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OPINION: Is It Time to Rethink Women in Combat
OPINION: Is It Time to Rethink Women in Combat


These articles and commentaries are provided courtesy of DefenseWatch, the official magazine for Soldiers For The Truth (SFTT), a grass-roots educational organization started by a small group of concerned veterans and citizens to inform the public, the Congress, and the media on the decline in readiness of our armed forces. Inspired by the outspoken idealism of retired Colonel David Hackworth, SFTT aims to give our service people, veterans, and retirees a clear voice with the media, Congress, the public and their services.

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March 10, 2004

[Have an opinion about the views expressed in this article? Sound off in the Hot Issues with Defensewatch Forum.]

By James W. Revels

After reading David DeBatto's article ("The Young and Restless") I believe the points he raised should make all concerned people reconsider their support of flawed decisions that allow women to be placed in combat situations.

As you probably know, women constitute about 15 percent of the active force today. Some Reserve and National Guard units have a higher concentration of females, who did not enlist for combat duty.

At last count, seven females have been killed in Iraq, and no one seems to care, but let one sexual assault complaint see the light of day, and a congressional hearing is launched. We would not be flooded with sexual assault investigations today if the senior leadership displayed the courage needed years ago to prevent the expanding employment of women in the military. This being an election year, you can bet the farm no politician will take on the feminist movement that is pushing for greater opportunities for women in the military.

Dressing women in battle dress uniforms does not make them soldiers. Calling them soldiers does not mean they possess the requisite skills required of warriors.

No nation, in modern history, has advanced the cause of equality and women rights by sending women into combat. Until the American people demand reconsideration of existing deployment policies, women will continue to die needlessly in Iraq and Congress will continue to waste time and resources reviewing sexual assault complaints.

For years, the senior leadership ignored declining physical standards caused by increasing reliance on female recruits to fill manpower quotas. Mention pregnancy rates and no comment follows. Now, because some women, who are as culpable as some men at initiating sexual contact, are complaining, the brass are forced to take another look at predictable problems created by sex integration.

Old soldiers, like me, remember Tailhook and its impact. Years ago, Tailhook allowed the media to blackmail the senior leadership into over-reacting to claims of sexual harassment. Because this nation is so obsessed with anything involving sex, excessive media coverage, as witnessed today, is the natural result. However, national security concerns warrant more than congressional hearings that fail to address the negative impact of consensual sexual activities, as well as the corrosive impact of women in combat. Asking young men and women to ignore sexual attractions, resulting from living and working conditions found today in our armed forces, is unnatural and dangerous.

Our national security will be impacted if common sense does not prevail. Away from the media spotlight, I believe education and discipline will correct most problems drawing media attention today.

No one seems to understand that it is not the primary purpose of our armed forces to provide employment opportunities for women and young men. Our armed forces exist for the single purpose of defending the nation by destroying any enemy that threatens our national security. Clearly, women can contribute to the nation's defense, but not as warriors.

[Have a comment on this opinion article? Sound off in the Hot Issues with Defensewatch Forum.]

Contributing Editor Jim Revels is a retired U.S. Army colonel. He can be reached at jwscezer@mailstation.com. Please send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com. 2004 DefenseWatch. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.



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