Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« The great lunge forward | Main | News with a Disclaimer »

Friday, May 26, 2006

Grieving Nichola

I have been grieving for Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian woman ever to die fighting in battle. For some reason this struck me as more than the death of someone who was clearly a wonderful person and a highly capable soldier. Like many Canadians, I am intensely proud of her and the life she gave for me, my family, my children, and my people. She is a hero in my mind. Nevertheless, I will always believe that no matter how good they may be, to send women to battle in place of men is wrong, and the fact that we do so makes me feel a little guilty and even shames me as a man. I can’t help that. It is what I feel, and deeply so. And it has left me angry at my country. But how does it make sense to be so proud of her soldiering, yet so upset that we sent her off to die?

Call this a knee-jerk, dinosaur emotion of an unrepentant male reactionary, if you like. That would be the expected and simplistic response. But I ask: How can it be right for a country filled with strong and vital men to send women into battle to die in their place? In their place you say? She chose that life! She loved what she was doing! True. All true. But while an individual’s choosing something, if it is good, makes it good for that person, it does not follow that somebody choosing something good for themselves makes it good, or right, or the best choice for society as a whole. Why do I and so many others feel this way? Why has every Canadian man worth the name felt an inner twinge of conscience over her death?

Well, for starters, women have a unique role in society that men can never fill: they give birth to other human beings and nurture human life in ways that a man cannot. All men know that. And most of us grow up with an inbred awe of, and respect for that natural fact of life. That is, for the intuitive knowledge that civilization comes to a grinding halt – we all die – if women, the mothers of us all, die out. So, it seems (again so strongly intuitively) that although it is a noble tragedy for a nation to lose a single life in battle, it is a kind of double tragedy to lose a woman’s life. For a young woman who dies in battle loses her own life and also the lives for which she was a living proxy-in-waiting. That is because all women hold in biological potential as many lives as they care to create. That is the deepest mystery of the female, and it is why to lose a woman in war is rightly felt as so costly to all. It is this that fighting men know in their hearts, and to deny this truth is to undermine what is sometimes called the life force, and therefore the very fabric of society.

For just as there is nothing higher or nobler for women than to create human life and nurture it, there is nothing nobler for men than to love and protect their women and children, and if necessary to die for them. All manly men feel this call deeply. It is strange to say, perhaps, and against all common sense, but many men love war precisely because it provides them with the opportunity to be heroic, to be wholly altruistic, to answer a higher calling of a kind that all women feel naturally in creating life, but that is not an inherent part of a man’s biological nature. So men must seek out the equivalent. So deeply do most men need and long for this that they will unhesitatingly face terrible odds in battle and willingly die to protect their fellows. Call it a guy thing. But thisis why I say there is something deeply amiss with the values of our society when Nichola is killed, and the same day back home a few hundred thousand very tough men go to work, play their sports, then go out at night to drink and dance, and then go home for a good sleep. It is the truth of this stark contrast that hit me like a body-blow against the manliness of our country as a whole.

For just as it would be wrong and cowardly, and would instantly and naturally incur loathing in any manly man to watch another man beat up a woman for the last space on a lifeboat, it is wrong and incurs a silent shame in most men to see women go to battle in their place. Especially against a Muslim enemy they know is outraged to be fighting against women in the first place, and so is very eager to target them first. And what real man would argue that if we had two platoons of Canadian soldiers, one all-female, and one all-male, both equally prepared to attack the enemy, that it would be right or natural to send the women’s platoon in first? No. That would be against nature and against all manliness, and against the deepest male instinct and desire to fight and protect.

For these reasons, and so many more, I fear we are putting women at risk in war to satisfy a strangely powerful but misguided ideological craving for equality in all things. Indeed, it seems we crave such equality in inverse proportion to our loss of confidence in the great and natural truths of human life. So strong is this pathetic public ideal that we now demand that all things male and female that are clearly and naturally different must be officially denied and made the same at all costs, and we are prepared to fudge the truth and at great expense to change all social reality to make them so. Nichola died for her country. But she also died, whether she knew it or not, in the name of a stridently radical ideology that has been corrosive of the social and family fabric of Canada for more than three decades, and in the name of which she got to the front lines. She chose this because it was available. And it fulfilled her as an individual. So we have to believe she died happy. But as a society it is we who chose to make that choice possible to her, and I do not think any life, male or female, should be sacrificed to an ideal so clearly wrong-headed and against natural truth. 

