Valor knows no gender

“Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens.  This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military.  Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.” President Barack Obama

Charlie Pierce: “According to the 2010 study, a recent IDF report found that female combatants maintained alertness better, were more knowledgable and professional when using their weapons, and had better shooting abilities than men. But even still, like in many other nations, a good number of combat positions remain closed to them, including much of those on the front lines. And though there was a 400 percent increase in Israeli women military careerists between 1999 and 2009, the brass ceiling in many ways still remains. [...] But momentum is gathering. And while, again, this morning’s change has a three-year span before the military needs to make final decisions about which combat roles it will open to American women, over the next few years, across the world—in South Korea, in Australia, and now in the U.S. — more and more women will see combat with some, but, if precedent holds, not all of the titles they damn well deserve. [Via NPR]

Mother Jones: “If the United States had previously allowed women to serve officially in military combat roles, including special operations forces, there might be fewer sexual assaults in the armed services, the Pentagon’s top general told reporters Thursday. Having studied the issue of rampant sexual misconduct in the ranks, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that he has concluded that the phenomenon exists partly because women have been subordinated to men in military culture: “It’s because we’ve had separate classes of military personnel.””

Additionally the United States is, once again, lagging behind the rest of the civilized world in finally opening combat roles to women. Over a dozen other countries have allowed it for years, such as: (Buzzfeed)

  1. Canada
  2. Israel
  3. Finland
  4. Poland
  5. Norway
  6. Denmark
  7. France
  8. Romania
  9. Germany
  10. Sweden
  11. The Netherlands
  12. Australia
  13. New Zealand

And what are some of the silliest reactions to this news so far?

  • Steve Benen: Internet television personality Allen West was not at all pleased with the Pentagon’s decision to lift the military’s ban on women serving in combat, calling this part of “another misconceived liberal vision of fairness and equality.” Of course, given that West was forced from the military after an interrogation in which he threatened to kill a police officer, then fired a 9mm next to his head to make the threat credible, maybe he’s not the best judge on military qualifications.
  • Tucker Carlson also tweeted: “The latest feminist victory: The right to get your limbs blown off in war. Note to Tucker: 130 American women have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And of the several hundred who are injured, one now serves quite ably in Congress. (Rep. Tammy Duckworth flew helicopters.) I suspect that many feminists might well agree with Carlson: Women ought to have the right to get their limbs blown off if they’re as qualified as men are. Duckworth, whose limbs were, well, blown off, was as good a pilot as the many more men who were injured by IEDs too. This is quaint and false chivalry.
  • David Frum: “The people we are likely to meet on the next battlefield are people who use rape and sexual abuse as actual tools of politics. In Iranian prisons, rape is a frequent practice. Women are raped before they are executed. In Iran, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan rape is a conscious tool of subjugation and it is something women will be exposed to. In the name of equal opportunity they will face unequal risk.” — Adam Serwer: “It’s true that women face the danger of sexual assault if captured. The same could be said of men. Frum’s objection seems somewhat selective; women in the US military are more likely to face sexual assault from their comrades in the service than they are to be killed by enemy fire. Perhaps that’s less sensational than the thought of scary foreigners violating American women, but it’s a more urgent threat.”
  • WSJ Op-ed: Women shouldn’t be allowed in combat positions because men poop and it would be humiliating to poop in front of women.
  • Bill Kristol: “It’s predictable that few in our political and cultural elites will speak up for biology, for common sense, or for decency or honor.”

Finally, WHY is ending the ban so crucial? Andrew Sullivan:

Without the combat designation, women veterans can be denied the benefits they need, particularly medical and psychological, because they were designated non-combat while serving. Receiving many benefits from the VA is dependent on “if the veteran engaged in combat with the enemy.” A critical part of the approval process is what was the veteran’s designated military occupational speciality. If women will have noncombat MOS even if they engaged in combat because they are women then that means the VA might not approve them for combat related requests for benefits.  Women are not being treated equally under the law because of the noncombat designation.

I expect there will be a massive  lawsuit on behalf of all the female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to be retroactively reclassified as having served with combat duty in order to get the medical benefits they will need from the VA for the rest of their lives.  Because right now, that shit is being denied and will continue being denied for the entirety of their lives, all because they were designated ‘non-combat’ when they served.

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