• Breaking Down the Front Line: Women in Combat (Op-Ed)

    Last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Pentagon made the decision to lift a ban that would allow women into combat. Since the announcement, made on Thurs., Jan. 24th, there have been mixed feelings among the public.

    Lieutenant Jerry Boykin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, is the prominent voice against women in combat. In his CNN article, “Women in Combat a Dangerous Experiment,” Boykin makes his position clear: women do not belong alongside men in the field. The Weekly Standard, a conservative news outlet, publicizes the decision as “foolish.”

    William Saletan, a writer for Slate, fires back at Boykin’s arguments in his article titled “Urine the Army Now: Ladies can’t pee outdoors, and other cringeworthy arguments for the ban on women in combat.” Perhaps Saletan’s attack may have been strong, but he’s onto something: a poll conducted by Gallup Politics found that 74% of adults “would vote for ‘supporting’ women in combat.

    After reviewing some arguments and thinking over the issue, I do believe women who want to serve on the front line should have the opportunity to do so.

    With that being said, I am neither brave enough, nor willing enough, to join the ranks. This may have to do with the fact that my genetics don’t foot the bill–I am barely five feet tall and can sometimes weigh less than a large Golden Retriever.

    Anyways, I am not so much concerned about the physical requirements as much as the risk that women may be more exposed to in the field. With the files for sexual misconduct during training at Lackland Airforce Base, being in an environment where women could be taken advantage of is not ideal.

    I do support giving women the opportunity to serve our country, but I cannot help but worry about particular dangers they may experience before even setting foot on the ground.

    The Washington Post reports “the Army and the Marines, which make up the bulk of the military’s ground combat force, will present plans to open most jobs to women by May 15.”

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1 Comment

  1. Regent Nicholas says: January 31, 2013 at 8:29 pmReply

    Also worth mentioning and being momentarily mused is the irony that is often inherent in struggles for equality. Taking our current example of “the right to fight” my thoughts turn to the black soldiers who have served this country in combat, the LGBT soldiers who had to do so closeted, and the women (the original point of discussion) who have now earned the right to die for their country. Of course these citizens haven’t “earned” anything, and in all of the above examples were given a right/option that was deserved and should have always been their’s to exercise or decline. To be fair and not so cynical as to reduce serving in the military to getting a chance to die for your country I should acknowledge that it is also an opportunity to serve your homeland with honor and go on to LIVE a long life. The classic link between death and equality however, remains and brings us back to our ironic object. “Freedom or Death” is a paraphrase of both the American Revolutionist Patrick Henry’s popular quote; “Give me liberty or give me death”, and New Hampshire’s awesomely succinct state motto; “Live Free or Die.” Yet all these phrases are absolutist in nature: “this or that,” “one or the other”. Consider the thousands of soldiers who fought to fight and ultimately lost, whether by dying in the field or coming home to conditions that did not change to reflect their supposedly proven equality. History seems to suggest that too often freedom/liberty is not mutually exclusive or in opposition to dying, but tragically intertwined. Perhaps countless Americans have had to achieve their liberty THROUGH death…

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