Posted by williamgairdner on May 26, 2006 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Grieving Nichola:



Spell check. I'm sure in your first line you mean reigned in, not rained in.

Minor point. Nichola Goddard was not sent into battle, she volunteered. Yet, the fact she rose to the rank of captain is also a superficial sign of something I'm not sure of yet.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-26 11:30:36 AM

Canadian Women wanted equality now they have. I have no problem with women fighting for the freedoms we all seem to take for granted.

She is a hero and deserves to be remembered as a brave soldier not a frail woman who shouldn't have been allowed to do what she wanted.

Her rise to captain is not surprising, she probably simply wrote the tests an passed. No one fails tests in Canada anymore ... that would be unfair

Posted by: John | 2006-05-26 11:46:44 AM

Not to be an ass but I believe the proper spelling is reined.
Just what was your reason for chafing at the bit in pointing out karol's insignificant error?

Posted by: in ques t | 2006-05-26 11:48:59 AM

One entry found for rein.
Main Entry: 2rein
Function: verb
transitive senses
1 : to control or direct with or as if with reins
2 : to check or stop by or as if by a pull at the reins

Posted by: John | 2006-05-26 11:55:49 AM

Once again, the group arrives at the real truth.

I've got an excuse, karol. I did not know one word of English on the day I went to Grade 1, even though I had been in this country since I was 18 months old.

Thanks John and I quest in.

BTW IQI, no need to apologize. Had I actually checked in the dictionary that's sitting right beside me, my sincere attempt at helping a man for whom English is his fourth language would have been more appreciated.

Once again it's proven nobody is perfect. And, it reiterates my previous admission of ignorance.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-26 12:07:57 PM

Oh man. Let me get this right:

1) A "conservative" is arguing that "while an individual’s choosing something, if it is good, makes it good for that person, it does not follow that somebody choosing something good for themselves makes it good, or right, or the best choice for society as a whole."

Wow. This is the very same justification used by Liberals to institute smoking bans, make gambling illegal, etc.. See Ezra's "War on Fun" for more examples. Hell, it is the entire justification for the Nanny State: "We know what is better for you that you do."

2) Women are "proxies-in-waiting"? ". . . civilization comes to a grinding halt – we all die – if women, the mothers of us all, die out." And if all the men die out humanity can survive? Huh? Is this some of that "New Biology"?

Actually, this whole post is rather "Old Biology" of the radically deterministic sort.

Posted by: bob | 2006-05-26 12:13:04 PM


Depends on whether you mean so-con or libertarian.

There's a large range in the opinions of the state's roll over here on the right. A lot of the So-cons aren't opposed to government, they just want it to do different things than the left wants it to do.

Liberarians want the government to do as little as possible.

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-05-26 12:21:16 PM

The English language is fun to fiddle with.
Just imagine how much more fulfillng for youngsters an academic day in school would be if they were provided with the sort of brainteasing fun that we just participated in.
Thanks to all for the morning lift!

Posted by: in ques t | 2006-05-26 12:24:15 PM


I think you missed an important distinction. If William G was arguing that we ought not *allow* women to serve in the armed forces, you would be right. A conservative is not prohibited from thinking "I know what is best for you better than you do". A conservative merely thinks it is wrong to make public policy based on thinking "I know what is best for you better than you do". Smokers, gamblers, and overweight overeaters who don't believe that their activities are bad for them are wrong. It is true that it is best for them to stop smoking, stop gambling, and stop overeating. But passing laws to make them stop doing these things is anti-conservative. Of course, people who call themselves conservatives are generally not less reluctant to support nanny state ideas (like outlawing marijuana, banning same-sex marriage, etc). But that is another kettle of fish.


You say, "call this a knee-jerk, dinosaur emotion of an unrepentant male reactionary, if you like". I don't consider your views that just because I like to. I consider them that because they are.

Posted by: Mark Logan | 2006-05-26 12:26:23 PM


I don't think I missed that distinction at all.

Here is WG's final line:

But as a society it is we who chose to make that choice possible to her, and I do not think any life, male or female, should be sacrificed to an ideal so clearly wrong-headed and against natural truth.

Sure sounds to me like he is arguing that we, as a society, should make that choice impossible. But, hey, maybe I'm reading too much into it and he just wants us to put incredible "peer-pressure" on women to conform to his view as to their role in society.

