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It has long been obvious….

Source: avoca

Should women be allowed to have active combat roles?  Traditionally, the armed forces have been all male.  For years, even gay men couldn’t serve openly.  It has only been in the past few years, after decades of hiding, that men can be openly gay and serve, so why will they allow women to serve so soon?  If history has anything to show, it should take the government another 20 years before they let women into the military.  If allowing openly gay men to serve was such a big step, the step to allow female presence is like climbing a mountain.  Surprisingly though, the pentagon has taken the idea of women in combat out for a spin before.   In 1993, the same year president Clinton agreed to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise, they allowed woman to participate as combat pilots.  It may seem like a big step, but sure enough, the following year they denied women’s participation.  Being a pilot isn’t new either.  During World War II, women served as test pilots. Way before that, during the civil war, wives worked in the artillery and as nurses on the front lines.

Source: PoliticalLoudMouth, WordPress

Source: PoliticalLoudMouth, WordPress

Over the years, in just Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 800 women have been wounded and over 150 have died proforming their military duty. So doesn’t that imply that women already serve?  No, it doesn’t.  Although woman “now make up 14 percent of our armed forces form across all branches of the services”, many women are denied formal recognition of their combat (NYtimes).  They do not formally have active combat roles but are still put in hostile situations.  How do these branches get around the rules?  They “sidestep official policy by “attaching,” rather than assigning, women to infantry and special operations units because their skills were needed” (NYTimes).  Army Capt. Kelly Hasselman, 28, commands a company of female soldiers that builds relations with rural Afghan women.  Officially, they aren’t in active combat, but everybody knows the truth; “we’re already here”, she states, “it’s just not officially in the books”.

Furthermore, women are beneficial to the military.  It’s not like they don’t want women in the military because they are inferior.  It’s because of preconcieved gender roles.  A key phrase mentioned earlier was that women’s “skills are needed”.  Reports dating back to 1951 find that women make just as many important contributions to the military as men do. Two women were even awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for gallantry in combat.   (LATimes).   It is so shocking that the government can grant two women this medal and not realize the twisted irony.  They are awarding two women for something that according to them then shouldn’t have been doing.  Granted, since World War II, the United States has been trying to integrate women into the forces but it still isn’t fully condoned.  So obviously not many people are truly against women actually serving against the military, many are just against the idea of it.

Source: Gazette

Source: Gazette

Opposing viewpoints argue that most women aren’t capable of the physical demands men must endure when in combat, especially in the infantry.  They are concerned about upholding military fitness as well as scenarios where a man is injured and the women must carry him out.  The honest truth is that most can’t.  But the ones that want to join the armed forces are the ones that can. They are the ones that will work hard to meet the same standards.  Rosie Darby, a 20 year-old medic was assigned to a combat outpost as a healthcare specialist.  Her job requires her to trek through vineyards and fields to avoid mines, all the while carrying medical supplies.  The other men in her platoon say that she outperforms half them.  She isn’t concerned about physical demands. Her concern is emotional attachment.  She says the men in her platoon think of her as a little sister and would want to take care of her if she were injured, even if they should be continuing the fight. This would pose a threat to the success of the mission.  But these are minor problems compared to the overall goal.  Women who cannot handle the stamina required are weeded out or reassigned just like men are.  As for emotional attachment, it is up to women to prove that they are no different, by any means, than the men.  It is something that men will have to get used to.

Last month, the Defense Secretary announced that they would be lifting the ban on women in combat.  Although the ban will not be fully phased out until 2016, it is a time to celebrate.  Women have time and time again proven their effectiveness and worthiness to join men in combat and finally have their chance to prove to the world that this should have happened a long time ago.

Title from political cartoon

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