The article "A Trench Between Women, Jobs" {front page, Dec. 28} presents the feminist view of "women in combat," omits any opposing arguments and even fails to acknowledge that a reasonable opposing viewpoint exists. Four points need to be made:

First, three millennia of military history have proven that armies require an esprit that is built and maintained through the special cohesion that develops among males under difficult circumstances. When Medal of Honor recipients have been asked what motivated them to heroism, the most common response is: "I did it for my buddies," as opposed to for "my country," "my army," "my God," etc.

Second, some empirical information may help to balance the discussion. In the first Arab-Israeli War in 1948, the Israeli army, due to severe manpower shortages, assigned women to combat roles, with disastrous results. The male soldiers were disproportionately concerned with the welfare of their female counterparts to the detriment of the unit as a whole. Furthermore, some Arab units continued fighting under desperate conditions because they thought it dishonorable to surrender to female soldiers.

Third, the Army conducted a study of gender in basic training companies in the early 1980s. There were three test groups: companies composed only of men, companies composed only of women and mixed companies. The men-only companies performed best, in just about all of the basic soldiering tasks (not only the merely physical), and the women-only units performed somewhat worse. In the mixed-gender companies, the women performed better than they did in women-only units, but the men performed worse than they did in men-only units. Since less than 20 percent of the Army is composed of women, logic dictates that the men be kept in male-only units as much as possible in order to maximize results.

Finally, your article omitted a critical fact: Studies have shown that enlisted women in the Army do not want to serve in combat roles; it is predominantly feminists without military experience who claim to speak for these women, but they apparently have no desire to learn what their supposed "constituency" really wants. Promotions come faster to those who serve in combat roles, but (enlisted) Army women are mostly not interested in these positions. If statistics show that women are not promoted as quickly as men in the Army, it is therefore not indicative of a conspiracy.

A commander in the U.S. Army has precious little time and resources with which to train soldiers. Should the commander spend all of this time trying to alter the manner in which men and women are genetically or socially prone to interact with one another, or should the commander use this time to train soldiers to fight and win wars and stay alive while doing so?

-- Thomas Manzi