Posted by: bob | 2006-05-26 12:30:53 PM

I believe I understand where William Gairdner is coming from in his post.
Although the age of chivalry has long caught the night train out of town,the residue is still firmly planted in the male psyche.
However for better or worse it won't be back.
I think that this just heralds the lack of compassion that our world is quickly moving towards in its determined quest to become of an automatonic nature.
Any bets that euthanasia isn't fast on the heels of abortion due to the apathy of our boiling everything down to the common denominator of what is considered useful or useless to society.

Posted by: in ques t | 2006-05-26 12:46:02 PM

"it is wrong and incurs a silent shame in most men to see women go to battle in their place. Especially against a Muslim enemy they know is outraged to be fighting against women in the first place,"

The irony in this statement is as incredible as it is offensive. Radical Muslim men oppress their women by dictating their role in society, and we should counter this not by expressing women's freedom, but by dictating the role of women in our own society.


I should also point out that even your sociobiology is flawed when you say: "That is because all women hold in biological potential as many lives as they care to create. " and that "we all die – if women, the mothers of us all, die out."

In fact, according to sociobiology, men have an enormously higher potential to create lives than women, simply because they can reproduce thousands of times while women cannot.

Posted by: Wilson_R | 2006-05-26 12:46:20 PM


Geez, I feel like I'm being picky today.

I assume in paragraph 2, you mean the state's role, not roll .. as in the state bakery has just made one out of cinnamon.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-26 12:58:20 PM

So, women, in their drive for equality, have come down to our level. I can see it now. Because William said that that we make that choice possible to her, it will be said that William is not pro-choice.

But hey, Wilson_R. You got it! That is what William is saying. Since we only need a small number of men as compared to the number of women to keep our society going, why should we risk the lives of the women and thus the future of our society?

John M Reynolds

Posted by: jmrSudbury | 2006-05-26 1:05:12 PM

"That would be against nature and against all manliness, and against the deepest male instinct and desire to fight and protect."

Consider that 'manliness' is practically a swear work in the government school system. It is discouraged and any sign of it is immediately tagged for some sort of drug to keep the 'manliness' in check. Boys being boys in now a no no.

We have a society with a growing number of 'girly-men' or 'metro sexuals' who wouldn't fight for anything but perhaps a good fashion item on sale.

We also have a growing number a manly-girls who are found in the offices of govenment where they can be hired without wearing make up.

The western world is in a very dangerous situation right now where we don't know who we are and how we should be living or sending off to fight for our way of life ... whatever that is nowadays.

Sometimes I get so confused.

Posted by: John | 2006-05-26 1:19:04 PM

"We also have a growing number a manly-girls who are found in the offices of govenment where they can be hired without wearing make up . . . The western world is in a very dangerous situation right now. . ."

No doubt. I mean, if women *must* work outside the home, they had better stick to jobs requiring cosmetics so that we know they are still in touch with their feminine side.

I'm not sure I've ever read a more disturbing thread on the WS.

Women as homemakers is a product of the 50's -- not "nature" or evolution. Pick up an introductory anthropology textbook and you will see an incredible diversity (prehistorically, historically, and now) in gender roles and relationships.

Posted by: Wilson_R | 2006-05-26 1:31:34 PM


Women's role in society is dictated by their nature - first. Their nature dictates that they are the nurturers physically and emotionally. As much as the feminists have tried to brainwash this out of women, nature persists. William is correct. A man is necessary for procreation, but he is not the vessel and the sustainer of life.

I did not read William's post as advocating a ban on women in the armed forces.

In my opinion it would make sense to stop lying to boys and girls in school by telling them they are the SAME as each other. Recognizing and celebrating the differences would be healthier and most beneficial to soociety as a whole. The public school system is notorious for pushing a 'culture of death' philosophy that promotes whole heartedly the feminist and homosexual agenda to the exclusion of a child's own nature .

That's why I homeschool. There will be at least 8 healthy Canadians (possibly)procreating in the future, and following their God given nature without any gov't sponsored angst or confusion.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-05-26 1:37:16 PM

"Although the age of chivalry has long caught the night train out of town,the residue is still firmly planted in the male psyche.
However for better or worse it won't be back.
I think that this just heralds the lack of compassion that our world is quickly moving towards in its determined quest to become of an automatonic nature.
Any bets that euthanasia isn't fast on the heels of abortion due to the apathy of our boiling everything down to the common denominator of what is considered useful or useless to society."
Posted by: in ques t | 26-May-06 12:46:02 PM

Just so, in ques t.
Although, more accurately, chivalry was relabeled chauvinism and ridden out of town on a rail by Feminists.

