How do you feel about this? Proud? Horrified?
An Indianapolis-area soldier, believed to be the first female Indiana National Guard member wounded in Iraq, was presented a Purple Heart this morning.
For better or worse, the debate about women in combat is all but over in this country. Women are still barred from "direct ground combat" units, but that is a nearly meaningless distinction. They do everything from fly planes to drive trucks through the fighting, and the concept of "front lines" doesn't mean what it once did. Consequently:
The number of female casualties -- 68 dead and more than 430 injured -- represents a tiny fraction of the total. Still, by one estimate, the deaths exceed the number of military women who lost their lives in Korea, Vietnam and the gulf war combined.
Backers of The Equal Rights Amendment failed to get it into the Constitution, despite repeated efforts over several years. Too many weren't willing to say that men and women should be treated completely equally by the law under all circumstances and despite any consequences. I'd say we've gotten there anyway, without the ERA. The deploring may now begin, but then what?