The Pentagon's decision to officially allow women in combat will have limited practical effect in modern warfare. The fact is, many women are operating in harm's way; more than 130 have been killed and more than 800 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Economist labeled the announcement, "See Jane shoot."
National Geographic offered eight nations that have sent woman into combat. A sample:
Since 1988, Denmark has had a policy of "total inclusion," which came on the heels of 1985 "combat trials" exploring the capabilities of women to fight on the front lines. "Danish research showed that women performed just as well as men in land combat roles," according to the British MOD study. Although all posts are open to women, physical requirements have so far prevented them from joining the country's Special Operations Forces.
Helen Benedict writes in the Columbia Journalism Review:
Because there is no front line in today’s wars, women are drawn into fighting even if their roles are officially designated as only combat support. If you are driving a truck full of toilet paper when your convoy is ambushed, you must fight back like everyone else.
Furthermore, because of the shortage of troops in the first years of the war, women were constantly thrust into jobs they were not legally supposed to have, particularly in Iraq. I’ve talked to dozens of women who were gunners atop Humvees and gun trucks, who raided houses alongside the infantry, manned machine guns on watchtowers, guarded police stations and prisons, and worked with the infantry when the chaos of war made their jobs interchangeable. Yet, they were still not being recognized as combat soldiers.
Writing for the National Review, Heather Mac Donald notes:
Apart from the obvious problems of sexual attraction and rivalries while on a fast-moving mission, it is absurd to think that putting women into a group of men doesn’t radically change the dynamics of that group We obsessively celebrate “the sisterhood.” Strong women together create a special vibe and special power, we are told; thus the ongoing existence of all-female schools and clubs at a time when any remaining all-male organizations are in the crosshairs. The concept of male bonding, however, once glorified in epics and drama, is now viewed as simply exclusionary, of no value to society whatsoever.
While The Atlantic presents The Feminist Objection to Women in Combat
On Friday, The Washington Post offered this news:
While some politicians have yet to come to terms with the women-in-combat issue, a few women have already made up their minds. They’re enlisting ASAP.
In the hours after the Pentagon announced that women could soon serve in gender-segregated combat roles, dozens of young women tweeted or Facebooked their plans to followers. Kimberly Munzinger, who left the Marines when she couldn’t become a field artillerist, might join again after she wraps up her degree. Lily Boulourian, who had planned to go to law school, called a reservist friend to meet for coffee and talk about enlisting.
“I had never even thought about the military before,” Boulourian said. “But I feel a call to serve now. We finally have equality, and I want to be a part of that history.”