Euthanasia preceded abortion in the Third Reich and that is where the Nazis got most of their Death Camp commandants.


I have an original hard cover edition of “Into that Darkness” by Gitta Sereny . Stangl was commandant of Sobibor and Treblinka and began as superintendent of the T-4 Euthanasia Program at the Euthanasia Institute at Schloss Hartheim where mentally and physically handicapped people were sent to be killed.

Later, of course, many who were against Nazism were pronounced insane and enrolled in the T-4 program.

Men are more expendable than women, as women have wombs and the sperm of one man can impregnate many women.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-05-26 1:41:03 PM


Any well read or well educated person knows that you can't look to anthropology for anything credible. (Especially first year texts!!) Even anthropologists themselves admit making up most of it. For an excellent book about this by Dr. Philip Davis (UPEI) read "Goddess Unmasked". Very well referenced to help you 'check facts' for yourself.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-05-26 1:41:47 PM

A woman should have the right to join the army, and take on a combat role, but the standards should be the same for both sexes. This will mean there will naturally be less women in the army, but that all female members of the forces are physically and mentally capable to do the job.

A woman should have the right to sacrifice herself for her country, but not to kill her fetus (sorry for invoking the abortion debate).

Nichola Goddard's death is not more tragic than Pte. Robart Costall's death. I am saddened that he will not be fathering any children, just as I am sad that Goddard will not be having any either.

Goddard was a brave heroine, and will rightly take her place amoung other Canadians like Costall. She will also likely be an inspiration to ohter strong women who want to join our forces.

Posted by: Charlotte | 2006-05-26 1:47:24 PM


I know you are sincere in your beliefs about this. But your arguments are full of archaic sentimentalism, goofy mysticism and passe notions about what women should or shouldn’t do in life. Listen to yourself:

“shames me as a man”
“angry at my country”
“women have a unique role.....most of us .. inbred awe of, and respect for that natural fact of life”
“That is the deepest mystery of the female”
“sometimes called the life force”

Your view of women is woefully one-dimensional - they’re for breeding and we men must ‘protect’ them. In their “unique role” they should be excluded them from other roles including, say, truck driver, police officer, fisherman (oops ‘fisher’), CEO, etc. The Taliban version is the full burqha, not being permitted to go out unescorted by a male and being unworthy even of education - that is what our men and women are over there fighting against.

In past wars women were often killed by the tens of thousands, mostly as victims rather than as combatants excepting some who died as nurses at or near the front. I really don’t think the survival of mankind hinges on keeping women out of combat.

Posted by: JR | 2006-05-26 1:54:26 PM

"Even anthropologists themselves admit making up most of it."

That is such a laughably absurd statement it is difficult to tell if you are joking or serious.

Davis' book, which has nothing to do with critiquing anthropology, discusses the roots of Goddess Cults. And I'm glad you brought it up because, in fact, his conclusion is precisely what I noted above -- the worship of women as "vessels and sustainers of life" did not originate in prehistoric matriarchal cultures, but rather through the actions of *men* during the 19th century!

Posted by: Wilson_R | 2006-05-26 1:57:15 PM


Roll, role... from now on no checking my typing. I fully admit not proofing this stuff beyong spell check which doesn't do the grammar thing...

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-05-26 2:01:34 PM

I'd like to know how many of the commentators on this post(including Wm Gairdner) have served in the army.
The following is an extract quoted by Allan Mallinson (British General) from Chaim Herzog's 'War of Atonement.(From The Spectator magazine)'
...consider this, of the heroic battle by the Israeli 7th Brigade, who had been fighting without rest for three days on the Golan Heights...
...The Syrians continued desperately and with great determination to push on, to fight against...Israeli tanks holding on grimly at ranges of 250-500 yards...the heat of the flames from burning tanks could be felt on all sides; the smell of gunpowder and burning cordite pervaded the atmosphere. The 7th (Israeli) Brigade, attacked on all sides, was now fighting on a radius of 360 degrees. At this point in the battle, control and identification became impossible. Every tank and every small unit fought its own private war: Israeli tanks became mixed up and found themselves in the midst of a bunch of Syrian tanks; Syrian tanks lost their way in Israeli positions. The artillery of both sides pounded this nightmare of a batle field as the Syrians fought desperately to achieve the breakthrough. The Israelis were by now fighting instinctively and barely consciously, realising only in their subconcious the significance of what they were doing...
...One wonders what todays advocates of women in the front line of the British army would make of this. The IDF, then and now, have no doubts; women did not, and do not, fight in tanks or in the infantry, for the emotional and physical intensity of such combat has not diminished. Ignoring this unpalatable truth does an army's fighting power great disservice, and it was the moral component of fighting power, above all else, that saved the Israelis in the Yom Kippur war...

Posted by: Chas MacGill | 2006-05-26 2:12:21 PM

Having to choose whose argument from a woman's viewpoint is more credible on this matter, I go to Iwestin over Charlotte.

Much of the feminist agenda is based on the denial of their basic nature ... therefore its main message is currently dispensed by spokesdykes. Without getting too stereotypical about it, has anybody noticed that the spokesdykes all seem to have short hair and hold down government jobs?

It seems kind of weird to me, but then every time I look in the mirror, I understand I'm not getting any prettier either.

Women like Margaret Thatcher (get that karol) and Iwestin understand the only place equality can exist ... on the intellectual and compassionate planes. Physically, the difference is so obvious that its absurd to think women can compete at a high level.

Iwestin has demonstrated an admirable courage in her viewpoints. Well, at least I'd be scared spitless trying to homeschool eight kids.

Capt'n Goddard, to her credit, understood what it is to put her life on the line in an ongoing battle against the tyranny of the invisible enemy. She willingly accepted her fate.

If more men had her guts, this country would not have become the swishy metrosexual place it is today.

I believe she stood up because she understood nobody has power over her and she was willing to walk the talk. Good on her! She's a true hero.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-26 2:47:01 PM


If you have read Davis' book, then you will have read the evidence that anthropologists are suspect as scholars. They seek not so much to 'find' the truth, but to 'create' their own version, and are not shy to share exactly how they have 'created' it.

I'm sure you are aware that I was not advocating 'worship' of women as women, but merely suggesting we would be better off acknowledging and accepting the FACT that we ARE women. That is not something that men (of any age) have made up. Its a gift from God, and He was the first to honour us for who we are, and what we contribute naturally to the benefit of all mankind.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-05-26 2:59:03 PM

I agree that this is one of the more truly offensive postings I've read on the WS blog. Nichola Goddard is a hero and this blog i disrespectful. By all accounts she was superlative in capability and a valuable asset to her fighting comrades. To deny her the opportunity for heroism because she is a woman is shameful and this post is a disgrace to her.

I do not accept that men and women are bilogically equivalent. Plainly they are different and alomost ebverything feminists have claimed about nature versus nurture is demonstrably wrong. However, and this is a huge however, this does not mean women cannot be superlative combatants, "Amazons" if you will.

To suggest they should be depruived the opportunity to combat an egregiously misogynist group is beyond ironic. It is cruel and demeaning. This post could only make sense if our society had reached the point that there was such a serious shortage of women capable of reproduction that the survival of our society required that women be foreclosed from various occupations. We are far, far, far ... far from that day.

Posted by: murray | 2006-05-26 3:20:17 PM


Not a single poster denigrated Nichola Goddard. No one suggested that she should have been prevented from serving in the armed forces. Somehow, whenever a word of appreciation for 'womanhood' appears, liberals read it as chauvinism or repression or disrespect.

As a woman, I feel disrespected by that attitude - the attitude that if I speak my mind and live my life I am a 'bad' person. Why should the FACT that Nichola Goddard was a woman soldier mean that we must not discuss anything about appreciating the differences between men and women ? How does that take away from Nichola Goddard's self-sacrifice or honour?

Talk about knee-jerk reactionism by ...

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-05-26 3:36:02 PM


That's quite a strawman you've set up there. Who doesn't "accept and acknowledge the fact that" women are women? Don't be shy, provide some evidence that this is a widespread belief. No, one or two links from radical genderists will not fit the bill.

What is *not* generally accepted is that being a woman is incompatible with a lifestyle outside of raising children or even *gasp* raising children and having a career.

Posted by: bob | 2006-05-26 3:43:09 PM


I ain't no liberal by a long shot. I have been arguing against feminists on biological differences between males and females my entire adult life. But to purport to argue it is somehow not right for society or the men in society to have women fighting before the last available able man is infuriatingly insulting to the legacy of Nichola Goddard, as a soldier, as a citizen, as a person, as a woman. I accept the fact women are different and better suited to child rearing. So what! Until there is an acute shortage of woemn who can bear children, the logic in this post is both stupid and insulting. I could go on but it is not worth the trouble to respond point by point.

