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Pro/Con: Should Women Be Allowed In Combat Roles?

By Faven Butler

The stereotype of men being stronger than women has lived on for too long. Nowadays, women take on the role of a “man in the house.” Likewise, many fail to realize women do just as much, if not more, than men do.

The fact of the matter is, gender nor race nor any other discriminating factor should come in the way of an individual pursuing his or her desires. This includes one of the main controversies in military life today: women fighting in war. It is true that women are allowed to go to war and take on leading roles in respect to commanding units and such. However, they were not allowed to actually fight on battlegrounds.

The question is, why? Tradition claims men are the elite, especially when it comes to fighting in war. Yet there are women who are just as patriotic and determined to fight for their country.  Americans are known for their belief in equal rights. The pledge of allegiance clearly states this nation provides “liberty and justice for all.”

If this is true, why would someone oppose women fighting on battlegrounds? There is no legitimate answer to this query. On Jan. 24, 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced women will no longer be restricted from front-line combat roles. Perhaps one of the greatest decisions made in history, this has produced a fair amount of skepticism among those who believe women should take on the housewife role in a home. The time has come where others should not try to restrict those who are different from them the rights they have. Instead, they should concern themselves with their own problems, and leave individuals to make their own decisions. This decision will change the lives of many in regards to militaristic theories, but it also changes women’s struggle for equality among men.

Cartoon By Anthony Sudol
By John Shumar
The Pentagon has recently announced, after a decision by Leon Panetta, that the armed services must devise a plan to integrate women into combat roles by 2016.  This has sparked debate about the qualifications of women on the front lines.Kingsley Browne, professor at Wayne State University Law School and author of Co-ed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars argues that because women are not as physically built like men, attempting to integrate them would lower overall standards. Lowering the standards for entry into combat branches to level the playing field for women would be detrimental to America’s national security.  Also, women in combat units may negatively change the environment of the units and create conditions of sexual competition and harassment.Women are not as physically strong as men.  Anatomically speaking, men have broader shoulders and backs, and thicker necks.  Males are born with more testosterone, which enhances the body’s ability to build muscle.  This physical advantage helps males to handle the stresses of combat.  For example, infantryman carry an average of 100 pound of equipment on his back and  Artillery soldiers have to load shells weighing up to 90 pounds.

USMC Captain Katie Petronio, a veteran servicewomen in the marines, argues that women cannot handle the physical toll of fighting on the front lines.  She was a star ice hockey player at Bowdoin College, and could squat 200 lbs and bench 145 lbs when she graduated in 2007.  Completing the Officer Candidates School ranked 4 of 52, and earned a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test.  She was deployed to Iraq for 10 months as a second lieutenant.

Captain Petronio started to suffer from muscle atrophy in her thighs on the fifth month of her deployment.  She recalls how the pain and degeneration caused her legs to randomly bucks and her capability during firefights to decrease.  The rate of her deterioration was noticeably faster than the male Marines in her unit.  After seven months, she had lost 17 pounds and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which resulted in her infertility.  She states that if we attempt to integrate women into the infantry, there would be a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females.

Aside from the fact of physical differences between males and females, we must remember who we are fighting.  Our current enemies in the Middle East treat their women as second class citizens.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s Shia Law has women on the same level as dogs, to be used to make children and have a slave.  Male American prisoners are treated inhumanely, and there is no doubt that our women, if they fall prisoner, will be treated with equal disgust.  Are we prepared as a nation to watch a female combat soldier who gets captured get raped on youtube?

We are not just sending females into combat, we are sending our nations mothers, sisters and daughters into harm’s way.  This is not a profession fit for any human being, but is necessary for the survival of our nation and freedoms.  Women are the foundation of the family, which is the foundation of a strong civilization.  Adopting a combat force that allows women on the front lines is contradictory to the family structure and ancient truism that the male should defend his country’s daughters.

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