It is unfortunate that we are only looking at this issue as one of equal rights. I don’t believe it is. I volunteered for the USMC to serve in combat, and did, so that others wouldn’t have to go in my stead. It is an honor that changed and shaped me for the rest of my life. I believe that women and men are fully equal in regards to citizenship and humanity in general. I respect women so fully that I don’t want them in direct combat because they shouldn’t have to be there.
Certainly, women are finding themselves in dangerous combat situations while they are deployed to combat zones. But these are the type of dangers anyone, anywhere in the world, could face at any time. The potential for being attacked by an IED or mortar round has as much potential danger as a crash on the freeway or attacked by a madman in the parking lot. It is one thing to fight back against a threat to you. It’s another entirely to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy. Being in a dangerous combat situation is not the same as serving in a combat capacity where your sole purpose is to kill.
There is no doubt that women could do the job and pull the trigger. It’s been a long standing joke in the military that if Iraq had sent it’s women to fight us, we wouldn’t have been able to roll across the country with relative ease. Ability is not the issue. Succeeding in the most advanced combat units is more a mental game than a physical one. If I can do it physically, anyone could. The skills can be learned by anyone with the mindset to do it. That, coupled with the tenacity and drive inherent to women, they undoubtedly would be a formidable force.
Our nation as a whole is taking this issue a little to flippantly. It is clearly unfair that women are passed up for promotion because they were not allowed to have the experiences that we value in our leaders, but this can be corrected without asking them to sacrifice parts of their humanity which are the essence of their womanhood. I am confident that if we dig up women who have killed in combat situations, they will not say they would have rather enlisted in units who train to kill if given the opportunity. Our service women do not yet fully understand what they are asking for. They never could until they are neck deep in it.
It may seem like a logical leap to go from repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to allowing women to serve in combat units from an equal rights stand point but the two are unrelated. We aren’t barring women from combat, we are protecting their humanity from scarring.
This is not a glamorous Hollywood scenario. If we choose to send American women to put bullets in people, there will be little left of the America that was the gallant protector of the weak who stands for right even against the odds. Further, if our politicians and media moguls decide allowing women in the infantry is good, and our young men don’t swell the ranks so there simply isn’t room, that will be the defining moment historians will point to as proof the American empire was eroding at it’s foundation.