My reaction is the knee-jerk gut response of a lifelong arch-conservative. Just wait until a liberal reads this blog.

Posted by: murray | 2006-05-26 3:47:16 PM

"No one suggested that she should have been prevented from serving in the armed forces."

Are you sure about that? As bob notes way at the top, William's last line sure sounds like he wants to take away a woman's ability to choose to enter the military:

"But as a society it is we who chose to make that choice possible to her, and I do not think any life, male or female, should be sacrificed to an ideal so clearly wrong-headed and against natural truth. "

Posted by: Wilson_R | 2006-05-26 3:47:44 PM

Sometimes, you've just gotta stop takin' it, stand up and fight for your freedom.

If the tyrants push, push back harder.

If they want a fistfight, bring it on.

If they want to bring weapons, let's go.

Capt. Goddard was willing to push back. Let's take a cue and grab a clue.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-26 3:59:42 PM

Set you free, my post in no way implied that a radical feminist army, where 50 percent are women, is an any way desirable. What I said is that if women are allowed in combat roles, they should have to compete by exactly the same physical and mental standards as men. (btw, does anyone know whether this is currently the case in this country?)

Obviously, this will mean that women are a small minority of combat soldiers. We are the physcially weaker sex. Plus, the large majority of women don't desire that type of occupation, just as most women will never want to be plumbers...etc.

I have a female friend from high school who is in Afghanistan, and she is tough as nails, physically and mentally. The argument that her sex might offend Muslim sensibilities is the most ridiculous one that's been presented here.

Posted by: Charlotte | 2006-05-26 4:04:06 PM

Wow, there's someone here that uses logic when engaging in discussion. Thanks Charlotte.

Posted by: Howard Roark | 2006-05-26 4:32:36 PM


I don't connect the original post to any insult to Nichola Goddard or women in general. Its very weird to have men being 'offended' by William's expression of disquiet and sadness, when I am not. This is the kind of 'how dare you say that out loud' reaction I expect from the liberals I know. A little over-sensitive I think.

There is a difference between making a personal attack on an individual's life decisions, and wondering out-loud whether the whole idea doesn't warrant another 'think'. I don't think its disrespectful to discuss ideas , and I don't agree that this thread has shown any disrespect for Nichola Goddard or her choice to die for her country as abrave Canadian soldier. May she rest in Peace.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-05-26 4:40:50 PM

Please do not forget that Capt. Goddard was fighting for FREEDOM. That is probably the most important word in the English language. (not so in other languages as I have come to believe)

Without FREEDOM nothing else matters unless you are an android.

If you truly believe in FREEDOM then you might consider that with freedom one can ...

consider women special and put them on a pedestal or not.

consider some women fit for armed conflict or not.

With real freedom and not the politically correct version the Left has invented over the past thirty years, one should be able to live whatever life one wants to without being judged to death by others.

That is the real pity, judgementalism is like a disease that has pervaded out society putting us all in a cage.

Most of what is discussed on these chat blogs is each person trying to explain or excuse himself or herself from whatever they actually truly believe or even feel is right and good. Is it really so necessary to have to justify our personal values and beliefs?

If diversity is really our strength (according to our previous GG) then why not carry that to the individual and their diverse views.

I want to treat men and women each in accordance with their own virtues and I don't need a contrived set of rules to tell me what the guidelines are. I can still think for myself.

There is a lot of emotion around the death of Captain Goddard and it has sparked a lot of debate around Gender.

Remember this .. women are another gender, not another species. We are more alike than we are different. The differences though, are profound and should not have been ignored and denigrated by feminists and the Left in general. That has fueled a bit of gender war. Now we have the inbetween genders pushing their way into the debate as well.

A couple of good nearly forgotten rules to live by:

"To each his own."

"live and let live"

In other words, our society could use a tall frosty cup of mind your own damn business!

And to our promoters of the nanny state ... Please back off and let us all grow up and learn to accept life on it's own merits.

