U.S. Military Lifts Ban On Women FIghting In Combat


US Mil

The Pentagon has officially lifted the ban on women fighting on the front line, although there are still some issues that need to be ironed out.  By doing so, US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, overturned a 1994 ruling which prohibited women from being a part of small ground force combat units.  The jury is still out on whether women will be allowed to join special forces operations such as the Navy Seals but the military has until 2016 to decide whether or not there should be any specific restrictions on female combat soldiers.  Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee welcomed the decision.  Levin said, “I support it.  It reflects the reality of the 21st Century military operations.”  There are those in the military who support the move such as Major Mary Jennings Hegar, who served on three tours of Afghanistan with the US Air Force.  According to the BBC, Major Jennings Hegar response to the decision was very supportive, “I understand that stereotypically there are some physical differences but…there are a lot of men doing these jobs who are not built like Goliath. It’s unfortunate that we have to hold women to a higher standard.”  She continued, “If you’re able to meet the standards, then your gender should not hold you back. It’s simple black and white discrimination.”  While her point is well taken, there are those who disagree with that position. Elaine Donnelly, from the US Centre for Military Readiness told Newsday that it was “most unfortunate”.  “It’s certainly not going to be helpful to our women in the military, or our men. It will cause enormous complications in the infantry battalions – the small tip-of-the-spear units, the ones that fight the enemy with deliberate offensive action under fire. These units are all-male for very good reasons.”  While both women raise good points, the argument of discrimination should not to be taken in to consideration when lives are on the line.  However, there are some women who will be physically able to compete at the level of a male Navy Seal and those women should be considered.  Afterall, women have been fighting in the Israeli military since the establishment of Israel in 1948.  Every man, woman and child is responsible for defending her borders.  There is one other major issue when determining where women should be placed in fighting units.  If captured, there is little doubt they will be raped and abused in ways that are abhorrent.  Men, when given the opportunity, behave like animals and will not follow the protocol regarding prisoners, especially when a female soldier was shooting at them.  That is simple fact.  Are we willing to subject female soldiers to that type of behavior, understanding what will happen should they be captured?  It’s a very tough question but one that must be considered.

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