Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently announced the lifting of a longstanding ban on women serving in combat. The military branches have until this May to come up with a plan to implement the change. That means the changes could come into effect as early as May, though they will have until January 2016 to complete the implementation. The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended in January to Secretary Panetta that the direct combat exclusion rule should be lifted. In a memo, they wrote: “The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service,” the memo read.
Women have been officially prohibited from serving in combat since a 1994 rule that barred them from serving in ground combat units. Woman have been able to fly combat since 1993. In 2010, the Navy allowed them on submarines. But lifting restrictions on service in frontline ground combat units will break a key barrier in the military.
While I believe in equal rights between the sexes in most cases and knowing the amazing abilities of women in general, I don’t know yet if I agree to put them in direct harm’s way. Being in service itself puts them in precarious situations now. Some of our Facebook followers were asked to share their opinions.
One follower wrote: “I’m not sure how I feel about women in combat… I can see both sides. I can say that I did serve & I have seen many male soldiers who can be considered the “weakest link” even though they can do the required amount of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc… It’s mental as well as physical and not every woman OR MAN could handle it.”
Another in opposition said “No. And there are plenty of reasons, but I cannot list them all. Main point is, the “gender line” is trying to be blurred more and more in this world. Men are men. Women are women. Men will treat females differently then other guys.”
“Women are already in combat conditions,” another shared. “There is no official front line any more. With suicide bombers and roadside bombs, all military personnel are in combat situations every moment. This new ruling will ensure that women in the military will receive the same training as their male counterparts.”
Whatever your opinion is, the world in which we grew up is changing whether we like or fully understand. With each new announcement or position, we seem to drift further away from tradition. Good or bad….time will tell.
In another event, even in today’s tough economic times (there are signs things are improving) the White House announced Thursday that it will disband its Jobs Council. The Council met just a few times but with unemployment still high (12 million still seeking employment) it is just another Washington event which is not readily understood.
By Bob Simmons