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Women In Combat

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Category: Social Issues

Autor: anton 31 October 2010

Words: 1355 | Pages: 6

“I’m an American soldier too”

Can a woman handle fighting in combat? Should women be able to come face to face with the enemy? Will women be able to control their emotions and take the horror that war inflicts? Should women be grateful that they are not included in such a terrible thing as combat, or is it wrong to exclude them just because they are women? I say if a woman chooses this kind of challenge, then she is more than capable.

During the daring rescue of prisoner of war Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital, the first commando to reach Lynch identified himself as a United States soldier. The 19-year-old Army private replied, "I'm an American soldier, too."

Jessica Lynch is more than a soldier, she's a symbol, too — one who reportedly fought her abusive captors with heroism and courage. Her experience shows that the time is right to blast through the armored ceiling that keeps women second-class citizens in the military.

You might think, if you watch Operation Iraqi Freedom on TV or read about it in the newspaper, that the military already has been fully integrated with regard to gender. But you would be wrong.

Yes, Progress has been made - Over the last fifty years or more, public officials have fought to open more opportunities for women. In 1948, President Truman helped create a military service separate for females. However, this service restricted them to only 2% of the entire

Military. More recently, in 1994, the Defense Department issued the “Risk Rule.” This helped open up specialty jobs to women. “No jobs will be closed to women just because it is dangerous.” (Willens 2) In fact, over 40,000 American women served in Dessert Storm in Iraq, twenty-three of which returned with a Combat Action Ribbon.

But Even though Women have important jobs (most of them are life threatening) they are still not allowed on the front line. Women who fight as soldiers in artillery units, on warships, or pilots are “just as likely to kill or be killed in combat” (Jones 3). If a woman proves she is capable of passing the requirements of boot camp, then why shouldn’t she be able to prove herself out on the front line? If she tries to get the requirements lowered then she is obviously not able to handle it, but this goes for males too. “Women become physicians and surgeons with no restrictions- they are not precluded from performing brain surgery. Women can become civilian pilots with no restrictions- they are not restricted to lower altitudes, or single engine planes.” (women in combat 2). If women are able to do such extraordinary things as civilians, what restricts them in the military?

A 1992 presidential commission used many well-worn arguments to push to maintain the status quo for women at the time. These dated excuses, as 19-year-old Army private Jessica Lynch and many others before her have shown, no longer hold water.

Excuse No. 1: Women lack courage and mental toughness. They say she would crack under the pressure because she would be too fragile. However, there are many women in the military today that are strong, intelligent, loyal, and patriotic; not to mention these women are extremely courageous. Today, over 200,000 women serve in the armed forces. Every year women prove their stamina by passing and exceeding the requirements of basic training. “Each individual is a soldier, first and foremost.” (Jones 2). How could anyone say that women are too weak to be in the military, when 17% of the total armed forces are women?

Excuse No. 2: Women lack the physical strength needed for ground combat.

Yet, how would anyone know if she has never had the chance to prove herself? To be completely prepared, a person must practice. The only way to practice combat is to actually fight in combat. To be an effective team, all the team mates need to be able to put complete trust in each other. How can a man trust a woman completely to be successful on the battle field if she has never been given the opportunity to show her skills. This makes it difficult to perceive a female soldier in a serious manner. If a woman is not taken seriously, then how could she possibly achieve a role of leadership?

Excuse No. 3: Women have an adverse effect on male bonding and cohesion in a unit. People were afraid the women might fall in love, or even get pregnant. However, Time has shown that military units of mixed sexes have quietly maintained order, accomplished missions, and passed operational readiness inspections with flying colors. They're too busy doing their jobs to worry about who uses which latrine. Desert Storm is a classic example of mixed units performing as cohesive and effective teams even under fire.

Excuse No. 4: Captured women possibly will be raped and tortured. Women who choose to join the military are already fully aware of this possibility. They become informed and prepared before they complete basic training. Every soldier understands that becoming a POW means the possibility of abuse and torture. As the experiences of Lynch and Spec. Shoshanna Johnson highlight, keeping women out of combat positions — both were with the 507th Maintenance Company when captured — does not protect them from becoming POWs and possibly facing this danger. Rape, of course, is not a torture restricted by gender, nor is the determination to withstand whatever the enemy dishes out. The qualities that are most important in all military jobs, things like integrity, moral courage and determination, have nothing to do with gender.

On the day of March 23rd, 2003, the 507th Maintenance co. accidentally made a fatal turn in Southern Iraq. Here they were attacked by the Iraqi soldiers. Lynch refused to be captured by these brutal men. After several gunshot wounds, two broken legs, and even being stabbed repeatedly, this tenacious warrior only stopped fighting after using up all the ammo.

Over a dozen members of the 507th Maintenance Co were captured. Our hero was the only survivor to be taken hostage and treated in the Iraqi hospital. Here Lynch was treated atrociously. . They starve their prisoners, beat them, and refuse them proper medication. An Islamic doctor, refused to treat this patient so poorly, because of religious reasons. He gave the prisoner Two transfusions and received plasma as well. Although the doctors were only allowed to check on Lynch twice a day, every time he did, he would bring news of the whereabouts of the United States soldiers. He also snuck food and medication as well.

On April Fools day (very appropriate) The U.S. soldiers played a trick on the Iraqis, by forcing entry In the middle of the night, and rescuing Jessica Lynch. Nine other Missing U.S. soldiers’ bodies were discovered at the hospital, Lynch was the only survivor of the entire crew.

I believe her strength and bravery is the reason she was saved. Jessica Lynch, a female, and was the only one in her crew who handled and survived such a tragic event in history. She held up better than any man put in her position. Although some can still argue that women are too fragile and weak to fight in combat, I believe that if such a petite woman (standing at only 5”4) can save herself, why shouldn’t she be given the opportunity to save some one else on the front line? She is a modern day Joan of Arc. If anyone was to say that a woman could not handle herself in combat, then they obviously haven’t heard of Jessica Lynch. The pure and simple point is that all jobs should be open to women and men - if and only if - the women and men are qualified, capable, competent, Willing, and able to perform them! Nothing more, nothing less.

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