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Old 01-03-2013, 03:00 AM   #1
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Defense secretary sued for combat exclusion of women.

Not really news.

http://www.stripes.com/news/women-su...usion-1.198571
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:03 AM   #2
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Well, you totally know that we'd panic if we broke a nail...
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:09 AM   #3
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I haven't heard too many arguments from officials that support the current policy. There was an article written by a Marine who served with infantry for a time, however, and she articulated that it was too physically demanding of her. She messed up her spine and is now sterile, and her argument was that women wouldn't be able to hack it until retirement because they'd be medically discharged long before then.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:13 AM   #4
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Hey, Santorum addressed this shit already! It's not about the women themselves, it's about how the natural male need to protect the poor fragile creatures could create 'compromising situations'. Gawwwwd
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:33 AM   #5
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Cuckoo, I think that the DoD has largely abandoned the idea of protecting the womenz as a defense, even if our culture hasn't. That being said, women with combat arms does exacerbate a lot of problems that are already present, from what I have read and seen. That's more of an issue with the system than women themselves, though.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:57 AM   #6
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Cuckoo, I think that the DoD has largely abandoned the idea of protecting the womenz as a defense, even if our culture hasn't. That being said, women with combat arms does exacerbate a lot of problems that are already present, from what I have read and seen. That's more of an issue with the system than women themselves, though.
Funny, I think dudes with combat arms exacerbate a lot of problems too

Plus, transwomen aren't allowed to serve openly at all, still.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:07 AM   #7
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You clearly haven't seen THESE BIG ASS GUNS. I uppercut the shit out of exacerbated problems.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:08 AM   #8
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Cuckoo, I think that the DoD has largely abandoned the idea of protecting the womenz as a defense, even if our culture hasn't.
^^^^This.

I've lost count of how many times I've been questioned about a female's role in the units I was assigned to since I was combat arms support. People who haven't served are surprised that female soldiers would be assigned a duty and they'd perform well, be it setting up a 30 m antenna to going beyond the wire in Iraq, or serving from the lowest pay grade to battalion commanders.

When given the response, "They've trained to be soldiers and to perform their assignments, just like I have," I tend to receive the "I don't get it," response. It's like they can't believe that females were also getting shot at and they could hold their own in various situations.

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That being said, women with combat arms does exacerbate a lot of problems that are already present, from what I have read and seen. That's more of an issue with the system than women themselves, though.
What do you think DoD can do to correct this? Sure, they can do what they've always done, which is have classes in the afternoon for a training session but how do you think we can address the problem within the system?
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:22 PM   #9
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^^^^This.

I've lost count of how many times I've been questioned about a female's role in the units I was assigned to since I was combat arms support. People who haven't served are surprised that female soldiers would be assigned a duty and they'd perform well, be it setting up a 30 m antenna to going beyond the wire in Iraq, or serving from the lowest pay grade to battalion commanders.

When given the response, "They've trained to be soldiers and to perform their assignments, just like I have," I tend to receive the "I don't get it," response. It's like they can't believe that females were also getting shot at and they could hold their own in various situations.
I think you misunderstood me. I meant that "we need to keep them safe" hasn't really been used to defend the policy in any official capacity for while, to my understanding.

I haven't had good experience with females during my time. To be fair, I haven't had good experience with most1 support soldiers. I don't think that most2 of my impressions of a female's capability to be in a combat career field are derived from them being female, but from their job training. From my experience, most3 support can't hang with combat, regardless of sex.

Now when I say most, I'm just working from my own experience and perceptions. I don't have research to back it up.

1. I've seen plenty of support guys that excel in being integrated with combat.

2. There are some qualities derived from being female, and some qualities derived from being female in our culture, which I feel aren't conducive (but not necessarily barring) to success in a combat career path. I can elaborate on this so that I can be corrected if somebody feels I'm being sexist.

3. I've seen plenty of combat guys who under-perform in their jobs, regardless of sex.

Quote:
What do you think DoD can do to correct this? Sure, they can do what they've always done, which is have classes in the afternoon for a training session but how do you think we can address the problem within the system?
To be honest? I don't think the DoD can do anything about these problems. If the military is an extreme expression of our national culture, then the problem lies within the country, not it's military. In a recent study, 1 in 4 women reported being SA during their deployment. Obviously, it's unacceptable for the military to tolerate this, however, I think the root cause is the culture that tells us that it's okay.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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To be honest? I don't think the DoD can do anything about these problems. If the military is an extreme expression of our national culture, then the problem lies within the country, not it's military. In a recent study, 1 in 4 women reported being SA during their deployment. Obviously, it's unacceptable for the military to tolerate this, however, I think the root cause is the culture that tells us that it's okay.
I feel like I should say more about this.