Posted by: John | 2006-05-26 5:17:41 PM


This article discusses a study performed for the British that concluded that women are unfit for ground combat as they are not as physically capable, lack the level of agression and killing ability of males as with the ability to cope with the stresses with combat. It also states that men tend to act differently when in the presence of women. I'll have to agree with the points made in this study and in a similar study that I read that stated that women succumb to combat stress earlier and take a longer time to recover than males and can have unprovoked reactions whereby they would say jump out of a fox hole and run away when faced with a combat situation. I don't think anybody will try and argue that a male is the same in a female except for a few body parts here and there. Personally, as I am of joining the US reserves rather than the Canadian ones when I finish university as I would not want to be in a combat situation and have to deal with somebody getting up and running away. It's just too much a liability. The government should not use the armed forces as a place to exercise their political correctness.

Posted by: Andrew | 2006-05-26 6:48:15 PM

Charlotte hits the nail on the head. No one (with an ounce of common sense) disputes that men and women are different. No one seriously disputes that men are physically stronger, on average, and, on average, make more capable infantry soldiers. However, many women, like Capt Goddard, are fully capable of handling combat roles. So there’s no compelling reason, in a free and democratic society, to have blanket rules excluding women. William Gairdner’s post certainly didn’t supply one.

As Charlotte points out, a relatively small number of women meet the requirements for combat arms and even fewer have the inclination to serve. So relatively few, the very best, will serve. It’s self regulating.

For anyone who might care, I’m former military (30+ years) and a right-winger.

Posted by: JR | 2006-05-26 8:10:38 PM

I wonder how her poor husband feels? He should be the fallen hero comming home because it is a man's job to protect his wife and family. I feel sorry for him.
I do not think women are cowards; in fact my Mom was in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the last war, she went to London when bombs were flying and she volenteered to go. The motto of the Airwomen was "We serve so that Men may fly". IMO those young ladies, in blue serge skirts were just as brave as the men who flew the planes.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-05-26 8:58:10 PM

I might add the obvious in that women have been involved in war since well,the begining.
Whether its been in active duty roles or various other occupations in the theatre of war, be it surveillance,resistance,caregiver,warden etc.
All these roles have been important and have been instrumental in the outcome.
Let us not just look at this from a one dimensional view.
My mother grew up in London and was a teenager during the blitz:she mentioned of sleeping under a big oak dining table for protection from the bombing for parts of the war.She also mentioned of seeing craters in the street of where school friends and neighbours lived before theirs lives were snuffed out.
Her comments were of taking it in stride because that was what was happening and they were all in it together.
I don't know if they come that resilient any more.

Posted by: in ques t | 2006-05-26 10:06:02 PM

Charlotte and JR have picked up on one of the flaws in logic here: a micro=macro confusion. Data plainly shows men, on average, have a greater aptitude for math, for example. But there have been superlative female mathematicians who could do math better than 99+% of the male population. Ditto karate. Ditto most things. Are we to say, sorry deary, you are the weaker sex, you cannot choose to do what you are best at, you cannot join a tour of duty as a Navy cryptoanalyst in the thick of action because, William Gairdner thinks we as a society should have second thoughts about having women fight battles that really should be fought by men. You, brilliant female mathematician or martial arts specialist or sniper (who won Canada's first gold medal in 1984?)-you cannot apply your talent to defend the freedoms, the values our society holds dearest: "For what avail the plough or sail, land or life, if freedom fail?" And that freedom includes the freedom to make heroic sacrifices to sustain that freedom. To suggest this is inappropriate for women is to deny this freedom--to make women slaves to one aptitude to the exclusion of others. Add the facts that Goddard has just sacrificed her life heroically to uphold these principles and that she did so against a regime that, most notoriously, subjugated women to their "gender aptitude" in denial of their individual aptitudes and individual autonomy, I find insulting and outrageous. Again, "For what avail the plough or sail, land or life, if freedom fail?" As a I person, I find it offensive that anyone or society should direct me what to choose based on my aptitude, much less the average aptitude of my gender, race, or whatever, however real the differences in avaerage aptitude may be. Again, "For what avail the plough or sail, land or life, if freedom fail?" I would expect the sort of logic in the Gairdner post in Maoist China, not a conservative discussion space.

Posted by: murray | 2006-05-27 4:36:51 AM

I don't think Gairdner meant any offense to Goddard, and he clearly respects her integrity. However, I would have hoped that the Shotgun would be a place for a pro-freedom stance. We can't let the discussion be one of extremes: an affirmative action army policy vs no women allowed in combat. Remember that "the good of society" or the public good is used to justify affirmative action and other similar social engineering-type ideas. What is Gairdner's position on female front-line riot police?

Jema54 mentions Goddard's husband. Either he didn't make the cut, didn't want to join, and/or thought he couldn't handle such a "job". Andrew, regardless of what that study concludes about the general majority, which individual would you rather have next to you in battle?

