Should women serve in direct combat?

Women have played a variety of supporting roles in war for as long as people have waged them, but U.S. policy forbids them from serving at the point of the spear.

Even so, two current wars with no real delineated front or rear and a foggy understanding of who and where the enemy is have repeatedly put women in combat situations.

The question is not will they fight. A military policewoman in Iraq just received the Silver Star for leading her team in breaking the back of an ambush after her convoy was attacked and women serve in direct combat roles as pilots of fighter jets and attack helicopters.

Rather, military brass wonder if women can hack life in the field with the guys and whether men and women can go about the business of war without distraction.

All this leaves women with a decided disadvantage in an environment where combat service has a direct link to advancing your career.

  • Ydnacmd

    Danielle “The men and women of the United States Armed Forces are required to pass the same requirements”

    They changed the rules?? It used to be different depending on what sex you were. Good everyone going into the same conditions should be based on the same requirements.

    Discriminating between the sexes is a long time Western thing. It got exaggerated when you got to the U.S. though. Strange that,seeing that if a woman survives giving birth in an inhospitable place like the “New World”, possibly fought off “Indians” and other dangers, that her daugters would suddenly be thought of as too weak and frail to fight. Maybe it was an illadvised to go “back” to the “cultured” was of the “Old World”

    • Danielle

      Making everyone pass the same requirements means 1) no one is a liability, 2) at the culmination of their training, the men and women stand shoulder to shoulder with respect for each other because they know each of them had to pass the same tests and score against the same measure, 3) no one can say “she had it easy, therefore she is not as capable as him.”

  • AL.

    You know.. we are not talking about frail little girls, fighting on the front line. My sister was a Drill Instructor for the women in the USMC at Paris Island. I would have followed her into any battle. She pulled her weight and heavy backpacks like the rest. On the other hand, I have seen frail men, who can not carry the backpacks. .. The point is, when the military trains someone, they are ready. PS: I agree with you Danie’

    • Danielle

      Hi Al.

      Exactly what I mean when I said they are required to pass the same requirements. It goes down to what each is capable of, not what gender they were born.

      People argue that men are stronger but in reality, it is just faster for them to build muscles. If a women puts in extra effort, she can be just as buff. =P

  • J. Scalia

    Danielle, I agree with you the most qualified and capable, be it a man or a woman, should do the job. However, where the job used to be handled by ONE male soldier, it is now a job for TWO female soldiers because of the strength limitations.

    It may not seem obvious to you, but your personal gear could be 40+ pounds plus you have to carry your M16 or M4 (another 8 lbs) AND specialized equipment or ammunition. You could have to carry 60 pounds of gear. In the army, we routinely carried 40 plus pounds of gear. This problem was noted all branches of the armed services because a full load of equipment can be VERY heavy.

    I’m all for equality but you can’t equalize the differences in physical strength. Try carrying two full ammo cans up a few flights of stairs and you will see what I mean.

    • Danielle

      Yes J!

      You are correct. I am just over 5-feet and I can tell you that my chances of a successful mission running across enemy lines with full combat gear that weighs over 90 pounds will be nowhere near a man who looks like the hulk.

      However, that is a short person to a tall person. It has nothing to do with gender because there are women who are stronger than men. That being said, it goes back to capabilities. Like I said, if the women are capable, they can do it. If they can;t carry the equipment, that makes them incapable of the task.

      Also, just because it takes 2 people doesn’t mean it will be more dangerous or less effective. It can be used as a tactical strategy. Sending more people in can increase the mission’s chances of success (AND it can decrease it as well. It depends. Like I said, strategy.)

      You said try running up a few flights of stairs carrying two full ammo cans. You’re right, I won’t be able to do it by I know several women who can and several men who can’t.

      It depends on the training, endurance and strength or the person.

  • Anonymous

    I have no doubt that women can serve just as well as men do. However it is another thing about whether I think they should. I certainly would never allow a daughter, mother, or wife to do so.

    The better question though would be why the defense industry is socialized so as to provide real competition. I highly doubt that if women are truly as capable of men that they will excluded from being employed in a competitive defense market.

    • Danielle

      I hear what you are saying but I have to say “what then makes it OK for a son, father or husband do so?”

  • Danielle

    The men and women of the United States Armed Forces are required to pass the same requirements. The physical requirements are the same (except for body-fat percentage because that is scientifically proven that women have more body fat than men, it is not a sexist stand point), the mental requirements are the same and the psychological requirements are they same.

    When out in war zones, you are not seen as a man or a woman, you are a part of a unit, YOU ARE A SOLDIER. It is about being a soldier and defending your country. So, if there is an operation, who should go out and do it? Whoever is most qualified and capable, be it a man or a woman.

    As for distraction, I think we can all agree that women are better at multi-tasking than men. Also, women can focus their 110% to the job.

  • Danielle

    The men and women of the United States Armed Forces are required to pass the same requirements. The physical requirements are the same (except for body-fat percentage because that is scientifically proven that women have more body fat than men, it is not a sexist stand point), the mental requirements are the same and the psychological requirements are they same.

    When out in war zones, you are not seen as a man or a woman, you are a part of a unit, YOU ARE A SOLDIER. It is about being a soldier and defending your country. So, if there is an operation, who should go out and do it? Whoever is most qualified and capable, be it a man or a woman.

    As for distraction, I think we can all agree that women are better at multi-tasking than men. Also, women can focus their 110% to the job.

  • all wars should be settled with bikini mud wrestling, put it on pay per view, and the winning nation gets all the money from the PPV buys