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Military Lifts Ban On Women In Combat: Political or Practical Decision?

The move reverses a 1994 rule that prohibited women from serving in thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs.

 

On Thursday, U.S. military officials decided to lift the country's ban on women serving in combat, reversing a 1994 rule that prohibited women from such roles.

Recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's decision allowing women to serve on the front lines and elite positions in combat will be historic for women's rights supporters. According to USA Today:

"The services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. Some jobs may open as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALs and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer  ...

The move expands the Pentagon's action - nearly a year ago - that opened about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. This decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women."

As expected, there was dissension as the announcement came. Quoted on usnews.nbcnews.com, Republican California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine combat veteran, said that the question was whether the change would “actually make our military better at operating in combat and killing the enemy.”

“What needs to be explained is how this decision, when all is said and done, increases combat effectiveness rather than being a move done for political purposes,” Hunter said.

And Ryan Smith, a Marine infantryman in Iraq, wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.

In 2003, his unit had gone more than a month without showering and then was lined up naked to be pressure-washed.

“It would be distracting and potentially traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex, particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene,” Smith wrote. “In the reverse, it would be painful to witness a member of the opposite sex in such an uncomfortable and awkward position."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and a former POW in Vietnam, voiced support for the decision. But he expressed caution, saying he wanted “to make sure that the standards, particularly the physical standards, are met so that the combat efficiency of the units are not degraded.”

And a CNN thread that quickly began included Twitter handle sallymae:

sallymae: I hate to tell you guys, but as a WOMAN VETERAN, we serve and do the same jobs as MEN and get the same pay OR HIGHER than men. Women outrank men, and there are more women officers than men. If you're too insecure to handle that, then prove it. Put on a pair of combat boots and grow some!

I can bet the trolls sitting at home with beer bellies and no jobs are the ones disrespecting the women who will be saving your butts! Enlist -- serve our country -- and then come talk to me! BTW -- I can kick you ass any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

What do you think? Is it time for women to head to the front lines? Will efficiency of military units be maintained? Is this a decision made by political correctness or practicality?

Tell us in your comments. Then vote in our poll.

Susan January 27, 2013 at 08:44 PM
First, thank you for your service. I understand the difference to be you don't have a choice in the matter with the draft, whereas registering with the SS is just a way for the government to keep tabs on a young man in case they needed to reinstitute the draft. We probably agree it's not fair that women aren't required to register for the SS. I can appreciate this being a source of resentment, and with some tweaking to the definition of service it need not be. Another way young people could serve is in the area of diplomacy, perhaps under the Department of State instead of the DoD.
JTB January 28, 2013 at 01:07 AM
You know, everything isn't always "fair" in life. Our president and many ohers are destroying our economy, military, fire departments, police departments, social outlets, collegiate sports programs, etc. trying to make it so. Be thankful the sexes are not equal. Women are better at some things than men and vice-versa. Accept it. Learn to live with it. In fact, celebrate it. Seacrest out...
Frank Geefay January 30, 2013 at 12:47 AM
If a baboon can pass the written and physical requirements let it sign up for combat training. If it passes training and all the training requirements then let it become a combat soldier. Why should this be a problem?
Dakota harris March 06, 2013 at 08:42 PM
I think women deserve to fight in the front line with the men. Women have the right and the strength to be in the front line. Why keep them in the back? Your ancestors helped let women get the rights they have today why start limiting them more? I am a young woman and I told my father I wanted to fight for our country and he laughed but my little brother told him that he wanted to protect our country and he said yes you can take care of your sister. Guys don't want the women population to go down which is why they don't want the women in the front line where they could get hurt but that hasn't stopped a guy from beating a women. When a guy hears that a women is going in the military they freak out like there is not another girl who is in the military. I support the fact that Panetta Wanted to give women one more right to actually get to go and fight for the country instead of just sitting in a small hospital for the soldiers and the women get to clean them up. It's not like the movies make it when a women is in the military they have to clean the people and put stiches in them or watch someone die in the hospital right in front of their eyes.
Dakota Harris March 06, 2013 at 08:44 PM
I think women deserve to fight in the front line with the men. Women have the right and the strength to be in the front line. Why keep them in the back? Your ancestors helped let women get the rights they have today why start limiting them more? I am a young woman and I told my father I wanted to fight for our country and he laughed but my little brother told him that he wanted to protect our country and he said yes you can take care of your sister. Guys don't want the women population to go down which is why they don't want the women in the front line where they could get hurt but that hasn't stopped a guy from beating a women. When a guy hears that a women is going in the military they freak out like there is not another girl who is in the military. I support the fact that Panetta Wanted to give women one more right to actually get to go and fight for the country instead of just sitting in a small hospital for the soldiers and the women get to clean them up. It's not like the movies make it when a women is in the military they have to clean the people and put stiches in them or watch someone die in the hospital right in front of their eyes.

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