Right now, the army's solution to racism, suicide, mental health, SA, ect. is to get as many people as possible into a hot room every 6 months and take a few hours to show them a power point about the programs in place to resolve problems that come up. An example would be "if you or one of your subordinates is sexually harassed, these are the two methods of reporting it and these are the 3 organizations who you can go to to help resolve it."

Only once have I been to a class where they tried to make people aware of the manifestations of **** culture or why our normal behavior is wrong, and I think that's pretty indicative of the problem as a whole; The DoD says "this is degrading combat readiness, fix it." Experts are brought in from the civilian sector to establish a program to mitigate it, and units select a representative to learn about those programs, and they are expected to make referrals and teach their unit about it's existence. However, those representatives don't need to understand the problem in order to hold that position.

It was easy to get away with kicking the shit out of a guy in my platoon and report them for calling me the n-word in Afghanistan because everybody knows that's wrong, but I would have a much harder time getting help (help is moving either you or them to a different unit) for anything else because not everybody, to include the EO representative, knows it's wrong. In fact, don't ask don't tell don't pursue was repealed when I was in Afghanistan. Our training on that consisted of "Don't ask, don't tell was repealed; It's okay to be gay. Tomorrow, wake up is at zero-five-thirty, mission brief is at zero-six, SP at six-fifteen. We're doing another clearing mission with the ANA rifle platoon and..."

The DoD can try to make people re-learn their cultural norms. Actually, it's now doing that as part of it's new sexual harassment and assault prevention program. In doing so, they are trying to fight against a person's lifetime of behavioral norms and prejudice. That's why, when I went to that last class that tried to educate everyone, the people forced to go just rolled their eyes, played on their phones, and went to sleep when the speaker said something about victim-blaming. It's kind of like when Saya told me about dude-bros who went to one of the WRC's presentations and got up saying "Fuck this," the only differencing being that the army can force you to go and make you stay. So instead of getting up and leaving, they just turned their brains off. It effectively is the same thing.

So yeah. Obviously, it's better then nothing. It just won't help nearly as much and I know it won't fix shit. The DoD is basically in damage control mode and once the numbers go down, no matter how long it takes, there won't be any more improvements. There isn't a passionate desire for change. The same applies for when women can chose career fields restricted to them. There will be a "There's 5 new female privates coming to the platoon. Go to the sexism power point training and continue to treat them like you are."
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:36 PM   #11
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2. There are some qualities derived from being female, and some qualities derived from being female in our culture, which I feel aren't conducive (but not necessarily barring) to success in a combat career path. I can elaborate on this so that I can be corrected if somebody feels I'm being sexist.
I'm not saying that you're being sexist, but could you please elaborate?
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:08 PM   #12
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I'm not saying that you're being sexist, but could you please elaborate?
Well, I probably am. I was hoping somebody could let me know. Just give me a second to respond.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:26 PM   #13
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You're right, I misunderstood the post I quoted V, sorry about that. I would like to think that the military could do something about sexism in the service based on my own experiences though.

For instance, while I wasn't the type that saw women as a piece of ass going in, I did have a lot of preconceived notions about them when I entered basic at Ft. Leonard Wood that was a coop BCT facility. It was after training with them and having drill instructors that ranged from NBC specialists, 88M's, and primarily members of the 11 series (this was long before the 11B became the rubber stamp for basic infantry when there were specialists in mechanized, light, armored, engineering, etc.) that started to change my mind. Believe it or not, it was the 11 series Drill Sergeants that not only said how to treat female soldiers, but also set the example and always acted accordingly to them that started to change my mind and world view on women. It wasn't the fact that my company commander in basic was female, it was how they treated not only the CO and fellow drill instructors, but also the recruits.

Sometimes, female recruits were disciplined by only female Drill Sergeants, other times, male recruits were disciplined by female DI's or vice versa; in other words the punishment fit the crime. There were also times when the female DI's seemed more sadistic than the male DI's when issuing corrective training for shining our boots or ensuring wall lockers were secured. There were also times when male DI's nailed males for something as slight as trying to conceal the fact that they were scratching their crotch in front of females. In a lot of ways this could be viewed as being too politically correct; however, it also taught recruits such as myself that we need to respect women and not act like baboons.

