In January, the Pentagon made history when it announced it would lift a longstanding ban on women in combat, and on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that women should be able to start training for combat roles in the Navy as early as next month. The Navy will open up its Riverine force to women and have them assigned to units by October.
Integration is set to spread to the Army Rangers by mid-2015 and to most or all combat roles by 2016. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has made it clear that regardless of the combat job, physical acceptance standards will not differ for women.
To date, 300,000 women have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, and as former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people.”
Some, however, think gender equality in the military is a bad idea. Here are the 5 most ridiculous quotes from opponents to integration.
Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, says this "social experiment" will place "unnecessary burdens" on the military, endangering troops in "fast moving and deadly situations."
The Daily Caller's Tucker Carlson tweeted that, and followed it up by writing, "The administration boasts about sending women to the front lines on the same day Democrats push the Violence Against Women Act."
Penny Nance, CEO of the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, explained her statement by saying: “The point of the military is to protect our country. Anything that distracts from that is detrimental. Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness. While this decision is not unexpected from this administration, it is still disappointing.”
The National Review's Heather MacDonald warns of an increase in sexual assault, and says, “Any claim that our fighting forces are not reaching their maximum potential because females are not included is absurd. The number of women who are the equal to reasonably well-developed men in upper-body strength and who have the same stamina and endurance is vanishingly small.”
The Wall Street Journal, one of the nation's most reputable newspapers, published an op-ed by former Marine infantryman Ryan Smith, who argues that since soldiers had to “defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face” during his tour in Iraq, women could not be permitted in combat because it would “humiliate” men. “Despite the professionalism of Marines, it would be distracting and potentially traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex, particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene.”
I can only hope that these five commentators heed the advice that Australian Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison gave his own troops: "The army has to be an inclusive organization in which every soldier, man and woman, is able to reach their full potential and encouraged to do so... On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the [Australian] Army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future. If that does not suit you, then get out."