Thursday, August 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Women long ago earned combat rights

By
From page A11 | February 01, 2013 |

U.S. women have been in combat one way or another at least since the 1989 invasion of Panama. That’s when Scripps Howard New Service’s Peter Copeland reported from the isthmus that women assigned to at least one operation in the Southern Command had been attacked and returned fire.

The information was never official, but the Pentagon refused to deny its accuracy when a reporter for a prominent West Coast newspaper tried to shoot down Copeland’s story as untrue. It was a sensitive subject at a time when women still were not expected to do any heavy lifting in the military. The thinking: They were potential mothers, and the weaker sex might not perform well under stress. Besides, it was a political hot potato.

But attitudes changed, and females unofficially carried some of the load when faced with it.

There have been numerous examples of women courageously fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although they’ve held noncombat assignments as medics, intelligence officers, military police and other jobs, they’ve also traveled with combat units and been drawn into the fighting. They not only have come under fire, they have returned it, been wounded and killed.

So the Pentagon’s recently announced decision to allow women in all aspects of the military – including combat – has been too long in coming, denying them the promotions and benefits that result from combat assignments.

In that respect, the U.S. military has been decades, if not centuries, behind other nations in giving a rifle or spear to a woman and expecting her to use it. During World War II, women were an integral part in the underground units that fought against Nazi oppression. They also risked life and limb to infiltrate and gather intelligence. Israeli women long have taken part in combat operations. Canada resolved the question in 1989 by giving women fighting status in all units.

Today’s women in the armed forces are as disciplined, skilled and tough in attitude and body as the men. And they can be at least as fierce as their male counterparts.

Consider the heroics of Air Force Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall, a photographer who was attached to an Army ground unit during her second deployment to Iraq.

When the personnel carrier she was riding in came under attack, she saved the life of one of her wounded comrades, dragging the unconscious man to safety and using the vehicle’s mounted machine gun to return fire, the New York Times’ James Dao reported.

And when a medic arrived, Pearsall was sitting next to the wounded man, his damaged carotid artery clamped between her fingers. She had wrestled him into the carrier, although he was 6-foot-2 and weighed 200 pounds, nearly twice as heavy as she.

Not everyone will support outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to rescind the 1994 ban on women’s participation in combat, which he made after consulting with the military hierarchy. A congressional effort to turn back the clock with legislation is expected. That would be a mistake. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a fan of lifting the ban, was quoted as saying women should have the same opportunities as men in every aspect of military life.

In a press conference last week announcing the policy shift, Dempsey related a story about arriving in Baghdad as a division commander 10 years ago and clambering aboard a Humvee. He asked the driver where he was from and then slapped the turret gunner on the leg, asking, “Who are you?” The gunner leaned down and said, “I’m Amanda.”

“I realized something had changed and it was time to do something about it,” the general was quoted as saying.

The change took another decade and won’t be fully implemented for several more months, but it’s the right thing to do. Being put in harm’s way unofficially to satisfy a myth of inequality is dishonest. Women need to be recognized officially as full participants in military life, including its dangers, or excluded from battle zones altogether.

Email Dan K. Thomasson, former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service, at thomassondan@aol.com.

Dan K. Thomasson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • RichFebruary 01, 2013 - 6:24 pm

    First it was open homosexuality and celebration of the same down at the puzzle palace. Now its ''we need GI Jane''. These policy decisions have the appearence of niceness, fairness and accommodation. That's not how combat works. Civilized nations don't like women being in combat roles. Our enemies will use this to demoralize and torture our men when both men and women are held in a POW situation. Women will be singled out for brutalization in front of our captured troops. Ask retired Army Col. Rhonda Cormick who was held prisoner in Iraq. Those who've served under those terrible conditions get sick when they think of wives, mothers and daughters being introduced into the crucible of hades. This is yet another Obama plan to weaken America's Armed Forces under the specious guise of ''equal rights'', ''fairness'' and any other phony reason Hussein can muster from where he came from to further his agenda. Like the lemmings of the sea or the pied piper of Hamlin its truly amazing how many amongst us will follow dear leader over the precipice and into the abyss.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Railroad crossing stalemate continues

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
First day back to school brings laughter, jitters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Potrero Hills Landfill legal appeals exhausted

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Breakfast after the Bell wins support

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
Suisun city employees get pay raise

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield candidates hear about lean, nimble city staff

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Free e-waste collection to benefit Scarlet Brigade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Fairfield mayor to appear at GOP dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Girls on the Run seeks volunteer life coaches

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

College finalizes police department takeover, OKs bond plan

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

 
Militants use British killer as propaganda

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Governor criticizes new-hire pension enhancements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US mission to rescue hostages in Syria failed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

US official: More airstrikes in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
School sorry for making special ed kids sort trash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Police seek mystery pair in selfies after burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Teens deny threatening boy in school shooting plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Panel OKs state librarian despite initial concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Holder says he understands mistrust of police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Picture emerges of officer in Ferguson shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 8 Comments

Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
CHP says officer may face serious beating charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

8 homes destroyed, 1,500 threatened by wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Drought has state debating its unregulated pumping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

We’re spending way too much on raising our kids

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A7

 
Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

California needs pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

 
Tell the story, don’t be it

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Why do parents drink alcohol after their children’s games?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
And the Emmy winners are…? We’re happy to guess!

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Aniston, Hamm, Hudson set to Stand Up to Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Sports

A’s stumble and must regroup with Angels coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders FB Reece’s injury not as bad as feared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Peavy pitches Giants to 8-3 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
WR Stevie Johnson adds depth to 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fairfield boxer Avila set to put perfect 15-0 record on the line

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality check for Phelps at Pan Pacific Champs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kent State starting center dies at 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Serena Williams seeded No. 1 at US Open; Halep 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart skipping 3rd straight race after Ward’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Las Vegas spoils Mo’ne’s night, beats Philly 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks F Torres undergoes surgery on right knee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Sports on TV for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B4

.

Business

BofA reaches $17B settlement with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Brine firm sues over biblical fracking billboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Apple’s stock bounces back to hit a new high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

David G. Gibson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Charles (Chuck) H. Doty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9