Bottom line is, I was taught from basic on up to not only respect the female soldier from day one but to respect the rank before I respected the person/gender/skin color/ethnic group. I think the army can learn from the example I experienced. As crazy as it sounds, I'd have all recruits, regardless of their MOS, start off in similar facilities as Leanord Wood like I did if we truly wish to address the problem.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:23 AM   #14
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I'm not saying that you're being sexist, but could you please elaborate?
As I said, these traits are not conducive to success in a combat career field, but they are not barring in one. I also need to clarify that these are in terms of typical combat careers like infantry, armor, and artillery. I will exclude things that don't pertain to them, such as the advantage that women usually have in fast moving jets that their shorter heart to brain distance provides.

Being female: These are obviously not absolutes, and no two bodies will be the same. That being said, this is typical when looking at males and females of the same body type.

The average 18- year-old male is 70.2 inches tall and weighs 144.8 pounds, whereas the average female of the same age is 64.4 inches tall and weighs 126.6 pounds. This difference in size affects the absolute amount of physical work that can be performed by males and females.

Males have 50 percent greater total muscle mass, based on weight, than do females. A female who is the same size as her male counterpart is generally only 80 percent as strong. Therefore, males usually have an advantage in strength, speed, and power over females.

Females carry about 10 percentage points more body fat than do males of the same age. Males accumulate fat primarily in the back, chest, and abdomen; females gain fat in the buttocks, arms, and thighs. Also, because the center of gravity is lower in females than in males, females must overcome more resistance in activities that require movement of the lower body.

Females have less bone mass than males, but their pelvic structure is wider. This difference gives males an advantage in running efficiency. I'm not sure about how this relates in terms of suceptibility to injuries.

The average female's heart is 25 percent smaller than the average male's. Thus, the male's heart can pump more blood with each beat. The larger heart size contributes to the slower resting heart rate (five to eight beats a minute slower) in males. This lower rate is evident both at rest and at any given level of submaximal exercise. Thus, for any given work rate, the faster heart rate means that most females will become fatigued sooner than males.

The lung capacity of males is 25 to 30 percent greater than that of females.This gives males still another advantage in the processing of oxygen and in doing aerobic work such as running.

A female's response to heat stress differs somewhat from a male's. Females sweat less, lose less heat through evaporation, and reach higher body temperatures before sweating starts.

The army understands these differences and sets a different standard for physical fitness for males and females. I think that to allow females to posses combat jobs, they need to meet the standards for males. Anything less will weaken the unit. That's an easy fix, though. It'll bar most females. I really don't see most being able to realistically succeed given these conditions, but at least the ones who can phsyically hack it will still have access. I can't comment on things like pregnancy other then pulling shit out of my ass, so I won't.

The reason why I mention this is because, I feel like most males would be able to achieve the phsyical fitness standards. I think a lot don't outside of the army because, well, they're just pussies.

As far as being females in our culture... It's really difficult for me to speak objectively. I'm sure I'm not as familiar about these things as some of you. What I'm kind of thinking of are things like females are usually less assertive in a group setting with males then they would be otherwise. Again, not barring, but also not conducive.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:38 AM   #15
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The army understands these differences and sets a different standard for physical fitness for males and females. I think that to allow females to posses combat jobs, they need to meet the standards for males. Anything less will weaken the unit. That's an easy fix, though. It'll bar most females. I really don't see most being able to realistically succeed given these conditions, but at least the ones who can phsyically hack it will still have access. I can't comment on things like pregnancy other then pulling shit out of my ass, so I won't.
I totally agree with this.. I think that if you're looking at a person with a view of having them complete a set task effectively (and ESPECIALLY when that task holds other people's lives in hand), then you need to know that the person CAN actually complete that task.

