Monday, September 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Women’s combat roles and U.S. security

By
From page A7 | January 25, 2013 |

What will women in combat mean for U.S. security? Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Pentagon would lift the ban on women serving the military in combat roles.

Over the past decade, the nature of counterinsurgency warfare has often exposed military women to danger, and the latest move opens up military specialties – and promotions – long denied them. “The time has come . . . to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What will the decision mean for national security? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlue America columnists, debate the issue.

Joel Mathis

Women are already fighting and dying in the United States armed forces.

They have guarded our prisoners. They’ve flown our drones. They’ve been in firefights with the Taliban. They’ve died from roadside bombs. They’ve sacrificed and suffered and served with honor, proving an indispensable part of America’s fighting forces since 9/11.

And they’ve performed so well at these tasks that, by all accounts, the move to finally and formally open up combat positions to women didn’t come, as cynics might expect, from the politically correct, liberal namby-pamby civilians who run the Pentagon with an eye toward social engineering. It came from the generals themselves.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously join me in proposing that we move forward with the full intent to integrate women into (combat roles) to the maximum extent possible,” Dempsey said in a letter to Panetta.

That last phrase – “to the maximum extent possible” – should hopefully assuage critics who believe women will be blindly rushed into combat positions based more on gender concerns than for security reasons. The military’s first guiding principle, Dempsey said, is to ensure its own battle-worthiness “by preserving unit readiness, cohesion and morale” and to retain the trust of the American public with policies that retain “the most qualified people.”

As Dempsey noted, that means mental and physical performance standards will be gender neutral as required by law. Men and women will have to meet the same standards to fill those combat roles: The law does not allow the military to reduce those standards to allow more women in. Which means, as always, that those who serve will be “the few and proud.”

But as noted: Women are already serving admirably throughout the armed services. Panetta’s decision just makes messy reality a bit more official.

Ben Boychuk

Women are already fighting and dying in the U.S. armed forces. So what? That isn’t necessarily a good thing or a trend worthy of greater encouragement.

Giving women combat roles will mean putting them even further in harm’s way, risking not only death, but lifelong injury – both physical and emotional. It’s bad enough for men, as combat veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will attest. Do we really want to subject more American women to that kind of hell? Ideally, women seeking combat roles would be held to precisely the same physical standards as their male comrades in arms. It isn’t simply a matter of knowing how to shoot straight under fire. Can she march for miles over harsh terrain carrying a rifle and 100 pounds of gear? Can she carry a wounded man?

Without a doubt, some highly motivated women can do those things, and do them well. But let’s not kid ourselves: We’re talking about very few.

How long before the Pentagon succumbs to political pressure to turn “very few” into “many”? Don’t put much stock in the fact that the generals have given this policy change their seal of approval. They can glad hand as well as any member of Congress.

Fact is, combat duty leads to promotion. Few service members reach the highest echelons of the armed forces if they haven’t served in a combat unit. The Pentagon will be badgered and cajoled over time to place more women in combat units for precisely that reason, and standards will slip.

Of course, there is one area where women have men beat: childbearing. In the U.S. military, unplanned pregnancy is a big problem. A 2005 Pentagon survey found more than 16 percent of female active-duty personnel reported an unplanned pregnancy over the previous year. That’s more than double the rate of the civilian population.

We shouldn’t compromise the nation’s security for a social and political folly, but that’s exactly the direction we’re headed.

Ben Boychuk is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal and Joel Mathis is a writer in Philadelphia. Email bboychuk@city-journal.org or joelmmathis@gmail.com. 

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

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

  • a manJanuary 24, 2013 - 6:31 pm

    I'm fine with this... BUT, women can't have it both ways.. they can't demand equality in rights and then ask to be treated differently. Any woman in a combat role should meet and EXCEED the minimum requirments expected of a man.. there should be no quota's on how many women to hire, and there should be no preferential treatment/hiring. This isn't fairytale land, this is war, where people die.... No sacrifices should be made in the name of political correctness.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensJanuary 25, 2013 - 9:37 am

    What happens if impressment, conscription or a draft starts? Why should only men be required to register for the draft at age 18? 14th Amendment says that's not fair or right. Sorry little Susie---like Dean Wormer said in Hollywood's Animal House movie--''you are now all--yes, all eligible for military service and I've notified your local draft boards''.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarJanuary 25, 2013 - 4:01 pm

    treat 'em the same as men as long as they exceed the minumum standards for men? huh?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Netanyahu a very bad man?January 25, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    Googe...Planned war on Iran and the General who said No!..Gordon Duff..PressTV.....Today, General Dempsey, Chairman of America’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the man who flew to Tel Aviv and informed Netanyahu that America wanted no part of his scheming against Iran was the subject of an assassination attempt in Afghanistan........... This wasn’t an act of terrorism or Taliban militants. It was a “mob hit” against someone who failed to kiss the feet of Netanyahu. His response was to unleash killers, not a fact for the public but a fact just the same, one the American military knows very well. Netanyahu has a problem with “hubris.”...News agencies buried the failed attack, knowing Dempsey is hated by Netanyahu and respected by the Taliban as both “truthful and fair.” .......... Netanyahu longs for the days when General Myers held Dempsey’s job, under Bush (43), both flawed and narcissistic, predictable puppets, the perfect fodder for Netanyahu’s machinations............ Only two weeks ago, Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, returned from a trip overseas, coming back to America with $60 million dollars collected in Israel and Britain while accompanied by Casino boss Sheldon Adelson who’s Las Vegas and China organizations have long been reputed to be the center of worldwide organized crime.......... The business, gambling, drugs, prostitution, money laundering and now war, is seeking its own president and war on Iran is the only issue driving the American campaign........... Romney, as a state governor, was, if anything, to the “left” of President Obama. Romney’s support of government health care and widespread gun controls run totally opposite to the core constituency of the Republican Party, the weapons lobby and the medical racketeers............ Romney has found, however, that, though it is illegal for any American candidate to accept money overseas, while overseas, from overseas, at home from those who are citizens of other countries, he feels himself above the law, in the sweet and motherly arms of the Israeli controlled American media............ Now drowning in illegal cash, much from London bankers, his most interesting catch was the private dinner he shared with the Tel Aviv “blood diamond” smugglers who donated up to $25 million dollars in one night..........

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • But look at this....January 25, 2013 - 4:57 pm

    John Kerry talks Iran, Syria, Hagel on path to easy confirmation By Donna Cassata.....Associated Press....The New World Order is determined to take out Syria and Iran...it really makes no difference if Republican or Democrat Administration. Remember Kerry was skull and bones and Hagel is probaby just a ringer. ??? Two sides of the Illuminati disagreeing about tactics??? READ REVELATION IN THE BIBLE

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Highway 12 project nears completion

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

‘Snail mail’ still kinda cool

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
 
Car club raises funds, supplies for SPCA

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Democrats plan candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Stand Up 2 Cancer Viewing party set in Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Senior center schedules discussion on senior travel

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local government schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Premier post details of new lease

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Il Fiorello to host jazz event

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
New doctors join NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

Goodwill opens Outlet Store in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fairfield economic team announces addition

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 4 Comments

Small earthquakes shake Solano

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
Whopper of a tax dodge for Burger King

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

Is social media enlarging or stifling democracy?

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

 
Compromise on Cordelia Road rail crossing costs

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Justice for all

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Good job, Susan Winlow

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is my husband right when he says men aren’t made for monogamy?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
5 takeaways from a punch-less summer box office

By Jake Coyle | From Page: A11

Joan Rivers’ daughter: I’m keeping fingers crossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Source: 49ers OL Boone agrees to new 2-yr deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Kahne holds off Kenseth to win Atlanta shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Wozniacki outlasts Sharapova, in US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons looking to be defensive

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Otto wins Italian Open; Gallacher comes up short

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Weather for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Henley takes a 1-shot lead at Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dunn dealt to A’s, could be his last shot playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Fred Couples wins Champions Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
A’s frustrated after 8-1 loss caps sweep by Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Ernst wins LPGA’s Portland Classic in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Giants power past Brewers 15-5 for 3-game sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tony Stewart’s return to race track ends early

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sam clears waivers, meets with Fisher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FC Kansas City wins NWSL title over Seattle, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders claim DE Mayowa off waivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jensen waived after Jaguars awarded TE Shuler

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Laurie Danielson Bailey

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
.

Comics

Pickles Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Sally Forth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7