26 January 2013

A Father's Perspective on Women in Combat

English: Official portrait of Leon Panetta as ...
English: Official portrait of Leon Panetta as United States Secretary of Defense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a decision that will change the course of history in this country, he lifted the ban on females in combat units. 


The change has been long awaited by feminist and female service members who think that the ban is discriminatory. In some ways I agree with them. Some women, although a select few are capable of handling the stresses and physical requirements of combat. Truth be told some of the best Soldiers that I've met in my military career have been female. The issue that I have with this change in policy is the fact that it overlooks the big picture.

The worry that I have as a combat Soldier, and a father, is the potential for an even higher rate of sexual assault and rape within the military. To suggest that putting women in combat units will somehow make it better is outrageous. I am aware that women have been serving alongside combat units (attached) and I have seen firsthand how this can become a problem. You are putting females in a situation where young men who are away from home and under the most extreme are expected to restrain themselves from becoming unruly. I would love to say that the military has a level of discipline to sustain such a change but, in my opinion, we have a long way to go. It is my hope that the Generals and personnel in charge of the transition realize the extreme cultural change that has to take place within the ranks to make this a successful venture. It would take a complete overhaul in the way the combat branches of the assess, deploy, and utilize troops.

Then there's is the argument of selective service. Although the draft now lies dormant at some point we may need to re-instate it. With a gender neutral policy on combat jobs, some would say the next step is to have all citizens who meet the requirements register with selective service. NO COMBAT VETERAN COMES HOME WITHOUT WOUNDS. I look at my daughter, then think on my memory of combat, and with all my heart declare that I will never let her see what I have seen.

Maybe with time our military will be ready to accept the change that has been made. I just have a hard time seeing it now...
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