I used to work with two nurses, one who had a really severe intentional tremor and one who had her left hand amputated... it never bothered me to work with either of them because they could do the work that needed to be done. I worked with another who had back injuries and I hated it when he was on because he couldn't do the job - I understand that people with differing abilities should be able to work, but there are some jobs that just can not be compromised. When the nurse with the back injuries was on we spent most of the time filling in for his inabilities to perform, and ultimately our patients didn't get the care that they should be receiving because we were working with a patient:staff ratio of effectively 30:2 (with stand-by assistance from him) instead of 30:3.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:40 AM   #16
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TL;DR: As it is right now, a female my age would have to achieve the physical fitness of a male twice my age to pass. I'm only 25, but if it's true that every year in is like 3 years on your body, then it really does explain why I feel like I'm in my mid 30's some days. Considering how many guys I've seen not make it to 20 years to retire at only 40ish because of medical issues and injuries, I'm really skeptical that many women could last that long. I kind of see them as a liability in the long term, whether they recognize it or not.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:50 AM   #17
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I totally agree with this.. I think that if you're looking at a person with a view of having them complete a set task effectively (and ESPECIALLY when that task holds other people's lives in hand), then you need to know that the person CAN actually complete that task.

I used to work with two nurses, one who had a really severe intentional tremor and one who had her left hand amputated... it never bothered me to work with either of them because they could do the work that needed to be done. I worked with another who had back injuries and I hated it when he was on because he couldn't do the job - I understand that people with differing abilities should be able to work, but there are some jobs that just can not be compromised. When the nurse with the back injuries was on we spent most of the time filling in for his inabilities to perform, and ultimately our patients didn't get the care that they should be receiving because we were working with a patient:staff ratio of effectively 30:2 (with stand-by assistance from him) instead of 30:3.
Yeah, pretty much. Now think of the awesome medical benefits and life insurance the army gives: If I die because of my job, my mother gets 400,000 fucking dollars. The caveat to that is that I have to prove twice a year that I won't die or get injured because I can't cut it. My room mate has 16 years in and only needs 4 more for retirement, but he's being discharged because of his asthma and he's only in the air force. MY job chews people up and spits them the fuck out. I think the ultimate question is are women worth that risk to death benefits and combat readiness of their unit?
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:01 AM   #18
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I think that perhaps the question might be better put as "Are people who can't perform up to task worth that risk to death benefits and combat readiness of their unit?" because (and please correct me if I've read you wrong..) I'm thinking that if a male could pass the standard expected of a female you wouldn't believe that he was capable of doing the job.

I'm thinking this has less to do with gender, and more to do with the armed forces having differing standards?
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:12 AM   #19
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Here's another thing. The average cost of recruiting someone is 11,000 dollars. They flew me to the processing station and at any point I could have said "No, nevermind." and wasted all that money. The average costs of somebody initial bare-bones basic training is 35,000 dollars for each recruit. The DoD watches attrition rates like a hawk. Then there's other training, like specialty schools or big career schools. Not everybody goes to them because they cost a lot of damn money and the DoD can't afford it. It kind of looks at military personal like investments. They have to take a risk when they invest a lot into somebody, because they can't know if they're the average joe or John Rambo.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:37 AM   #20
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I think that perhaps the question might be better put as "Are people who can't perform up to task worth that risk to death benefits and combat readiness of their unit?" because (and please correct me if I've read you wrong..) I'm thinking that if a male could pass the standard expected of a female you wouldn't believe that he was capable of doing the job.

I'm thinking this has less to do with gender, and more to do with the armed forces having differing standards?
I'm not sure I understand you, but I'll try.

I think the different standards are realistic. Females don't have to compete with males in the jobs they do. Well, they do, but it doesn't really matter if she can or cannot because the job doesn't require it. I mean, yeah, it's the military, but it's not really the end of the world.

In the jobs they're restricted from, it kind of is. And to be honest, even the bare minimum standards for us isn't really enough. A soldier has to be able to meet the standard to come to us, but if they can't perform physically regardless of meeting the standard, we stick them behind a desk. Having seen how much this happens is pretty much why I'm not opposed to the idea. I realize that every body is different and there are exceptional and sub-standard people regardless of sex.

My whole thing is that I think the different standards are realistic. Females are tangibly different from males. Again, physical highs and lows from each. But I can be realistically expected to pass my basic training with the standards set. I think a lot of women will be able to, as well. I also think that a lot won't, but we have to give them the chance anyway. The problem is that chance is a 40,000+ dollar hit and potentially somebody's life.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:45 AM   #21
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I don't know. Do you think it's fair to restrict females from the more lucrative career opportunities because everyone that doesn't make it costs money?

