Let Them Fight!
"The American Civil Liberties Union ..filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, challenging its policy that...has categorically excluded women from most direct combat positions." (1)
The plaintiffs are four women serving in the armed forces, two of whom have been awarded Purple Hearts for injuries sustained in combat. This fact alone shows the absurdity of a policy that bars women (twenty percent of military recruits) from 238,000 military jobs that are deemed "combat-related." In fact women have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan in units that have been involved in combat, and many have been hurt and killed. "The modern battlefield means there are no front lines or safe areas." according to Marine Capt. Zoe Bedell, who served in Afghanistan.
The current policy is deeply-rooted in both biology and history. Most men are larger and stronger than most women, and most are also more physically aggressive. Accordingly, the armies throughout human history have been nearly all-male, with only a few notable exceptions. (2) A few women fought in the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars disguised as young men, but those who were discovered were immediately discharged.
A policy that clearly discriminates among Americans on the basis of sex may be Constitutional if it is narrowly-tailored to meet the needs of national security. The federal courts have been very reluctant to interfere with military and security policy; should the court intervene this time? Consider these points:
1. War has changed. Even if we can agree that most women would not stand a chance against the typical man in hand-to-hand- bayonet type of combat, that type of fighting has not played a decisive role since Vietnam. In today's wars, marksmanship and skill in using high-tech weapons are more critical than physical strength or aggression.
2. Individual Differences. Even though I am a full-grown male weighing nearly 200 pounds, there are some women who could whip me in a fair fight, especially one without rules. If the army needed a hundred combat soldiers and two hundred applied, 100 men and 100 women, the present policy would accept all the men and reject all the women. But if the army could devise a test of combat skills and select the hundred that did best, I predict that quite a few women would beat out men and be selected. If so, the male-only policy actually reduces the effectiveness of our combat forces!
3. Equality of Opportunity. Today women serve as police officers and FBI and Secret Service agents, all of whom must be prepared to use physical force and weapons to stop dangerous criminals. These are the capabilities needed in military combat The military should recognize this fact and grant its female soldiers equal opportunity to serve in all branches and units of the services. If this country ever resumes a draft (God forbid!), women should not be exempt.
I understand the reluctance of federal judges to intervene in military and security matters. That is why the President. Commander-in-Chief of all US military forces, should revoke the bar on women in combat and make this case moot!
Gerald S Glazer
(1) Los Angeles Times, Nov. 28, 2012
(2) Celtic and African tribes have been reliably reported to have included female warriors in ancient battles.