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Women in Combat

Human EventsSince the dawn of time, men have been soldiers.  However, in the modern world, these beliefs are turning into a thing of the past, and women are gaining equality in every aspect society. There are still those who believe that women should not be allowed into combat, but for the most part, those ideas are ancient. Early this year, the Pentagon has begun discussing the idea of the lifting the Combat Exclusion Policy that restricts women from combat duties. If this policy is lifted, the military must reassess many of its practices. In order to make this an effective change, the policy must first be withdrawn, then it must be accepted as a cultural norm. The courts pathway is a simple process compared to the process of changing the cultural norm, and the hearts and minds of the American people. The issue of whether or not women should be allowed in combat is a prime example of how to use the Courts and the Cultural pathways, to make a difference in society.

Source: The New York TimesIn 1994, the Pentagon ruled that women should not be allowed to be involved in armor, infantry, artillery, or any other combat role.  The Combat Exclusion Policy is now a topic of discussion with emphasis on abolishing it. Almost twenty years later, the Pentagon is reassessing the topic, and looking pass it through the courts quickly. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has spent much of his time studying this topic, to make sure that it is done, correctly and efficiently. Once the decision is made, he must give a 30-day letter of intent to Congress, but nothing they can do can stop it from going into effect, unless they pass a law against it.  Getting it through the Courts is a very important part, of the process. The more talk about the topic, the more people will stand behind what they believe in.  The majority of those in power believe in gender equality in the military. General Dempsey wishes, “To implement these initiatives successfully and without sacrificing our war-fighting capability or the trust of the American people” (The New York Times). As with every controversial issue, there are those who are strongly against it. Organizations, such as the Family Research Consul argue that, “living conditions are primal in many situations with no privacy for personal hygiene or normal functions” (The New York Times). There are many people who support the idea of women in combat, and many who object it, but when it comes down to it, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has made his decision and pushed it through to Congress.

In order to make this change, the military must be accepting and open-minded.  They will have to change traditions and mindsets in order for out military to run effectively. Allowing women in combat is not just a change in policy, but a complete alteration in the minds of the American people. As of now, it is almost impossible for women to advance in her career in the military.  She is restricted in so many aspects, and seen as inferior to her male counterparts.  This change in policy will allow women to work to achieve the same rights and positions men have in the armed forces. As of 2013, there have only been two women four-star generals. The culture in the United States military makes it seem as if women cannot, and never will be put equal to men.  In basic training, men and women are tested under completely different standards, and almost completely separated during exercises. The culture in America, is adapting slowly to accommodate the new modern and liberal way of thinking. The outside world is “pressuring the Pentagon to catch up with the reality on the battlefield” (The New York Times)  There are already thousands of women who have been deployed in Afghanistan, with more then 800 wounded and 130 killed.  These women are returning home, but they never truly receive the credit they deserve, because women are not recognized in combat roles.  The lifting of the Combat Exclusion Policy, will open doors for women in the military, and change the cultural norm of women’s roles in society.

The Combat Exclusion Policy has been a part of United States military for almost 20 years, since the Pentagon passed it in 1994. The idea that only men should be involved in combat has been the cultural norm for thousands of years. Early in 2013, the Pentagon decided to eliminate the policy, giving women equal opportunity on the battlefield.  The Combat Exclusion Policy is a huge step towards gender equality every aspect of American society, and once it is through the courts, it will be on its way to making a true and lasting impact.

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  1. govmeaganf
    February 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Hey Meredith, you’re awesome. This is a very good and extensive analysis of the issue at hand. You used a lot of really great sources and cited them very well. However, you more used this piece to inform and it didn’t contain that much reflection.

  2. govmeaganf
    February 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

    … for example, you might consider adding more reflection on how this change in policy could take place and some recommendations on standards and requirements for women who are placed in combat positions.

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