Sounds like the definition of sexism to me. I understand that it's not right. I think my position is coming from the knowledge that it's not that much of a social justice sacrifice. Of course I can't really make my arguement "Believe me, it's better for you this way."
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:57 AM   #22
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Err. To put this in perspective, there is a big difference between your career in combat and your career in support. Sergeant, for example, is something most combat guys achieve in 3-5 years. It's closer to 5-9 years for support. 80% of the highest ranking soldiers are from combat careers. It's not that there is a bias, it's that combat careers have priority access to the best schools and training because they need it more. A cook doesn't need sniper school, or master gunner, or air assault, or ranger, or path finder, and a commander is fucking high if he ever sends one; he's less likely to succeed because of the necessary skill sets in training and he'll never use it because he's still a cook. Those schools are the hardest and when looking at two people for promotion, the one who has completed the hard will get it. So aside from this disparity in rank/career field, there is a huge disparity between gender and rank because of it. The army is 15% female, but only 7% of the highest ranking soldiers are female. They're understandably pissed off about it.

So yeah. The question is "Are women worth that risk?"
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:22 AM   #23
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Do you think that the higher standard is something that is actually needed?

For instance, it would be lovely if every nurse could do instant drug calcs without using a calculator.. but that's realistically not needed for the job. Is it like that - where the higher standard is nice, but not needed?

Because if that's the case then I think that it is the definition of sexism, being that these people are kept from this opportunity by the systemic discrimination if their gender.

If it isn't the case, and that standard of ability is necessary.. then wouldn't it be like telling someone who was functionally illiterate that they can't be a nurse?

(I've just noticed that my pillows smell like my best friend and now I feel vaguely annoyed that he isn't here to eat licorice and watch Doctor Horrible with me.)

:|
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:27 AM   #24
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Again, to put this in perspective:

Another argument is that the plaintiffs are saying "Well, we do it anyway, but we don't get the benefits from it." It's mostly true. The DoD has indentified that females are an asset to operations in Afghanistan specifically because they are female. There is a big cultural divide in that Afghans don't typically interact with the opposite sex like we do. Combat guys can't talk to the women who the DoD sees as intelligence sources. Their response to this is to take female soldiers, train them to talk to women and gather information, then send them out with combat guys to do that. They're called Female Engagement Teams. So in doing this, they are exposed to some of the same dangers that their combat units who they're attached to are. They won't participate in attacks, but they're exposed to combat in the form of defense when the enemy attacks, be that roadside bombs or whatever.

So they say "If I'm going to be exposed to some danger, why can't I benefit from that like males can?" I think the problem with this is that they equate the danger they with accidentally being in combat with the danger that an infantry fire team faces with intentionally being in combat.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:48 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Absynthe View Post
Do you think that the higher standard is something that is actually needed?

For instance, it would be lovely if every nurse could do instant drug calcs without using a calculator.. but that's realistically not needed for the job. Is it like that - where the higher standard is nice, but not needed?

Because if that's the case then I think that it is the definition of sexism, being that these people are kept from this opportunity by the systemic discrimination if their gender.

If it isn't the case, and that standard of ability is necessary.. then wouldn't it be like telling someone who was functionally illiterate that they can't be a nurse?

(I've just noticed that my pillows smell like my best friend and now I feel vaguely annoyed that he isn't here to eat licorice and watch Doctor Horrible with me.)

:|
Yeah, I would say it's needed, from my experience.

As an example, when tanks fight each other, they use a special kind of ammunition for the main gun that weights about 100 pounds/45 kilograms. The US army doesn't have an auto-loader in our tanks like a lot of countries for a few reasons that I won't get in to, but that means that each round has to be loaded and extracted by hand. There isn't enough room inside a tank turret to really move around, so most of that has to come from upper body strength. Most tank auto-loaders can reload in about 5-7 seconds. These rounds are so powerful that it usually only takes one shot to destroy another tank. If the gunner misses or has to engage a second tank, the loader has to be able to extract the first round and load another before a machine is able to do the same thing in the enemy tank. In large scale tank battles, that loader might need to do this several dozen times, and if he can't, him and the 3 other soldiers in his tank crew could die in a very horrible way that I won't describe to you.


That's to say nothing about all the horrible injuries. I'm sure you know what arterial bleeding, an airway obstructed by skull fragments, and a sucking chest wound mean as far as time limits. Triage is pretty important and having somebody available who can run with 3 times their body weight is more then a little nice. :/

Also, sorry about your friend. I'm at work, but at least it's a slow night.
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Woke up with fifty enemies plottin' my death
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Couldn't rest, nah nigga I was stressed
Had me creepin' 'round corners, homie sleepin' in my vest.


-Breathin, Tupac.
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