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Leon Panetta announced he will lift the ban on women serving in combat roles as one of his last acts as Secretary of Defense, potentially opening up over 200,000 “front-line” jobs to military women. The liberal media and feminists are elated by this news that women have finally broken through this barrier long denied to them. This decision represents a major step towards achieving equal treatment of women in all segments of society. But has the full impact of women in combat been considered, not only by the military, but by the media and the collective conscience of the country?
Speaking with several men currently serving or having retired after a career in service to this country, there appears to be a consensus among them that women serving on the front lines could have negative repercussions, not only in the military community but also for the general populace.
Many women in the military today essentially serve on the front line. They perform civil-affairs operations in addition to convoy escort missions. There have been one hundred thirty-nine women who have died in combat and non-combat related incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Speaking with a recent soldier returning from Iraq, he expressed his concern and related an incident where his unit came under enemy fire. Several women became hysterical and the males had to calm them down. This distraction could have resulted in casualties, although fortunately for them it did not. The psychology of the male response when confronted with such a situation must be acknowledged and cannot be denied.
It is the natural inclination of men to protect women. It is the way they are wired and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to train it out of them. In a protracted combat situation, will everyone on the team be able to perform the duties they have been trained to do? A well-trained team acts as a singular force in battle and everyone must depend on the capability and skill of their teammates. If a woman were injured, would the other soldiers’ attention be momentarily diverted, resulting in needless casualties?
A potential scenario which has not been brought up by others in the media must be considered. Those who have been in combat situations have expressed concern, since they are very aware of what happens to women who get captured by the enemy. Are we prepared for that possibility? How would the media at home react to a captured female soldier being tortured, raped and killed? We remember the extensive coverage of the capture and rescue of Jessica Lynch. What if her beaten, dismembered, and burned body was dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge like the Blackwater contractors in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004? What if she was beheaded on a video released for the world to see?
A valid complaint from our service women is that because they are not allowed to serve in combat units, they do not enjoy the same opportunities for advancement as their male counterparts, but surely this can be resolved without requiring their service at the front lines or in combat units.
While the liberal media and feminists are excited about this new equality of opportunity in the military, we must be assured that women trained for combat will be held to the same high standards and requirements as their male counterparts.
As for the media, there must be an understanding that when there are casualties, they will not be reported as “x” number of males and “x” number of females. They are all soldiers, Marines, airmen or sailors. There must be no differentiation. To do otherwise would be hypocritical and antithetical to the equality of treatment we have fought so hard to achieve.
RELATED COLUMN: Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal – Author: Capt. Katie Petronio, US Marine Corps.
Tags: Barack Obama, equal rights, Islam, Pentagon, war, women in combat, women soldiers
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