency, to manage alternative service for men classified as conscientious objectors, and to register, with only a few exceptions, all male U.S. citizens and male immigrants residing in the United States who are ages 18 through 25…”

Today, I looked at my four-year-old granddaughter and thought to myself, if this President and his army of left-wing social engineering zealots get their way, in 14 years, she will have to register for the draft, and if there is a call-up, she will be headed for the infantry.

The left thinks this is progress. I think it’s appalling. Men and women, contrary to Obama and the left, ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE.

The left believes male-only units are “too masculine.” They say that putting women on the battlefield will make combat units more effective even though assessment after assessment has repeatedly shown that gender-integrated units perform discernibly worse than male-only units.

While leftists, Femi-Nazis, and Obama may think men and women are interchangeable, I am always struck by my granddaughter’s preference for playing with toys and games that bring out her natural God-given nurturing instincts.

I say thank God for that. I would rather see my granddaughter grow up to be an exceptional mother than a battle-hardened sniper.


Check out Mike Ford’s recent posts on this topic here:

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About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here