Pro-con on allowing women in combat

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced this week that all military combat jobs will be open to women, who in fact already have served in ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Restrictions have gradually been eased over time, but full equality in all service branches now has the unanimous support of the Joint Chiefs, and that is overdue. Being denied some combat assignments and other front-line duties limits the rank to which servicewomen can aspire, which in turn limits the talent pool the military can draw from. Removing gender discrimination simply means equal opportunity. If individuals can’t qualify for certain kinds of duty because of physical limitations or other factors, they won’t get the job, whether men or women. But some and perhaps many women will qualify for combat roles now off-limits, and America’s military will be stronger for it. – San Jose Mercury News

Women have been in combat since the United States began combat operations in Afghanistan in 2001. They have fought and served with distinction. However, placing women in infantry and other front-line units is a different issue, and it has nothing to do with their courage or capabilities. The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment. Infantry or Special Forces units have the mission of closing with and destroying the enemy, sometimes in close hand-to-hand combat. They are often in sustained operations for extended periods, during which they have no base of operations nor facilities. Their living conditions are primal in many situations with no privacy for personal hygiene or normal functions. This decision to integrate the genders in these units places additional and unnecessary burdens on leaders at all levels. – Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council