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Equality! According to senior defense officials, it seems as though Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is lifting the restriction for women in the military to serve in front-line combat positions and elite commando jobs. This “groundbreaking” effort lifts the 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller combat units. This will likely eventually include inclusion into special operation forces like the Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force.
Currently women already serve in combat support roles as medics, military police, or intelligence officers, but this would be the first time they’d be able to be assigned specifically to a combat role on the front lines.
Do you hear that? Does it sound like chivalry dying to you? I thought soldiers on the front lines went there with patriotism and pride in protecting the women and children back home. There’s a certain amount of machismo involved in that thinking, and I’m ok with that. It gives our men courage and a sense of virility that’s needed when facing death in a war zone.
We should also look at the physical standards required to serve in these positions. Oftentimes, soldiers need to carry 100 pounds or more of equipment in triple-degree heat. Are women capable of enduring the high levels of upper body strength needed to accomplish that, not to mention the endurance that it will require?
One hopes that for the sake of equality, women will be required to pass the same physical tests that the men do. Once we start to question whether we should lower those standards because women are not as strong as men, we have to go back to the question of whether or not women are capable of serving on the front lines.
It’s a fact that all things being equal, women are not as physically strong as men. Serving on the front lines and in special forces requires a tremendous amount of strength -- so much that many men are unable to serve in such a capacity. It’s not saying that women are inferior to men because we’re not allowed to fight on the front lines; it’s simply acknowledging that we’re different.
Besides … we’re the ones that have to deal with the menses, and the crazy emotions and the holy-crap-I’m-gonna-die cramps that accompany that lovely aspect of lady-dom. Don’t we have enough to deal with without the pressure of front-line combat?
Do you think allowing women on the front lines of war is a good or bad idea?
Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr