Friday, January 25, 2013

Hear Me Roar

In between the increased clamor about the American right to own an assault rifle and the inauguration of a President, the Secretary of Defense this week announced he's lifting the ban on women in combat. So now gender equality applies to the right to kill other human beings under the "rules of war" and it's conduct.  I jest; but the ironies here are robust.
For women, (and men) this really is good news.  That's because all the discrimination making it impossible for women to hold certain decision-making ranks and positions is now gone.  We're not just talking about the right to be in harm's way, the trenches, or even engage in one on one combat.  This new regulation does not only apply to the infantry, but a host of other opportunities and long overdue careers.
Speaking to the press Panetta said:“Everyone is entitled to a chance." According to The New York Times, the Army is now creating gender-neutral standards for all their positions but will not be lowering the physical standards required just so that women can be admitted. That opens up the age old discussion of carrying a 250lb buddy to safety, much as a firefighter would. Yet women have previously been in combat zones and performed many of these roles without getting credit or recognition. So this week, all manner of women in the military have been courted by the media pundits in hopes of clarifying the issue.  Yesterday I heard a portion of an interview in which a young woman revealed she's applied and was rejected 17 times for one such combat related position.  On another station, a young female officer detailed her life's ambition to be a Ranger (guess that's Army Ranger not Power Ranger) because she was driven to become the best ever at that particular occupation.  The skill set needed wasn't mentioned but one can easily surmise what's involved.
     In all the press this story received, another quote by Secretary Leon Panetta latched on to me and wouldn't let go.  He said, among other remarks related to his decision to lift the ban, something to the effect that women will now be full participants in all this nation's wars.
     Ever so subtle, but the implication is plain that there will be future wars.  How can there not be future wars?   I was hoping by this time in our cultural evolution we'd have figured this one out. I'm not celebrating more combat eligible too much.

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