Friday morning on CNN’s “Starting Point,” anchor Soledad O’Brien hosted a panel to discuss Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women on women in combat. One guest, who was arguing vociferously against equality for military women, got a surprise when O’Brien got him to agree with writings that were used to argue against racial integration of the military.
Panelist Kingsley Browne, author of the book Co-Ed Combat: The New Evidence that Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars, said that he believes that women are inherently weaker than men, and that their inclusion on the field of battle will erode “unit cohesion,” the same rhetorical shiv that was used by opponents of LGBT personnel being allowed to serve openly in the military.
Browne argued to the panel that because there is “very little overlap in physical capacity between men and women,” the U.S. military will be forced to lower its standards for physical performance, a move that the Army already made two years ago, but not for women. In 2010, the military lowered its physical fitness standards to allow for the number of obese and out-of-shape men who were turning up for basic training.
O’Brien asked Brown at the end of the segment whether he agreed with a quote.
“I’m going to read a little bit from this colonel who said this,” she said. “‘The army is not a sociological laboratory. To be effective it has to be organized and trained according to the principles which will insure success…Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’ Is this essentially what you’re saying?”
“I think that’s true,” said Browne. “I don’t think it’s true with respect to ultimate defeat of the United States in a war. I think what’s likely to occur though is the defeat of the United States in small battles, which means people are going to die.”
He continued, “Now, you were talking about sex and it was sort of disputed that there would be sexual distractions, but large numbers of women fail to deploy with their units because of pregnancy, large numbers of women are shipped home because of pregnancies. Something caused that pregnancy. My guess is it was sex.”
“Well, I want to go back to that quote I read you,” O’Brien responded. “Do you know what that was from? It was a guy from 1941. And that argument was about not allowing black people in the military. That was his exact argument of why blacks should not be allowed in the military, because it’s a danger to efficiency and discipline and morale and will result in ultimate defeat.”
Watch the video, embedded via CNN, below: