Feminists Cheer as Women Gain “Right” to Die in Combat
Washington regime weakening its military, alienating soldiers and citizens; these are both good things if viewed from the proper perspective.
IN A HISTORIC transformation of the American military, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said on Thursday that the Pentagon will open all combat jobs to women. (ILLUSTRATION: Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.)
“There will be no exceptions,” Mr. Carter said at a news conference.
The groundbreaking decision overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles, even though in reality women often found themselves in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 14 years.
The military faced a deadline set by the Obama administration three years ago to integrate women into all combat jobs by 2016 or ask for specific exemptions. The Navy and Air Force have already opened almost all combat positions to women, and the Army has also increasingly integrated its forces.
The only exemptions were requested by the Marine Corps, which has a 93 percent male force dominated by infantry and a culture that still segregates recruits by gender for basic training. But Mr. Carter said he overruled the Marines because the military should operate under a common set of standards.
Women have long chafed under the combat restrictions, and they have increasingly pressured the Pentagon to catch up with the reality on the battlefield. In the military, serving in combat positions like the infantry remains crucial to career advancement, and women have long said that by not recognizing their real service, the military has unfairly held them back.
A major barrier fell this year when women were permitted to go through the grueling training that would allow them to qualify as Army Rangers, the service’s elite infantry.
Mr. Carter said that women would be allowed to serve in all military combat roles — from commanding tanks to dropping secretly behind enemy lines — by early next year. He characterized the historic shift as necessary to ensure that the United States military remained the world’s most powerful.
“When I became secretary of defense, I made a commitment to building America’s force of the future,” Mr. Carter told reporters. “In the 21st century that requires drawing strength from the broadest possible pool of talent. This includes women.”
Many women hailed the decision. “It’s a thrilling day for women serving in the military — and for women across the country,” said Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. “We applaud today’s announcement that knocks down the last remaining official barrier to women’s military service and ensures the full integration of women into all military jobs, positions and units.”
But the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee expressed caution and noted that by law Congress has 30 days to review the decision. “Secretary Carter’s decision to open all combat positions to women will have a consequential impact on our service members and our military’s war-fighting capabilities,” Senator John McCain of Arizona and Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas said in a statement. “The Senate and House Armed Services Committees intend to carefully and thoroughly review all relevant documentation related to today’s decision.’’
Mr. Carter acknowledged at the news conference that simply opening up combat roles to women was not going to lead to a fully integrated military. Senior defense officials and military officers would have to overcome the perception among many service members, men and women alike, that the change would reduce the effectiveness of the armed services.
The defense secretary sought to assuage those concerns on Thursday by saying that every service member would have to meet the standards of the jobs they wished to fill, and that “there must be no quotas or perception thereof.”
He also acknowledged that many units were likely to remain largely male, especially elite infantry troops and Special Operations forces, where “only small numbers of women could” likely meet the standards.
“Studies say there are physical differences,” Mr. Carter said, though he added that some women could meet the most demanding physical requirements, just as some men could not.
At the same time, military leaders are going to be required to assign jobs and tasks and determine who gets promoted based on “ability, not gender.”
Mr. Carter’s announcement came less than a month from the three-year deadline set by the Obama administration to integrate women into all combat jobs by 2016 or ask for specific exemptions.
In recent months, as the deadline approached, the Marines engaged in an unusually public campaign to keep women out of some jobs. The Marines in September released a $36 million study that study that found integrated combat units were slower, fired weapons with less accuracy and had more injuries.
The study took nine months to complete, and critics were quick to counter by saying that the force, which is dominated by infantry units, was simply looking for data to justify its desire to keep women in secondary roles.
In contrast, a study of the Marine Corps made public by a women’s advocacy group this week found that after months of testing mixed-gender combat units, troops reported morale equal to that of all-male groups and higher than noncombat integrated groups.
In addition, the study found sexual assault levels no higher than in the Marines as a whole.
The commandant of the Marine Corps in September was Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was not at Thursday’s news conference announcing the decision to open all combat roles to women, but Mr. Carter said that the general supported the move.
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Source: New York Times