Goddard's husband impressed me during the CBC interview, stating that his wife's death shouldn't be used as an excuse to leave Afghanistan and that she wouldn't have wanted Canada to leave in response to her death. "Even though your wife's dead?" the CBC interviewer goaded. He remained unshaken and stated that Nichola Goddard believed in what she was doing.

I'll honour her memory by respecting the freedom she believed enough in to fight for.

Posted by: Charlotte | 2006-05-27 7:29:38 AM

Charlotte asked the question whether the fitness requirements were the same for male and female applicants. The answer is no.

As is the case, I am certain you will find; the fitness requirements are invariably always different for occupations were there have been ‘questions’, as to the suitability of female applicants. (Police, fire, corrections, military etc). For the basic physical requirements for DND, go to


You will need to scroll down to page 12 to see the differences.

I think however, that the extra time allowed for female candidates on the 2.4km run is striking, especially if the bad guys are running behind you.

What person, (insert man), wouldn’t slow down to help a slower comrade, (insert woman), endangering their own well being, to help a colleague.

BEFORE you all give me heck, I know that there are woman who are physically superior to men. BUT, by DND’s own admission standards, they are admitting that woman are not on the whole as physically capable as men.

Please don’t give me the speech about flying an F-18, Captain Goddard was on the ground with the grunts at the pointy end of the conflict, not 15,000 feet up in the sky.

Agreed; her physical attributes given the way she met her truly unfortunate demise were irrelevant. But what if they all had got out safely, and they had to get on with escape and evasion, which appears to be likely, if not now, at sometime in the future given their current address.

I guess you can tell how I feel. 6 years in the British Army – someone asked if those posting comments had served.

Posted by: Mike | 2006-05-27 7:39:18 AM

Mike your comments are right on. I served in the military for twenty years. Its exactly what you say. Men by nature are protective of women and this doesnt change because they fight together. Having women serve beside them is a distraction that men engaged in war do not need. I would think that Mr Gairdners feelings on this would echo those of most serving soldiers.

Posted by: MikeP | 2006-05-27 7:51:52 AM

Hate to say I told you so, Charlotte, but my 2:47 post yesterday clearly states it is absurd to believe females can compete with males on a high physical level.

This is why I chose Iwestin over you as a person who best articulates the position of real women. She does not have any lingering feminist delusions of equality.

As I man, I know I am inferior in ways ... such as being able to homeschool eight kids. So what!

Gals have their strengths, men have theirs.

Feminist absurdity through legislation cannot pass a law that allows the two Mikes of myself to perform the miracle of creation of a new life. All I can do is donate the sperm and watch it happen.

There are two distinct natures physically. No amount of verbal contortion can change that obvious fact.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-27 8:31:30 AM

I stand by my assertions. I completely disagree with the different physical standards for men and women currently in place in our military. I would join anyone here in speaking out against this. If no women meet the male requirements, then no women should get in.

Posted by: Charlotte | 2006-05-27 9:35:58 AM

I don't know whether to laugh or cry as I watch this place swirl further and further down the anti-intellectual toilet bowl...

First of all, anyone who thinks that WG isn't calling for a ban on women in combat roles either didn't read the last paragraph of his post, or isn't terribly proficient with the English language. I don't know how he could have been clearer short of saying "I think women should be banned from serving anywhere near combat."

Second, the whole "men and women are physically different" argument is a canard. Nobody here has disputed that point. Does anybody (other than bob) even understand what the term "straw man argument" means?

Third, it's hard to imagine how you retards can cower in fear at the spectre of polygamy and then talk with a straight face about how a handful of men can inseminate a whole army of wombs. Either you believe in the whole "one man, one woman" thing or you think men are largely dispensible in the business of procreation, but you can't have it both ways. We are once again reaching Jean Chretien-esque levels of double-talk in here!

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-05-27 10:09:39 AM

(Note: that last paragraph should have read "so-con retards")

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-05-27 10:13:11 AM


Thank you, oh wise one from the east!

We are unworthy in your presence.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-27 10:34:11 AM

SYF, I'm glad you are finally acknowledging the obvious.

Can we assume then that you'll stop arguing with Charlotte over a point on which she isn't arguing with you? Or are you instead trying to suggest that, because the average female is less physically robust than the average male, it follows that every female is less physically robust than every male?

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-05-27 10:47:50 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.